First Impressions

Apex Legends Season 9 ‘Legacy’ First Impressions

Apex Legends Season 9 ‘Legacy’ is here, and it brings some of the biggest changes to Apex Legends we’ve seen in a long time. Fans of Titanfall, another great shooter from Respawn, will be very happy because there’s a lot of nods and winks to that game. There’s a bunch of changes to the Olympus Map, we have a new character called Valkyrie plus probably the biggest news is the introduction of a new 3v3 mode called Apex Arenas.

Season 9 kicked off on May 4th and I have to say I haven’t really checked in with Apex since season 1. The thing that caught my eye with this season was the new 3v3 arenas mode, plus its closer ties to Titanfall. Apex Legends has always been a great shooter, and I’ve been looking around since stasis was introduced into Destiny (a new subclass that allows you to freeze your opponents) and I’ve tested out Warzone and Apex and landed on Apex Legends. Having recently played Titanfall 2’s campaign and loving it, it’s great to see more Titanfall coming into Apex Legends (even though they are based in the same universe).

Let’s have a look at the new components of Season 9.

New game mode – Apex Arenas 3v3

This is by far the biggest change to Apex Legends, the introduction of a 3v3 mode which is somewhere between Trials of Osiris (found in Destiny 2) and Valorant. It takes the purchasing of equipment element from Valorant and CS: GO and mixes it with the 3v3 action of Trials, to create a very good new competitive (and sweaty) game mode. Players get quickly into the action, given the maps are much smaller than the regular battle royale map, and the gameplay is quick and deadly.

There’s 5 maps to start with:

Party Crasher
Phase Runner
Artillery (King’s Canyon)
Thermal Station (World’s Edge)
Golden Gardens (Olympus)

It condenses the chaos of 20-squad Battle Royale matches down into more focused 3v3 combat. You’ll face off against the enemy without any other squads coming to crash the party – allowing you to focus on surviving and winning the fight. You’ll compete over multiple rounds, striving to be the last squad standing each time.

Before every round starts, you’ll use materials earned during the previous round to get and upgrade weapons, as well as ordnance and healing supplies. After customizing your loadout and preparing for the round, you’ll jump straight into the action with your gear.

If you’re eliminated in a round, your squadmates won’t be able to respawn you, but you’ll be ready to fight again at the start of the next round. Of course, you can still revive knocked teammates. Rounds are won when you kill all players on the enemy squad. Then the next round begins, and the cycle repeats until an overall match winner is crowned.

To win an Arenas match, you need to win at least three rounds and be ahead of the enemy team by two points. The easiest way is to win three rounds without dropping more than one round to your opponent. In other words, go 3-0 or 3-1 and the match is over.

However, if your opponent is able to win at least two rounds, things get interesting. You’ll have to pull ahead by two full rounds to win. Going 3-2 or 4-3 won’t cut it. Instead, you’ll have to go 4-2 or 5-3 to secure victory. Rounds will continue until one team pulls ahead by two rounds. If this continues all the way to the ninth round (by going 4-4) the game kicks into sudden death mode. Whoever wins round nine takes home all the glory.

You can keep easy track of your progress by checking the scoreboard in the top-center of the screen on the buy menu. The score widget turns blue when your team is one round away from winning, red when the enemy team is close, and yellow when it’s a tiebreaker The little pips in the center of the widget count the number of tiebreaker rounds that have occurred—the third tiebreaker means sudden death.

Win or lose, each round starts fresh with base equipment and some materials to use. Decide how you want to approach the upcoming round by using your materials to get weapons, upgrade them, and pick up any additional supplies you need. The bar is raised every round as more materials are awarded than the previous round, giving you more options and letting you upgrade further as the match progresses.

Getting a weapon gives you the base gun with no attachments. Weapons can be upgraded to white, then blue and finally purple. Upgrading a weapon equips it with all available attachments of that tier. Fully upgrading to purple will fill out the hop-up slot for weapons that have one. Select your preferred optic for each weapon. Upgrading unlocks additional optics for that weapon.

Weapons don’t carry over from round to round—this was something we debated and ultimately we decided on this design for two reasons: 1) to free players up to swap weapons freely between rounds, and 2) to prevent matches from snowballing too hard after one or two rounds.

