Is Apex Legends Better than PUBG?

Like most, I have become enchanted with the newest powerhouse game in the battle royale genre, Apex Legends, which is based on the world of Titanfall 2. Apex Legends is a character based version that also brings some really “I can;t believe no one did this yet” mechanics and quality of life improvements. Playing it with friends has been a bast but I can’t help but compare it to my original foray into the battle royale genre, PUBG, and I ask myself the completely pointless question – which one is better?

Apex Legends has better inventory management

Fumbling around my inventory in PUBG led me to more than one unnecessary death. It was almost a separate mini game and was usually more frustrating than not. Apex solves this by automatically moving attachments from one gun to another, if they can fit, and preventing you from picking up an item if you already have a better version. Its like the only time I have liked it when a game has told me I can’t do something  I should be able to do.

Apex Legends has respawns

The worst part of playing with friends in PUBG is dying early and then having to wait (or leave) to join the next game Personally, I enjoyed most of my cheerleader time in PUBG but Apex solves this by giving your team mates a window of opportunity to get you or any other downed team mates back in the fight even after bleeding out. Not only does this make the game more fun in groups, but it also adds a second layer of accomplishment when your team mate manages to get 2 revives and then the squad goes on to win the game.

PUBG has better maps

While Erangel is currently getting updated because it is old and needs fixing, it is st my favorite PUBG map. I love the feeling of nostalgia I get when playing on it. I still remember specific areas of the map, such as the mysteriously downed plane with no loot, the quarry which is almost always a bad idea, the lighthouse and gas station by the bridge. Each PUBG map has areas that make them distinct. The desert map has its fighting ring, the church where you can get high up in the bell tower and it is actually a good spot, Sanhok has a resort but also a cave system you can drop directly into, Vikendi has a dinosaur park with a hedge maze.

Apex has video game. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the map in Apex. It looks fine, and has plenty of traversal opportunities with surfaces you can mantle and lines you can zip on. And I haven’t gotten my character stuck on there yet either, which makes it look good compared to PUBG.

However, the map is boring and too video gamey. While some areas like the swamp and Bonetown are distinct in their own ways, half the time I don’t feel different in any of the buildings or “towns”, and the cave systems just kind of bleed together. The design itself is good, but the looks are too functional. The spaces in PUBG fee more natural and have much more personality.

Apex is easier to win

I am not an Apex Legends god, I don’t win every game, just once a night, and while I feelthat I am still a better PUBG player than an Apex player, the latter feels much easier. It doesn’t help that I won the first game of Apex I played either, but there are some fundamental design differences that make Apex easier.

First, there are only 60 players, and everyone is in a team of 3, that means 20 squads compared to 25 or 50 in PUBG, depending if you are playing in duos or in teams.  This means there are less people to kill and less people to be killed by.

The map is also smaller and a lot faster to traverse. The circl PUBG is something which a player has to be aware of at all times, lest tehy get caught and sent to their doom. The equivalent in Apex doesn’ have nearly the same effect. The ring hurts, but each character has barks that warn if the team is outside the next circle, and the traversal options means that people who die in the ring it on purpose. Sure, it hurts, a little, but I have never felt caught out like I have in PUBG.

Less Skilled Players are gonna have a worse time in Apex

I am not contradicting myself here. I do believe it is easier to win a game in Apex, but it is not easier to win a fight in Apex, especially if you are against people with much better equipment or higher skill than you.

The reason for this is that Apex has a longer TTK (time to kill) than PUBG. A few well placed shots on an unsuspecting enemy is enough to take someone out in PUBG. In Apex, a similar situation could still end in your death 50% of the time. Apex Legends has this strange system where, depending on guns and armour of course, it can take multiple magazines to down an enemy. Since magazines do not have many bullets in them to begin with, this means that both combatants will need time to reload. 

This diminishes the effectivness of sneaking up on players, Getting a few good shots off on a duo you snuck up on in PUBG means you most likely came out on top. In Apex, it just means they start the fight at a slight disadvantage, especially if they are better than you and/por have better equipment. I have shot people in Apex multiple times but registered less than 20 damage. Of course, they had hopped up peacekeepers and finished me in one shot.

Apex Legends is hoppity hoppity, PUBG is sneaky sneaky

Which brings me to my last point. Bunny hopping (kind of?) is back (maybe?) Since the Wingman and Peacekeeper are hands down the best guns in the game for most players, even after the nerf, it means a lot of the fights turn into mid and close range dodging matches. Since it is a videogame, it means there is a lot of hopping around and sliding and generally acting like an idiot to make it harder for the enemy to predict your next movement.Its a nice call back to the frantic shooter games of yore.

However, this would be doubly as silly in PUBG. In that game, its about the sneak. Footsteps are quieter, movement is slower, and with the low TTK this means that it is always better to get off the first shot. In PUBG, I have tried moving so I don’t get noticed. In Apex, I don’t really care for the most part. I am either too far away that its gonna be hard to hit me, and I have 6 bandages and shield recharges anyway. But on Erangel, I want to sneak, stay hidden, until it is the right time to strike.

