I have played Apex Legends for literally hundreds upon hundreds of hours. Not quite a thousand, but enough to feel like I know what I’m talking about when it comes to this particular blend of battle royale. Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I’ve played too much Apex on bigger, more powerful machines, and now that I’m left trying it on a handheld device I’ve become monstrous and judgemental, because I don’t like this at all.
Apex Legends is a fast-paced hero battle royale game, which means you’re not just a random avatar, you’re always playing as a character with specific abilities that can complement your team or your own playstyle. There are lots of options to play with across the cast of 16 characters, including the heavily defensive Gibraltar, the healing Lifeline, the supportive Bloodhound, and the offensive Rampart.
Each member of the cast has their own accent, background, and personality, and it comes through in their quips, their inter-party banter, and even their abilities. Revenant is a cold, heartless (literally, he’s a robot) killer, so of course his abilities include a Death Totem, the ability to creep up on foes quietly, and silence their abilities so he can finish them off more easily. Each character feels fleshed out and unique in the cast, so it’s easy to grow to love the group.
At least, it’s easy on any other platform. While Apex’s seemingly generic cast quickly grow on you as you play the game, the Nintendo Switch version makes playing the game so difficult that you may never get to that stage. I wouldn’t say it’s unplayable, but it’s very, very difficult to enjoy. The resolution is certainly a sticking point, with basically everything on screen looking blurrier and trickier to parse than on any other platform, but that’s nothing compared to variable framerate, which can make aiming your weapon borderline impossible.
Things actually improve if you play the game in handheld mode. While portable the Switch seems to hold a slightly more stable framerate, possibly thanks to the lower resolution, and as a result the game hums along at a much nicer pace. Is it perfect? Far from it, and this still isn’t the way I’d recommend anyone begin playing this game, but it might be acceptable for the very rare game while stuck in an airport or something. You know, when we can travel again.
It’s a shame that everything about this game has been essentially torn apart in this way. I truly adore Apex Legends on any other platform, but the Switch port has turned it into a game I can’t really suggest to anyone. Controlling your character feels like pushing through sludge, aiming to shoot at a distant enemy feels like clicking on micro-organisms while you have a shaky hand, and to be frank, the visuals are shite. Apex’s stylised visuals are hardly on par with a lot of triple-A titles, but here they feel distinctly outdated.
But all of this ignores the fact that, at its core, Apex Legends is a very fun game – and that’s exactly what makes this review so hard to write. This is one of my all-time favourite shooters, and the Switch port is forcing me to write an article talking about how no one should attempt to play it. This should be a fun, frenetic shooter that everyone should try, just not on Nintendo Switch. The colourful cast of characters and excellent shooting all feels totally lost in a quagmire of blurry visuals and poor performance. If you want to try Apex Legends – and you should – please, do it elsewhere.
Apex Legends is available now on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4, Steam, and Origin.
Next: Apex Coins, Legend Tokens, And Crafting Metals Explained And How To Earn Them In Apex Legends
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TheGamer Guides Editor.
Am I supposed to write this in the third-person? Do you know how awkward it is talking about yourself like you’re someone else? No one would ever believe someone else has this many nice things to say about me.
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