Apex Legends is a free-to-play sci-fi first-person survival-shooter developed by Respawn and published digitally by Electronic Arts for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC (via Origin) on February 4, 2019. It was later released via Steam on November 4, 2020 and received a port for the Nintendo Switch on March 9, 2021.
A spin-off of the Titanfall series, Apex Legends brings a modern battle royale twist (similar to PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS and the Battle Royale mode in Fortnite) to the fast-paced futuristic universe. As such, some of the series’ traditional gameplay elements (including the Titan mechs and wall-running) have been scrapped.
The game takes place sometime after the end of the Frontier War (the conflict set in the main Titanfall games), where those in the now-barren Frontier worlds are now making their way to a remote cluster of planets known as the Outlands. Used to spending their lives in conflict, some of its inhabitants participate in a bloodsport known as the “Apex Games”.
Each standard match of Apex Legends features either 20 three-player squads (for the original “Trios” mode) or 30 two-player squads (for the post-release “Duos” mode), with each squadmate as their own unique “Legend”, as they scatter for loot and fight to be the last team standing. Similar to other Hero Shooters (such as Overwatch), each Legend has a variety of special abilities to aid themselves (and their teammates) in battle. Players can make use of two unique features to aid them in combat: Intelligent Inventory (an intuitive inventory and weapon management system) and Smart Comms (a contextual “ping” system to help communicate with squadmates).
As standard with similar free-to-play games, Apex Legends uses a multi-currency system (including “Crafting Metals” for common items, “Legend Tokens” for rarer items, and “Apex Coins” for featured items, the latter of which can only be purchased with real money), randomized loot boxes (“Apex Packs”), and a seasonal multi-tier Battle Pass system for time-limited rewards. Certain characters, mainly newer ones, must be purchased with either Legend Tokens or Apex Coins.
Additional characters, cosmetics, weapons, maps, game modes, and quality-of-life updates have been regularly added since the game’s original release. Cross-platform multiplayer is in development.
Apex Legends features a robust pinging feature that allows players to communicate in-game through HUD icons and character dialog. A single tap of the pinging button/key will place a neutral marker, while a double tap will call out hostiles in that area. Players can also hold down the button/key to access more options. All items in the world, such as weapons, ammo, attachments, ziplines, supply crates, and more, can be pinged to call them out to squadmates.
Included with the original release, Kings Canyon is a temperate island on the planet Solace with several scientific outposts from the defunct Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation.
Its notable features are the Supply Ship (a roaming mobile aerial Hot Zone that travels to random destinations on the map) and Loot Ticks (stationary destructables that can be destroyed for loot).
A special nighttime variant was used for the limited-time Shadowfall game mode, and was later used in the map rotation (as “Kings Canyon After Dark”).
In Season 2, the map was revamped after an EMP blast allowed nearby wildlife to invade, causing destruction of certain settlements near the river at the center. Leviathans are monolithic creatures that can raise their feet to expose loot under them, but can kill unsuspecting Legends by stomping down. Flyers are winged creatures that can drop randomized death boxes when eliminated. In addition, new settlements were added, including a six-story structure known as the Cage.
In Season 5, the map was further changed after a large chunk of the southwest portion of the map (containing the former Skull Town and Thunderdome) sank into the sea, forming the Broken Coast and its newly-constructed industrial rig (Salvage). In addition, the northeast portion of the map was reworked with a massive rig (Offshore Rig) and an unearthed structure (Capacitor). Leviathans also made their way off the island. This change also introduced Charge Towers (massive glowing devices that, when activated, restores the Ultimate Ability of all players on its platform) and Loot Bunkers (special armory bunkers that unlocked throughout the Season).
In Season 8, the map was further changed after a large gunship crashed on the northwestern portion of the map (forming the Crash Site). Slum Lakes was also reworked into Spotted Lakes. Loot Bunkers and The Farm were removed and Leviathans returned. This change also introduces Observation Towers (tall sniper towers which require activation) and Explosive Holds (artillery pods that can be opened with explosive ordnance).
Added in Season 3, World’s Edge is a volcanic area on the planet Talos made inhabitable due to heat-reducing towers. However, the land was made deserted by a lethal flash freeze due to an exploded tower (“The Epicenter”) decades before.
