Apex Legends has inserted itself into the premier battle royale discussion. Another relatively recent addition to the battle royale market is Blackout in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. Here are how the games differ.
While Apex Legends was only released a few days ago on February 4, the popularity of the game has made it feel like it has been part of the battle royale scene for much longer.
Another recent premium addition to the battle royale market was the much-hyped Call of Duty Blackout. Like Apex Legends, it was received widespread acclaim upon release.
Given that their respective releases have been met with much success, there's likely one question on many players' minds: what is the difference between the two?
Before getting into the mechanics of the game, let's look at the cosmetics.
There are a lot of Blackout characters to choose from. These range from Blackout-based characters to those seen in multiplayer and zombies. One thing all of these have in common is that they are purely cosmetic. None of the characters, other than perhaps being more visible than others, have any attributes that affect gameplay.
The legends, the characters in Apex Legends, are in complete contrast to Blackout. The game is based around these legends and they significantly affect gameplay. Each legend has unique abilities (perks for those who talk in CoD lingo). These vary from being able to call in a care package to making a custom zip-line.
In contrast, Blackout does have perks but these are single-use items that are found looting.
All battle royale games have some type of mechanic where you drop into the map. H1Z1 would place you in a certain area before you parachute down. PUBG has a plane going over the map on a different angle each game with a simple parachuting drop. Furthermore, Fortnite has the interesting concept of a "battle bus" that you glide out of.
Blackout's attempt at producing a unique dropping experience involves a wingsuit. With several helicopters flying over a particular angle of the map, you drop to the floor using said wingsuit. This allows you to travel large distances with ease or drop straight down quickly.
Expanding the dropping process isn't an easy task. However, Apex Legends has added a couple of new features.
Firstly, the squad of three is tied to the "jumpmaster" who controls where you go. There is the option to deviate from this but this requires selecting it.
Secondly, players can suggest areas for the jumpmaster to drop, in an effort to add some cohesion between the team.
Additionally, there is also a supply ship. This flies above ground and has premium loot. Of course, this comes with the caveat of almost certainly having a lot of competition for it. Nonetheless, it is an interesting addition to the game which adds another dimension of strategy.
The unnamed Blackout map is a fairly traditional FPS map. It combines open and closed spaces, along with varying types of land. The key locations are based on multiplayer maps from previous Black Ops games.
In comparison, the Apex Legends map, named King's Canyon, is an interesting blend greenery, futuristic structures, and massive hills. The difference in distance between the low and high points of the map adds an interesting dynamic to the game.
While the Blackout map is by no means big, it is bigger than King's Canyon.
However, Apex Legends only has 60 players spawn into the game. This is compared to the traditional 100 of other battle royale games. Consequently, per player, the map feels a similar size to that of Blackout.
Currently, probably to the infancy of the release, Apex Legends only has one mode available. Squads comprised of three players drop into the map.
Conversely, Blackout has solo, duo and squad modes available. On top of this, single players can participate in duos and squads. Teams of two and three can also compete in squads.
The process and features of reviving a downed teammate can make a big difference to the enjoyment of the game. Apex Legends provides new revive features in an effort to not only make the game different but less frustrating.
For example, when a player has been finished off, you can grab their player banner. Take this to one of the many respawn points and your dead teammate will be put back into the game! This potentially removes the frustration of dying early and having to watch the remainder of the game.
There is also a knockout down shield that can be used. This is an item found looting which allows you to activate a shield when you're knocked down. So far it appears to be a welcome addition as it makes it harder for opponents to finish you.
Reviving, in general, takes six seconds to do. Compared to other battle royale games, it's a safer process than most. This is due to the increased health you have in comparison.
Blackout also allows quick revives as they take just a few seconds. However, it is far easier to finish a downed opponent.
In Blackout, you spawn with 150 health. The consumable, single-use trauma kits, boost you to 200. Then, of course, there is the addition of varying levels of armor.
The strength, or over-strength, of armor has been well documented in Blackout. This changed the game so much that Treyarch released a patch nerfing the Level 3 variant of armor.
Armor plates, a consumable item that repairs armor, were also recently introduced. These were added to the game because a lot of players felt the incentive to camp was too great. Campers would retain the benefit of full armor, while, on the other hand, players getting into lots of gun-battles would lose their armor. Eventually, those who had retained the armor would win the final fight as a result of this.
Healing is achieved with either first aid or medkits. They heal 25 and 50 health respectively. Of course, the numbers themselves aren't comparable to Apex.
Full health in Apex Legends is 100. The armor if you will, is added by shields. Even at full health and with a potential 100 health worth of shield, it feels like it requires a lot more shots to kill someone on Apex Legends. This works the other way round too, though.
As the game is new and healing is a little more complicated here are the healing items available and what they do.
Even with Level 3 Blackout armor, health feels more robust in Apex Legends.
Guns and their shooting mechanics are pretty similar between the two games. Attachments and the process of adding them to a gun are also alike.
As of writing, there are 19 guns available on Apex Legends. Comparatively, Blackout has 28 different guns available. It should be noted new guns have been added to Blackout in updates since its release.
Furthermore, whereas Blackout has traditional shooting mechanics and bullets, Apex Legends, in comparison, is more Halo-esque.
Item rarity also differs between the two games, at least how it's distinguished. Items are the same color throughout Blackout with the only thing that's gold being a fully attached gun.
In contrast items ranging from body armor to attachments glow different colors in Apex Legends. These different colors not only signify rarity but how good they are in comparison to the same item but in a different color.
Whether players prefer the levels of rarity or the more simplistic Blackout style, is open to debate. Nevertheless, it does add another dimension to the Apex Legends gameplay. This is discussed further in the link above this section.
When entering a Blackout game you have no idea how good the competition is. You could be in a lobby full of pros or noobs! Unless someone is watching you after being eliminated then your kills aren't apparent either.
However, in Apex Legends, much more emphasis is put on the best player, the champion! Before each game starts a champion is named. The champion is the best player from a previous game. This gives you additional incentive to perform well to get your name up in lights.
Furthermore, during the game, there are huge banners hanging from various points of the map. These show the players with the most kills. Another reason to feel good about dominating the game!