Why are finishers in Apex Legends so darn satisfying? It probably says something about our brain chemistry that we would so often take the risk of standing still for a prolonged animation that makes you entirely vulnerable until it ends or you get shot in the back, just so you can inject some extra coolness points into that particular elimination and rub it in the face of the faceless player on the other side.
Or so you might think! In fact, it goes a little deeper than that, because there are actual in-game uses for choosing to execute your opponent; but of course it does also comes with a degree of risk. Our Apex Legends finishers guide will walk you through how to perform these executions and finishing moves, and when and why you should choose to perform them or not to perform them.
Oh, by the way - this page is but one small part of our massive and ever-expanding series of guides on Apex Legends, all of which you can peruse from our Apex Legends tips hub. Whatever info or answers you're looking for on Apex Legends, we've got you covered with our guides, which range from Apex Legends map and locations to ideal weapon combos and Apex Legends loadouts, and much more.
Apex Legends finisher guide - how to execute enemies
Executing an enemy is actually a very simple task - provided you do it under the right circumstances. You can only perform a finisher on an enemy that is knocked down, which is what happens when they are brought to zero hit points but they still have teammates living. In this state, the enemy can crawl about, use the Apex Legends Ping/Communication system, and open and close doors, but otherwise cannot act until either they are revived or they are eliminated.
To speed up this elimination process, you can walk up to their pitiful crawling soon-to-be-corpse, and you'll see a notification appear on your HUD to hit your Interact key to perform an Execution. Once you hit this key, you will enter an in-game mini-cutscene where over the space of the next few seconds you end your opponent's life in a manner befitting your Legend.
Not only is this satisfying as hell to use, but it is also very useful against downed enemies who are using Knockdown Shields to protect themselves. Ordinarly these Knockdown Shields will absorb gunfire until they expire, and depending on the quality of the Knockdown Shield it can take quite a beating before you're able to cut through to eliminate the enemy. But a finisher completely ignores your enemy's Knockdown Shield, rendering it completely useless and offering you a comparatively quick way to end their life and get on with the rest of the fight.
For more information on Knockdown Shields and other types of gear, visit our Apex Legends Armor and Gear guide.
Executing an enemy leaves you wide open to attack!
And now for the downside to performing finishers in Apex Legends - it's slow. Not only that, but you can't back out of the execution animation once you've started it. Which means, if an enemy sneaks up on you while you're doing this, then you are completely open to a quick shredding. Plus, finisher cutscenes play out from you opponent's perspective, looking up at you doing the killing - so it's not like you can look around while you're doing it to see if other enemies are nearby.
The good news is that the moment you take damage, you are brought back out of the animation, and the finisher is cancelled. Kinda bad news too, I guess, but it's better than being held there while your opponents' bullets caress your spine until you crumble into a bloody mess just like the enemy you were so intent on executing.
Apex Legends finishers + Legendary Gold Body Shield
There's one other thing worth mentioning about the benefits of performing finishers, although this one is admittedly quite niche, as it relies on you having a very specific piece of gear. That piece of gear is the Legendary (gold-coloured) Body Shield, because this, like all gold variants of gear items, bestows a unique benefit upon the wearer.
In the Body Shield's case, if you complete an execution/finisher on a downed enemy, then all your Shields are automatically filled, giving you a much greater impetus to go for these finishing moves whenever you can. Of course, you still shouldn't try to finish an enemy while you are still in danger, but it's a situational ability that could very well save your life under the correct circumstances.
Plus it gives you more reason to go for executions, so yay!
How to view/unlock different finishers in Apex Legends
Each character (or Legend) in Apex Legends has access to three unique execution styles and cutscenes, and you can view all of these (whether you've unlocked them or not) from the Main Menu, under Legends and then Finishers. If you've just started playing Apex Legends, you'll only have access to the one finisher per character. But as you play and earn and open loot boxes, you'll have a chance of unlocking more finishers for the different characters.
Alternatively, if you have more money than time, you can take the shortcut of buying Crafting Materials and then using them to unlock whatever finishers (or other cosmetics) you like.
Well, that's about everything you need to know on performing finishers and executions in Apex Legends. So have fun out there, and remember: end lives responsibly.