A brand new killer's on the scene, and he looks like a villain from an edgy 90s comic book. Revenant deployed in Apex Legends earlier this week with Season 4: Assimilation, off the back of murdering the supposed new character, Forge, in a massive fake out from Respawn.
I love Revenant. I love that he looks like a classic character from Spawn mixed with Overwatch's Reaper. He's even got a mask resembling a skull! He's very extra, and I, for one, fully support this painfully extra synthetic assassin.
Revenant is also pretty difficult to play. His passive ability is to crouch walk quicker than other heroes, and climb higher walls than anyone else on the Apex roster. For his tactical ability, Revenant shoots out a ball of energy that cancels out other heroes' abilities and deals damage. His Ultimate Ability, Death Totem, is a literal totem that's placed—similar to Wattson's Interception Pylon—and if Revenant or other teammates activate it, instead of dying in action they will spawn back at the totem.
Revenant's flashy introduction cinematic at one point shows the character devolving into a shadowy form (when he's not murdering everyone in sight), making him invulnerable to all incoming damage. This is the Death Totem in action. The cinematic is a little deceptive in how easy it would be to activate Revenant's Ultimate Ability. The animated scene makes things look buttery smooth. In it, we see Revenant slip into his shadowy guise at a moment's notice to avoid damage, popping up behind a heavy brawler person to snap their neck.
In an actual match of Apex Legends, things aren't so simple. Revenant throws the Death Totem on the ground, which takes the form of a revolving pyramidic stone. Then, you need to interact with the totem to take on Revenant's sinister figure which, unlike in the cinematic, doesn't actually render him invisible at all. Instead, Revenant just has a slightly darker aura surrounding him as he sprints over the battlefield.
When Revenant next takes damage while being protected with the Death Totem, he snaps back to the totem itself, returning to his usual synthetic form. It's an ability that basically gives Revenant (and any teammates) a second life, letting players be way more carefree than they otherwise might be, knowing they've got another shot in their back pocket in case things go wrong.
Trouble is, this is really cumbersome to pull off in close quarters combat. Apex Legends is a pretty quick game by nature (duh). It's not quite on the Counter-Strike level of twitch-based FPS reaction times I could never hope to possess as I decline into my mid-20s, but it's still up there with frantic gunplay, where getting a split-second drop on your enemy before they notice you can be the deciding factor in a firefight.
Now imagine trying to pull off Revenant's Death Totem in a firefight. You've got to deploy the totem, and then interact with the totem itself to kickstart the process of turning into Revenant's more ghastly form. It doesn't sound entirely complicated, but timing is everything in a game like Apex Legends. The precious seconds required to activate Revenant's Death Totem is all it could take for someone to knock you down with a single bullet from a sniper (the new Sentinel sniper, even).
Maybe Revenant is just tricky for me to play because I've tended to lean into a certain type of Legend in the Apex Games. I've always been far more comfortable with characters that have more natural Ultimate abilities that work in tandem with the basic gameplay loop, like Octane's jump pad or Bloodhound's weird beast-mode thing. Take a moment to pause the basic gameplay loop of run n' gun n' loot like with Revenant's Death Totem, and that's where I'm a lot less comfortable in executing abilities methodically. It's the same as I am with Wattson's big lazer charge or barriers of death.
Nonetheless, Revenant is going to be a tough Legend to really master. You're going to need to time your placement and interaction with the Death Totem to perfection if you want to take full advantage of the second life granted to Revenant and get the drop on enemy squads. Undoubtedly there are people out there that already have Revenant mastered flawlessly less than a week after launch, but the bar for mastering the synthetic assassin is a lot higher than with past Legends.