Video Game Reviews

Apex Legends: Ascension–to Olympus

The seventh season of Apex is here, bringing with it a veritable cornucopia of new content, including a new map, a vehicle for that map, and a new character. While all of this was expected, it was amazing to see it drop all at once. 

About like this…

I have to say, now that the holiday event is in full swing, this is probably my favorite season so far. I played a fair amount of Boosted, but as the season progressed, I ended up playing less and less, until I was only playing the occasional match on the weekends. Ascension has managed to reinvigorate my love of Apex in a way that I really didn’t think was possible.

I figured I would end up doing what I did last season, but I’m still enthralled several weeks after launch, and I don’t seem to show any signs of slowing down. While I’m still not the best player, I have my fair share of great moments–and this season is all about great moments.

Home of the Gods

Olympus is the most recent map to grace Apex Legends, and boy-howdy is it amazing. The city of Olympus is a massive utopia floating above the planet Psamathe. It’s bright, vibrant, and unapologetically cool.

Approximately THIS cool.

Unlike Kings Canyon and Worlds Edge, everything on Olympus is manmade. Gone are the large stone walls that divided the previous maps. Instead, Olympus is segmented by open sky or the occasional colossal metal tube.

I can’t begin to describe how much I love this map. I’ve never been a huge fan of Worlds Edge. When it launched, I thought it was a bit meh, but it is growing on me… slowly. 

Olympus, on the other hand, hits every note just right, and is a blast to play. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but I’ll give you a quick rundown on some of my favorite aspects of the map, as well as some things I find irksome.

Pros:

  • It’s beautiful. Like… just incredible to behold at times
  • There are large sections of the map that are inside, or under, other sections of the map 
  • The locations are incredibly varied, making each match flow well
  • Somehow it’s big and small at the same time… not sure how they did that. 
  • The locations are dynamic compared to the previous maps where locations often felt like clones of one another.
  • The grow towers spin
  • There’s a lot of open space, so sniping is front and center
  • Did I mention how pretty it was? I probably did…

Cons:

  • The grow towers spin (I both like and dislike this depending on how a fight is going)
  • You can’t tell where enemy footsteps are coming from because the enemy could be below you or way above you. 
  • There’s a lot of open space, so it’s easy to get sniped
  • There are a lot of places to fall off the map–watch your step!
  • Seriously. I’ve fallen off the map too many times to not make this two bullet points. 

Three Pronged Spear

The Trident is Apex’s first vehicle and, honestly, I’m underwhelmed. It’s fine. It can get you from place to place, but I didn’t really see the need for it. It can be fun to barrel into another team and catch them with their pants down…

…but, unfortunately, these moments are few and far between

My main issue with the Trident is how loud it is. I feel like everyone on the map can hear you the moment you start it up. Admittedly, most of the time people tend to leave you alone if you speed by on a Trident (usually they’ll take a couple of pot shots at you, but it’s rarely that bad), but getting ambushed when you have to slow down–and dying before you get a chance to fight back–is more than mildly infuriating.

While I think it was a neat idea, and actually pretty well executed, I’ll stick to moving on foot, thank you…

Unless the circle is, like, really far away.

On the Prowler for an R-99

This season has seen the return of the R-99 to the regular lineup of weapons available on the map, for which I am eternally grateful. It’s one of my favorite weapons, and I missed it dearly. There is nothing quite like having a fully-kitted ’99 and mowing down everyone and everything that moves. 

The Prowler, on the other hand, has been elevated to the position of care package weapon, and is a force to be reckoned with. Much like the R-99, its accuracy and rapid fire when fully kitted cannot be underestimated. While I’ve only gotten to use it a handful of times, it has always been a deciding factor in those matches. 

Horizon: Zero G

Horizon (AKA: Mary Somers) is the most recent addition to the Apex pantheon. She’s a Scottish astrophysicist who was sucked into a black hole but managed to escape at the last second.

…everyone assumed she was dead

Though she seems a wee bit scatterbrained, she is a formidable combatant.

While I still prefer Rampart as my main, I quite enjoy the occasional sojourn with this gravity-defying legend. 

Her kit includes:

Gravity Lift: She throws a device that reverses gravity in a small area, lifting any legends up to thirty meters into the air and giving them a boost as they leave the area of effect. While it does make some noise, it’s pretty quiet compared to other abilities, making it perfect for ambushing enemies who thought they were safe on the high ground. 

Black Hole (N.E.W.T): Deploys a localized black hole that pulls in nearby legends and hits them with a gravitation blast at the end. What’s nice about this is that it even works through walls, allowing you to box enemies out or in depending on how you want to use it. Be careful, though, as it does take time to warm up once it hits the ground… oh, and it can also be destroyed by enemy fire. 

Spacewalk: Removes the movement penalty for falling. This allows you to move more quickly after falling a great distance. Perfect for getting the drop on someone instead of being riddled with bullets while you reel from a fall. 

These abilities allow Horizon a level of vertical map traversal that other legends just can’t compare to. She’s basically the Octane of verticality. This makes her very powerful on maps like Worlds Edge and Olympus where there are plenty of ups and downs. While her Black Hole isn’t at Caustic-levels of area control, it does give her a distinct advantage during indoor encounters. Even her gravity lift can be used as a semi-effective means of crowd control if you place it in front of a doorway. 

Overall, she is a great addition to the relentlessly quirky legends we’ve come to know and love.

Final Round

Ascension is a bold step forward for Apex Legends. It brought forth an entire new map, it dabbled in vehicular manslaughter, and brought us a new legend straight outta a black hole. While there is definitely room for more growth this season, I’m pleased with what I’m seeing. Hopefully the team at respawn can continue to bring us amazing new content with every consecutive season. 

I’m giving Ascension two thumbs way, way up… as I once again fall off the map to the thunderous laughter of my enemies and the consternation of my allies. 

 

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