Apex Legends: The Game that Saved the best FPS ever made
Respawn created one of the fastest, most engaging Battle Royale games in the world and perhaps finally got justice for their middle child.
Titanfall 2 is the best First Person Shooter ever made. I will die on that hill. It may be surpassed in the future but as of yet, it is the best. I grew up playing Halo, and that series will forever hold a special place in my heart, but the combat in Halo takes on a much more tactical feel because it relies so heavily on equipment and getting to the power-weapons before someone else. Halo lacks choice, which is both to its favour and its detriment.
Halo is also slow.
On the other side of the FPS coin we have Call of Duty. In CoD, time to kill is super low, everyone moves fast, and everyone has their choice of weapon to start a life with rather than having to pick one up. It's also set in the (mostly) real world, which often makes it somewhat controversial and a little icky because there's the idea that you're shooting real people instead of aliens.
And then along came Titanfall.
The first Titanfall was a success but it was dampened by two factors.
1. It was a new series
New series are exciting but when you're up against titans of industry like Activision and Bungie your odds decrease exponentially, regardless of other factors.
2. It had no campaign
Despite the fact that players are devoting less and less time to campaigns and story-style games, releasing a game without one makes it feel unfinished.
But despite these hiccups Titanfall did shockingly well because it provided more mobility than CoD, including mechanics like the grapple hook and double jumping into online play. It had the strategic, slower action sequences that Halo fans have come to love which appeared once you dropped a Titan. It was smooth, polished, and more than anything on the market it was just dang fun.
And then EA had to go ruin all the fun.
Titanfall 2 is the perfect FPS. It has a campaign that is short but extremely engaging, including a mission that is both innovative and mind-blowing (you know which one I'm talking abou). The online play is fun from start to finish, and Respawn included new game modes that increased the experience. The sequel was everything any Titanfall fan could hope and dream of.
Quite simply, you got to fight people as a giant robot.
But EA is the worst, and so they chose to release this perfect game right in the middle of Battlefield and CoD, once again putting the underdog at an even more severe disadvantage. Poor server coverage, minimal marketing, and the general belief from corporate that the game wouldn't be a viable competitor EA created a self-fulfilling prophecy.
But Respawn is a talented, underutilized team.
Using assets created for Titanfall crafted a Battle Royale, perhaps the first or second real competitor to the God-killer. The game was Apex Legends, and nobody expected it to succeed because in general EA hates good games, and this one was going to be decent.
But because of gamers going crazy over the new genre and EA making some truly horrible decisions, Respawn finally got their chance and they took it. With half-decent servers, some actual marketing and a hungry fanbase, Apex took off. The game stuck to the Battle Royale format of finding loot instead of choosing it, and evened out movement because of the fixed map size and no respawns.
Unfortunately, these were some of the best parts of Titanfall.
Death of the Fast Pace
Titanfall shines because every part of it is fun. More specifically, in a world where the basics of moving are typically overlooked, Titanfall gave the player options (grapple hook? Stim? Bunny hop?) and speed.
Strip away everything else and simply moving in Titanfall is still fun.
Shooting was line tracing, which meant each bullet went exactly where you were pointing as soon as you pulled the trigger, whereas in Apex they had to switch to projectile because the scale of the map was so much bigger, so snipers would have been unfairly strong.
In Apex the only choice you get is of Legend, only two or three of which have any movement abilities. They also greatly reduced range and took out bunny hopping, again to even the playing field in the long term.
And of course, because it is a Battle Royale, there are no respawns.
So despite being the fastest paced Battle Royale, Apex Legends is much slower paced than Titanfall 2. And this trend of moving from fast-paced round-based FPS games is continuing with the most recent CoD placing far more emphasis on Warzone than any other game mode.
I don't mind Battle Royales but every time I switch back to Titanfall to play a couple rounds it feels like moving from weed to crack. In a hobby that thrives on instant gratification, no game is as instantly gratifying as being respawned with a gun I have over a thousand kills with and hunting down the idiot that stepped on me with his titan. And then summoning my own titan and stepping on him.
So then how did Apex help Titanfall?
Quite simply, it was free marketing, and I will forever be grateful. Years after its release the second installment of the Titanfall was release it saw redemption with some well timed sales and everyone who enjoyed the movement and guns of Apex taking the relatively safe leap of purchasing its predecessor.
Without fail, everyone I've introduced the game to has:
1. Loved it
2. Said it was like an amped up Apex
3. Gotten very excited for Titanfall 3
Will there be a sequel?
As always rumours abound, but as of right now no sequel in the Titanfall franchise has been announced. Respawn developed the decent Star Wars game Jedi: Fallen Order which kept them busy, and they've also gotten funding and offices to keep Apex alive and thriving.
But I have hope.
If Titanfall 3 gets developed, and I think at some point it will, Respawn's consistent proof that their games are not only excellent but profitable means their sequel will finally get the attention it deserves.
I also think that Apex has simply exposed way more people to Titanfall 2 even if they never played it. It's tough to be a part of the Apex community without in some way being made aware of the previous franchise because the lore is so interconnected, and players from Titanfall are all still playing Apex.
So you can guarantee if Titanfall 3 gets released it will sell well.
The only barrier now getting the game made.
A thanks to Apex
I want to thank Apex Legends not only for being a fun Battle Royale, but for doing justice to the Titanfall universe. As a fan, I've gotten to see the story continue, seen servers in Titanfall 2 consistently full since Apex was released, and hype for Titanfall 3 get higher and higher.
So thank you Apex, not for being the best FPS ever, but for keeping it alive.