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The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Apex Legends is a free-to-play battle royale first-person shooter available for download on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows PCs. Teams of up to three compete in matches with up to 60 players to be the last team standing. Violence is persistent and more realistic/less cartoonish than what kids have experienced in Fortnite. Still, although blood's shown on-screen, it isn't overly graphic, and there's no explicit gore. The gameplay, which has a focus on teamwork and communication, will be easy to pick up for first-person shooter fans. While there isn't any profanity in the dialogue, online play could open players up to iffy language in party chat. And although the game is free to play, microtransactions allow players to unlock cosmetic items and characters immediately with real-world money, as opposed to over time through gameplay. This game is part of the Titanfall universe, which is a popular shooter franchise.
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What's it about?
APEX LEGENDS is a free-to-play battle royale fight-for-survival game set amid the backdrop of the Titanfall universe at the end of the Frontier War. While the war between the IMC and Militia forces may have ended, peace didn't come without a price. The Frontier has been left in disarray and chaos, with many settlers relocating even further to The Outlands, a remote cluster of planets teeming with new resources and opportunities. But with these new opportunities comes a new breed of outlaws and explorers, heroes and villains. This has given rise to a new bloodsport, the Apex Games, in which teams fight for survival in last-person-standing matches where death is only an inconvenience. Some fight for fame and fortune, while others have more personal reasons to compete. Whatever their motivations, it's only the best who live long enough to earn the title of "Legend."
Is it any good?
It's hard to decide what's most surprising: that this is a free-to-play battle royale game, that it's a new franchise installment, or that it doesn't have the giant "Titans" the series is known for. Or maybe it's that, despite all of this, Apex Legends is an absolute blast to play. The game takes many of the best elements of the battle royale genre and adds a few new twists, such as calling downed teammates back to the battlefield via dropships. There's also much more of a focus on teamwork and communication than in most battle royale games. While the free-to-play model means that players face the obligatory push to spend money on things like season passes, custom skins, etc., EA has avoided any sense of a pay-to-win mentality. In fact, all items are cosmetic in nature, and most can be earned at a fairly steady pace through regular play.
Apex Legends is a definite departure from what existing Titanfall fans might expect. But the minute you start ziplining over large expanses, teleporting quickly between two points, sending out a holographic decoy as bait, or calling down a hail of mortar fire, you immediately start to recognize the Titanfall DNA built in. It's also fun to see how effective these abilities and elements are even without the massive Titan war machines. Each person in the diverse cast of Legends stands out as a distinct character, serving a unique role without ever feeling under- or overpowered. There's a little feeling of repetition, due to the nature of the genre and the single map. Even so, this corner of the Titanfall universe has the potential to evolve and grow over time, and it makes The Outlands a great place to visit.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Apex Legends affected by the amount of blood shown in the game? The intensity of the violence? How do a game's setting and style affect the impact of the violence?
How are some free-to-play games monetized by developers? How appealing are cosmetic items, like costumes and weapon skins? How do these "cosmetic only" purchases compare to the "pay to win" model that some games use?
How important are teamwork and communication with your squadmates in Apex Legends? Since you can only talk to people on your squad, is it more vital than in other shooters with similar gameplay? Can you use the skills from this game and apply them in real life?
How does the gameplay in Apex Legends compare to Fortnite's? How similar is it to that popular battle royale game? How is it different? Is there one that seems more appealing to you because of its visual style or its gameplay? Why?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Pricing structure: Free
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Electronic Arts
- Release date: February 4, 2019
- Genre: First-Person Shooter
- Topics: Adventures, Misfits and Underdogs, Robots, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: T for Blood, Violence, In-Game Purchases, Users Interact
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.