A new Battle Royale game has entered the fray, and already it’s chipping away at Fortnite’s monopoly on the genre.
Apex Legends surprise-released on 5 February, and 25 million players gave it a go in the first week of release, beating the record set by Fortnite, which took two weeks to hit 10 million.
The buzz around the new release is loud, and as word gets around, more and more players will be giving the free-to-play game a go, jumping ship from Fortnite in the process.
Consternation around these competitive games remains, particular when such young players are involved, so here is a handy parents’ guide to Apex Legends, so you can make an informed decision on whether your child should be playing the game.
What is Apex Legends?
Apex Legends is a free-to-play spin-off from the Titanfall series of video games.
It’s a Battle Royale game, similar in design to Fortnite, but with one notable difference – it’s more of a team-based affair.
Players can team up into small squads consisting of up to three players, to enter into a match capped at 60 players.
Players on the same squad work together to defeat the others, until only one remains.
To win the game and be the last team standing, players can use a range of modern military weapons such as pistols, sniper rifles, automatic guns, frag grenades and knives.
What is Apex Legends’ age rating?
PEGI – the European content system that decides age rating on every video game released in the UK – rates Apex Legends as suitable for those aged 16 and above.
This is down to the game’s “sustained depictions of violence towards human characters”.
For comparison, PEGI’s rating of Fortnite suggests it is suitable for players aged 12 and above, due to its “mild violence”.
PEGI also note that the game “offers in-game items which may be purchased by the player using real-world money.”
How gory is the game?
Despite its weapons-based combat, the blood and gore of Apex Legends is kept to a fairly modest minimum.
According to PEGI, “successful hits from a firearm will degrade the health a character over time and is indicated by some splattering of blood and a reduction in the characters health gauge.”
The game does include special, take-down finishing moves that trigger cutaway camera angles to show off “the best examples of realistic looking violence”, but PEGI says that although these manoeuvres are “powerful looking” the effects “are not classed as very strong violence.”
Is it more or less violent than Fortnite?
It’s safe to say Apex Legends is a Battle Royale game aimed at players slightly older than those who enjoy Fortnite.
While not massively more violent than Fortnite, the presence of blood splatters when dealing damage and the inclusion of finishing moves does make Apex Legends a slightly more mature game, as highlighted by PEGI’s older age guidelines.
It’s also a game that’s not as cartoonish and colourful as Fortnite, instead presenting more realistic graphics which may make it seem more violent in the eyes of some parents.
How do the microtransactions work?
Video game microtransactions allow players to spend real-world money on in-game benefits, and it’s how so-called ‘free-to-play’ games make their money.
Apex Legends features them, but EA have confirmed that “in Apex Legends, we don’t sell any items that offer a gameplay advantage.”
Apex Legends’ in-game currency is known as ‘Apex Coins’, bought with real-world money, and then traded in-game to purchase Apex Packs (packs of cosmetic items or crafting currency), items in the Shop, and new Legends (playable characters).
No money needs to be spent on the game. EA says that “no player will have an advantage based on how much they have spent”, and confirms that “cosmetics and new characters […] can also be earned.”
For more information on Apex Legends’ microtransactions, head to ea.com/en-gb/games/apex-legends/about/frequently-asked-questions
How can I stop my child spending on Apex Legends?
Steps can be taken to prevent your child from purchasing microtransactions in the game.
Parents can prevent their children from running up unwanted bills by ensuring that no credit card is associated with their account or console.
If your child’s console of choice is an Xbox One or PlayStation 4, it is also possible to create a specific child account which will prevent them from registering a credit card.
Parents who share their console with a child can password protect their account, and prevent them from making unwanted purchases.
Be aware that if your child uses an adult account and purchases in-game content, parents may not be able to claim a refund.