Apex Legends is all about its slide.
I can smoothly transition into a slide while sprinting, and I almost never have a reason not to slide while moving. Sliding feels amazing, with the sudden rush of speed accompanied by the skid of fabric against dirt, the crunch of gravel, and a rush of air. Sliding helps me move faster, which is always better when moving around the levels or avoiding fire. It makes me a harder target to hit.
I can also jump right out of a slide at any point and hold the space button to clamber up and over walls and fences, getting to new heights from which I can immediately slide again.
My history in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds taught me the value of staying still. My most successful matches in PUBG consisted of brief bursts of movement that broke up long periods of crouching in a bathtub with a shotgun at the ready, or staying still in a bush and holding my breath while waiting for a firing solution. But most of my time in Apex Legends is spent on the move.
My teammates and I follow a credo I like to call ABS: Always Be Sliding. I watch Wraith slide up a hill. It does nothing for her speed but it feels much better than running. Bloodhound, to my left, is sliding down a rocky incline towards a bunch of unscouted houses. That is a terrible idea, and a few seconds later he will perish alone from a sniper shot and then type “pathetic” in text chat. But he got there with style.
Apex Legends’ mobility encourages me to take risks to chase that next slide. That play may filter out as I grow more skilled and the meta changes, but for the moment the slide operates as a gravity well that pulls every decision toward it. Sliding is so satisfying that it feels wrong not to do so, even if the situation may call for other movement options.
And Apex Legends will also reward me for holding down a position. I can set up Caustic’s gas traps to turn an inviting-looking house into a death trap. Characters like Mirage and Gibaltar can fight quite well in tight corridors, using shields and smoke grenades to use the limited space to their advantage.
The game’s map itself is quite small compared to its battle royale competitors, and the ring moves inward so slowly that players have time to explore, even with that timer ticking down.
Ziplines allow easy movement between areas, and balloons give players an upwards vertical boost and then a second chance at using their jetpacks to drop. The slide is far from the only way to get around, it’s just so mechanically satisfying that it’s hard to remember to try other things.
I look forward to seeing how players move once everyone gets used to the game and more advanced strategies take over. Characters like Pathfinder are already popular due to his mobility with grappling and ziplines. Wraith’s ability to tunnel have led to amazing ambushes in my matches. The best players will likely be able to take advantage of all the movement options these characters present, even if I remain obsessed with the slide for longer than I should be.
I may struggle to line up an effective barrage of sniper shots or win against a Peacekeeping-wielding Bangalore in close quarters. I’ve only won one game so far, despite playing the game all week. The one thing that does feel good, and keeps me coming back, is the joy that comes from the simple slide. The fact that it’s so tactically effective is a nice bonus.
I’m sure patience will become a valuable asset as the matures, but for now? I’m going to join my team in sliding everywhere I can.
Read more: Polygon