It took me just six minutes to finish the first leg of “The Broken Ghost,” Apex Legends’ cooperative storyline. With all the effort it takes to unlock the missions and the week-long wait between chapters, I expected a whole lot more out of the event than what I got.
Unlike fellow games set in the Titanfall universe, Apex Legends was always meant as a competitive experience. It takes the popular mechanics of the battle royale genre and mixes it with the unique character abilities of a League of Legends or Overwatch, pitting teams of three against each other for supremacy. “The Broken Ghost” promised something different by allowing players to tackle a story alone or with friends in a player-versus-environment setting.
Treasure packs found during normal Apex Legends matches serve as the keys to unlocking missions in “The Broken Ghost.” The opening chapter requires five treasure packs to access, and you’ll need to collect five additional packs to unlock each new chapter of the story. Only one treasure pack can be gathered a day, and the chapters unlock on a weekly basis, a trick that’s no doubt meant to ensure players keep engaging with the game between missions. If you haven’t found enough treasure packs, you can also purchase up to that day’s amount with Apex coins.
Getting enough treasure packs would be a minor inconvenience if “The Broken Ghost” was fun or even vaguely engaging, but the first chapter went by so quickly that I first thought I had missed something. After choosing my Legend, I was plopped down in a limited version of the nighttime King’s Canyon map. Loba, who leads the mission in the storyline, pointed me towards the first piece of a fractured artifact that she wants for… something.
Along the way, I fought off prowlers, which are easily dispatched with a few shots from the provided P2020 peashooter. I never found it necessary to switch to the much stronger Mastiff shotgun I found along the way, even after collecting the artifact and being given a generous time limit to escape via drop ship.
Don’t get me wrong, I was excited to play around with the Apex Legends mechanics without highly-coordinated teams getting the drop on me as I clumsily switch out scopes. The game is fun as hell and feels better than pretty much every modern first-person shooter thanks to its movement options. But “The Broken Ghost” is not what I was expecting, especially with all the hoops the developers are asking us to jump through just to access its missions.
It’s going to take a few more weeks to see if the experience is fleshed out in any significant way, but I’m more than a little disappointed with Apex Legends’ first attempt at non-competitive gameplay.