Use your Ultimate and Tactical abilities wisely, as you’ll have a limited number of uses each round, instead of recharging indefinitely like other modes. Legends start with some Tactical charges, but additional charges and Ultimate abilities can be purchased with materials when customizing your loadout. This allows more Legends to be made viable in Arenas, and forces characters with very strong tacticals (like Bloodhound) to make choices between weapon upgrades or more tactical charges. Unused Ultimate and Tactical charges will carry over to the next round.

You’ll have limited time to prepare, after which the round will start! Matches take place in some familiar locations, as well as new ones. Scattered around the area, you’ll find some supply bins with healing items and a few material canisters. If a canister is collected, it will award everyone on your squad 200 bonus materials to be spent in the next round. Killing an enemy awards you 75 bonus materials and their items drop directly to the floor for quick and easy looting.

As the round goes on, the ring will start to close and a care package filled with upgraded weapons will drop in. Before the round starts, you’ll be able to see where the ring will close as well as what weapons will be air-dropped in. Strategize with your squad, anticipate where the enemy will go and make your move when the round starts.

There’s been hints of a new game mode coming to Apex Legends for some time, and now seems like the perfect time. As a Destiny player, one that’s currently disgruntled with the way PVP is in the game, it’s great to see an alternative. The signature great gunplay is there, plus you have the closing circle of the battle royale mode. This is fast, sweaty action and if you can get a few buddies together and play, it’s going to be a whole lot of fun.

New Legend – Valkyrie

The trailers building up to the new season showcased Kairi “Valkyrie” Imahara a fair bit. She tracked down Blisk and picked a fight with him and then accepts the invitation to join the Apex Games. Apparently, when she was younger she took Viper’s titan for a joyride, showing she’s got some guts and a mischievous side too.

There was hope that the new hero in Apex Legends would actually ride a Titan, but the second-best to that feature is what we’ve got, a decent jet-pack that helps make Valkyrie very mobile. She can’t shoot while she’s in the air, but she can combine her movement and agility with missiles, which is very useful when you’re on the offense.

Here’s her abilities in full:

Passive: VTOL Jets
Tactical: Missile Swarm
Ultimate: Skyward dive
Class: Recon

Valkyrie’s Ultimate ability has drawn some attention with her being able to redeploy without the need of relying on the baloons around the map, which could lead to a team advantage for anyone who’s got Valkyrie on their team.

Olympus Map Changes

A fleet of ships have made their way to Olympus, which has manifested as an infestation on Psamathe. The map has been entangled with the roots of somekind of parasitic plant. The Icarus, a huge ship, has also docked in the city, which changes things up quite a bit. It’ll be interesting to see if this changes over the season, but it’s a nice follow up to the changes seen in Kings Canyon last season.

New Weapon – Bocek Bow

The new Bocek (pronounced bow-check) compound bow is a precision marksman weapon that rewards a skilled and confident hand. Holding down fire will draw the bow over a short time, increasing the power of the shot, with maximum power giving optimal damage and projectile speed. Repeatedly firing the Bocek right as it reaches max power provides the best sustained damage.

The Bocek uses a new ammo type, Arrows, which are unique to this weapon. Arrows are more rare on the battlefield, but fired arrows will stick into surfaces and remain in the world for players to pick back up and reuse. The 1x hcog classic, 1x holosight, 2x hcog, 1x-2x variable, and 3x hcog optics can all be equipped. The Bocek can also be further modified with the two new hop-ups entering the game, Shatter Caps and Deadeye’s Tempo; it can even equip both hop-ups simultaneously!

There’s also some rebalancing to some characters but you can check out the full patch notes on the Apex Legend website if you’re interested in that.

The new 3v3 mode is fantastic, and this update brought me back to the game which I’d put down for some time. Apex Legends is much improved compared to what I remember, although I’m still as bad at shooters as ALWAYS (feel free to compliment my gameplay down there in the comments).

Let me know what you think of the new season, the new game mode plus the changes and Valkyrie herself.

That’s it for this look at Apex Legends Season 9. For more This Week In Video Games content, check out the YouTube Channel and subscribe today.