The new season of Apex Legends is about to drop and not only is it mixing up the naming convention with the season title being called just “Legacy”, but it’s also adding in a game-changing way to play with your squad and become champion.
You can read about the latest updates coming to Apex Legends: Legacy here, but the quick overview is that Arenas is a new, permanent game mode coming to Apex Legends: Legacy, condensing the 20 squad Battle Royale chaos into 3v3 strategic gameplay with all new custom maps and a completely new way of tackling your enemies. Also in the new season is Valkyrie, the latest legend to hit the roster, devastating her enemies from the skies thanks to her Titanfall jetpack and array of aerial abilities.
I was able to play a few games in Arenas using different legends, but this was a good chance to see how Valkyrie played and handled. From the legend selection screen, I get a good look at V’s sweet looking jetpack, made even more awesome by the little launch animation, but more importantly it’s the first chance to notice that she’s deemed as a Recon legend – just like my Bloodhound. My squad was set and ready with my Valkyrie being supported by a Lifeline and Bloodhound – a pretty good line up considering Arenas new map sizes and change in pace to battle royale.
The match starts by immediately dropping each squad into the shop, which if you’ve played or watched any Valorant or Counter Strike is very reminiscent of that. Here I’m able to purchase my round 1 loadout in the form of weapons, consumables such as health supplies or grenades and additional abilities like extra tactical uses or my ultimate (available from round 2 though). I decided to use 400 of my starting 550 materials to purchase an alternator and grab a Mozambique for free to use as my secondary. The 30 second timer starts sounding off as it hits 5 seconds, signaling to my squad that the barriers to our spawn area is about to unlock.
The round begins and the squad and I make our way to the left of the new Party Crasher Arenas map. The map is covered with shopping mall like infrastructure and POI’s creating a variety of cover as well as ways to get height on the opposing team. Our Bloodhound actives a quick scan once we get to one of two of the map’s POIs, Downtown Plaza, but no enemies. Having climbed up on top of the plaza’s roof, I quickly look over to the map’s other POI, Mirage Voyage, to gauge whether our enemies have come into view yet – but nothing. As I quickly divert my run to grab some materials from a canister to use later in the shop, Bloodhound calls out an enemy – the other team’s Valkyrie. She’s made the mistake of giving away her location by jetpacking up onto the roof of Mirage’s ship, giving us instant awareness of her squad’s location.
As we begin our advance on the enemy team the round 1 circle begins to close, alongside the announcement of this round’s care package being dropped in. These care packages bring in some kitted out gear, so our Bloodhound makes a bee line directly for the drop as myself and Lifeline begin our flank from the left side. At this point I’m still parkouring up walls, not wanting to mirror my enemy counterpart’s mistake of revealing our flank too soon by using Valkyrie’s jetpack. As we get close to the ship, an enemy peaks from the back corner and fires off some shots. As they duck away I initiate Valkyrie’s passive, the VTOL Jetpack, to get immediate height on top of the Mirage Voyage.
One of the major takeaways from this hands-on experience was the feel of this ability. It’s a mix between Octane’s bounce pad in terms of forward push and Horizon’s Gravity Lift in terms of the height you can get. However, Valkyrie is incredibly vulnerable when it’s in use. In an effort to balance the awesome ability to jetpack around an enemy squad wreaking havoc, Respawn had made V’s movement when using the jetpack quite slow; I’m also not able to use any grenades or weapons when it’s in use too. There is a limitation to the time I’m able to be in the air as well by way of a fuel gauge on the right side of the screen, but if I choose so, I’m able to stay in the air for quite some time. I, alongside many other attendees, gave the Respawn team some feedback in terms of perhaps increasing the velocity speed for less air time, so hopefully this ability is polished up a little more come launch.
My squad and I immediately start firing upon our opponents, who are ground level opposite our rooftop. As one of my team members rushes an enemy for the takedown, he’s flanked by another. I quickly utilise my passive again to get some serious height and launch Valkyrie’s tactical, Missile Swarm, on one of firing foes. This ability shows a 3×4 grid of where the missiles will impact, and appears to be less about damaging enemies and more about stunning them (visible by the classic “stunned” electricity known by Apex players surrounding the now knocked enemy). I land next to the knocked foe and finish them off, knowing that revives are available in Arenas, but no respawns. I go to pop one of the shield cells I was automatically equipped with at the start of the round, when the enemy team’s Lifeline surprises me with a clean Peacekeeper shot to the face. I’m out for the count, but my squad are able to finish her off quickly, pinching her from either side.
