Apex Legends is free to play, meaning that it derives revenue through microtransactions. The controversial business model is often looked down upon when not done right, which has been mostly the case in recent years. Apex Legends, strangely enough, does it both right and wrong at the same time.
The new battle royale offering from Respawn Entertainment has a ton of cosmetics for you to unlock through Apex Packs, which can be earned by either leveling up or pulling out your wallet. There is just too much to unlock, becoming even more overwhelming when accounting for the entire playable roster.
The problem comes when looking into the quality of the said cosmetics. They are clumsily arranged and most of the times downright amateurish, making you question if decking your favorite character in new wares is even worth it.
In addition to character and weapon skins, Apex Legends explores a number of other cosmetic avenues. These include banner frames and poses, intro and kill quips, finishers, and stat trackers to showoff on your profile. They are all ranked between common (white), rare (blue), epic (pink), and legendary (gold) rarities.
For a player, the dream would be to unlock everything legendary as soon as possible. However, a closer look will make you realize that some of the non-legendary cosmetics actually look better than their legendary counterparts.
Heading to the armory will point out how epic weapon skins are more flashier with bright colors and special animations. The legendary weapon skins, for whatever reason, have no special animations to begin with. The one main differential is the unique models of legendary weapon skins that only become dull when compared with their epic versions.
It is the same case with character skins as well. Some like Caustic and Bloodhound have amazing legendary models but without any special effects. Others like Bangalore and Mirage fall back even further with pretty underwhelming legendary models. In most cases, you will feel that the epic skins should have been legendary in the first place or at least the legendary skins could have been much better.
However, you can still bear with the character and weapons skins. It is the rest of the cosmetics that you cannot. Without sugarcoating it in anyway, the banner frames and poses look absolutely dreadful. The artwork reminds you of free-to-play games from ten years back that started out with a small budget. They are also so meaningless designed and in most cases have nothing to do with the character in question.
Take Gibraltar for example. His banners go from a shark to a motorcycle to something that looks akin to a Pac-Man stage. For Pathfinder, if you are interested in legendary banners, choose between disco balls, trash cans, or mini spaceships.
It is also worth nothing that not all characters have legendary banners and poses, but what high rarity they do have comes with animations — and they are ghastly. They look like someone searched for particular images on the internet and cropped them into the game. You will eventually have to pick one for yourself, if you have not already unlocked some for free, and consider it normal when you scroll down to find something that looks actually decent.
The borderline lazy approach also effects one of the best things to do in Apex Legends, finishing downed opponents in style. You can unlock different finishers for every character but as pointed out before, they are hardly convincing. Why would you want to spend so much on a Bangalore finisher where she just steals a gun when her default — free — finisher has her nonchalantly blasting enemies in their faces before grabbing the ejected shell from the air. Caustic, despite having toxic chemicals on hand, just beats his opponent with bare hands.
Then there is the matter of arrangement. Apex Legends apparently has a hard time differentiating between intro and kill quips where the latter only has common varieties but the former has rare ones. Why not treat them the same and either give both rare quips or none at all?
Considering how microtransactions are the sole revenue generators for Apex Legends, it is rather bizarre that Respawn Entertainment paid such little attention in this regard. The game has already topped 25 million players and with such amazing gameplay, retention would not be a problem at all. Being convinced to purchase more cosmetics, however, would dwindle fast if Respawn Entertainment does not start bringing out better varieties.
With the first season just around the corner, we can only hope that there is something special in store. The upcoming Battle Pass will add new characters, weapons, and loot; meaning more cosmetics overall. If not now, the developer should be ready to update the quality of cosmetics down the road.