Usually, it’s bad to die in Apex Legends, as it is in most games. Not so in Shadowfall, the new limited time mode running until November 5.
In the new mode, players drop onto the Kings Canyon map solo at night. The map has a spooky new makeover, by the way. Players fight as usual, but when they die, they become a Shadow—a super-fast zombie with very little health and a deadly touch. Hit another Legend as a Shadow, and they drop onto the map as a Shadow too.
Shadows can respawn indefinitely, which means no one’s out of the match ’til it’s over. The match ends when there’s ten Legends left. Then their locations are marked for everyone to see, and they have to make it back to an evacuation zone.
It rules, even though it can be a little frustrating. Once there’s more than one Shadow near you, not getting hit once is hard. In the stream above, you can watch my Kotaku colleague Paul Tamayo playing the new mode while talking with me about horror movies, spooky music, Korean cinema, and Hispanic Heritage Month, which wraps up today.
Apex Legends is running a Halloween event from October 15-November 5 called Fight or Fright. It’ll introduce stuff like skins, cosmetics and a game mode centred around zombies, and will also see the return of Kings Canyon, only now the lights are out.
This spookier Kings Canyon isn’t just for effect, it’s part of a temporary game mode called Shadowfall, which sees dead players reanimated as a zombie and put on a team called “Shadow Squad”. This takes away your weapons and legend abilities in exchange for a melee attack, faster movement, bigger jumps and the ability to scale walls.
The game continues as normal while more and more players become zombies (who are free to attack anyone), but once there are only ten “living” players left, teams are combined and the objective changes, Left 4 Dead style, to reaching an “evac ship” while trying to stay alive.
As for the other stuff, here’s a short rundown (EA’s emphasis, not mine):
Exclusive event challenges with free earnable cosmetics, including Two Legendary Weapon Skins
24 Event Limited premium cosmetics that players can now unlock in one of three ways:Direct purchase for Apex CoinsDirect unlock with Crafting MetalsRandom unlock with Event Apex Packs Additionally, the Event Currency in these packs has been replaced with non-event loot drops, yielding more loot overall
Lifeline Heirloom Set PreviewUnlock all 24 Fight or Fright pack cosmetics during the event and unlock the Lifeline Heirloom set for free
Apex Legends is about to kick off its third season next week with a new character, Crypto, and an overhaul to the game’s Ranked mode. But there’s also a pretty big surprise waiting for players when Season 3 launches on October 1: A new map, called World’s Edge.
Announced in the Season 3 launch trailer, the map seems to have a strong fire-and-ice theme, in keeping with the season’s “Meltdown” title. Since the trailer is an animated cinematic and not actual gameplay, it remains to be seen what the map will actually be like. However, the trailer does suggest it’ll have a moving train. I’d be into that.
Like all previous seasons, Meltdown will come with an all-new battle pass with new Legendary skins and Apex packs, and according to EA, more is coming “all season long.”
Apex Legends added its first new hero, the speedy Octane, early after launch. The electric-fence-dropping Wattson followed at the start of Season Two in July. Since then, there’s been supposed leaks and speculation about the next hero. Most folks believe it will be a sneaky hacker named Crypto, and he seems to have made an early appearance in the game.
As heard through IGN and Eurogamer, a mysterious character has shown up in Apex Legends. Players can spot them by dropping at Singh Labs and entering a bunker. Heading down into the lower levels and breaking through a door reveals the location of a strange individual typing away at a computer. They also have a drone which follows them around. Players need to look quickly, though; after a few moments, the individual flees. Thankfully, recording software is a thing and YouTubers and games sites have footage of the sneaky hacker.
It remains to be seen if and when Crypto will be added to Apex Legends. These small teases resemble the lead up to a hero in another game: Overwatch. The snarky hacker Sombra was the subject of an extended alternate reality campaign that forced players to dig through website code and complete other tasks to learn more. It took a long time before Sombra showed up in the game. Hopefully, the wait for a new Apex Legends character, be it Crypto or anyone, won’t take quite as long.
