Apex Legends Season 5: An In-Depth Review


Image courtesy of Dot Esports

Alexander Jansiewicz, Staff Writer

Throughout its lifespan, Apex Legends has been continually rising and descending in popularity as each update and patch comes through. As new Seasons make their way into the game, EA casually sponsors popular streamers to play it and try out the new legends and POIs(Point of Interest). As the time passes, Apex Legends grows in popularity for a short time, then wanes as the days pass by, with most of its player base continuing to comprise of sweaty TTV tryhards, semi-pros, pro streamers, and casual players who adore the game. However, Apex Legends Season 5 seemingly shattered this trend. Not only did Respawn Entertainment gain massive sums of revenue as the season was introduced, but its statistics revolving player retention and overall player count has increased significantly. This is most likely due to the numerous introductions of interesting content Respawn has pushed out—a significant accomplishment compared to Fortnite and Warzone, especially in light of COVID-19. Overall, the introduction of these new pieces of content—most notably, quests, Kings Canyon Unearthed, the numerous buffs and nerfs, and the popularization of the Mastiff shotgun—were a massive factor in the game’s rising popularity. 

First off, quests. Added to the introduction of Season 5 through Treasure Packs and lore extensions, these quests add a unique player-versus-environment element to the game, as you go around the map to unearth artifacts for Loba. As the quests continue, you dive yourself into a massive pool of lore and character arcs, most notably between Loba and Revenant. Overall, this provides a significant element to the story of the Apex Legends/Titanfall universe. Rather than having to wait for the next “Stories of the Outlands” to be released on the official Apex Legends YouTube channel, users can experience the stories of the Outlands for themselves. This is a significant factor in the popularization of Season 5 as it helps to broaden the Apex experience for everyone— prominently, those who prefer story-driven PvE battles and experiences. That way, they don’t have to lose to sweaty Diamond and Masters players and have a moment to relax and dive into the deep lore of the Outlands.

To another extension, Kings Canyon Unearthed was a significant factor. This was not only significant as it introduced positive map changes, but also caused quite a bit of controversy. As seen in the Season 5 Trailer, Loba is seen to have exploded Skull Town and Thunderdome, two of the most popular POIs in Kings Canyon. They have instead been replaced with Salvage, a significantly smaller, yet still crazily popular location. Overall, player reception has been mixed. Many veterans of the game (myself included) have expressed discontent with this change. After all, Skull Town and Thunderdome were equivalent (excluding Market and Artillery) to that of Fortnite’s Tilted Towers, as boatloads of players would drop in and create massive multi-squad fights. Another problem was that most veterans felt like one of the most important pieces of Kings Canyon was ripped out for a sub-par location. To hopefully balance the issue, Respawn created even more changes to the top right of the map, having replaced Wetlands with Capacitor and Relay with the Rig. Overall, these significantly helped to improve the top-right of the map, which finally received a much-needed loot update after being neglected for a long time. The increased loot pools within the area helped to make them significantly comparable to such locations as Artillery and Repulsor, but many people still believe that it isn’t a redeeming factor for losing Skull Town and Thunderdome. Still, many of the new changes helped to add a breath of fresh air to the map, considering it went through three Seasons without any significant changes.

Another controversial topic was the numerous buffs and nerfs given to certain legends. Out of all the legends, Mirage gained a very significant boost in his abilities, having received a total rework of his tactical and ultimate. Overall, it significantly helps his team offensively as he adds a significant element of confusion to the opposing team. His passive as well allows for sneaky revives and respawns, adding more team-support than ever to fan-favorite and increasing the number of players who choose to play him. Some other legends also got buffs, such as Bloodhound’s scanning ability (increased scan activity and reduced cooldown) and Caustic’s gas (no longer slows down teammates). However, Pathfinder, ultimately one of the most-picked legends, has received a stab in the back. In the official patch, developers note that “Given the power of quick repositioning in Apex, being able to use Pathfinder’s Grappling Hook multiple times in a fight is both too powerful and muddies combat legibility.” While this makes sense in theory, their application in practice basically screwed over Pathfinder’s legitimacy in all matches, having increased the cooldown from a short 15 seconds to a whopping 35 seconds. Many fans, particularly Pathfinder mains, expressed their discontent as Respawn also released a contradictory Pathfinder Edition—a pack that gives a new Rambo-like skin for pathfinder, 1000 Apex coins, a new badge, and a new charm for twenty dollars. In the official YouTube video, many were angry at this contradiction. One user especially notes “They didn’t just kill him, they humiliated him as well…” Another, mentions “When the cooldown is longer than the trailer”. While the intentions were clearly in the right place, the execution fell significantly short, as the nerf of Pathfinder’s Grappling Hook cooldown ultimately vanished his combative ability.

Last, but not least, the Mastiff was one of the most significant changes found in the game. As mentioned in the official Season 5 Patch Notes, the Mastiff was swapped with the Peacekeeper, having now changed to an ordinary weapon rather than a legendary care-package weapon. Accordingly, it has received notable power downgrades to represent its new role among all the other weapons. Overall, the damage, headshot multiplier, and fire rate received healthy decreases, while maximum shell count, blast pattern scale, and blast pattern distances have increased to compensate for the changes. Overall, it helps to make the Mastiff a more skill-based shotgun, rewarding users for being able to use their shots well to get the upper hand. So far, this is a massive change that is extremely positive. While it is still unnerving to see the Mastiff be in typical loot pools rather than a care package, Respawn’s rework of the Mastiff is a significant plus to the experience of Apex Legends, as they continue to reward players for having good mechanical skills, rather than letting random-number generation to decide the victor of the game. Even I find this change to be fascinating, as I find myself needing to continually work on my Mastiff aim so I don’t miss desired shots.

So, what do you think about the newest changes? Overall, I think the healthy balance of changes allowed the game to be more polished. If you disagree, we’d love to hear your comment below!