Apex Legends got weird this past weekend. It got really weird. The grand finale of the Grand Soiree event introduced the Dummie's Big Day mode, and what a day it was.
Dummies are Apex Legends' humanoid targets in the Firing Range. They're there to serve your every purpose, whether it be getting 360 no-scoped in the face, or being punched repeatedly until dead. Dummies Big Day put them in the spotlight, at least temporarily, as players got to experience what it was like to play as these normally unassuming targets.
Every single Legend was ejected for this mode. In their place were eight color-specific Dummies, all looking and functioning exactly the same. Respawn took everything amazing about its battle royale shooter—characters and abilities—and chucked it straight out the window. That's bold, and it paid off big time for Dummies Big Day.
Every Dummie has the same two abilities: summon a random loot item on the left shoulder button, and a completely random Ultimate ability. There are no traces of the actual Legends in this mode, as all characters and their abilities are completely gone. The ability to summon a random loot item as a tactical ability is amazing, as you can get literally any item in the game, from a shotgun or sniper rifle, to a medkit or ammo.
It's the Dummies' Ultimate ability where things get crazy. There's one of three randomized outcomes for your Ultimate ability: firstly, you can instantly heal you and your teammates in a short radius, which is handy in the midst of a firefight and more potent than any other Legend's healing ability. Secondly, you can make it rain down a shower of loot as you and your teammates gorge yourselves on an entirely randomized mass of weapons, ammo, and armor items raining down from above.
Third and finally, you can produce five replica Dummies and have them mimic your exact movements. It's like Mirage's Ultimate ability but on steroids. Instead of just sending out five mimics sprinting in different directions from the user with Mirage's Ultimate, the Dummies' Ultimate ability properly bamboozles people with perfect copies of the user.
It's amazing. The 'Dance Party' ability, as it's been christened in-game by Respawn, copies your movements and actions to the letter, and it's the cream of the crop of the new mode. It's marvelous to see players actually be fooled by your Dummies. It operates how Mirage's Ultimate ability should actually work. In an ideal environment, Mirage's Ultimate would send enemy players scrambling to figure out which Mirage is the real Mirage, but too often it's a case of easily identifying the fakes based on their robotic movement patterns and speed.
There was also an underrated element of this event: It removed voices. This might not seem that crucial on the surface since Apex Legends is a game where you can easily communicate with your teammates using the seamless 'ping' feature, but take away your squadmate's voices, and you're left without a proper way of notifying your teammates of encroaching danger.
Instead of an audible notification through the ping system, there's just a small text box on the side of the screen. Fundamentally changing one of the biggest and most impressive features of your game for a mode is a big move, but it's one that Respawn had to take with the mode. After all, you can't have a rubbery Dummie notifying teammates of ammo in Bangalore's voice.
Dummies Big Day is the most fun I've had with Apex Legends in a long time. It's Respawn taking a big experimental gamble with its battle royale game, throwing everything it's worked on establishing over the last year out of the window for a fresh perspective. The mode strips everyone of their Tactical and Ultimate abilities to put an even playing field in place. It's fun to be able to play Apex Legends as big rubber Dummies that sometimes throw massive Dance Parties, without having to worry about whether there's a Gibraltar with a big shield running at you around the corner.