This feeling of stalking, hiding, and possibly dying from a sniper shot 600m away makes PUBG feel tense and exciting. The maps and look of the game make it feel more immersive. It is a game where I want to feel like I am the most dangerous game. It is slow and methodological and then suddenly, action! stress! panic! at the disco. Apex is just videogame all the way. Run, gun, jump, slide, and then send in an air strike.  There are some things that PUBG could take fro Apex, mainly the inventory system. Actually, I changed my mind. I want PUBG to be a game where I faff with my inventory. As annoying as it is, It adds to the mood of the game.

I like them both, and I am not sure if one is better than the other, even if Apex Legends is catching the hypefire now. While there are probably more similarities than differences, they both encapsulate two completely different feels. In PUBG I have stumbled through fog and fired blindly at an ghostly assailant, I have waited in the loft of a small barn with a sniper rifle, staring across the field in the rain for 5 minutes waiting for someone to come by. They finally did and I downed them with a headshot as they were doing a flip on their motorbike. I have waited tensely at the door of a building, not sure what will come out, or dashed across a desert as cars are blowing up around me by shots from I don’t know how many players.

I will never have those feelings or experiences in Apex because the game isn’t made that way. I am playing Apex now because it’s fun, it’s fast, it’s exciting in a completely different way, but I feel that when I am done with Apex, I will be done with Apex. I wont be thinking about it.

I still think about PUBG.

Dreamfall Chapters: Review

I probably should have played the games that preceded Dreamfall Chapters (The Longest Journey games) because then I might have know what was going on. The game was recommended by a friend of a friend, for its storytelling and writing. While the game’s writing is good, the fact that I hadn’t played the preceding games meant that I did not have a strong emotional connection, or understanding, of the characters. Dreamfall Chapters is said to not require playing The Longest Journey, but I am not so sure about that.

In typical Telltale fashion, the game is an adventure game where you do certain tasks and are presented with choices. It was also released in chapters, although I did not play it until all of the chapters had already been released. In the game, you take control over 2 main characters – Zoe and Kian. Zoe lives in a cyberpunk-ish near future Europolis, the center of some giant European state. Europolis is supposed to be Prague in the future, although there are only a few vague nods towards that. She is a dreamer, able to inhabit a special place between worlds, and the game starts with her in this dream world. In Europolis, she is in a coma and by playing though the beginning dream world, she wakes up with faint memories of what has happened before.

Kian, on the other hand, inhabits a land of magic and fantasy. A former super soldier for an anti-magic creature fascist nation, he is sprung from prison before his execution to join the cause of the resistance. He has already come to terms with the atrocities he may have been a part of, and now he has a chance to stick it to his nation.

As you play through each character’s story, with the point of view switching about halfway of each chapter, you start to notice similarities between them. It is almost as if someone is able to bridge both worlds and is influencing them both.

Hmm…sounds like the world needs saving!

I really liked the environments, which looked and felt great despite the constant indie budget feel. The voice acting is good, the non-English words throw into conversation in a culturally mixed Europolis was done with the kind of care that does not exist in bigger budget games. The first parts of the story were compelling and interesting, and I particularly liked how sometimes mundane choices you made would come back in unexpected but reasonable ways. I had no idea that giving my boyfriend “exotic” sausages made of real meat would come into play much later when talking to an otherworldly being. In contrast with Telltale’s The Walking Dead, the choices here didn’t feel that the writers didn’t trust me to understand what choice I was making. There were no choices where I had to choose who lives and who dies – directly anyway. Instead, the choices unfolded in consequences that were surprising.

The characters in the game are, for the most part, really memorable. Zoe and Kian’s voiced inner monologue when examining the environments are sometimes nice and humorous.

The first few chapters are great – well paced, interesting, and slowly raising the stakes as these two worlds collide. It is the latter half of the game where the magic started to fall apart. Everything feels rushed. The focus of the story shifts from the politics in the two worlds to dreams and metaphysics. In Stark, for example, the politics are wrapped up and discarded because Wati Corp has been funding all political parties for their ends. What happens then is that the story continues, but it is replaced by a rather traditional story with predictable “haha I am the real bad guy!” twists. 

And then there are the confusing story breaks. Maybe I missed these, or I would find the answers in the previous games or in another playthrough, but there were some confusing things that were left completely unanswered. What happened to Nela to make her run at a security point with a bomb? What happened to the Vagabond, or to Hanna Roth? Why am I breaking up with Ezra if I brought him lunch? Whats up with the dragons? The scenes with Saga were great, but I don’t understand who, or what, she is. Why does The Mole say she is the last of the kind, and then she leaves to find others? 

Despite these issues, the game was pretty enjoyable, particularly the first few chapters. I wish the games had focused more on the local stories and the characters, rather than expanding it to a metaphysical and philosophical scale. The environments and characters were endearing and interesting, and the way choices are handled is much better than in the Telltale games I have played. 

But maybe play the previous games first. 

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