Apex Legends got a big update today, called “Voidwalker” due to its focus on resident goth character Wraith. It adds updated challenges, limited edition items, changes to the map, and a limited-time mode featuring powerful weapons and minimal armor.
Much like the previous Apex Legends event, which let players play solo, the biggest draw of Voidwalker is the addition of its new mode, “Armed and Dangerous.” Armed and Dangerous restricts weapon types to snipers and shotguns only, and it also reduces the strength and availability of armor and helmets. I immediately had flashbacks to the hours of Shotty Snipers I played in Halo 2, but Apex Legends’ spin on the old formula is even more stressful due to the reduction in defensive gear.
Armed and Dangerous essentially turns every player into a glass cannon, capable of blowing enemies away with just a few pulls of the trigger yet highly vulnerable to the same treatment. The core Apex Legends gameplay loop—loot, ambush, repeat—remains, but it’s accentuated by the increased stakes. High-powered, gold-rarity weapons feature in the mode as regular loot, making encounters tense because you never know when someone might pick you off from across the map with the terrifying Kraber sniper or come around the corner holding the uber-powerful Mastiff shotgun.
I still haven’t found out what’s on the other end of this new portal other than intense and immediate pain
Apex Legends’ previous event themed a part of the map after character Octane, and Voidwalker does the same with Wraith. The small cluster of buildings north of Hydro Dam, now known as Singh Labs, features a huge portal shooting into the sky that fires combatants into the laboratories of Amer Singh, the scientist introduced in the new Voidwalker cinematic who presumably played a part in imbuing Wrath with her teleportation powers. It’s a popular place for players to drop at the beginning of a match both because it’s new and features high-level loot, which in turn makes the interior a bloodbath, especially if a Caustic or Wattson manage to get there first and drop traps.
The event also comes with a number of quality of life changes, including the ability to enable auto-sprint and tweak aim sensitivity settings for every individual scope. Furthermore, SMG type weapons can no longer equip long-range scopes like the 3x HCOG and 2x-4x variable ACOG, eliminating the nuisance of having to manually remove these powerful modifications upon accidentally equipping them to close- and mid-range weapons.
Voidwalker’s Armed and Dangerous mode might not feel as vital as the oft-requested yet sadly time-limited solo mode introduced in the last event, but it does make for a neat, quick diversion from the norm. It’s nice to have a pared down version of the game to run through without having to window shop and weapon swap as much as in regular play, but this convenience comes with a hefty dose of stress that won’t necessarily be missed when it leaves later this month.
Apex Legends’ limited-time solo mode provides an enjoyable change of pace from the frantic, team focused default. It’s a chance to be more tactical. Unfortunately, solo mode is being completely ruined by sneaky players coordinating to make unofficial teams.
Apex’s solo mode, which started on Tuesday and lasts until August 27th, kicks ass. It is so good, offering a delightful change of pace from the squad-focused standard, that it really should be a permanent game mode. You miss out on the complex interplay of various hero characters, but you get to feel like a self-sufficient badass if you secure a high rank or win a match. That can only happen if everyone is on an even playing field. According to community forums like Reddit, that’s no longer the case, as friends have started to team up even when they should be fighting one another.
The core of the problem is how Apex Legends currently handles match selection. If a group of players elect to play a solo game and queue at the same time, there is a chance that all three players are dropped into the same match. I tested this earlier with Kotaku Editor at Large Riley MacLeod and ended up in the same match as him on our first attempt.This exploit makes it incredibly easy for those players to coordinate using chat programs like Discord and plan joint assaults against solo players. It’s led to numerous stories of players losing out to groups that are “teaming.”
“Just went up against 4 guys,” one player said. “Absolutely ridiculous. Can’t see solo mode being a staple mode if this doesn’t get resolved somehow.”
There’s nothing wrong about wanting to play with friends or best them in a battle royale. But the current system in solos makes it far too easy to exploit. Whether that’s teaming up to kill folks or meeting up to shoot each other and artificially increase your damage stats, there are a lot of ways to game the current system.
