One game I’ve been playing a lot recently is Apex Legends. As with many battle royale-style games, the game begins via a dropship, from which 20 teams can dive to a location. Initially, the whole map is in play, but over the course of 5 rounds, the “ring” or outer boundary of the map closes in, forcing players to move into smaller and more congested spaces, leading to team-vs-team combat. This structure clearly leads to competition, but a few other aesthetics I noticed were sense pleasure, teamwork, and challenge.
The main form of sense pleasure in Apex Legends is auditory and visual feedback when hitting shots — each shot that connects has a satisfying ding, and once a certain amount of damage is done, a shield cracking sound is played. Additionally, when damage is done in a short period of time, a cumulative damage counter increases quickly, providing positive visual feedback for the player.
For teamwork, the game is based on teams of 3 legends, each of which has different abilities and thus strengths and weaknesses. This incentivizes players to pick synergistic team compositions, communicate effectively, and combine each others’ abilities to gain advantages in fights and win as a team.
The main challenges in Apex Legends are aim and decision-making. As with most player-vs-player first-person shooters, the person who hits more shots typically wins, so having good aim is incredibly important. However, another challenge in Apex is decision-making. This can occur both on a macro-scale and micro-scale. On a macro-scale, this might look like deciding which location to drop at, whether to fight another team, or where to rotate/move to as the ring closes in. Examples of micro decision-making might be which angle to shoot from or when to use your abilities.