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Apex Legends’ new character Vantage brings a cute sidekick and a big sniper rifle

Apex Legends continues to hold the attention of its players even after several years on the market, and next week the battle royale shooter will bring things back to where they started with a new season revisiting the game’s original map. This year, the game has already added two new characters (plus two more in the new mobile version), upgrades for next-gen consoles, rotated in a well-received Control game mode and, according to EA’s earnings call this week, recorded another double-digit income growth for the last quarter. On the other hand, complaints from players about glitches, ranked mode scores, matchmaking, and practically every other little detail continue to mount.

This past season was particularly troubled, with issues affecting one of the game’s best features – the responsive controls – and enough buggies that it even popped up during a pro. Apex Legends tournament last month.

I won’t be able to assess the stability of the game until we start playing it, but during a conversation with reporters, the team confirmed that it is listening to players of all skill levels about tweaking the gameplay. Design director Evan Nikolich called the arrangement “a work in progress,” and said we should expect more changes in the full patch notes as the developers try to emphasize being a good team player. Other highly anticipated features, such as gifts and cross-progression, are still coming, but it is not yet known when they will be available. When it goes live, players can expect cross-progression that allows you to switch platforms, so PC players can take on daily challenges on a Switch on the go, for example.

Other changes that will stand out to old players include a revamped progression system that lets you replay the grind from zero to 500 and earn more packs. Players can repeat the process up to four times, earn new badges and unlock more rewards. If you’re starting from scratch, the process would yield enough packs to guarantee an in-game “heirloom” item at some point, but if you’re already at a max level, it won’t be enough on its own.

In the actual game, there are almost too many changes to notice. The controversial gold knockdown shield that allowed downed players to revive themselves and occasionally win the game without even reviving has eliminated that feature. Many professional and high-level players had complained that it was unfair, but the team says they are making changes based on what they see in all levels of the game. Now that same item has the features that were attached to the gold backpack, allowing players to revive teammates with extra shields and health, while the gold backpack now has a “deep pockets” perk that allows it to hold additional healing items.

Many of the game’s weapons that have been in place since launch are changing, as the Wingman gun suddenly uses sniper ammunition and the Spitfire machine gun uses light ammunition instead of heavy. We are not getting a new weapon this season Apex Legendsbut the radical shifts in how they work could be enough to make up for that – the only question is whether everything will stay in balance or whether an all-sniper/shotgun gear will reign supreme.

APEX Legends Screenshots S14 WideSkullTown A 1 1800

“Relic.”
Image: Respawn Entertainment

Which brings us to the new character, Vantage, and the old map, Kings Canyon. A recently ranked season split on the OG Top map revealed how much players have grown since the game launched – on a map that didn’t quite fit how things are played now. For the hunted season, the reforged Kings Canyon looks very different. It’s bigger, a lot of bottlenecks have been widened, the iconic Skulltown area is back as a new area called “Relic”, and there are other map changes meant to make battles faster instead of the elaborate quests that usually draw attention from draw a third party before one team could beat another. The loot on the map is now positioned differently and a new skybox should make things brighter compared to the original filth you might be carrying after a while.

Vantage is yet another legend with reconnaissance capabilities, armed with a sniper rifle for her ultimate goal. She can zoom in on enemies with her lens to see team size, rarity of shields and Legend names, as well as additional calculations for dropping bullets while using sniper sights. She can position her cute winged companion, a bat named Echo (which cannot be damaged or killed), and then fly towards it with a double jump for quick repositioning.

The ultimate of her sniper rifle is the first in the game that works without being fully charged. For her, the charge builds up over time, adding extra ammunition for Sniper’s Mark shots. The range can reveal enemies and successfully mark the enemy team with a diamond marker for 10 seconds, taking 100 damage per hit and extra damage received from Vantage’s team.

Adding another legend with tracking capabilities feels a bit risky. As overwatch got into trouble when too many characters could stun each other, Apex Legends turns into a game where no one can hide. However, from the problems we’ve seen in Top this year, the new legends are fairly balanced, even if player stats suggest the new additions aren’t getting much use. Player protests as “No” Top August” doesn’t seem to catch on, and the gameplay is as addictive as ever. But for the new season I hope everything works as it should.

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