What do you get if you cross Overwatch with The Hunger Games?

Imagine Symmetra somehow teleporting the whole team to sneak behind enemies for a chicken dinner. Because that’s what Wraith does in Respawn’s new battle royale game Apex Legends.

Just so we thought the battle royale genre has figured out its pecking order, in walks this titan which really brings something new to the genre.

There is plenty to love about Apex Legends. While many enjoy battle royale games for the freedom, sometimes I struggle to stay engaged because of the lack of direction. But Apex Legends solves that by being great at providing objectives for players as well as emphasizing teamwork.

 ​​​​​​Unlike in Fortnite or PUBG, where you can play as solo, duo or in a squad of four, you can only play in a squad of three in Apex Legends. There are just 60 players, divided into 20 squads of three. Also, as opposed to starting as a generic player, Apex Legends gives you a total of 8 different characters, each with special abilities, to choose from.

Characters in Apex Legends resemble those in Overwatch. For example, the aforementioned Wraith is like a Tracer/Symmetra hybrid. Healer character Lifeline reminds me of Mercy. And Gibraltar can also be likened to Winston, which can launch a dome-shape energy shield.

Each character also has a defined role. Similar to Overwatch, there are the DPSes, the tanks and the supports. Since players can’t choose the same characters on the same team, combat relies heavily on the balance of abilities in teams.

I love Apex Legends’ matchmaking format. For starters, a team of three just feels so much better than a team of four in battle royale, and I believe many things can benefit from this three-player format.

For example, in terms of esports, a match consisting of 20 teams of 3 feels so much more manageable than the current 100-solo-player format featured in Fortnite.

With regards to live-streaming, a team of three also makes it easier for celebrity streamers to squad up for a joint stream.

I also love how characters have different roles and abilities. For one thing, it makes the game more interesting to watch. Spectators of the game, knowing the abilities of each character, can anticipate what these gamers do based on their characters.

Additionally, having a distinct role also gives fans much more to talk about and identify with. While I am plain bad in Fortnite, if I embarrass myself in Apex Legends playing as an incompetent DPS, I can just say, “Oh, you know, I am much more of a support. Really.” (which is better than blaming the controller).

The game feels very polished in almost every aspect, be it the gameplay or its beautiful graphics or its ultra-hype soundtrack. (Picture: Respawn)

The game is also good at littering the map with tons of objectives, which always gives you something to do. Besides all the standard loot, Apex Legends also has a supply ship that you can visit. After a character is shot dead, within a certain amount of time, you also can retrieve his/her banner and run over to a revive station to respawn that character.

Apex Legends also streamlines the process of upgrading and assembling equipment. When you obtain a higher-grade items, you automatically ditch the lower-grade ones (which is unlike PUBG, where inventory management is a nightmare). It’s small details like that which shows that Apex Legends really incentivizes players to move around the map.

 As a result, Apex Legends feels very fast, up-tempo and fun. It also features a small map like Fortnite, but with even less ammo, which makes the gameplay jam-packed with action from the tip-off.

We streamed the game this week and can already feel that it’s becoming more and more competitive. If I have to be frank, I got wiped out immediately after landing quite a number of times. But I also managed to luck out in getting a chicken dinner during our stream.

Needless to say, Apex Legends has been all the rage in the past two weeks. It has been the top game on Twitch, with its number of streamers surpassing those of League of Legends, Dota 2 and Fortnite combined as I write this.

Apex Legends is a very polished battle royale, but it remains to be seen if it can sustain its popularity in the long term -- or it can crater like Black Ops 4. Gamers, after all, can be fickle.

But it seems like more and more fans are coming onboard, with many Chinese players also getting their hands on the game. Apex Legends isn’t banned in China, but some Weibo users say it’s really slow to download. Still, Chinese gamers are clearly playing, as we constantly ran into Chinese speakers.

If you want to learn more about Apex Legends, check out our full stream here!