On the surface it sounds game-breaking: a speedy twitch-based first-person shooter transferring to a third-person perspective. But Apex Legends somehow pulls it off, putting an amazingly refreshing spin on a battle royale game that has already introduced new hero shooter-based aspects to the battle royale genre.
Third-person was introduced for Apex Legends' art deco-inspired Grand Soiree event. New modes cycle in every 48 hours until it comes to a halt on Jan. 28, and Third-Person Mode was active for two days, and two days only. I really hope it makes a return to Respawn's shooter at some point, because it was nothing short of a spectacular surprise.
Here's how it works. When you throw yourself from the dropship in Apex Legends, the camera defaults to a third-person perspective while you and your squad rocket towards the ground. There's a split second where the camera zooms in to a first-person view right as you land on the ground, and it feels like something's gone wrong at first. It's almost as if you're stuck in a glitch where the camera hasn't gone quite far forward enough.
As wrong as it first feels, it's fantastically experimental from Respawn. Changing around the basis of your entire game and putting it into an optional mode was a pretty bold step, especially since so many people have gotten used to playing in first-person.
It's a great opportunity to see your favorite legend in a new way. I'm an Octane main. (Yeah, I know.) If you're not familiar with Octane, he's a lackadaisical daredevil who got his legs blown clean off after a stunt gone wrong. Now he dons a track helmet and and bunny hops around the battlefield on a jump pad, plunging needles of adrenaline into himself. It's not really the healthiest lifestyle.
Playing as Ocatane, I love zipping around the battlefield at a hundred miles an hour with ten needles hanging out of my shoulders. Thing is, I always had to imagine what Octane's running animation actually looked like since I was always playing as him (and even when I wasn't, an Octane player never hangs around you for long).
It turns out that Octane's running animation is a joy to behold. He sprints with his chest pushed out and head held back, almost like he's being dragged forwards by a rope attached from his chest to a speeding car. He's so overly animated! Octane's always about moving quickly and never standing still, so it makes sense that he's an absolute adrenaline junkie that can never quite run as quickly as his legs can carry him.
There's other minute details I've missed about Octane. Stand still in the regular first-person mode, and Octane feels indistinguishable from nearly every other character in the game: You just see two arms and two hands gripping the gun you're carrying. In Third-Person Mode this changes—you can see Octane's arms visibly twitching as you stand still and aim your weapon, his head rapidly moving from side to side as if screaming out, "Why are we waiting?!"
It's a really nice character detail that I would've otherwise missed out on, if not for the Third-Person Mode. Knowing Octane hates having you make him wait in a position has honestly changed my playstyle somewhat: I was more prone to risk-taking movement and rapid gunfights while playing as the speed daredevil, which I guess is how the adrenaline junkie is meant to be played. I guess this means Octane's character quirks pushed me into playing him how he wanted to be played, rather than having him hang back and take shots at people from a distance (which he would probably hate).
Third-person also has comedy value. I promise you'll absolutely see Gibraltar in a new light after you've made him go sliding down a slope on his knees. Seeing the notorious big boy drop to his knees and go skidding down a hill is amazing because he's so top heavy it physically shouldn't be possible. He should flip over and roll down the hill like a snowball instead.
In short, I loved Third-Person Mode in Apex Legends. It fundamentally changed the way everyone played, from newcomers to veterans, breathing new life into one of the better battle royale games out there while showing me a new side to my favorite adrenaline junkie. The show rolls on in Apex Legends, and the Grand Soiree event is bringing in the glitz and glam with new events and cosmetics until next week on January 28.