On Thursday morning, Titanfall was trending on Twitter in the U.S.—not because anything remotely Titanfall related actually happened, but because Fortnite’s new season added mechs.
It’s a hard comparison to resist, now that Titanfall developer Respawn Entertainment is running its own battle royale game in Apex Legends—a game that feels an awful lot like Titanfall 2, just without the series’ signature mechs. To see them adapted in the cartoon wonderland of Fortnite—albeit in a stranger version requiring two players to pilot—must feel like salt in a never-closing wound. Poor Titanfall. Forever beloved by fans and forever spurned by the free market.
If you were to look at the #Titanfall hashtag on Twitter, you’d just see a steady stream of broken hearts:
Over on the Titanfall subreddit, fans are responding with memes hopeful that Fortnite’s move will inspire Respawn to take action.
Or mad that Fortnite has once again come for another game’s lunch.
This is what it feels like to be a fan of The Roots in a Jimmy Fallon world—the best damn band is playing every night, but you’ve got to sit through a bunch of YouTube gags first.
It’s rough to watch the world move on without you. Titanfall…we miss you.
Kotaku Game DiaryDaily thoughts from a Kotaku staffer about a game we’re playing.
I don’t play a ton of shooters, but after getting super obsessed with Apex Legends, I wanted to try Titanfall 2. I also wanted my boyfriend to try Titanfall 2, but I’d always rather play with someone sitting on the couch than online. Me and my boyfriend live about 10 minutes from each other—it would just feel silly to me. Since I had already convinced him to grab the game while it was on sale, this weekend I asked if he wanted to boot it up, just to check it out. We ended up having a wonderful time, and through the insight I gained just from passing the controller, I got farther than I had on my own.
Since I grew up with an older brother, passing a controller back and forth for single-player games has always felt pretty natural to me. Whenever my brother got frustrated or needed to rest his hands, he passed the controller to me. I didn’t often play well, but sometimes by getting a fresh set of eyes (and hands) on things, we could figure out a tough puzzle that eluded him. It was also a great way to learn how to play things. Nothing better than a more experienced player guiding you without judgement.
I had my moments of being a backseat gamer while my boyfriend and I played Titanfall 2—at one point I turned to him while he was futilely trying to climb up a tree and said, “Honey, you gotta do the objective.” At the end of the day, though, having someone to hand the controller to when I couldn’t figure out who the hell kept shooting me was not only a relief; it lead to both of us playing better.
When I played the game on my own, I had kept getting stuck in the same bottlenecks over and over, trying to defeat all the enemies instead of running past them. Playing with my boyfriend, he realized that you didn’t have to kill everyone as long as you kept moving. I’m a pretty stubborn person, so not shooting everyone to death had been anathema to me. I’m not sure I would ever have moved on if it weren’t for my boyfriend graciously taking the controller from me when I got frustrated.
I was glad I was able to help him, too. Titanfall 2’s movement is all about speed and fluidity. My boyfriend doesn’t play as many games as I do, just by virtue of not writing about them for a living, so at times wrapping his head around how to get through environments was challenging for him. Being able to show him how to traverse tricky platforming sections where you were expected to wall run and double jump without much leeway made me feel like I was sharing part of my life with him that I don’t often get to share with anyone.
Playing games for a living can be really isolating. Just finding time to share with someone I love can be hard, especially if I have the weight of an unfinished game hanging over my head. I’m glad I found a way to bring my boyfriend closer to a huge part of my life. I’m also glad that this new avenue for togetherness involved giant robots.
Change has come to King’s Canyon, and even more shocking than the giant dinosaurs that have lumbered onto the map, is that the Mozambique is now worth holding onto.
The Mozambique’s improvement largely seems due to the addition of a new gun attachment, or hop up as they’re called in Apex Legends, called the Hammerpoint. It was added to the game as part of Apex’s second season, which started on July 2. It does additional damage to enemies without a shield and is compatible with the Mozambique.
Apex Legends players have realized that when you combine the Mozambique with the Hammerpoint, the gun gets nasty. If you use another, more powerful gun to chip away at another player’s shield, you can now whip out your Mozambique and finish them off.
