What Parents Need to Know About Apex Legends
More than 130 million people have played Apex Legends since its launch in 2019, making it one of the world’s most popular video games. It’s a fun, squad-based combat game with an emphasis on speed, teamwork, and big personalities – drawing gamers of all ages to engage in the frantic battle royale-style gameplay.
Odds are your teen is among the millions logging in to play with their friends, but it can be challenging to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of a popular game. Read on for everything you need to know about Apex Legends.
What is Apex Legends?
Apex Legends is a first-person, online multiplayer game published by Electronic Arts and developed by Respawn Entertainment. Set on a distant planet in the aftermath of a galactic war, players take on the role of a characters fighting in huge gladiatorial games for the entertainment of unseen settlers. Players engage in team battles across a variety of locations while searching for supplies and weapons, including machine guns, rifles, and explosives. The map area decreases over time, forcing teams closer and closer to each other, until only one team remains.
Players in the core game form teams of three, made up of pre-designed characters, A.K.A Legends. Legends each have their own personalities, abilities, skills, and boosts – making them feel like fully fleshed out characters. For example, Octane is a young daredevil who got into an accident and now has bionic legs. As a result, he moves and heals quickly. However, if the Octane moves too far from supporting teammates these advantages are offset. All of the Legends have unique hooks that change the gameplay and allow a team to work strategically.
Teams can comprise groups of friends who want to play together, or individual players can choose to be randomly assigned to online squads. Up to 20 teams battle one another in a variety of maps that include towering mountains, cityscapes, industrial installations, and abandoned settlements, each of which includes roaming alien wildlife.
Apex Legends has quickly grown into a spectator sport of sorts, providing visual and audible entertainment through gameplay as well as in-game characters’ antics and quips. Over the past three years, Apex Legends has added a host of new play modes, maps, and characters, with more every few months.
Is Apex Legends Appropriate for Kids?
Apex Legends is rated T (Teen 13+) with Content Descriptors for Blood and Violence and Interactive Elements that include Users Interact (meaning players can communicate online if they choose) and In-Game Purchases (meaning the game offers the ability to exchange real-world currency for in-game currency or items).
Many parents may be interested in the fact that Apex Legends is a first-person, team-based shooter, however the visuals are highly stylized, giving it a futuristic and unrealistic vibe. The Rating Summary for Apex Legends goes on to say, “Frenetic firefights are accompanied by blood-splatter effects, realistic gunfire, and large explosions. Players can also perform various finishing moves on weakened enemies (e.g., stabbing them with a knife; beating opponents down with fists; electrocuting characters). These attacks are often depicted close-up and/or from the victim’s perspective.”
Playing Apex Legends Online
Like many battle royale games, Apex Legends is played online with others. Players can either team up with friends to battle it out or sign on individually and get grouped with random teammates. Unlike similar team-based games, Apex Legends does not require direct person-to-person communication via voice chat to make a team effective, although it always remains an option. Instead, players can use the “Ping system,” an entirely unique mode of communication.
Players can use the Ping system to communicate without speaking to one another directly. Using specific button presses, players can ping their teammates with visual icons that communicate directions, weapon locations, enemies, and more. Experienced players use pings to engage in whole conversations that allow teams to work together against enemies.
Many parents share reservations about their kids communicating openly online. The Ping system solves that issue by allowing players to collaborate in a proactive manner, without potentially inappropriate interactions with others.
Where Can I Play Apex Legends?
The game is available for Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, as well as mobile platforms Android and iOS. Apex Legends is cross-play enabled for PC, PlayStation, Switch, and Xbox, meaning that players who own different devices can play with one another.
How Much Does Apex Legends Cost?
Apex Legends is free but, like many free-to-play games, it offers cosmetic items for purchase. These include weapons, decorations (aka “skins”), as well as outfits, short victory animations, emotes and quips for specific characters.
In some cases, these cosmetics can be unlocked through free gameplay, but some individual items can only be obtained through the game’s online store. They are purchased using Apex Coins, which are tokens that can be purchased with real money. Players can also buy Apex Packs and Battle Passes.
Apex Packs are loot boxes that yield random cosmetics and other goodies. They come in different tiers, with the more expensive packs more likely to yield high value in-game items.
Battle Passes are released for purchase roughly every three months, often with a new Season, in which new maps, modes, characters, and cosmetics are introduced. The Battle Pass gives players new goodies right off the bat and allows them to unlock new progress paths. This includes opportunities to earn extra items as your kids achieve various challenges. Players who do not buy the Battle Pass can also earn cosmetics, but are blocked from earning certain items.
It’s important to remember that cosmetic items don’t impact the actual gameplay. There is no “pay-to-win” in Apex Legends. They are there for players who like to individualize their character, and to show other players their level of progression.
Virtually all video game devices include parental controls to help you manage what your kids play, with whom, when and for how long, and whether they can spend money on new games and in-game purchases. ESRB provides step-by-step parental control guides at ParentalTools.org.
It’s also helpful to keep in mind that you can mute voice conversations and text messages between players, and in the case of Apex Legends, your kids can still communicate via the ping system.