Last week, I was fortunate enough to go hands-on with the brand new Arenas Mode in Apex Legends and let me tell you, the game is about to be shaken up.
Now, I’m certainly no Apex legend myself and this event definitely showed me that. However, playing Arenas after a long hiatus from the game has certainly piqued my interest back into the series.
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So, what is Apex Legends’ new Arenas Mode?
Apex Legends’ battle royale has been a staple in the scene since it launched back in 2019.
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Its slick gunplay, interesting characters and their range of abilities and sweeping innovations have ensured that it has remained a mainstay for fans of the genre. The new Arenas Mode looks to shake that up, however.
Arenas is a permanent addition to the game and is a 3 vs 3 arena shooter, as you’d expect, which is compromised of up to nine rounds.
Players squad up in teams of three, across one of two new custom maps, designed especially for this mode, and three from the battle royale (one from each map).
From there, it’s a simple Team Deathmatch and a fight to be the last team standing across the rounds. The first team to pick up a minimum of three victories with a margin of two clear wins is the overall victor.
What’s going to feel familiar to Apex fans?
Battle royale players will still be able to use all of their favourite heroes in Apex Legends’ Arenas Mode, along with all of their abilities, however, the amount of uses of each ability is limited. More on that later.
The gunplay is still just as slick as you’d expect, environments well designed and all of the weapons still the same.
How will Apex Legends Arenas Mode change up the formula?
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In many different, and very clever ways.
RNG has been all but eliminated from the Arenas Mode. There’s no more scavenging around the map, looking for the best guns or attachments, instead, the supply bins in the arenas are limited to materials for players to spend.
There is one giant airdrop that comes during each round of combat, however, it’s revealed what’s coming in the drop before each round and teams need to make a tactical choice of whether to try and plunder the weapons, in doing so exposing themselves, or not.
Instead of praying to the RNG gods that you’ll find the weapons you need to lead you to victory, players begin each round in a virtual shop. This is where things start to get interesting, and very tactical.
Player’s are greeted with a storefront that contains weapons, upgrades, consumables and, most importantly, abilities.
Each round, players are given a set amount of materials to spend how they like. They can choose to focus solely on guns and attachments and go in all guns blazing, they can choose to spend less on weapons and more on consumables for their own longevity or they can chuck a load of their currency on purchasing more ability uses.
This allows players to tactically adapt as they play, something which the devs were very keen on emphasising. As the rounds progress, you really start to figure out your oppositions tactics, meaning as you enter the shop at the start of the following round, you can react to their plays.
Not only this, the amount of materials players get to spend ramps up each round, helping to really give the mode a feeling of growing intensity.
Tactical and Competitive Gameplay
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As stated, game developer Chad Grenier and his team were keen to emphasise just how competitive and tactical this mode could be.
The custom maps are each designed in such a way that they will help to aid the combat and every map has unique POIs that help with planning.
The addition of the shop also definitely helps with this – the lack of RNG really makes things feel fair, with no side gaining any lucky advantages. Instead, it’s about resource management and strategy as you figure out what loadout is best for each match, with the ability to adapt on the fly.
This mode could really propel Apex forwards in the competitive esports scene. When speaking to content creators and press, Grenier stated that they were talking to the ALGS (Apex Legends Global Series) and that they “liked what they had seen.”
Overall preview impressions
I came away from the hands-on demo impressed.
Everything in the mode felt well thought out and very nicely balanced. Each of the maps was extremely different and allowed for some really strategic plays.
I’m really excited to see where this goes, but overall, the future is looking good for Apex Legends.