There's something wonderful about trains. I love a journey that takes me through new places, catching fleeting glimpses of locations I might otherwise never have seen. Unless you're in the U.K., where the trains only run half the time and cost an extortionate amount to board when they do run ("Be grateful you have high-speed rail at all!" - The United States). Simply put: I like trains.
And boy do I love the train in Apex Legends. The train currently zooming around the battle royale game was introduced at the beginning of the current season, when the previous King's Canyon map was obliterated, and all our legends were thrown into the fascinating but deadly World's End map.
This vehicle, which the Apex Legends Wiki reliably informs me is called "The Train," is made up of six huge carriages. The front carriage is inaccessible since that's where I can only assume the poor soul driving the mechanical beast sits, but the other five carriages are open-topped, complete with supply bins that nearly always generate some of the best loot in the game.
It's a wonderful trap of death and destruction. The train navigates the majority of the World's End map, always visible for everyone to see on their in-game map. There are stations situated around the World's End map in named locations like Skyhook and Train Yard, where the train will temporarily stop off to pick up any passengers that feel like hopping aboard.
I love The Train because it represents the best sort of variable for a battle royale game like Apex Legends: chaos. The train serves no master, it runs when it wants and in the direction it wants, without the ability for players to properly interfere with its schedule. Get hit by the train and it won't actually kill you, it'll just send you flying backwards instead. There's no Red Dead Redemption-style gorefest here with someone getting crushed by the train, but it can and will crush you against a wall if you're unlucky enough.
The train also operates independent of the closing ring of death. The ring that gradually shrinks the battlefield, pushing all remaining squads closer together for one final showdown, doesn't affect the route of the train. You can have a ring that covers only part of the train track, but the train can and will speed back through the ring to wreck everyone's shit.
The Winter Express mode was Apex Legends having some fun with its pain train. In this now-finished mode, squads would battle to be the first to hold and capture the train uncontested for 10 whole seconds. The first squad to three captures of the moving train would take the victory, but you needed to fill up a capture gauge while fending off attacking invaders to emerge victorious. It felt like an old wild west-style mode, with lawmen fighting off robbers and bandits trying to steal gold from the train.
I love the train as an evolution of the supply ship from the King's Canyon map. In the original Apex Legends map, a small supply ship floated around the map, moving randomly between locations and occasionally stopping off somewhere for a hot minute. Everyone knew the supply ship frequently carried some of the best loot in the game, so there was nearly always a race to be the first squad to try and land on the supply ship as it moved about the map. The Train takes this formula of uncertainty and ups the ante, offering a risk-reward dynamic while also not really doing much to protect the squad trying to seize and conquer the train.
More battle royale games in particular need something like Apex Legends' train: an uncertain variable that can't be influenced by player action. Whenever I dive out of the dropship in Apex Legends, I've always got one eye glued firmly to it. It's the ultimate temptation in the Apex Games: should you risk it all going for the game-changing loot it holds, or should you sit back and let other teams duke it out to be the victors of the surging goliath? More games need trains, and more battle royale games need a wild card factor like the World's End Train.