Its notable features include Geysers (which launch Legends faster than Balloons), Cargo Bots (which fly around the map and can be downed for loot), and Vaults (which are full of rare loot and can only be accessed through Vault Keys dropped by some Cargo Bots). It originally featured a Train, a roaming mobile Hot Zone that travels around a specific path on the map.
In Season 4, the map was revamped after the arrival of a gigantic structure known as the “Planet Harvester”, destroying some settlements while splitting Capitol City into two fragments (East and West). It also added a new northern settlement, Survey Camp, which introduce new “Weapon Racks” (guaranteed weapon spawns). In addition, this season added Updrafts, where players who jump into lava fissures will be carried back up while taking damage.
In Season 6, the map was further changed as Hammond Industries continued developing on it. New passageways and tunnels are added, as well as new settlements (Countdown and Staging) and new usable panels, or “Blast Walls”. Mirage Voyage, as well as the roaming Train, were also removed.
Added in Season 7, Olympus is a utopian city floating in the clouds above the planet Psamathe. However, it was evacuated 40 years after an accident led to the creation of a massive bubble of Phase energy, which has been growing unstable.
Its notable features include Tridents (three-seat vehicles for quicker transportation) and the Phase Runner (an always-on Phase portal connecting between multiple areas throughout the map). Later in the Season, Loot MRVNs were introduced that gave loot when charged and interacted with.
Players can find a variety of weapons in the battlefield, each split into five ammo types (Light, Heavy, Energy, Shotgun, and Sniper). While all weapons (with some exceptions) have the same rarity, weapon attachments vary in rarity.
Players can only equip two weapons at a time and cannot hold them in their main inventory. Equipping them does not take up any of their inventory slots.
In rare occasions, players can find special Legendary versions of a weapon (known as Fully Kitted weapons), all of which have a unique predetermined set of attachments (none of which can be replaced). In addition, some of the more powerful weapons (such as the Kraber) are Heirloom, can only be found in Care Packages, have ammo that cannot be replenished, and cannot use attachments.
- R-301 Carbine (Light) – Fully-automatic assault rifle with a fast rate-of-fire. Can be toggled into semi-automatic for better control. Can equip the Anvil Receiver attachment to increase damage from semi-automatic shots (at the cost of increased ammo usage and reduced firing rate).
- G7 Scout (Light) – Semi-automatic precision rifle. Originally classified as a Sniper Rifle prior to Season 4.
- VK-47 Flatline (Heavy) – Fully-automatic assault rifle with a slow rate-of-fire. Can be toggled into semi-automatic for better control. Can equip the Anvil Receiver attachment to increase damage from semi-automatic shots (at the cost of increased ammo usage and reduced firing rate). Cannot use Barrel Stabilizer attachments.
- Hemlok Burst AR (Heavy) – Assault rifle that fires in three-round bursts. Can be toggled into semi-automatic for better control.
- 30-30 Repeater (Heavy) – Semi-automatic lever-action rifle with chamber-fed reloading. Can charge up shots by aiming down the sight for additional damage. Cannot use Barrel Stabilizer attachments. Added in Season 8.
- HAVOC Rifle (Energy) – Fully-automatic assault rifle that must be “spun-up” (by holding down the Fire button) prior to firing. Cannot use Barrel Stabilizer attachments. Can equip the Turbocharger attachment to negate the spin-up time entirely. Added on February 20, 2019.
- R-99 SMG (Light) – Fully-automatic sub-machine gun with a fast rate-of-fire.
- Alternator SMG (Light) – Fully-automatic sub-machine gun with a slow rate-of-fire and less horizontal recoil.
- Volt SMG (Energy) – Fully-automatic sub-machine gun. Added in Season 6.
- Prowler Burst PDW (Unique) – Sub-machine gun with two firing modes: five-round burst and fully-automatic. 35 shots per magazine, 210 shots total. Originally a base weapon (using Heavy Ammo) prior to Season 7.
Light Machine Guns
- M600 Spitfire (Heavy) – Fully-automatic light-machine gun with a slower consistent rate-of-fire.
