Blackout is a game close to my heart, I played so many hours and I wrote many guides on the game, including best places to drop, best perks and more. When I first heard about Blackout I wasn’t overly excited as I didn’t really enjoy other Battle Royale games like Fortnite or PUBG, but I gave it a go anyway and fell in love. There’s a running joke in our gaming circle which is that while I’m trying to persuade them to jump into a Blackout match with me I always say “I only want one game”, but everyone knows full well that we won’t stop playing until we win or at least come close to winning, and eventually after half an hour of pestering I manage to persuade them and they all say “fine, one game!”. Ten matches later, we win and go to bed having to get up for work in 4 hours.
Blackout gave me a new perspective on Battle Royale games, and because of that I re-downloaded Fortnite and PUBG and in the end I kind of enjoyed them, but not as much as Blackout, and I think that’s because Blackout plays more like a classic FPS game. It doesn’t have the building elements that Fortnite does (which honestly annoy me a bit, mainly because I’m too slow and bad at it) and it doesn’t have the camping that PUBG does (unless you solo queue).
And now we have the newly released Apex Legends. When I first played Apex Legends I thought there was a bit too much going on, what with all the characters with different abilities, the advanced movement controls, and even the map seemed a bit busy compared to Blackout, but I continued to play it, and, as with any game, once you’re a couple of hours in everything starts to make a bit more sense; I knew the best areas on the map, I knew the abilities, and I knew which weapons I wanted to get hold of, and once I hit this point I started enjoying Apex. In fact, I started loving Apex.
You see, Apex Legends is like an amalgamation of two of my favorite games; first you have Overwatch, which Apex Legends has drawn inspiration from in terms of offering different characters with unique abilities, leading to increased importance of general team composition gameplay, with a team that has a good balance of Attack, Defense, and Support having a greater chance of victory. The second game that Apex Legends reminds me of is, of course, Titanfall, which isn’t surprising seeing as the game is made by Respawn Entertainment and is set within the Titanfall universe. The only issue I have here is that they have taken the out-of-mech gun play from Titanfall and slapped it into this game and, if I’m honest, it isn’t very satisfying, especially when compared to the likes of Blackout and Call of Duty in general. You could overlook the gun play in Titanfall because the mech action was really satisfying, but when you take the mechs out of the equation flaws start to creep through.
Of course, there are some similarities between Blackout and Apex Legends, such as the loot-hunting and the type of loot that you find such as weapon attachments and armor, but it hasn’t really copied Blackout as there are many distinct differences. These differences include:
- There’s only 60 players / 20 squads in a match of Apex Legends, compared to up to 100 players in Blackout
- There’s no option for solo play – every game is played with 3 members of each squad
- It’s much more important to stay as a squad in Apex Legends, so much so that one person controls the drop
- The map is totally different and, in my view, a bit overworked
- The abilities and characters are enough to make it feel like a totally different game
There are some key areas where Apex Legends really shines bright. For example, one area where Blackout gets some criticism is how powerful the armor is; well, in Apex you not only find body armor but also head armor, which means that unless you find some head armor you’re still going to be taking full damage from headshots, and without body armor you’re going to get shredded in the chest. These armors come in varying strengths (similar to Blackout) but the chances of finding top tier head and body armor is slim, whereas in Blackout it’s not too difficult, as body and head armor is an all in one set. Another thing I really like are the different abilities, none of which seem overpowered but equally none seem useless either; they’ve managed to find a good balance which is something that’s harder than it appears.
The way you drop into the map is also great. One person is assigned to be the ‘Jumpmaster’, which puts them in control of the drop, allowing them to choose where all three members of the squad lands (although players can break away and take their own path if they so wish). This drastically lowers the risk of someone messing up the drop, which happens in Blackout often and leaves squads with a player down (our own Glen/Gunna is always doing this). I also like the respawn functionality, which allows players to collect the tags from downed teammates and take them to a respawn station to revive them. This adds even more emphasis on the team-based gameplay which is often sorely missing in Blackout, as players that fill your squad rarely act as part of the team. In Apex Legends the opposite is true – so far in all of my games not one person has strayed too far from the rest of the unit.
On the other hand, there are areas where Blackout is superior, with the most important for me being the gun play. The Call of Duty franchise has had years to perfect it’s gun play and because of that every kill feels satisfying and every shot is smooth and controlled, whereas in Apex Legends getting kills and landing shots feels a bit empty. I also much prefer the map of Blackout as it’s a bit simpler, with less high ground and areas of foliage. I see what Apex Legends is trying to do, it’s trying to make maneuverability an essential part of the game by making use of the ziplines that are at every corner you turn, but I personally believe they have taken it a bit too far.
Blackout in general just seems a bit more fluid. Everything works smoothly and, although I didn’t find any game-breaking bugs during my time in Apex, there were a few niggly issues, one of which was making changes to the controller sensitivity – one notch in the options makes a massive difference, so you probably won’t get the sensitivity you are used to.
So, with all of that being said, which game would I say was best? If you haven’t played either before then I would personally recommend Blackout over Apex Legends, mainly due to the gun play and how fluid the game plays, it feels a bit more realistic and less arcadey. If you’ve been playing Blackout for months and you fancy a change like I did then Apex Legends is a game well worth playing, especially since it’s free.
Although I would choose Blackout now with Apex Legends in its current state, I have no doubt that if Apex Legends made some small changes to the game and improved the gun play I would prefer Apex, as I really like the extra features the game has to offer, but as it stands, Blackout takes the crown.