Apex Legends' Solo Mode Encourages a Very Different Style of Play

Apex Legends' Solo Mode Encourages a Very Different Style of Play

If you ping in Apex Legends' new Solo mode, does it make a sound?

At the start of my PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds days, I was a proud camper. I would hide out in houses. If I was in a squad, I would be the person holding everyone back. "It's safer to just stay quiet," I would say, waiting for the ambush that would never come. (Well, sometimes it would.) Slowly, I got more confident, and eventually, left my camping tendencies behind.

In Apex Legends' new Solo mode though, a limited time mode for its Iron Crown event, I find that I'm going back to these roots. Because, really, it feels dumb to play it the way I usually do as an Octane-main: loud and brash.

Solos has been debated since launch. With Apex Legends' hero-shooter structure, it depends on teamwork and using each character's abilities together within three-person squads. Still, it was unheard of for a battle royale game to release without a solo mode of any sort. It's been, if nothing else, a curiosity. Can Apex Legends even work if you don't have a Lifeline healing you after a nasty firefight, or a Bloodhound to call out footsteps in the area to the whole team? Can it work if its excellent pinging system is essentially rendered useless? Can it work if you're on your own?

The answer to that question is: it can work, but some characters have a definite advantage. During my couple hours with the new mode, I've found Wraith to be a popular character, along with Bloodhound. Wraith can get herself out of dangerous situations in a flash, while Bloodhound can sense when enemies are around, which is something that's extra useful when you're on your own.

The new Octane-themed area is pretty fun to run around... provided you don't get killed immediately. | Respawn Entertainment/EA

I've surprisingly found Caustic, one of my least-played characters, to be a solid choice in Solo Mode. Caustic is great for the camper in me. If I'm deep in the circle, I set up gas traps at doors. Sure, once this backfired and someone threw a grenade in through the roof, but largely, it's given me the edge in situations.

There is something that feels off in Solo mode though. More players than ever are hot dropping onto popular spots—the current being the new Octane Town skate park, obviously. In most matches if I don't drop on a popular spot, I can easily inch into the top 10, whether I get into a scramble or not. It has the same problem that PUBG had long ago: with everyone dying early, it makes the midgame painfully slow.

It's easy to predict which characters will be favorites in Solos, and which characters won't be seen as viable. Wattson, Mirage, and Gibraltar in all likelihood will be the least popular characters, whereas everyone else has abilities that are fine for Solo play. Octane can go super fast; Pathfinder can swing around with his grapple. (On Apex's subreddit sometime ago, I even saw someone edited a screenshot of a building with a comical proportion of Pathfinder ziplines, which I wouldn't be surprised if I see actually in the game too.) Most characters, while built for teamwork, can ride solo. It's the characters that probably won't do too hot, like poor Wattson, that Respawn will likely have to take a hard look at.

There are other cool features in the new event too, like a damage recap that shows all the damage you did (and received), and by what gun. It's like a little breakdown of your match's adventure. The event's rewards boast the coolest skins in the game's history to this point, though they sure will cost you. Iron Crown Apex Packs, featuring the limited time items, cost a staggering 700 Apex Coins—that's seven times the 100 coins for a regular pack.

There's also the aforementioned new skate park that you can bounce around on the map too, thanks to conveniently placed Octane jump pads. It's always a nightmare dropping there though, but I wonder if it gets a little more relaxed in the later parts of a match.

After a couple hours with the new mode, I'm still finding myself preferring the traditional three-person Squads. At least in Squads, I feel like I can come out of battles with a fighting chance. I'm not as conservative in Squads, because I know someone has my back. In Solos, that optimism is dashed. I'm not feeling bright about my chances. I hide in the second floor of rundown shacks and am more cautious with the guns I pick up. It's changing how I play Apex Legends, but not in a fun way. Still, I imagine I'll keep popping into the mode for the next couple weeks as the Iron Crown winds down to a close—ridiculously pricey Apex Packs and all—on August 27.

Season 2 of Apex Legends is currently underway, with well over a month left to go. For all the skins and challenges to tackle in it, be sure to check out our Apex Legends Season 2 guides.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Caty McCarthy

Features Editor

Caty McCarthy is a former freelance writer whose work has appeared in Kill Screen, VICE, The AV Club, Kotaku, Polygon, and IGN. When she's not blathering into a podcast mic, reading a book, or playing a billion video games at once, she's probably watching Terrace House or something. She is currently USgamer's official altgame enthusiast.

Read this next

Apex Legends Players Aren't Happy with How Pricey the New Iron Crown Event Is

The heirloom's a little expensive for most people's tastes.

ESPN Postpones Apex Legends Broadcast in Wake of Shootings

A tournament highlights show will be aired in October out of respect.

More Opinions

The Fire Emblem: Three Houses Student Ranking Thunderdome: 34 Students Enter, Only Shamir Leaves

We have no favorites among Three Houses' students, except for the ones that are our favorites.

NBA 2K20 Finally Tackles the VC Microtransaction Grind: "We Didn't Want People to Feel [...] Trapped in This Grind Anymore"

Virtual Currency is here to stay, but at least the grind will be less painful this year.

No Man's Sky Beyond Is Finally Feeling Like the Game I Wanted Three Years Ago

The new Beyond update continues to make No Man's Sky the game it was supposed to be.

More on PC

Cyberpunk 2077 Producer Details Law Enforcement and the Rich Areas of Night City

There are no cops in the poorer districts. That all changes when you get to the affluent areas of Night City.

Witchbrook Dev Tweets Design Docs Revealing New Details on the Charming Magical School Sim

A rare look into the internal process of development as it happens.

Telling Lies Review

The spiritual successor to Her Story is a shady investigation into the lives of four liars.

Remnant From The Ashes Tips and Controls

If you’re playing Remnant From The Ashes, you’ll need these essential tips.

Gears 5's Monetization is "Ahead of the Industry," Dev Says

The Coalition was reading the tea leaves.

NBA 2K20 Finally Tackles the VC Microtransaction Grind: "We Didn't Want People to Feel [...] Trapped in This Grind Anymore"

Virtual Currency is here to stay, but at least the grind will be less painful this year.

More Battle Royale Games

PUBG Is Getting Cross-Play on Xbox One and PS4, but Not PC

The consoles are going to crossover, but PC doesn't get an invite.

Epic Isn't Budging On Fortnite's Mechs, Despite Player Protests

The massive machines of destruction seem like they're here to stay.

Fortnite Memorial to a Cube - How to Visit a Memorial to a Cube in the Desert or by a Lake

Here's our guide to the Fortnite cube memorial locations, within the desert and by a lake.