- Devotion LMG (Energy) – Fully-automatic light-machine gun with a rate-of-fire that builds up the longer it fires. Can equip the Turbocharger attachments to boost the initial firing rate. Was a Care Package weapon in Seasons 4 & 5.
- L-STAR EMG (Energy) – Fully-automatic light-machine gun with larger, slower projectiles. Does not require reloading, but can overheat if the trigger is held down too long. Cannot use Barrel Stabilizer or Extended Energy Ammo attachments. Added in Season 3 and originally a Legendary weapon prior to Season 4.
- Longbow DMR (Sniper) – Semi-automatic precision rifle. Is the only weapon in its category that can equip Barrel Stabilizer attachments. Can equip the Skullpiercer Rifling attachment for increased headshot damage. Originally used Heavy Ammo prior to Season 4.
- Triple Take (Sniper) – Semi-automatic triple-barreled precision rifle with a fully-horizontal spread. Can toggle a “Precision Choke” mode where aiming down the sight “charges” the shot for a tighter, more accurate spread. Originally used Energy Ammo prior to Season 4.
- Charge Rifle (Sniper) – Semi-automatic beam rifle. Each trigger pull activates a continuous beam that is slightly unwieldy and deals light damage, followed shortly by a powerful pulse of heavy damage. Uses two ammo per shot and cannot equip Extended Sniper Mag attachments. Added in Season 3. Originally used Energy Ammo prior to Season 4.
- Sentinel (Sniper) – Bolt-action sniper rifle. Can be “charged up” temporarily by expending two Shield Cells on it, giving up to two minutes of increased damage (with each shot shortening that timer). Added in Season 4.
- Kraber .50-cal Sniper (Unique) – Bolt-action sniper rifle with very high stopping power and accuracy, at the cost of a very slow firing rate and very weak handling. Has a 6x/10x variable zoom scope. 4 shots per magazine, 8 shots total.
- Mozambique Shotgun (Shotgun) – Fully-automatic triple-barreled shotgun pistol with a three-pellet “triangle” spread. Can equip the Hammerpoint Rounds attachment for increased damage to unshielded opponents.
- EVA-8 Auto (Shotgun) – Fully-automatic shotgun that fires in a nine-pellet “figure-8” spread.
- Mastiff Shotgun (Shotgun) – Semi-automatic shotgun with chamber-fed reloading and an eight-pellet fully-horizontal spread. Originally a Legendary weapon prior to Season 5.
- Peacekeeper (Unique) – Lever-action shotgun with a eleven-pellet “star” spread. Can toggle a “Precision Choke” mode where aiming down the sight “charges” the shot for a tighter, more accurate spread. 5 shots per “magazine”, 50 shots total. Originally a base weapon (using Shotgun Ammo) prior to Season 5.
- RE-45 Auto (Light) – Fully-automatic handgun. Can equip the Quickdraw Holster attachment for improved weapon swap speed, aiming speed, hip-fire recoil.
- P2020 (Light) – Semi-automatic handgun. Can equip the Hammerpoint Rounds attachment for increased damage to unshielded opponents.
- Wingman (Heavy) – Double-action revolver with high stopping power. Cannot use Barrel Stabilizer attachments. Can equip the Skullpiercer Rifling attachment for increased headshot damage or the Quickdraw Holster attachment for improved weapon swap speed, aiming speed, hip-fire recoil.
- Optics – Sights and scopes that improve magnification while aiming down the sight. While most common scopes can be used on any weapon, rarer ones can only be used for certain weapons (such as Sniper scopes, which can only be used for SRs). Certain scopes include variable zooming (allowing players to change magnification by pressing Sprint while aiming), while legendary scopes offer threat highlighting (showing enemies with a red highlight, even through smoke).
- Barrel Stabilizers – Improves recoil reduction. Prior to Season 8, a Legendary version was used that also reduced muzzle flash. Not used for Shotguns.
- Stocks – Improves the weapon’s drift while aiming, as well as the speed at which the weapon is raised or lowered. Two versions are used: Standard (for ARs, SMGs, and LMGs) and Sniper (for SRs). Not used for Shotguns or Pistols.
