The seventh season of Apex Legends is here and it’s one of Respawn Entertainment’s biggest updates yet. The content drop adds a host of features, including a new character, map, and a clan system that ups the game’s social component. That’s all exciting for players who have stuck with the game for nearly two years, but the biggest update is much smaller: The game’s first vehicle.
The new season adds the Trident, a small car that only appears on the new Olympus map. It’s a three-person vehicle that can quickly carry a team away from the storm or out of a heated battle. The only catch is that any damage done to the Trident trickles down equally to everyone inside.
It may sound like a relatively minor addition, but the Trident is exactly the kind of update a long-tailed game like Apex Legends needs to hold on to its popularity. The tool adds a fresh way for players to experiment with the sandbox and it’s already having a strategic impact on the game.
In one of my first matches of the new season, my squad and I landed straight in a hotly contested zone. Both of my teammates were quickly killed, leaving me to pick up their banners in hopes that I could respawn them. This would usually be difficult in the middle of a firefight, but that’s where the Trident comes in.
I grabbed one teammate’s banner, sprinted away from gunfire to a nearby Trident, and drove to the nearest revive point as fast as possible. As soon as my teammate respawned, we jumped back into the car and started outrunning the circle, which had caught up to us in the chaos. When a nearby team opened fire at us, my teammate activated Gibralter’s bubble ability around the entire car, safely shielding us from damage as we made a dramatic getaway.
Apex Legends has never been a game about defense, especially compared to Fortnite with its building system that allows for crazy endgame battles. The Trident adds some much needed utility in that regard, giving players a versatile defensive tool.
That’s an important change for a game that has defined itself through character-specific abilities. Previously, much of a team’s strategy in a round boils down to what the character makeup looks like. If a player picks Pathfinder, the whole team gains a mobility advantage over their opponents thanks to his zipline ability.
The Trident switches that dynamic up by giving all players access to a defense tool regardless of who they pick. Different characters can augment the vehicle’s capabilities, but anyone who manages to find one during a match can completely change their survival plan mid-round. That simple change makes gameplay feel more fluid and less locked into place at the character select screen.
Though the Trident can’t be used to run over enemies, it still adds plenty of offensive options to the mix. The vehicle includes a gunner seat, allowing passengers to hang out the window and fire back at enemies. Rampart can even mount his turret on the car to create a full Mad Max situation.
The most exciting applications are the ones that have yet to be discovered. In one round, I watched a full enemy squad burst into the building I was in, pour out of the car, and use it as cover in the ensuing shootout. Moments like that are sure to be prevalent in the season’s early days as players tool around with the toy.
Despite the fact that the best battle royale games are infinitely replayable by nature, keeping players continuously engaged is still a tall task. With so many options to choose from and new ones still dropping frequently, a game like Apex Legends needs to find new ways to deliver thrills that keep it top of mind for players. Respawn mostly focuses on new characters and maps to change the experience up, but tools like the Trident open the door for wackier situations.
After a few rounds, I was already messaging every friend I used to play the game with during its height to see if they wanted to get the band back together. That desire was less about wanting to revisit a familiar game and more about discovering what new kinds of havoc we could wreak now. It doesn’t hurt that season seven also includes a group system, built to amplify those kinds of social experiences.
Apex Legends is still the same fast-paced shooter it has been since day one, but the Trident signals that a gradual evolution could be on the way. If Respawn can bring more tools to the game that change the ways players can interact with the world, Apex Legends could be the last battle royale game standing.
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