Spinning off a battle royale from the Titanfall series, it was only a matter of time before vehicles came to Apex Legends… but Season 7’s new mode of transport doesn’t come with its own pair of legs, nor does it have arms, a gun or an AI core. Enter the Trident Hovercar.
The name tells you everything you need to know about this vehicle. A trident is a three-pronged spear, alluding to the three seats of the Trident, allowing for one driver and two passengers on either side of the vehicles body. but where a spear is a deadly weapon, the Trident is more passive and has been tuned by Respawn to fill a very particular role.
They describe is as a “rotation tool”, giving players more and better ways to quickly get around the map and pick a different path through to the next ring, defusing some of the pressures of dropping to the edges of a map at the start of a game. That is its one and only purpose. You can’t use it as an offensive battering ram, as it will simply float over anyone you try to run down, and while you can fire from the side of the vehicle, it also makes you and your squad a bigger target.
While you can still try to snipe out the driver, any bullets hitting the Trident itself sees the damage distributed evenly between its passengers. In other words, you can blast away at it and still feel like you’re doing good damage to its occupants, as I found when stranded on my own while a Trident team floated around nearby. There’s the animation time needed to get in and out, making the use of a Trident something you really need to consider and not really a way to gang rush a location.
It’s a vehicle that comes with an awful lot of caveats, but there are still advantages to it. You can prop Rampart’s turret on top of it, Gibraltar’s shield dome, and even Caustic’s gas traps (basically just for the memes, per Respawn), giving you some additional offensive and defensive options. Respawn have clearly been very cautious in their approach to adding vehicles, seeing how big an impact they can have on the pace, flow and meta of other battle royale games. Oh, and you can only find the Trident on the new map.
Season 7 sees the addition of Olympus to Apex Legends, a third map to live alongside World’s Edge and Kings Canyon. This map is set on an abandoned floating city, a once opulent paradise that has been abandoned after a Phase rift ripped through a research facility built into one part of the map. Characters like Octane and Lifeline have connections to the city, as well as Loba and Revenant, with the Reverie Lounge restaurant where Loba’s parents were murdered featured atop a skyscraper by Bonsai Plaza.
What’s fascinating is how Respawn have constructed this to really give it an individual visual style. It has a real artificial style to it thanks to all the open spaces being built out of polygonal terrain, triangular slices of grassy greenery stuck together, all contrasting with the rounded, flowing design of the buildings dotted around the map. It’s all very sci-fi and very different feeling to the game’s first two maps, but it’s also surprisingly open. You might expect a floating city to be efficient and flat, but there’s still plenty of diversity to be found here with big elevation changes and hills to climb up or slide down, and there’s large ramps that help keep things feeling open even as your funnelled through to a location. It’s quite clear that all of this has been designed with the Trident in mind.
As you would expect, there’s also plenty of different locations that will be easily identifiable and become fan favourite drop points. The aforementioned Bonsai Plaza is an example of the opulent lives that could play out on Olympus, but then there’s the docked Arcadia Cruiser that you can go inside and bunker down with defensive Legends, while the Rift that has torn through the research campus and turned it into a big destroyed crater. There’s still buildings around it which could act as intriguing defensive points in a tense fight.
That rift also ties into another of the key ways of getting around the map. The Phase Runner connects a trio of locations together – the rift is one end of this network – throwing you into the phase dimension similar to Wraith’s smaller portals. The key difference is that you will still take ring damage.
There’s a lot to get used to with the new map and the new vehicle, and so Respawn have created the Olympus Preview. This will be a limited time mode running for the first two weeks of Season 7, and the first damage-free sandbox mode that Apex has seen. Essentially, it’s a testbed for players to dive in, explore and try things out. You’ll have a faster moving ring to funnel you through the map quicker, and there will be three rounds with fresh drops to cut out a bit of matchmaking waiting.
It should also be a great way to play around with Horizon, the new Legend in the game. With a thick Scottish accent, her back story is tied to the rift and the crisis that saw Olympus abandoned, as she sought a solution to an energy crisis that (through a little light backstabbing) saw her trapped on the event horizon of a black hole for 87 years – do you get her name now?
All of this ties into her abilities. As an astrophysicist and astronaut, her space suit gives her increased air control and softer landings that preserve more momentum compared to other characters. Her tactical ability is then a Gravity Lift, which lifts players up and lets them exit the lift at any point, a crucial difference to the simple jump pad that Octane can throw down, but with the same effect of increasing vertical mobility.
Finally, her Ultimate is a mini Black Hole created by Newt, her robot companion. Similar to the Gravity Star in Titanfall 2, it pulls players in, dragging them out of cover and potentially exposing them to your gunfire. The key here is balance, with people caught in the gravity well able to drag themselves back out of it, and the difference of the battle royale format making its use and timing more crucial. Respawn will no doubt analyse and tweak how the Black Hole is used to ensure it’s balanced.
Elsewhere there’s also tweaks to how battle pass challenges are highlighted, showing you the next thing coming up, as well as a new Clubs system that you can create or join to try and find a little in-game community. Oh, and Crossplay is coming out of beta in Season 7 as well.
More ways to team up (and across platforms), a new hero, a striking new map, the game’s first vehicle and more. Season 7 – Horizon adds up to one of the biggest seasonal updates to Apex Legends yet.