- Extended Magazines / Shotgun Bolts – Extended Magazines increase the magazine size for weapons with either Light, Heavy, Energy, or Sniper ammo. Legendary versions (added in Season 8) also automatically reloads the weapon while holstered. Shotgun Bolts increase the firing rate for weapons with Shotgun ammo.
- Hop-Ups – Unique epic and legendary attachments that add capabilities for specific weapons (such as unlocking additional firing modes or improving certain types of damage).
- Frag Grenade – Timed grenade.
- Thermite Grenade – Impact grenade. Explodes into a wall of fire that damages over time.
- Arc Star – Timed sticky grenade. Enemies damaged by it are temporarily slowed down.
- Syringe (common) – Restores 25% health. 5 seconds to use. 4 can be stacked in one inventory slot.
- Shield Cell (common) – Restores 25% shields. 3 seconds to use. 4 can be stacked in one inventory slot.
- Medkit (rare) – Restores all health. 8 seconds to use. 2 can be stacked in one inventory slot.
- Shield Battery (rare) – Restores all shields. 5 seconds to use. 2 can be stacked in one inventory slot.
- Ultimate Accelerant (rare) – Restores 20-35% of the Ultimate Ability gauge. 7 seconds to use.
- Phoenix Kit (epic) – Restores all health and shields. 10 seconds to use.
Each player has four special slots, each of them reserved for a specific piece of Gear:
- Helmet – Reduces the amount of additional damage received by headshots. It reduces the damage by either 10% (common), 20% (rare), or 25% (epic/legendary). The Legendary version adds the Fast Charge perk, which reduces the cooldown of Tactical Abilities and Ultimate Abilities by 25%.
- Body Shield – Absorbs all incoming damage with a separate shield pool. It uses either 50% (common), 75% (rare), 100% (epic/legendary) or 125% (heirloom) of the shield gauge. Each shield, other then Legendary, are known as “Evo Shields” and can be leveled up to the next tier by inflicting damage. Players drop in without a shield and can gain a common shield by inflicting damage. The Legendary version adds the Improved Minor Heal perk, which doubles the efficiency of Syringes and Shield Cells. Prior to Season 6, this was split into two shield types: regular Body Shields and upgradable Evo Shields (the latter added on March 17, 2020, March 3 for LTM).
- Knockdown Shield – Allows the player to activate a directional shield when downed that absorbs all incoming damage. It absorbs damage up to either 200% (common), 450% (rare), or 750% (epic/legendary). The Legendary version adds the Resurrection perk, which allows the player to revive themselves once (degrading the shield down to the epic rarity).
- Backpack – Adds additional slots to the player’s main inventory. By default, players carry only 10 items; this is increased to either 12 (common), 14 (rare), or 16 (epic/legendary). The Legendary version adds the Guardian Angel perk, which restores 50% shields and 70% health of allies revived by the wielder.
Similar to weapons, players cannot hold Gear in their main inventory and equipping them does not take up any of their inventory slots.
In addition to Gear slots, players have access to an additional “Survival” slot for special deployable utility items. Like Gear, players cannot hold these items in their main inventory and equipping them does not take up any of their inventory slots.
- Heat Shield (rare) – Deploys a dome that, when outside of the Ring, negates Ring damage and increases revival speed for those inside the dome. Added on March 23, 2021 (March 9 for LTM).
- Mobile Respawn Beacon (rare) – Deploys a drop zone for a one-time use Respawn Beacon. Added on July 7, 2020 (June 23 for LTM).
- Bangalore, Professional Soldier – Sprints faster when taking enemy fire. Describes most items in detail when pinging them. Her Tactical Ability (Smoke Launcher) deploys a shoulder-mounted cluster of smoke grenades. Her Ultimate Ability (Rolling Thunder) deploys a beacon that calls in an artillery strike that, after a delayed fuse, damages all enemies (while slowing down and blinding all players inside). Unlocked from the start.
- Fuse, Explosives Enthusiast – Launches grenades from his arm-mounted grenade launcher, which fires them farther and faster. Can hold two grenades per inventory slot. His Tactical Ability (Knuckle Cluster) launches an impact cluster bomb that expels airburst explosives. His Ultimate Ability (The Motherlode) launches a mortar that explodes mid-air, creating a ring of fire. Added on February 2, 2021.
