Just a few days ago, EA and developer Respawn unleashed Apex Legends, their free-to-play battle royale title set in the Titanfall universe, minus the titans and wall running. Since then, the game has grown immensely, with over 2.5 million players and reportedly three times more Twitch.tv viewers than Fortnite. Although it is too early to tell if we should crown Apex Legends as the new battle royale king, from my initial experience, it should and will become a real contender. The most important thing for South African gamers, however, is how playing Apex Legends feels, if you can be competitive with the latency to European servers and if it is worth trying out.
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That’s what I am here to answer and thankfully, even without local servers, playing Apex Legends has been an awesome, exhilarating experience with very little frustration to speak of.
Please note: There are no local servers and we have no control over possible local servers in the future.
With that disclaimer out of the way, I, for one, think it would be great to have local servers but at the moment, there simply isn’t any. However, that doesn’t mean South African gamers can’t play and enjoy Apex Legends. Find out what I experience playing Apex Legends from South Africa below, followed by my first impression of the game.
Playing Apex Legends From South Africa
In roughly 8 hours playing the game yesterday, I managed to test out Apex Legends on my PS4 Pro using LTE and a PC using ADSL. Generally, I get around 180ms on LTE and 160 on ADSL when pinging European servers. With that point of reference in mind, Apex Legends is most definitely playable from South Africa.
Let’s get one thing straight, you can feel the latency and you will probably cuss a few times, blaming your inevitable death on the fact that you are playing on a European server. There is absolutely no way around this except for hoping for local servers, as light can only travel that fast and no ISP can help with that. Even so, the game was more than playable for me and after about four hours in, I managed to get second place with a squad of randoms.
Getting that crosshair on a target feels just fine and the hit registration works well. Clearly, Apex Legends has some great net-coding and it showed throughout my first 25 matches. Only in about five matches did I see some rubber-banding occur and that was the end of the match for me, but for the most part, I always felt as if a loss was due to my own errors. With that being said, at times the game did feel a bit choppy at random times during a match when nothing really big was happening. This could be teething issues related to the servers and hopefully, it will get better soon.
Shooting a target, even a moving one feels great and the only times I felt like latency was a big issue was at the start of some matches where my team dropped in next to others and we begun with some fist fights.
Using a character’s skills and abilities also felt instantaneous. This can be said for looting crates and care packages as well. However, there is a delay when looting an enemy which I felt every time no matter how great the rest of the match is going.
Keep in mind this isn’t a big deal, as I am talking about 0.3 to 0.5-second delay in taking an item off an enemy corpse. Comparative, playing Apex Legends from South Africa feels the same as Fortnite and a bit better than PUBG in terms of hit registration.
While observing a teammate, things get a bit worse and at times it felt like watching a slideshow, while at best I could still notice some severe latency issues. However, spectating a teammate doesn’t require you to make quick decisions and aim, so at the moment I guess it is still fine.
Basically, the verdict here with regards to playing Apex Legends from South Africa is that the game is definitely playable. You might miss a few shots here and there and yes, you can feel the lag, but it is just as playable as Fortnite right now and that should be good enough to give the game a chance for many gamers out there.
Apex Legends First Impressions
Apex Legends doesn’t feel like your average battle royale title, but it sure does have all the bells and whistles. You get that ever-shrinking safe zone, intense moments, loot and a variety of weapons. The first thing I noticed that really pushes Apex Legends to the next level is the gunplay. Sure, many battle royale titles have great gunplay, but this game just feels better. It’s like you are playing a battle royale version of Destiny 2 or CS: GO, as everything is just so sharp and responsive. It is, without a doubt, a AAA, polished experience right from the start and unlike some others *cough* Blackout *cough* you don’t have to pay a premium for the game.
Then, Respawn decided to throw Overwatch-like classes into the mix, adding a layer of tactical choice when picking a squad and setting up your position. With eight Legends to choose from, I stuck to two right now to master try and master at least one of them. My personal favourites were Lifeline (a healer) and Gibraltar (a tank). The former throws out a healing bot as her skill with a care package drop containing some neat items for your team as her ultimate.
Gibraltar can use a protective dome to, well, protect his allies and his ultimate allows him to drop bombs on a nearby location. Using these two skills together as a defensive manoeuvre worked wonderfully well. There’s just so much synergy between the classes if you pick correctly that it opens up the door for much of in the tactical sense than just shooting and looting.
The battleground is massive as well and holds some great locations to discover, from an artillery base to some swamps, a water treatment facility and much more. The verticality of the map is also fantastic and you can make use of zip lines (created by Pathfinder with his ultimate) to get around. I never felt boxed in during roughly 25 matches as there was always some way to escape or another route to take to my destination.
Everything about the game just feels so polished and I didn’t experience one bug during gameplay. The UI is sleek, responsive and so easy to get used to that you can basically just jump in and start playing after you’ve completed the quick and mandatory tutorial.
From my initial impressions so far, Respawn has done a fantastic job and I dare say that maybe, just maybe, the next generation of battle royale titles has begun.
It is way too early to give you a comprehensive review of Apex Legends as the game does offer so much in terms of gameplay, has a huge map I haven’t even explored half of yet and a variety of weapons as well as skills that I still need to learn in detail. With that being said, Apex Legends is off to a magnificent start and even though it is not perfect playing the game from South Africa, local gamers with a stable internet connection should still have a blast.
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Are you playing Apex Legends and how has your experience been so far? Let us know in the comment section below.