apex legends

Apex Legends is the Battle Royale You’ve Been Waiting For

Posted by | Feature, Opinion, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One | No Comments

In the 2014 sci-fi action film Edge of Tomorrow (also known as Live Die Repeat), Tom Cruise is drafted into defending Europe from the violent alien invaders. He’s quickly killed in combat, but at the same time becomes infected with the aliens’ time loop powers. Like an action movie version of Groundhog Day, Cruise repeats the same day over and over as he goes through a montage of getting quickly, and often hilariously, killed. He eventually learns how to fight back, teams up with an awesome Emily Blunt, and saves the world.

When playing a battle royale game, I often feel like Tom Cruise in those early moments of Edge of Tomorrow. I drop down. I run around frantically. I die, mercilessly. Repeat.

But Apex Legends feels different. Not only does it have the most well-refined systems I’ve seen in the genre, but it makes me want to double down and improve my gameplay rather than throw my hands up in frustration. For the reasons I’ve listed below give Apex Legends a try, even if you’ve been entirely turned off by the explosively popular genre so far.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Most battle royale games feature a team mode where groups can join, survive, and win together. Apex Legends is built from the group up for three person squads. Teamwork in Apex Legends is easier and more enjoyable, even when playing with random strangers.

From the very start players draft their characters together, then drop into the world together. Squads should stick together – though not too close, and many of the character abilities foster teamwork and coordination, such as Lifeline’s ability to call in a supply drop, and Pathfinder’s ability to create a zipline for quick travel.

apex legends

Most importantly, squads can revive and even respawn their fellow teammates. Players enter a downed state when their health depletes and can be revived. Even if they’re killed, a teammate can grab their beacon and high tail it to the nearest respawn beacon, summoning them back to the fight. Some of my most memorable and thrilling survival stories have occurred after only one of us has been left alive to bring us back from the brink.

Should’ve Put a Ping On It

The intuitive ping system is incredibly clever. It’s the primary reason why playing with random squadmates ever has a chance of succeeding. With the press of a button, a squad mate can call out and highlight weapons, ammo, enemies, loot chests, and areas of interests. I can ping sections of my inventory to tell my squad I need ammo, body armor, or a certain weapon mod, declare an area to defend, and quickly yell out where and when I saw an enemy.

All of this is done without the need for voice chat at all. That’s particularly a huge plus for younger teens and concerned parents.

Less Players, More Action

Every match features 20 squads for 60 total players. That’s a significant departure from the 100-person matches of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite. Yet even with almost half the players, the action rarely feels big and empty. Sometimes we drop in the corner of the Swamps and never run into a person until 20 minutes later. But usually there’s always another firefight around the corner.

The diverse Canyon map is filled with military bases, shanty towns, industrial walkways, steep valleys, and open desert. The map feels like the perfect size, and strikes a great balance between moments of quiet looting, tense exploration, and explosive firefights.

apex legends

Choose Your Fighter

Apex Legends takes a page from online hero shooter Overwatch in providing several unique character classes to choose from. Like Overwatch you can’t have more than one character on your team, forcing teams to balance their preferred play style. All eight current characters bring something unique and interesting, like Bangalore’s smoke bombs, Gibraltar’s dome shield (hello, Winston!), and Bloodhound’s Predator vision. Apex Legends does a fantastic job incorporating these characters and their abilities, without deviating from the core gameplay of grabbing weapons and shooting each other.

Apex Legends has been a pleasantly addictive experience. When matches go horribly wrong, as they often do, it’s over in minutes. And it takes less time than that to cue up the next match. Wait times are non-existent, and we’ve never experienced a second of lag or server issues. Releasing a complete (and free to play!) game that works right out of the gate shouldn’t be cause for celebration, but here we are.

I’ve adored my time with Apex Legends, despite having yet to win a match. I’m still Tom Cruise in the middle of figuring everything out. I die, a lot. But repeating has never been so fun.

apex legends

Apex Legends Hits 10 Million Players

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Last week EA and Respawn Entertainment surprised everyone by announcing, and immediately releasing, a fully-formed battle royale-style multiplayer shooter based on the Titanfall series.

In the week since, Apex Legends has become a smash hit. After only 72 hours, Respawn Entertainment declared that over 10 million players had played the game, including 1 million players logged in at the same time.

“This has been a truly incredible journey. We knew it would be risky to take the franchise in this direction, to go free to play, and do a surprise launch. But we fell in love with Apex Legends and wanted, needed, other people to play it too,” says Vince Zampella, co-founder, Respawn Entertainment.  “From all of us at Respawn, thank you for giving us and Apex Legends a chance. Thank you for joining us on this journey.”

The elephant in the room is comparing Apex Legends’ explosive success to Fortnite’s currently huge popularity in the genre. In fact, it took Fortnite about two weeks to hit the same number of players.

EA and Respawn utilized a modern approach to marketing: live streams and influencers. This strategy paid off with a genre that lives and dies by its popularity. Some of the most popular streamers, such as Ninja and Dr. Disrespect, have completely switched from Fortnite to Apex Legends. And it helps that the game is quite good.

Interestingly, Apex Legends has gained popularity with Twitch audiences, yet Fortnite’s have not decreased. This suggests that Apex Legends may be bringing more newcomers into the genre instead of poaching Fortnite fans.

Apex Legends still has a long way to go before it can challenge Fortnite’s 200 million-strong players for king of the battle royale genre.

Apex Legends is available for free, with optional in-game purchases, on PC (Origin), PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It’s rated T for Teen for Blood and Violence.

anthem

Sign Up for the Anthem Closed Alpha

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If you’re excited about BioWare’s upcoming Destiny-with-Mechs online co-op game Anthem, you could be among the first to play it next weekend. EA and BioWare are offering a limited Closed Alpha test that will run the weekend of Dec. 8-9. Sign ups close Monday, December 3, however, and it’s on a first come basis.