- Horizon, Gravitational Manipulator – Improved movement control while in the air. Reduced fall impact. Her Tactical Ability (Gravity Lift) deploys a device on the ground that lifts players upward. Her Ultimate Ability (Black Hole) deploys a device that pulls nearby players towards it before delivering a blast. Added on November 4, 2020.
- Mirage, Holographic Trickster – Automatically deploys a holographic decoy (while cloaking himself) when downed. He also cloaks himself while reviving teammates (cloaking that teammate as well) and while using a respawn beacon. Can deploy decoys while using the jump-pack. His Tactical Ability (Psyche Out) sends out a decoy to confuse enemies (which can be manually controlled to mimic his every action). His Ultimate Ability (Vanishing Act) cloaks him while deploying a group of decoys that mimic his every action.
- Octane, High-Speed Daredevil – Automatically heals himself over time (at a slow pace). His Tactical Ability (Stim) allows him to damage himself to move faster and negate attacks that cause slowdown. His Ultimate Ability (Launch Pad) deploys a platform that launches players forward, which they can also double-jump out of. Added on March 19, 2019.
- Revenant, Synthetic Nightmare – Improved walking speed while crouched. Can climb walls twice as high. His Tactical Ability (Silence) deploys a device that explodes on impact, creating a cloud that deals damage and disable abilities. His Ultimate Ability (Death Totem) deploys a device that anyone (friend or foe) can use to turn into a temporary “shadow” form. While in shadow form, all damage towards them bypasses their shields and getting knocked down instead causes the user to return to the device. Added on February 4, 2020.
- Wraith, Interdimensional Skirmisher – Automatically detects nearby danger through “random whispers”. Her Tactical Ability (Into the Void) allows her to phase through dimensions to dodge gunfire and make her harder to notice. Her Ultimate Ability (Dimensional Rift) deploys a portal at her position and allows her to run forward quickly to deploy a second portal for two-way teleportation. Unlocked from the start.
- Caustic, Toxic Trapper – Relies on deploying noxous gas (“Nox Gas”) which damages, slows, and blinds enemies inside. Immune to all Nox Gas and has innate Threat Vision against those inside it. His Tactical Ability (Nox Gas Trap) deploys up to six large canisters that release Nox Gas when shot (or when enemies are in close proximity). His Ultimate Ability (Nox Gas Grenade) deploys an impact grenade that releases a large cloud of Nox Gas.
- Gibraltar, Shielded Fortress – Can toggle a gun shield to block incoming fire while aiming down the sights. His Tactical Ability (Dome of Protection) deploys a dome-shield that blocks all gunfire. His Ultimate Ability (Defensive Bombardment) deploys a beacon that calls in a damaging smoke-filled mortar strike. Unlocked from the start.
- Rampart, Base of Fire – Increased magazine size and reload time for Light Machine Guns and her Ultimate Ability. Her Tactical Ability (Amped Cover) deploys a crouch-cover wall with an energy barrier that blocks incoming shots and amplifies the damage of outgoing shots. Her Ultimate Ability (Emplaced Minigun “Sheila”) deploys a mounted gatling gun (that anyone can use) with infinite reserve ammo. Multiple copies of her Abilities can be deployed (5 for Tactical, 3 for Ultimate) and both Abilities can be picked up when undamaged and unused, restoring some of her charges (one charge for Tactical and 50% for Ultimate). Added on August 18, 2020.
- Wattson, Static Defender – Can fully charge her Ultimate Ability with one Ultimate Accelerant, and can carry two Ultimate Accelerants in one inventory slot. Her Tactical Ability (Perimeter Security) deploys interconnected poles that forms a fence of electricity, damaging and slowing enemies that walk through it. Her Ultimate Ability (Interception Pylon), deploys a temporary pylon that destroys incoming ordinance, repairs shields, and hasten her Tactical Ability recharge. Added on July 2, 2019.
