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Apex Legends
by yo go re

With the news that Marvel's Marvel's The Avengers Avengers game is dying on the vine, it seems a good time to remember that you can't force a game to be a success. EA tried like hell to make Anthem a thing (a thing that just copied Destiny, but a thing nonetheless), but players roundly ignored it in favor of Apex Legends, a free-to-play, squad-based, battle royale character shooter - basically, a follow-the-leader version of Overwatch and Fortnite. And like Overwatch and Fortnite, Apex Legends is now getting toys.

Wraith is a whirlwind fighter, able to execute deadly attacks and manipulate spacetime by opening rifts in the fabric of reality - but those abilities came at a price. Years ago, she woke up in an IMC detention facility with no memory of who she was. Senior Science Pilot Renee Blasey, who volunteered as guinea pig for her own experiments... whose partner betrayed her and locked her away... no longer existed. All that was left was a timid girl, frightened by a cacophony of voices in her head, until another version of herself appeared and taught her to listen to the voices. Following her lead, Wraith found the strength to break free from her prison and escape into a different reality - this reality.

Finally free, but still robbed of her memories, Wraith continues her quest to learn more about who she was before the experiments. With so many of the Apex Games held on old IMC bases, Wraith now competes so she can access the mysterious facilities and learn more about who she was. She remains a fixture of the Apex Games, and with every match she gets closer to the truth...

I don't know what all that means, but it sure is neat! I just picked up Wraith because between her, Desert Punk, and Romeo Blue, who isn't going to choose the cute, gothy girl? Her black hair is pulled up into a messy bun, with a few locks falling over her forehead. Her eyes appear to be blank, but judging by the story video, that's an indication of her teleporting ability.

Wraith wears a pretty cool outfit. It's black leather, with various straps and zippers on the pants, padded sections on the shins and shoulders with small metal studs coming out of them. The sculptor has misunderstood her knees, though: the gray parts are supposed to be vented material beneath the pants, not strips of armor on top of it. The white on her top is a printed pattern - yes, even the part that looks like a zipper is just a design she wears, so the toy does get that right. She has a green utility belt and a brown harness around her hips and shoulders, probably to hold the silver jetpack in place at the small of her back. Upon entering her new reality, the first thing Wraith did was grab a scarf to cover herself, so the toy's wearing that as well. And props for remembering her little nosering!

Originally, Wraith would Naruto-run when she didn't have a weapon equipped, but that was apparently recently nerfed because it made her too hard to hit? You can still have her do it if you want, because this toy's got great articulation! There's a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, a balljointed torso, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, sweivel/hinge ankles, and hinged toes. Yeah, that's right up there with the best we get these days! Between the belt and the scarf, the waist is more like a swivel than a full baljoint, and the design of the boots means the ankle hinges don't want to move at all. The hips have a weird shape, but it's hidden by her belt - possibly a very result of the belt, even. Like, if they knew that would be covering things up, they didn't have to design her pelvis perfectly? Still, this is way way better than Jakks' other videogame toys.

The figure includes three weapons: the Prowler PDW submachine gun, which looks similar to an FN P90; an RE-45 automatic pistol, a holdover from the Titanfall games; and a P2020 semi-auto pistol nobody uses unless they have to. She doesn't have any holsters or anything, so she'll have to leave one of them behind. There's a peg sticking out of her back, but all you can do is rest one of the guns on there - there are no holes in the guns specifically to accommodate it.

The Apex Legends packaging is simple, but looks good around the figures. It's a rectangular box with a clear window wrapping around the side and the top. The left side of the box is red, while the right side shows official art of the character. A dark grey section angles across the bottom with the figure's name. The rear shows the toy and its accessories beneath the slogan "Legends Change the Game." Next to that is a black panel with the character's name and stats, plus images of all three figures in this first assortment - Wraith, of course, plues Pathfinder and Bloodhound. Since Wraith is so small - not even 6¼", counting her hair bun - and her weapons are so little, she looks kinda lost in the splattered gray tray; at least, compared to the other two.

Apex Legends was developed by Respawn Entertainment, the studio behind Titanfall. The game is set a decade or so after Titanfall 2, with the "Apex Games" being a spectator competition run by Kuben Blisk... who used to belong to a unit called the Apex Predators! Kronk would be proud. That also explains what the "IMC" in the bio stands for! Some of the maps are made from recycled Titanfall assets, and many of the characters reference skills in the old games (such as Wraith's teleporting power being nearly the same as the Phase Shift abilty from TF2). Respawn was worried that fans would be mad they'd made this instead of Titanfall 3, so they didn't even announce the game until it was released. Word of mouth spread like crazy, though, and the fans embraced the game - 2.5 million of them on day one, and still going strong nearly two years later. Meanwhile, despite all the advertising and promotional weight thrown behind Anthem, it's basically forgotten today, with developer promises that they're rebuilding it from the ground up being met with a resounding "meh." You can't force a game to be a success, but Jakks definitely upped their game with these action figures.

-- 10/14/20

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