It all started with PLAYERUKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS (PUBG), that took the loot gathering concept of survival games and player’s love for conflict without a reason (looking at you, DayZ) to a whole new exciting at that time level.
A huge map that holds hundred of players who are scattered all over in hopes of finding an epic loot. To win, who have to be the last survivor. With the map constantly shrinking down to the mystical, but a damaging barrier, players are forcefully drawn into smaller areas.
Such an idea took over the gaming community by storm. An exciting mix of survival and action that many craved for a while. Fight, hide, chase or mess around with the players, it is all to your imagination to how you may end up the last survivor. With the ever-shrinking map, your enemies are bound to be somewhere close, keeping every moment of your virtual existence packed with adrenaline. Or so I thought…
I was excited to jump on a PUBG bandwagon only to find myself realizing – I despised this genre. I find myself struggling to survive, only to be shot dead which sends me back to the menu screen. Not only do I have to wait several minutes to start up the game after death, but I must start from the beginning.
Repeating the loot search in hopes to be the first one to the gun before others are annoying and Otherwise, you are likely to be facing an armed opponent, with only having your fists to fight them. Hence, I ditched the game after 5 hours of playing it (I know, this is not much to git gud, but I couldn’t bear it anymore).
Searching for the New Hope
So, when the next big came up – Fortnite – I was very skeptical of the game. But darn, it got too popular, so maybe building stuff and cartoon graphics is what I needed?
Unfortunately, it only made me dislike battle royales even more. Now, not only I have to deal with annoying aspects of finding a gun and shooting, but also face the players who instantly build strongholds in a whip of their construction paper. Soon Fortnite it became and still is the mainstream battle royale game.
The entry level is frustratingly high to players like me, so I quickly abandoned the game.
Then came Black Ops 4 (Bo4) battle royal mode… there are a few things that I liked. One being the intuitive gunplay and the other is the first-person camera. Besides that, it is as frustrating as PUBG.
Now finally we come to Apex Legends, which I find it to be a mix of Overwatch, PUBG and even Bo4. Made by Respawn Entertainment, the same guys who made Modern Warfare and Titanfall games. What is so different about it compared to the other Battle Royals?
You can resurrect your teammates. That is mostly it.
Such simple, yet an effective incentive to keep teammates in the game in hopes that their badges from their bodies are picked up. A second chance for early game mistakes. There are only ninety seconds before you completely perish without. Meanwhile you or your teammates must decide if it best to resurrect you or kill the enemy responsible for it.
Besides this new feature, Apex Legends has all the sins of the battle royale games: micro transaction for cosmetics, two locked characters behind the paywall, soon to be battle pass and being free to play. It certainly attracts many players with its satisfying gunplay, quick paced games, and unique class design, but I still find it discouraging as it is similar to any other battle royal games.
I once managed to pull off a victory in Apex Legends. I felt like I deserved a handsome reward, only to be met with a similar statistic screen when you die. In a way, I felt cheated by the game. Bunch of experience points barely justify why I should be bothered to play it again.
Don’t get me wrong, I love first person shooter games. Overwatch or Battlefield V have their charm, that keeps pulling me to play them over 150 hours already. In both games after death, I am not thrown off the game and left waiting for another one to start. I continue playing on after waiting for a few seconds.
Overall, I believe one of the most frustrating issues with battle royale games is their core mechanic of having one life within the game session. While this keeps many on their toes, I found myself difficult to enjoy such format. After death, I must spend too much time to get back to the fresh game, where I must find new loot again and hope that somebody doesn’t get their guns before you.
I still find the idea enticing, but unfortunately, the realization of it makes it hard for me to really dive into the genre. Maybe in the future, something better will show up, who knows?