Apex Legends: Escape hands-on preview: Raining Ash

Apex Legends' newest season is boasting its biggest map to date and a fan favorite character from Titanfall 2. Shacknews tries out the Escape update.


The teams at Electronic Arts and Respawn Entertainment have been hard at work at one of Apex Legends' biggest updates yet. The newest season is appropriately titled "Escape" and features some major additions to the ongoing battle royale shooter. Shacknews recently jumped into the game to take a look at what players can expect with this new season.

The first thing to note is that Escape's biggest feature is the all-new Storm Point map, which was revealed earlier this month. If you've ever gotten the feeling that the battle royale maps in Apex Legends are too small, Storm Point is the locale for you. Apex Legends' fourth map is its largest one to date, roughly 15 percent larger than World's Edge. One thing to note about Storm Point is that Team Director Steven Ferreira stated in a press briefing prior to our hands-on that the map is designed to evolve with live service updates for years to come. What exactly that entails remains to be seen.

Storm Point has quite a few strategic deployment points to keep in mind. For example, the Barometer is a large research facility located out in the open with a research tower that points to the sky. It's ideal for snipers, but can easily be stormed by opposing squads. A more ideal place for squads to explore is the Command Center, which is an underground complex. The facility is filled with chokepoints and loot, as well as ropes that can lead to some intense firefights as opposing forces zip on by in opposite directions. There are a few other areas that I didn't have the chance to explore, including the massive Lightning Rod, which is located at Storm Point's peak. If you want the high ground, you'll want to be positioned on the Lightning Rod.

The other interesting thing about Storm Point is that human players are not alone. The island is crawling with wildlife, including Prowlers, Spiders, and Flyers. Their nests feel randomly placed and careless squads will more often than not get their attention. If a pack of wild creatures storms upon your position, it's bad news, partly because they're dangerous enemies in themselves, but also because you'll give away your position as soon as you try to defend yourself. However, the savvy squads can figure out a way to lure opponents into wildlife-filled areas and use strong critters like the Flyers to their advantage.

The other major feature in the Escape update is the latest addition to the Apex Legends roster. It's Ash, a returning fan favorite character from Titanfall 2. The Simulacrum Pilot is more than a guest character. Her story has developed since the last time players saw her, with the latest twist being that the spirit of Lilian Peck lays beneath Ash's murderous programming. Ash's machinations are ultimately expected to be revealed over the course of the upcoming season, as will her place in the overall Apex Legends lore.

"Fans of Titanfall 2 might remember that Ash has been trying to learn the secrets of her past for a long time, but her Simulacrum programming kept those memories locked away, as well as the knowledge that she is a Simulacrum," Lead Writer Ashley Reed said in the press briefing. "Until now, she thought she was human, but Horizon cut through the layers of programming that kept her from seeing the truth. Now she knows what she really is and she's excited to see how far she can push this flawless synthetic form. But, it comes with one downside: Another personality that has been locked away since her death as a human."

Ash suits a much more aggressive play style, one that kicks in once she pinpoints her enemies' locations. Here are some of the moves that players can expect to see from her:

  • Marked for Death (Passive): Whenever an enemy dies, a deathbox icon will appear on Ash's minimap.
  • Arc Tether (Tactical): This projectile will shock an enemy for a small amount of damage, but it will also tether them to the ground, which is useful for when the ring is closing in or when that target is surrounded by hostiles.
  • Phase Breach (Ultimate): Ash can produce a portal based on her line of sight, allowing her to get the drop on foes.

Ash fits a specific play style. It's not necessarily my own, but I was able to get some good mileage out of the Arc Tether, which is a handy tool. It was especially fun to stick an opponent as they were surrounded by a herd of Prowlers. The skilled Apex player will find even stickier situations in which to apply the Arc Tether and trap their adversaries.

Other items to look out for with this new update include the CAR SMG, which can hold both Light and Heavy ammo. It's a fully automatic beast, capable of spraying fire at 846 RPM. If you can manage the recoil, you can do a lot of damage with this weapon. If you're not looking to try out Ash, another legend is getting a slew of buffs across the board: Watson. Watson's fences have had their placement range doubled, cooldown halved, and damage increased. Plus, there's a new Battle Pass that will start up with the new season, featuring new skins like Desert Mirage, Glorious Combatant Gibraltar, and Epic Vision Walker Wraith.

Players won't have to wait for Apex Legends: Escape much longer. The new update will arrive on Tuesday, November 2, with the new Ranked seasons running from November 2-December 21 and December 21-February 8.

This hands-on preview is based on a preview build provided by the publisher.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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