Titanfall 2 was one of the most criminally underrated triple-A shooters that we've played in recent years, at least in terms of how the game did at retail. Sandwiched in between 2016's big hitters, the game never managed to draw in the audience it deserved and so Respawn's shooter somewhat disappeared into the night with question marks hanging over the viability of the fledgeling series. Now, just over two years later, the studio is back with Apex Legends, and it's time to right some wrongs and put Respawn back on the map.
First of all, as you no doubt know already, not least because the clue's in the name - this isn't Titanfall 3. There are no mechs dropping from orbit, there's no single-player campaign, there's no small-scale squad-based multiplayer, and you won't be running on any walls. Apex Legends is a battle royale shooter cut from the same cloth as PUBG and Fortnite, but set in the years after the events of Titanfall 2. Although it's certainly not a continuation of that story, it's the framework upon which the rest of the game hangs, and the setting works well.
It could also be argued that it's a hero shooter in much the same vein as something like Overwatch, or perhaps Realm Royale would be a more fitting comparison to make. Either way, there are eight of the titular legends available at launch, six that are ready to roll as soon as you've downloaded the client, and two more that can be unlocked with either in-game credits or cold, hard cash. Actually, let's use that as a segue to discuss one of our issues with the game, and that's the price of some of the cosmetic items. While the two extra playable characters, Caustic and Mirage, are reasonably priced (you can get them both for around £16) some of the weapon skins are ludicrously expensive, costing more than both legends combined.
At the end of the day, in a free-to-play game such as this one, expensive cosmetics are hardly a major sticking point, and given how much fun you can have with Apex Legends without spending a solitary penny, we're not going to grumble anymore because to do so would be to distract you, dear reader, from the fact that Respawn Entertainment has crafted one of the best battle royale shooters ever made, and it easily ranks alongside the juggernaut otherwise known as Fortnite, and more recent high-flying competitors such as Call of Duty: Blackout.
Standing on the shoulders of titans means that the lore is already there, which is great in the sense that Respawn doesn't have to attempt a standing start and there are already players invested in the universe. Moreover, the gunplay that worked oh so well in Titanfall 2 is transplanted into Apex Legends, although there's no wall-running and double jumps, and no giant metal mechs dropping into the battle, which means that it definitely feels like its own thing rather than Titan Royale.
Beyond the far-future sci-fi setting, the thing that really sets Apex apart is the structure of the matches. The games are exclusively (at least at the time of writing) for three-player teams and there are no options for solo play, duos, or teams larger than three. But, as the old saying goes, three is the magic number, and this hard limit ensures that each encounter is far more tactical than your typical last player standing shooter. What's more, you can't select the same character as another player on your team, which means that you're frequently going to be playing with different combinations which, in turn, opens up new tactical options.