Form a squad, better if it’s with your friends, choose your Legend, you drop, you fight and survive, and secure that win, that’s basically the concept of Respawn Entertainment’s Apex Legends, a free-to-play battle royale game from the Titanfall universe. But what I love about the game compared to other shooter games is it’s addictively fun. I find myself playing countless hours every day and I never seem to get tired of it.
Here comes a whole new mode, coming this latest season called ‘Legacy’. The season name defines what you’ve come to expect, and no, it’s not a Titans mode, but it’s a more traditional game mode that’s familiar to hardcore first-person shooter fans. ‘Arenas’, if you’ve missed one of the coolest Apex Legends’ trailer yet (with Tommee Profitt’s track featuring Beacon Light), we see Ash, a Simulacrum Pilot from Titanfall 2, introducing a historic bloodsport from the Apex Predators.
‘Arenas’ is a traditional 3 versus 3 team deathmatch, putting a full squad against another without the worry of a third party in a much controlled, smaller map, with the infamous ring closing in after a certain time limit expires. Players are placed in a starting room, giving them time to purchase weapons, abilities, and items before the match starts. You can imagine that this shop mechanic is quite similar to games like Rogue Company and Valorant.
Respawn took some homework and managed to incorporate this mechanic into this brand-new mode. According to the team, it wasn’t easy for the team to balance as most Legends in the game are well fit for its battle royale mode, passive abilities like Pathfinder’s “Insider Knowledge” become obsolete. However, they managed to make it happen after a year of working on Arenas. Respawn’s method to balance the new mode is to add a price tag on each of the Legends’ abilities.
For example, if a certain tactical is deemed to be so powerful, it will cost more than the ones like Pathfinder’s Grappling Hook. This isn’t permanent, the team is dedicated to making it fun and fair for everyone so we may see some changes in the future based on statistics.
We’re lucky enough to play the Arenas mode during a hands-on preview event with the developers, and it’s a huge game-changer for Apex Legends.
You start off by selecting your Legend of choice, and you’re stuck with that Legend until the match concludes. So choosing the right mix of champions is crucial, whatever you choose before the start of the match can either benefit the squad or detrimental to the squad’s success. It’s a race to 3 wins, if
You then have a specific amount of Crafting Materials to spend in the buy phase. You can burn Crafting Materials on weapons, upgrade them to a specific tier, purchase tactical and ultimate abilities, syringes and shield cells. After the buy phase ends, the battle begins. Since I was using a DualSense controller on a PC, the experience was gruesome. My squad got wrecked, most of the time, and in the entire 3-hour session of playing with almost the same people in Southeast Asia and Japan servers, we secured at least one win, a gratifying one in fact.
The skill ceiling is high, and in a game that has a longer time to kill (TTK) and relies on regenerative items, your chances are slim against a full squad when you’re the only one left. That doesn’t mean Arenas isn’t enjoyable, because it is. Unlike in the battle royale mode, you already have your weapon of choice when you can afford it, this gives you the full capability of putting down another player without getting third-partied. The chances of winning are split to 50/50, there is no RNG that puts off another squad, it heavily relies on pure skill, plus a well-coordinated squad to come out on top, and that makes it intense.
Strategies can come off unpredictable. You may be surprised that being spread out is an effective tactic than sticking together. There’s one match where my squad decided to be close with each other, leaving the other team to freely roam and flank us at angles we didn’t expect. Two of us tried to battle against a well-hidden player, as we went around to take him out, his other squad members took us by surprise, knocking one of our teammates from the behind and finally catching us off guard by shooting us from two different directions.
Matches take place in different locations from Kings Canyon (Artillery), World’s Edge (Thermal Station), and Olympus (Golden Gardens), and two custom maps made specifically for Arenas.
‘Party Crasher’ features a destroyed Mirage Voyage that crashed in a downtown plaza. There’s a lot of enclosed spaces and rooms with the center as an open space with lots of cover. The map is greatly balanced, as it gives teams a chance to either be aggressive or passive, and it’s probably the reason why I love the map so much.
The second custom map is called the ‘Phase Runner’, as the name suggests, players can take advantage of the Phase exits, perfect for teams who love to rush, and if they want to spice things up, they can head over to the construction zone. There might be more maps to come in the future according to Respawn, but these 5 maps should at least be enough for the players to enjoy.
I enjoyed my time in Arenas even though I knew I had a huge disadvantage because I decided to use a controller over a mouse and keyboard.
Arenas can be intimidating to casual players, and for those who want to showcase their skills as an FPS player, then this new permanent mode is the right one for you. It’s extremely fast-paced, every win is fulfilling, and a huge delight. Arenas is probably the best mode that has come to Apex Legends aside from Duos. We will see how Arenas performs when it goes live this May 4.
Apex Legends ‘Legacy’ will kick off on May 4 across all platforms.