Merry Christmas everyone. As I hastily write this intro on the morning of the 25th, I am just chilling out before visiting some family. For literally the only day our government allows people to visit one another over this Christmas period. It kind of sucks. But rules are rules and I would rather not have to suffer another 12 months of 2020’s Pandemic Nightmare. I hope everyone is making the best of the “situation” that this year has presented us with and is staying safe.
It’s a strangely dour Christmas message from me here, but it’s where we are right now.
#4: Apex Legends (Seasons 4-7)
Played on Xbox One x | Released in 2019 (oops) | Developed by Respawn Entertainment
I already spoke about the fact that I’d been wooed under the spell of the Battle Royale genre in my entry about Warzone. And then I went on to speak about how I’m going to have to start considering service games with a lot more seriousness when it comes to deciding my favourite games of the year during the Destiny entry. They’re a well-established part of the industry now and not going away.
Apex Legends is the combination of both of those factors coming together to be the older game I found myself continuously playing for almost all of 2020. Apex is a game that has constantly seen itself getting updates, new content and seasonal events throughout the course of the year. Almost like watching a television series, each season has it’s own narrative inside and outside of the lore of the game, and keeping up with all of that is half of all the fun.
Way back at the start of the year I spoke about how Respawn were doing a fantastic job in promoting and building up their upcoming season. Which, at the time was its 4th. Using the game’s own setting as a televised form of entertainment, the marketing around the game was building up the new, upcoming character; Forge. Mixing the in-world and real world promotional material for him into something of a celebrity event.
Only for them to suddenly go and murder him during a promotional interview for the game. While the bait and switch that introduced Revenant as the true new legend being brought into the game weren’t much of a surprise to some, I fell for the move entirely and found it super exciting. So much so that I played the hell out of the game the entire season and maxed out the season pass. Which is something I rarely find myself doing.
Respawn have done a fantastic job of building this game up both inside and out. Seasons five and six were a little more low key in their promotion and additions to the game. Adding two new Legends, one new weapon, altering the two existing maps and also adding a crafting mechanic that allows players to build certain weapon loadouts more easily on a daily rotation.
Looking back at the notes for things Respawn did during each season, it’s positive to see that they’re willing to try new things, experiment with their own game and constantly work to keep it fresh. When you’ve got the cross-marketing colossus that is Fortnite as one of your primary competitors and the booming growth of Warzone creeping up on your too, it’s nice to know that Apex is a game that isn’t afraid to through plans out of the window and experiment.
Which is part of the reason I’ve been keeping up with it for so long. Every season feels distinct from the last in meaningful ways. It’s not just new characters and some map changes here and there. The introduction of evo-shields through an in-game event, the introduction of crafting and major rebalancing of weapons by swapping them in and out of care packages all show Respawn are making positive growth for the game and not just allowing it to tick over.
As we’re now some weeks into season 7, which has given us a new map (which I love) and vehicles, I’m finding I’m playing the game more than ever, maybe more than I did back in season 4. My one criticism of the game really is how damned expensive it is. I shouldn’t complain about totally optional cosmetics in a free to play the game, but I am invested enough in the game that there are times where I would like to throw some money Respawn’s way to support them.
But even during my weakest moment of consumer self control, I simply can’t justify spending the money Respawn are charging for these character and weapon skins, especially the more limited ones during seasonal events. Sorry guys, it’s just too rich for my tastes.
Apex came very close to being my favourite game of 2019, and my estimation of it has only grown in 2020. The only reason it probably doesn’t place higher is because I’d feel like a right copout by placing an older game any higher in this list. But like I said, there are an increasing amount of service games in my life and eventually, I’m going to have to decide whether I ever need to spend £60 -£70 on a new game again when games like Apex and Destiny are keeping me more than happy over the course of the year.