Apex Legends: The Hunt Begins

Yesterday marked the release of the hotly anticipated (by me, at least) first Hunt in Apex Legends. Hunts are short, cooperative missions that can be played by one to three players. Seeing as I’m not usually much of a ‘player vs. player’ guy, I’ve really been looking forward to these Hunts; naturally I jumped into the first one at the earliest opportunity.

The mission is pretty straightforward: you’re dropped into a zone and have to reach a certain point within an eight-minute time limit. Along the way, there are wolf-like enemies called prowlers that you have to fight off. You start with a Mozambique and a P2020, a level one shield, and a few healing items. You can also scavenge the area for more supplies.

All you’ve got to do is reach your destination, briefly defend a drill, and then reach a dropship to extract. You’ve got eight minutes to reach your target, and then another minute and a half to get to the ship after you’ve got what you need. It’s really that simple. And that’s… a bit disappointing.

Don’t get me wrong–I know Apex is, first and foremost, a PvP game, and I don’t expect them to pour a ton of extra work into a co-op experience (especially one that will only run for one season). But I was hoping for something a little more involved than the bare-bones experience we got. The map is small, the enemies lack variety, and it’s over too quickly to be satisfying.

Again, I get that this kind of mode isn’t the focus of Apex, but I think they could do a lot more with it than what they’ve done here. For instance, let’s compare this with Overwatch–I haven’t played that game in a while, but I remember the special event they put out for its first anniversary. Players got a PvE event where they had to team up to move a payload through a map infested with enemy robots, and it was awesome! It was a decent length, it was challenging, it was fun–it was the kind of thing you’d want to play over and over. This Hunt? I mean… it was fine, but I doubt I’ll do it again now that I’ve got the initial reward.

That said, this is the very first Hunt, and there’s going to be a new one every week for the majority of Battle Pass. There’s a lot of time for the developers to tweak this game type and make it a lot more engaging for the player–and I think there’s a few major improvements that would get me excited about Hunts again.

First off: length. This experience was just too short for my taste. It’s over and done in under ten minutes. Now, having quick matches can be good–you don’t always have a lot of time to sit and play, after all. But in this case, a not-insignificant chunk of that time is spent looting or scrambling for the dropship at the end, meaning you’re not even getting a full ten minutes of actual play out of this. Plus, once you’ve played it the first time, subsequent runs will be even quicker because you’ll know exactly where to go and what to do… and you’ll realize you don’t even have to really loot much because the enemies aren’t very tough.

That brings me to point two: difficulty. This struck me as a bit too easy. It might have been a bit trickier solo (I played with a friend, so there were two of us), but even without a full squad of three, I never felt like we were in any significant danger. The only exception was at the very end, when my ally and I separated and things got a little dicey–but still, one of us made it to the dropship just fine, so it all worked out. I don’t want these Hunts to be punishingly difficult or anything, but I felt like this one was a bit of a cakewalk.

One major reason it’s so easy is that there’s only one enemy type, the prowler, and it’s not particularly hard to deal with. There are a few slight variants–some are slightly stronger, and towards the end there are Revenant-y ones that die in a single shot–but none of them actually feel different to fight against. Having greater enemy variety would go a long way to making these hunts more difficult and interesting. I’d love to have some actual firefights with ranged opponents, or even better, a mix of shooters and more melee-focused enemies like the prowlers. I need something a bit more complex than “Oh, that wolf-thing is running at me, better shoot it before it gets to me,” you know? Luckily, this improvement is almost guaranteed in future Hunts–there’s just no way they’re planning on throwing an endless stream of space-dogs at us for nine straight weeks!

Overall, Hunts are still a cool idea, but this first one didn’t blow me away. I understand that first efforts are often a bit rough around the edges, but on the other hand, first impressions are important. Still, I have a lot of faith that these will improve over the course of this Battle Pass. If we can just get a few more different enemies and a bit of a longer level, I’ll be happy–and odds are good that future Hunts will have both.

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