- Lifeline, Combat Medic – Reviving fallen squadmates instead deploys a drone that revives them automatically (while deploying a front-facing shield wall), although she reverts back to normal reviving if the drone is in use. Can open a hidden compartment of rarer blue-colored Supply Bins. Her Tactical Ability (D.O.C. Heal Drone) deploys a drone that slowly heals nearby players. Her Ultimate Ability (Care Package) deploys a supply-filled drop pod from orbit. Unlocked from the start.
- Loba, Translocating Thief – Automatically detects nearby ground loot (of Epic and Legendary tiers) through walls. Her Tactical Ability (Burglar’s Best Friend) allows her to throw a jump drive bracelet which she then uses to teleport. Her Ultimate Ability (Black Market Boutique) deploys a device that anyone (friend or foe) can use to teleport any two nearby loot to their inventory. Added on May 12, 2020.
All Recon characters can detect the next ring’s location by scanning survey beacons. Prior to Season 6, this was restricted to Pathfinder.
- Bloodhound, Technological Tracker – Automatically detects recent clues left behind from enemies (such as footsteps and blood residue). Their Tactical Ability (Eye of the Allfather) briefly reveals enemies in close proximity through walls. Their Ultimate Ability (Beast of the Hunt) temporarily grants them enhanced movement speed, improved clue detection, faster Tactical Ability cooldown, and Threat Vision. His Ultimate can be extended through knockdowns and kills. Unlocked from the start.
- Crypto, Surveillance Expert – His Tactical Ability (Surveillance Drone) deploys an aerial drone that is remotely-controlled through its on-board camera (leaving himself vulnerable). The drone can be used to mark enemies for teammates, manipulate doors and chests, receive deceased teammates’ banners, and remotely use both Survey and Respawn Beacons. His Ultimate Ability (Drone EMP) detonates the drone with a powerful EMP blast, damaging shields of nearby enemies (temporarily slowing everybody down in the process) and destroying enemy electronic gadgets. Added on October 1, 2019.
- Pathfinder, Forward Scout – Scanning survey beacons reduces the cooldown of his Ultimate Ability. His Tactical Ability (Grappling Hook) deploys a grappling hook to quickly reach hard-to-reach places. His Ultimate Ability (Zipline Gun) deploys a zipline towards a chosen location. Unlocked from the start.
- DUMMIE, Disposable Hero – Training dummy that is only playable in the time-limited “DUMMIE’s Big Day” game mode. Randomly-colored, has no voice lines, and cannot be customized. Their Tactical Ability (Loot Spawner), summons a random loot item in front of them. Their Ultimate Ability (Panic Button), either spawns a group of decoys, a big cluster of loot, or a blast that heals all players nearby.
Beginning on March 19, 2019, the game introduced three-month “Seasons” that introduce new Legends, weapons, and other major game adjustments. Players progress through a tiered reward system, known as Battle Pass, to unlock exclusive cosmetic upgrades, XP boosts, Crafting Materials, Apex Packs, and Apex Coins.
As the “free tier” of each Battle Pass does not include many unlockables, players can opt to purchase the “premium tier” for 950 Apex Coins. Each fully-upgraded premium Battle Pass grants the player 1000 Apex Coins, allowing the player to earn their purchase back and pay-it-ahead for the next Season.
- Wild Frontier (03/19/2019) – Introduced Octane and the challenge system.
- Battle Charge (07/02/2019) – Introduced Wattson, the L-STAR EMG, an update to Kings Canyon, Ranked Leagues, skydiving emotes, and alternative game customization (loading screens and music packs).
- Meltdown (10/01/2019) – Introduced Crypto, the Charge Rifle, the World’s Edge map, and weapon charms.
- Assimilation (02/04/2020) – Introduced Revenant, the Sentinel, and an update to World’s Edge.
- Fortune’s Favor (05/12/2020) – Introduced Loba, an update to Kings Canyon, and Season Quests.
- Boosted (08/18/2020) – Introduced Rampart, the Volt SMG, an update to World’s Edge, and the Crafting system.
- Ascension (11/04/2020) – Introduced Horizon, the Olympus map, and the Clubs system.
- Mayhem (02/02/2020) – Introduced Fuse, the 30-30 Repeater, and an update to Kings Canyon.