Now having 1350 materials to purchase my loadout with, I opt for R-301 and decide to upgrade it to boast all blue attachments (I can upgrade it right up to purple, but choose to save some materials). Instead, I grab an EVA-8 to round out my kit and the squad once again enters the arena.
Better equipped and with a round of understanding our enemies moves, my team very swiftly move to our relative advantage points aboard the Mirage Voyage – I make an early break with my Jetpack to get on top of the structure, knowing last round it was this delayed move by my opponent that gave their position away. The squad is sticking close, whilst having a good variety of angles, we’re in the flow now. Bloodhound activates a scan revealing our enemies are here and ready to play. I fire off shots, take out some enemy shield, their Bangalore pops a smoke, I jet over to the next roof whilst also launching a Missile Swarm into the enemy smokescreen.
Gameplay feels faster now – myself and my teammates are moving to cover and our next advantage points more quickly than before, and complimenting each others abilities well. My missile swarm stuns one and deshields the other left in the smoke causing the opposing team to disperse and scramble to reset. We’re on top of them now, able to keep our cool, shield up and watch them through the glass roof of the Mirage Voyage trying to gain a new angle. I get the drop on the enemy Lifeline about to scale the roof and flank us, taking out 70% of her shield, before scaling back up to the roof to lay down the final shots needed to knock her. 5 seconds later our own Lifeline rains bullets from above on the final enemy securing us the Round 2 flawless win.
It’s now match point. We win this round and we are deemed champions. The stakes are high and the combat has been escalated now with teams sporting purple armour instead of the first two rounds of blue. I grab another upgrade R-301, leave a secondary but holster a Arc Star instead. The squad immediately rushes up on Mirage Voyage, I’m feeling that victory so get a little cocky and jetpack up onto the highest fin of the ship, but our Bloodhound scan reveals the enemy have been super slow off the spawn mark.
They’re now stuck downhill with little cover and as Obi-Wan would scream out in the last moments of battle, “We have the high ground!” My team had done well applying pressure to the opposing side in previous rounds (we know it makes them scatter), and it works again this time. Bloodhound takes one out, makes their way down to take out another – “I’m down!” comes over my headset as my allfather brother is crawling metres away from the final foe. As a fellow Recon character, my Valkyrie needed to avenge them. I slid down the grassy plan on the backside of the Mirage Voyage to the rounded garden cover the enemy Bangalore was behind – BAM! YOU ARE THE CHAMPION! The sweet taste of victory was secured in a minute! GG squad.
Overall, my time with Apex Legends: Legacy before it launches on May 4th was indeed game changing. I was left with the excitement to jump into Arenas with my go-to squad members and take on some intense battles togethers. It is definitely a different Apex experience to what we’ve come to know with the Battle Royale, needing a completely different mindset and play style. It’s cool to be able to take on an enemy squad multiple times (normally it’s a one and done situation in BR), learn their tactics, adapt and harness the abilities and skills of your team to come out champions. Respawn also seems super invested in updating the Arenas mode regularly with new maps coming post launch as well as a ranked mode for competitive play – very much putting Apex into a whole new light on the competitive stage. I can not wait to jump in again come launch.
In terms of the question of whether Bloodhound will be replaced by Valkyrie in my main roster, well, having time with her during this hands on experience both in Arenas and Battle Royale I think it’s safe to say that Bloodhound will still be in the top mix. Valkyrie’s paced movement and limited arsenal in the air whilst using the jetpack takes her down a few points in getting her poll position in my roster – however with some tweaks this very well could change, so I’ll have to wait till launch or during the season to see if anything been polished up. With that said, she does have some very cool abilities, which
I recommend all players to try out her ultimate in battle royale both in a much needed “get out of there!” situation as well as just for fun as it just feels awesome. She also has a very handy passive (and awesome HUD) whilst dropping out of the BR ship – where she can tag all surrounding players also dropping within her line of sight, so no more free-looking around trying to find out how many players are dropping with you.