The Respawn team hasn’t said that the gun’s stats have changed. So to make the most of the gun, you’ll probably need that attachment, which you can find randomly on the map. Helpfully, Respawn has also changed the way pinging your teammates for hop ups work, making it easier to ask for one if you need it. If you ask your teammates for a hop up and your gun is only compatible with one of them, you’ll call out to ask for that specific hop up instead of just asking for one generally. This is useful when you’re running through an area and looting, as it can be very easy to forget what kinds of guns your teammates have and what they might need. The Mozambique is only compatible with the Hammerpoint, so go ahead and ping away until you get it.
I can’t believe I am typing this but: the next time I hop into Apex Legends, I can’t wait to grab a Mozambique and see what it can do. Now I’m gonna make sure the sky hasn’t turned green.
A lot of Apex players were disappointed with the first season’s battle pass. Rewards were mostly lackluster character and weapon skins. There were no challenges to complete to level up, or emotes or other fun things you could earn. Overall the battle pass didn’t offer much incentive to play more during the season. Season 2 started yesterday, and the new battle pass is largely an improvement.
Respawn’s new battle pass has a broader variety of both free and premium rewards. In addition to character and weapon skins, there are music packs, load screens, and skydiving emotes you can earn. Besides being a greater variety of items than last season, these rewards explore the personality of Apex’s world and characters, but they don’t veer into distracting lore like Fortnite or Overwatch sometimes do. Apex strikes a good balance between deepening the characters so that they all have distinct personalities and giving the players who are here for tightly controlled, technical gameplay new challenges.
The music packs, for instance, are remixes of the main Apex theme based around a particular character. Wattson’s music, which I unlocked last night after getting to level 2 of the battle pass, replaces the music in the game’s lobby, the music you hear during the drop, and the music when you win. Wattson’s music is loud and bombastic, just like the adorable engineer herself. Bloodhound’s music pack, on the other hand, sounds like something you’d hear at the goth club. Mirage’s music sounds like something from Tim Heidecker’s fake butt rock band Dekkar. They’re all in character, feel like fitting rewards for leveling up, and don’t distract from the game.
The same goes for the drop emotes. These can only be used when you jump from the drop ship, so don’t expect any dance parties. I haven’t seen anyone use them yet, possibly because they unlock at level 10, but I can’t wait to grab the soldier Bangalore’s cute salute, Wattson’s ballet-esque swan dive, or Octane’s emote where he runs around in a circle. I don’t even play as Octane, and I want it.
The battle pass also has character-specific loading screens. I can deck out my game with a Mirage emote, music pack and loading screen, and being able to customize my game to feature my favorite character makes me feel even more invested in that character. Who wouldn’t want to see cool art of their favorite character every time they load into a match?.
These new rewards feel much more meaningful to me than character skins. They’re more interesting looking than last season’s, but given that I can’t see my own skin when I’m wearing it, I don’t feel motivated to grind for them. Fans of Caustic seem to like his new Prince of Darkness skin, which make him look like an evil king form a fantasy novel, but overall the skins still feel less interesting than the other rewards.
The challenges, on the other hand, are all about technical skill, but they’re so varied that I don’t feel like a loser for not being able to get a ton of headshots. I just completed a challenge for outliving 300 players, which isn’t a hard feat if you play often. Challenges rotate both daily and weekly, so if you’re not feeling today’s challenges you can come back tomorrow or focus on a weekly challenge instead.
Completing a certain number of challenges is an additional way of earning battle pass experience. In the last season, battle pass experience was tied to just regular experience, meaning that the only way you could level up was by playing a ton. In this season, you’ll probably still have to play a ton, but if you have a string of short games where you aren’t playing well, you can still earn some battle pass experience along the way.
Where the first battle pass was underwhelming, this one makes me remember all the things I loved about the game when I started playing it at launch. It’s just enough of a new spin on the game that it feels fresh, without diluting the strong gameplay or complicating its lore. After spending just a day with the season 2 battle pass, I’m back into Apex Legends in a huge way.