Apex Legends season 5 has ticked a lot of boxes, making necessary adjustments to characters, revamping the original map back into play, and adding a high-tier character in Loba. It's great to see Respawn working hard to keep Apex Legends fresh and fun, and the onset of season 5 drew me back into the game after my affections had drifted elsewhere (ehem - Warzone).
But there's one thing that Apex Legends debuted in season 5 that just isn't working, and, honestly, it should come as no real surprise. Loba's "The Broken Ghost" Season Quest has all the potential to add another layer to the title by deepening the ties between Apex and the Titanfall series, but so far it's been uninspired and, quite frankly, too easy.
I suppose that's just the nature of live-service battle royale games; the constant adjustments and fine-tuning to the core game are the norm while any additions that lay outside of that purview are, at best, an intriguing (but fleeting) distraction and, at worst, a jarring non-sequitur. I don't think the Season Quests are quite that bad, but I do think they need some serious improvement – whether that comes as the season progresses remains to be seen.
Despite the uninspired addition of Quests, Apex Legends season 5 has done a lot of good, especially when it comes to making much-needed adjustments to the growing roster of Legends. Let's take a look at what works (I can't say Loba enough) before expanding upon what doesn't (it's her Quests).
Loba is life
Loba is a fantastic addition to Apex Legends who immediately shook up casual gameplay and the high-tier competitive meta. And that's saying something, as the last two legends to drop into the arena, Crypto and Revenant, sit pretty low on most player's tier lists and aren't really must-have members of any team. Loba has a unique combination of support and attack abilities that offer her unparalleled map movement (especially in the face of Pathfinder's nerf) and a tactical advantage that's crucial in sticky situations.
Her jumpdrive ability gives her more mobility than Wraith's phase and more precision than Pathfinder's grappling hook. I've used it to gain verticality, jump ahead of my team to scout an area, and disorient a team descending upon me in a valley. Sure, there's a delay, but if you can master strafing or otherwise confusing enemies while throwing Loba's bracelet, you'll find it exceedingly useful.
Loba's Black Market Boutique ultimate is exactly the kind of thing you need in a closed-quarters firefight. Picture this: you're holding down a building, with traps at every entrance, but there are open windows leaving you vulnerable and your ammo is dwindling, so those pot-shots at a strafing Wraith are just wasteful. Plus, an enemy Crypto has just EMP-ed your entire team and there's not a shield cell in sight. Enter Loba, who saunters in with all the swagger of every woman I've been too scared to ask out, and drops her ultimate right in the center of the room, giving you free reign to all the loot in the area that you can't reach.
You'd be hard pressed to find another Legend whose abilities are an amalgamation of support and attack characters and whose ultimate is so clutch. Loba is simply *chef's kiss*. And that's even taking her rather large hitbox into account.
Nerfs and buffs for the greater good
Nerfs and buffs are scary territory for developers, as they run the risk of alienating huge swaths of the player base with a millisecond change to a cooldown or the minor adjustment of a hitbox. But the latest patch notes for season 4 have given us a litany of things to celebrate – unless you're a Pathfinder main.
First up: finally, Mirage has a purpose. The motor-mouthed "holographic trickster" didn't really have a role on any Apex squad – until now. Respawn has re-tooled him entirely, changing up the way his tactical and ultimate function while giving him some serious support cred. His adjusted tactical now allows you to control Mirage's decoy for 60 seconds, which I can imagine becoming a god tier ability in the right hands. And Mirage now cloaks while using a respawn beacon and when reviving a teammate, which gives him some serious value on the support side of things.
Caustic has also had a major adjustment, pushing him up many players' tier lists. Now, friendly players will not be slowed down in Caustic's gas, which means you can hold down a building with ease.
Pathfinder mains may be sobbing in their gaming chairs, but Respawn's adjustments to the perpetually cheery robot were a necessity. His grappling hook was too damn overpowered, and while the dramatic increase in its cooldown may be a bit too long, now I won't have to try and gun-down a Pathfinder soaring overhead like a spider monkey on Adderall. And for that, I'm grateful.
A few other adjustments to Legends are more minor, but there's a major Octane re-tool on its way that, if done in the same vein as Mirage, will be a game changer.
The Broken Quest
I'll be the first to applaud Apex Legends for its great world building and how Respawn has tied its lore into the Titanfall series. I'll happily accept opportunities to expand upon that lore in-game, knowing full well it's a difficult task in a battle royale. That's where any sort of PvE or limited-time game mode steps in – it gives us a chance to explore these characters and their world more. But The Broken Ghost? It ain't it, sweetie. At least not yet.
The Broken Ghost gives us a chance to explore the feud between Loba and Revenant even further – and may even give us an opportunity to resolve it. Loba and Revenant are the first two Legends to have some actual, certifiable beef between them, and it's great that Respawn isn't passing on a chance to flesh it out. Add that to reports that players may be searching for the components to build a Titanfall character named Ash, and you've officially got my attention.
Unfortunately, the way the Quest has played out thus far leaves much to be desired. First, you have to find treasure packs while playing regular rounds of Apex Legends, and you need to collect a certain amount to participate in a Hunt when it unlocks. However, you can only get one pack per day - a ploy I understand but still inherently dislike. After a few days of playing Red Dead 2, I realized the first leg of the Quest's Hunt had opened up, so I had to go back and "catch up" on the treasure packs by buying them for 25 Apex Coins apiece.
Then there's the Hunt, or lack thereof. You drop into Kings Canyon at night and are quickly attacked by prowlers. Playing it solo certainly made it a bit more difficult, but with three lives and a rather paltry amount of enemies, you can easily get through this mission as an even passable Pathfinder player. I can't imagine how boring it would have been if I went in with two other teammates - even if they scale up the amount of enemies, word on the forums is it's too damn easy with a full squad. The first Hunt was over before I had a chance to really understand what I was doing and what it could mean, ultimately making it a bit of a bummer.
Could the Hunts get harder as The Broken Ghost continues? It seems likely, and I certainly hope so, as right now this PvE mode is little more than a bizarre tangent for a great battle royale title.
For more, check out all the biggest new games of 2020 to watch out for.