Apex Legends first launched back in 2019 on PC and Xbox One, a mere four months before I'd become a dad. At the time, I was still gaming on my Xbox fairly regularly and I remember booting it up one night - around midnight, because I'd still stay up super late to play games back then. I played just one round of Apex Legends. I had no idea what I was doing. My teammates were luckily polite and tried to be helpful, but did at one point sternly tell me, "we can't keep reviving you." I understood. I was dead weight. And as the match came to a close, it was just me and one enemy remaining. We did a stupid little gun dance and I pulled out a victory. My teammates were ecstatic. I was relieved.
It was a good enough first impression of the game, but not something I wanted to come back to soon. At the time, battle royales were not something I could enjoy very much. I bounced off PUBG and Fortnite pretty hard back then. And though my one game of Apex Legends was kinda sorta fun with an asterix of stress, it wasn't really my kind of game.
Really, I only checked it out because it combined the battle royale with a sort of Overwatch aesthetic. The idea was that instead of everybody being the same generic fighter with a cosmetic skin, you chose from a limited roster of specific heroes - each with their own unique abilities. It was an interesting variant on the genre for me. But after that one game, I just stuck with Overwatch.
Fast forward two years, and things have changed. Yes, I still love Overwatch. Hard. But I've also spend a lot more time with other sort of overlapping games. I've begrudgingly spent way too much time playing Fortnite for instance. And Splatoon 2 - a game I didn't connect with when it first launched - is now considered one of my top tier Switch games.
I figured that in 2021, a game that combines the battle royale nature of Fortnite with the heroes and first person view of Overwatch should be my bread and butter. So I downloaded Apex Legends upon its Switch launch and came away with two new first impressions:
1. I do like the game.
2. I'm terrible at it.
The game took a considerable amount of time to download, so I probably only got to play for an hour or so. But yeah, I'm not good. I played through the tutorial and then like maybe a half-dozen matches, and I never got a single kill, which feels embarrassing. I mean, I did get some damage done, and even an assist, but that's it. At any rate, I think I like this game enough to stick with it a while and see if I can improve.
Having played a bit more, I'm starting to the hang. However, it's hard for me to see Apex Legends sticking the same way that Overwatch, Splatoon 2, or Fortnite have with me. Let's break it down for a second...
Overwatch and Splatoon 2 are huge ones for me. I love both games dearly. And the common denominator there is that they are team based, but not just battle royales. Instead, they offer up maps with defined win-states. In that sense, I think of them as more like a sport. And I think that's what the real grab for me is.
As far as battle royales go, it's really hard to compete with Fortnite. And as dumb as this sounds, I feel like it's all the crazy licensed inclusions that keep me coming back to it. There's something to be said about a game where depending when I log in, I might be breaking into Stark Industries or Dr. Doom's mansion. Or I might team up with The Joker and Poison Ivy. Or I might get hunted by a Predator or a Xenomorph. Ultimately, the gameplay in Fortnite might veer on the side of shallow, as it's always kill or be killed. But it's presented in such a fun toybox kind of way that it never gets too serious, nor too stale.
That said, I'll most likely give Apex Legends a bit more of a chance, but when keeping in mind the other competitive games I could continue playing, it's kind of hard for me to see myself replacing any of them with this one.
Here's my proof that Apex Legends is not clicking with me...
I turned on my Switch last night with the intention of giving the game another go. Then I remember that there was a "Pachimarchi" event going on in Overwatch. Pachimari is a little onion-octopus thing if you don't know. He's sort of a mascot for the game. Super cute. We have a stuffed one that my daughter loves. ANYWAY, I fired up Overwatch instead and was immediately reminded why I love Overwatch so much. I played that instead and just thought about how Apex Legends didn't suck me in nearly the same way. And this was an event that offered onion-octopus cosmetics. So I mean.