The much-requested solo mode for Apex Legends hit this week in a limited-time mode, and I finally got some quality hands-on time with it last night. Respawn needs to go ahead and make this a permanent thing. It’s all the quality Apex Legends gameplay without the random teammate ruining it.
Let’s dive into what Respawn does great, and where they stumble. First, the stumbles.
A ridiculous store. For the most part, the solo mode is fantastic – but it’s overshadowed by the ridiculous Iron Crown cosmetics. The cosmetics themselves are fine. Hell, several of them look fantastic. But it wouldn’t be an EA game without an outrageous microtransaction system. You earn two Iron Crown packs via challenges within the game. After that, fans figured out you would have to spend ~$150 on boxes to earn every item in the event.
I don’t mind cosmetics but damn, let us buy what we want. Do what Rocket League is doing and scrap the random box system in favor of a store with cosmetics we can directly purchase.
Alright, enough about the loot boxes – let’s get to the stuff Respawn did right this week.
Solo mode needs to be a permanent thing. Fielding a full squad and securing a win will never get old, but sometimes not all your friends are on at the same time. Solos fill that gap while you’re waiting on friends nicely.
Solos is pretty much the same as the mode Apex Legends launched with. 60 players jump out of a ship, but this time – it’s everyone for themselves.
We lose the team-based fights where hero abilities shine, but the core gameplay Respawn refined over two Titanfall games carries it.
Without the safety net a pair of teammates offers, you’re left with two options. Drop into a hot zone, or take your time gearing up away from the action. One thing becomes apparent doing hot zone drops. Apex players are a ruthless bunch. There’s no break in the action after a firefight. Take out one player, and you better be ready for another to see what all the gunfire was about. And I love every second of it. Apex Legends was always fast-paced, now it feels even faster.
Solo mode highlights the strength of Apex Legends’ core gameplay. We lose the team-based fights where hero abilities shine, but the core gameplay Respawn refined over two Titanfall games carries it.
It’ll be interesting to see how Apex fans are responding to the mode. Is it enough for Respawn to consider making it permanent? Or, do the devs opt to not split the fanbase up between three modes? I’d be surprised if Respawn didn’t make it permanent. At least, from a player base point of view. The game is more than popular enough to handle three modes.
Octane gets a town. A new area close to Skulltown gets an Octane makeover. Ramps, jump pads, and a ring of fire gives us a new reason not to go straight to Skulltown. No word on if the map change is for the Iron Crown event only, but it’s always great to see changes. Apex Legends is going for changes to one map versus adding new ones. Any change is always welcome to breathe new life into the game.
Ramps, jump pads, and a ring of fire gives us a new reason not to go straight to Skulltown.
Quicker matches. Apex Legends matches were already faster than other Battle Royale games, but Solos are even faster. While you’re still in the ship, the first safe zone is marked, and the timer counts down. It’s not out of the ordinary for half the 60-player field to be already gone within the three-minute mark. By the time 10 minutes goes by, there’s usually only a handful left. And the few games I won wrapped up in 12 minutes.
I’m always a fan of quicker matches. That’s the Rocket League nerd in me, but I love being able to knock out a few games in 30 minutes.
But at the same time, I wouldn’t mind Respawn adding an extra minute before the first circle closes. Right now, you have less than three minutes to get out of the ship, land, loot up, and get going to the first safe zone. Adding an extra minute would give folks time to gear up if they land a little further from the first zone.
Solos are a staple of every Battle Royale game. And despite Apex Legends’ focus on team-play, it should become a staple here too.