In the years since Respawn and EA launched Apex legends, Sagittarius has won his place in a crowded field of contenders. Other games have tried to hit the market and haven’t had much of an impact alongside the other battle royale titans like Call of Duty: Warzone, PUBG, and Fourteen days. Despite a healthy player base and a competitive scene, there’s a new update called escape, comes after one of the toughest seasons since the debut, and it might be just what the game takes.
Last season’s new character, Seer, was criticized by many players until Respawn weakened his special abilities. Then this change created a controversy of its own, as players accused the developers of deliberately releasing heroes with overpowering abilities in order to get more money out of the participants of this “free” game.
And it all happened before the servers started trading. While disconnections were always a problem with apex, lately it has felt like more rounds of the game started with one or more of my teammates than not. Often times, I was the one who fell out at the start of a game and restarted it, only to find that we’d got into an angry gun battle or that my teammates had already died or left. Speaking to the developers, they addressed the issues in advance and said they are redoubling their efforts to deal with connectivity issues and delays, as well as ways to make the game use less bandwidth.
All of this brings us to the Escape update, which adds a new island map and character, albeit one that players are familiar with. Ash is the first playable character in the game who takes the plunge straight out Titanfall 2although she has appeared in the game-related lore of comics and special events for several seasons, and has even served as the announcer for the game’s Arenas mode.
Ash is a simulacrum with a background that divides the difference between the game’s other mechanical characters, Revenant and Pathfinder. A look at her character trailer as well as that of a previously added legend, Horizon, will explain her backstory, but the most interesting thing about her is the skills she adds to the battlefield.
While its teleportation ability is similar to what players have seen since the first season of Wraith, it works on a line of sight, and in a while I’ve found it a lot easier to use as a shortcut in or out of a firefight.
She is also the first character to take advantage of the death boxes, which leave fallen enemies full of things that players have collected. She slips a data meter into the box and pings the location of all living teammates. Her tactical ability is the one I found the hardest to get used to as it fires a ribbon of bow that shocks enemies and temporarily pegs them to the ground, limiting their movement. It’s a versatile package of tracking, stunning / crowd control, and movement that is fun if done right and not feeling overwhelmed.
Versatility is a theme for the new season as the new Storm Point map is the biggest we’ve seen so far, with so many areas I couldn’t visit all of them. Like Ash, the CAR SMG is a weapon that adds another Titanfall transfer to the game, but with the unique ability to switch between light and heavy ammo.
In my time playing with some creators and media members, it felt like the map was designed to take away some of the issues gamers complained about, like cheating all the time, by adding more area in combination with structures that prevent sounds from echoing across the open area, concerns space.
One of the things the team has been thinking about is how to balance the game between seasoned players who have been around for years and new players who are trying to adapt. In conversation with The edge, the developers said they are looking for ways to enhance the new gaming experience and give them a better experience for the game’s first few games.
The new map is designed to reset players’ experience and expectations as well as provide room for further development. The first two Apex legends Maps, World’s Edge and King’s Canyon, were created before the game launched, and although they have changed over time, this map was created with the knowledge that changes are coming, so they don’t have to destroy familiar locations just for the sake of it insert new places.
Is that enough to satisfy a player base that ranges from complete casual gamers to professional-level streamers to the esports elite? I think it has a good chance of restoring some of the joy of this game – the first time I blocked a spider attack right before a late ring was more amazing than angry – but none of the new additions will matter when the server is not working.