The Anthem Closed Alpha will be available for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It will require PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold memberships to play on those platforms. It’s limited to 18 and older, and you can only sign up for one platform.

The Closed Alpha will also require an EA Account, and the signing of a Non-Disclosure Agreement. That means anyone playing the Closed Alpha will be not be able to share their thoughts, screenshots, or video streams. The Alpha is primarily to test sever loads and provide feedback directly to EA and BioWare via a private forum.

How to sign up:

  • Head to the EA Community Playtesting site.
  • Sign in with your EA Account.
  • Choose your platform and time. Once your choices are completed, click Submit.
  • Signing up does not guarantee you’ll be invited to take part, it’s on a first come first served basis.
  • If you’re in, you’ll see a confirmation on the Community Playtesting site and you’ll get an email from us letting you know how to download the Anthem Closed Alpha game client. You will be able to pre-load the Alpha before the test time.

Anthem is the latest game from the Dragon Age and Mass Effect developer BioWare. BioWare is known for making blockbuster RPGs. Anthem represents a departure as an online multiplayer action-RPG. Players take on the role of Freelancers who have access to Javelins, powerful mech suits that are used to combat threats on the alien planet. The co-op action gameplay has been closely compared to Activision and Bungie’s Destiny series.

Anthem was officially announced at E3 2017, with a tentative release date of Q4 2018. It has since been delayed to the new launch date of February 22, 2019. It has not yet been rated.

black friday

Black Friday Gaming Deals 2018

Posted by | News, PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox One | No Comments

Black Friday has become a bit of a misnomer, as the formerly one-day sale event has not only extended though the weekend, but now into Thanksgiving week itself. The gaming sales are some of the best you”ll find all year.

Arm yourself with which games to go after from our Holiday Gift Guide, then check below for the best deals from publishers and retailers.

Note that most sales run through the weekend and include Cyber Monday. Also note that we’re skipping an Amazon section with the caveat that you should always check Amazon for everything you’re interested in, in case it’s on a timed Lightning Deal.

 

GameStop

GameStop is offering a $50 Gift Card when purchasing new consoles. That includes Switch, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 (though not the spiffy new PS4 Spider-Man bundle).

You can get some crazy good deals on games, even recent games that just released earlier this year, like God of War ($17), Assassin’s Creed Odyssey ($27), and Starlink: Battle for Atlas ($39).

If you want to clean up on older titles, you can take advantage of their Buy 2 Get 1 Free sale on last gen used games, including Wii U, 3DS, and Xbox 360.

If you want to avoid the crowds, you can get Free Shipping on orders over $35.

Nintendo Switch

There are a number of Switch bundles to choose from, including Diablo 3, Pokémon Let’s Go, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, though none of them save you any money, save one. The Mario Kart Switch bundle may be one of the single hottest selling items this holiday season, as it includes a fantastic game (Mario Kart 8) for the same price as a Switch. You can find it at Target, Best Buy, Warlmart, GameStop, and Amazon.

A nice 2DS deal is also available that includes Super Mario Maker for $80. It plays all 3DS games, which is an amazing library, though Nintendo has all but discontinued it with the Switch’s arrival.

The Nintendo eShop has a nice sale though next Wednesday (11/28) if you’re looking to clean up on Switch games, especially indie games. Skyrim ($30), Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate ($44), Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle ($24), and Valkyria Chronicles 4 ($30) are among the best deals.

Sony PlayStation

If you’re looking to get a regular PlayStation 4, the Spider-Man bundle is the best deal around ($200), and you’ll find it at most retailers, and could easily be the second hottest holiday gaming item after the Switch Mario Kart bundle.

If you have a PS4 this may also be a good year for jumping into VR with the PlayStation VR Bundle, which includes two of the best VR games, Astro Bot and Moss, for $200.

If you play games online you’ll want to take advantage of the sale on a year’s worth of PlayStation Plus, currently just $40, a $20 savings.

You’ll find plenty of deals on games on the PlayStation Store as well, though none quite as impressive as GameStop’s so far.

spider-man

Microsoft Xbox One

The Minecraft bundle is a solid gift for younger gamers, and comes in at the very attractive price of $200. Microsoft is heavily invested in its Game Pass program, a sort of Netflix for games, and you can one month’s worth for only $1. The Game Pass sale actually lasts throughout the end of the year, making it a no-brainer for anyone getting an Xbox One this holiday season.

You can save up to 65% on Xbox Games in the Windows 10 and Xbox stores, and Xbox Live Gold members can save an additional 10%.

Steam

PC gamers always have Steam to rely on for regular seasonal sales. The Steam Autumn Sale runs through next Tuesday (11/27). Find deals on ARK: Survival Evolved ($20), Monster Hunter World ($40), Divinity: Original Sin 2 ($30), Civilization VI ($18), and Dragon Quest 11 ($41) just to name some highlights.

EA

Electronic Arts hasn’t had a great year, especially if you don’t really care about sports games. You can find deals on Madden, FIFA, Star Wars Battlefront 2 and The Sims 4. Titanfall 2 maybe be the best deal here, at 75% off ($5) on Origin.

Ubisoft

Recent Ubisoft releases like Far Cry 5 ($20) and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey ($40) are all on sale for Black Friday. If you purchase directly through the Ubisoft store and spend at least $40, they’ll throw in Rayman Legends for free. Other good deals include Assassin’s Creed Origins ($16), and The Division ($12).

Activision Blizzard

If online PC gaming is your jam, look no further than Overwatch ($15), World of Warcraft ($40), Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 ($48), and Destiny 2: Forsaken ($30), all on sale for Black Friday until Nov. 26.

Good hunting!