Apex Legends introduced its latest event, Aftermarket, on October 6th. This brought with it, several gameplay changes and buffs, a new Limited-Time Mode (LTM), new skins and long awaited cross-play functionality for the popular Battle Royale.
The new LTM, Flashpoint, is pretty enjoyable. Flashpoint changes up the game formula by removing healing items and shields, in favor of areas where health regeneration takes place. Due to data miners the LTM isn’t a complete surprise, that’s OK though, Flashpoint is fun and delivers precious new content Apex players have been deprived of since the start of Season 6.
Apex introduces the newest LTM, Flashpoint featuring healing zones
The flashpoint zones introduce an interesting dynamic as they are the only places you can heal, yet they also become hotspots because the same is true for your enemies. The final ring is visible while still on the dropship and the ring itself closes at the slowest rate we’ve ever seen it close. This allows for plenty of looting of death boxes and skirmishes on the edges of the ring. This new method of health restoration works well and (to me anyway) recalls memories of Call of Duty or Halo. Once inside a flashpoint zone, you heal as long as you’re not actively taking damage.
Crossplay is here to stay.
Respawn also introduced the cross-play beta to Apex Legends with the latest update and so far, aside from some server congestion, it has largely worked well. Apex Legends players on Playstation 4 and Xbox One will queue into the same lobbies. PC players are still separated unless they have a console player on their team. Pending Apex Legends’ release on Nintendo Switch and Steam, those platforms will be able to play with all other platforms, as well.
As celebrated as it is, and as much excitement as I felt loading into my first match and seeing Playstation 4 players, there’s not much else to say about it. Cross-play is one of those things that feels like every game should have it, but in 2020, it is still quite rare. One bright spot, it can’t be said that cross play has made a game more unsuccessful, so it’s nice to have and hopefully more games will soon follow suit.
Microsoft and Sony brethren, tonight we fight as one!
The second match I played in the update, I said something along the lines of “my XBOX and Playstation brethren unite!!” over the mic. A woman playing Octane briefly rejoiced after asking which console I was on “XBOX,” I stated. “Ooh, I’m on Playstation,” she chimed in. She then proceeded to tell me about how she had texted her nephew, who is on XBOX, to get online and add her as they could finally play together.
Who’s cutting onions? While, I don’t have heart-warming stories about cross-play to add yet, the mere fact situations like family and friends finally being able to play together are occurring puts a smile on my face. Even if you don’t have friends on other platforms to play with, cross-play in theory should reduce queue times for all players (except sadly, PC) and should put more even skill distribution into every match.
I can’t say I’ve noticed a huge difference, but my pubs (public) matches have seemed less sweaty. I see less Champion squads with Wraiths with 24,000 kills, and almost every game I get paired with at least one PS4 player of comparable skill. Ranked mode seems about the same, although I’ve been getting into matches much faster than usual.
These are all good signs of the much needed shake up Apex Legends needs as it heads into its final month before Season 7 releases this November.