A few evenings back, I had an absolutely superb match of Apex Legends. I was playing the limited-time duos mode with my brother, and we decided that this time we'd play as aggressively as possible. Every shot fired in the distance was a call to arms, and we would drop everything and gambol towards it with the single-mindedness of a pair of delighted truffle hogs following the fruity whiff of their life's purpose.
It ended with both of us surrounded by the remaining teams, engaged in one of those rare long-range snipe-offs where no one wants to be the first team to engage, for fear that the third party will clean up whatever remains in the aftermath. Which suited us well, because we were touting the two most powerful sniper rifles in the game - the Sentinel and the Kraber. And we were apparently incapable of missing our shots. A kneecap poking out from behind a supply bin was all it took. A quick flick-shot with the Kraber, and boom - 116 damage in the blink of an eye. You could almost hear the scream of disbelief that emanated from the player at the other end.
It didn't matter that we were surrounded and outnumbered. It felt like that scene at the climax of Age Of Ultron where the Avengers all stand resolutely around the drill, defending from all sides, not giving an inch, prevailing against all odds. We ended up winning the match with something like 10 kills between us, and not a scratch to show for it. I'm sure they thought we were cheating.
Why am I telling you about this one match, when I could be celebrating all the things that Apex Legends better than any other battle royale out there - the ping system, the team plays, the jumpmaster system, the music and sound design, the verticality, the sheer freedom of movement? Because I feel like everyone already knows about those particular triumphs. You likely know that many of us on the team consider Apex Legends to be the best battle royale we've ever played. What I instead want to celebrate is how much the game has evolved in the year since its release.
See, you just wouldn't get those kinds of wonderful long-range battles back in the day. Everything about Apex encouraged you to get up close and personal with your Peacekeeper or your R-99, and finish off your enemies from near-point-blank range. The meta wasn't geared for sniper rifles. But now, with the far more expansive World's Edge map to run around in, and the fantastic power of new long-range weapons like the Charge Rifle and the Sentinel, it's turned into a much more balanced game.
Gone are the days of the ludicrously overpowered Wingman and the laughable impracticality of big-boi Gibraltar. The meta for both weapons and characters is probably the most diverse it's ever been. The initial little annoyances and teething issues have almost entirely disappeared over the course of 2019, and as much as we went on about how amazing the game was back when it was released, it's honestly so much better now than it was back then. The point is: it's a really good time to be playing Apex Legends.