Apex Legends Grand Soiree Grades

Apex Legends got off to a strong start at the beginning of 2019 and the team at Respawn has continued to release great free content for its hit battle royale game. We’ve been hooked from the beginning and are continually impressed by the thoughtfulness and innovation in the updates.

Kicking off the second coming of the ‘Roaring Twenties’, Respawn gave us an ambitious collection of limited-time modes to start off 2020. The Grand Soiree ran from January 14-28, rotating through a total of seven game modes.

Apex Legends Grand Soiree Arcade Event Looks Incredible

Now that the party has ended and we’ve got a chance to run through all of the LTMs, we wanted to rank each of them. We’ll also share our thoughts on what we kind of changes we expect in Season 4 based on what we’ve seen in the last two weeks! 

Gold Rush Duos | JAN 14 – 15

Apex Legends Gold Rush Duos

Yoshyaes: B+

It felt as though Christmas had arrived early when we kicked things off in Gold Rush Duos. Finding weapons, let alone gold weapons, at all drop zones was both a magical and frightening experience.

At any corner, you could be met with a Mastiff to the face. Similarly, you could be carrying two maxed-out weapons within the first minute of the game.

I went for a Kraber – Mastiff combo as much as possible and it was awesome to be able to practice with these weapons in real fights. Things started getting stale near the end though since there was a very clear winner for weapon loadout.

Flash: B

I’ve already made my case on why I think Duos should be a permanent game mode. Naturally, I enjoyed this mode. However, making it only gold guns and legendary guns, cheapened the experience. Because there isn’t a gold variant to every gun in the game (yet, fingers crossed), the game felt very restrictive. 

Personally my two favorite gold guns are the Flatline and G7 Scout. Swapping out one of those for a Mastiff during endgame was a recipe for success. But popular guns like the R99, Prowler, and everyone’s favorite Mozambique are unavailable. All in all, Gold Duos is a fun gimmick. But, at the end of the day, it’s just that; a gimmick. 

Live. Die. Live | JAN 16 – 17

Yoshyaes: B-

Sadly, I spent the least amount of time in this LTM. When I did play, I never actually got revived since my team kept getting squad wiped!

In theory, I like the concept of having fallen teammates automatically respawn. I also appreciate that Respawn gifted the revived members with match-appropriate weapons and armor.

It’s a unique spawn mechanic that encourages teammates to stay in the game long after being killed rather than immediately rage quitting. Unfortunately, this removes respawn beacons from the game, and with it, the high risk/high reward nature of bringing back your fallen squad members.

Flash: A

I wasn’t sure exactly how this game mode would work until I was playing it and it was sheer chaos! I didn’t know when players would respawn nor that they would respawn with a gun and armor. This really changed the inherent strategy and made surviving that much more important. 

A few games my teammates dropped in a gun fight and I was able to escape and wait for the next circle. The reinforcements dropping in was quite hilarious. End circles were pure insanity. Second only to Always Be Closing. With a few tweaks this would definitely be a LTM I would want to see again.

Third-Person Mode | JAN 18 – 19

Yoshyaes: A-

This was one of my favorite game modes! Having played so much of the Uncharted series and The Last of Us, I was eager to hop into this queue. It did not disappoint!

The first thing I noticed was how large the reticle was for most weapons. This resulted in the overall accuracy of the lobby going down and fights lasting longer than in the first-person mode. The slower pace was a welcome change and almost felt like a completely different game.

When you did kill someone in this mode, it felt even more rewarding given how tough it was to aim.

The things that keep this from being an A+ are: 1) aiming down certain scopes results in your character model blocking 40% of the screen and 2) no ability to switch your view from over the right to over the left shoulder.

Flash: B-

Growing up, I’ve always preferred third-person shooters to first-person shooters. Tomb Raider, Uncharted, The Last of Us, even Hitman recently. So having us able to see the entire body of the legends we’ve come to love, was quite exciting. There were of course wonky experiences. Minor ones like players not really holding the zipwires or some animation inconsistencies.

Because this is a first-person shooter at heart, much of this can be excused. However, if this game mode was to return, I would need some larger issues to be addressed. The camera needs to be adjusted or have the characters become transparent so that you can comfortably aim at targets to your left. Right-hand advantage has always been a tactic in third-person shooters. This Grand Soiree event took it to new levels. Compounding this issue were some of the midrange scopes and the digital threat. There should at least have been an option to switch between 1st and 3rd person so you could use the one you prefer. 

Always Be Closing | JAN 20 – 21

Apex Legends Always Be Closing

Yoshyaes: A-

Always be closing brought back the same nervous excitement as when I first started playing Apex Legends. After several failed attempts, we opted to get to the final circle earlier than later. This typically resulted in several minutes of gunfire from all directions as we struggle bused our way through callouts.

Put simply, Always Be Closing was regular Apex on crack cocaine…mixed with whatever it is that Octane injects himself with.

This mode was about 80% action, 20% anticipation. and 10% planning. I know that’s 110% and I meant what I said.

If nothing else, this mode gave me some of the greatest lolz in the game so far. The final battle typically involved dozens of missiles flying from the sky, caustic gas as far as the eye can see and hundreds of shotgun shells hitting the ground as peace keeps were fired off.

Could have been perfect if it were easier to see where the final circle was moving towards. 

Flash: A-

If you look up chaos in the dictionary, you’ll probably find its definition. If you took a screenshot of this game mode, printed it and taped it over the definition, then you’d find Always Be Closing. All jokes aside this mode was incredible. 

One minor detail which made this better than Fortnite‘s implementation. Instead of not knowing where the final circle would be at the start of the match, Apex gave everyone access to this. Would you jump far so you can loot, jump close so you wouldn’t get caught in transit, or jump directly into the circle and defend your turf?  

If I had to change one thing it would be to make the time before the final circle closing to nothing slightly longer. At times that final chaotic moment felt like a dice roll on who one. There was a game that I won and a game that I lost that I was equally confused about what happened. Maybe that’s not a bad thing though. Chaos!

Armed and Dangerous on World’s Edge | JAN 22 – 23

Apex Legends armed and dangerous

Yoshyaes: C+

Honestly, this mode could have just been called “best G7 skills wins”. No other available gun could compare with its versatility at all ranges as well as an abundance of ammo. The G7 remains one of my favorite weapons, but I didn’t see any point to carrying around any other sniper rifle.

Having limited shields did make the Kraber very appealing in the secondary slot. For most games, I could go through the first 10 minutes or so without ever having to pick up a shotgun. Even in the end game, there were still plenty of mid-range shootouts to finish the map.

I think I was only ever killed by a G7 or Mastiff in this mode. Again, this was an LTM that was enjoyable for the first 10 or so games and then got old quickly.

Flash: B-

The sniper and shotgun Grand Soiree event was a great callback to the Kings Canyon event. In theory,  it’s a great idea. Close quarters and long-distance weapons only. I only really have one problem with this implementation, just like last time. And unfortunately, this problem is game mode breaking. Say it with me – G7 Scout.

Calling the G7 Scout a sniper is very tongue-in-cheek. In reality, its an incredibly versatile single fire assault rifle. A G7 out peforms every other gun offered in this game mode if you can keep the fight at arm’s length and not 200+ meters away. Respawn Entertainment could fix this mode in next season’s implementation by either banning the gun from the game mode and/or giving us another gun that competes with it. The Sentinel has been announced as a coming sniper, I’m not sure it will be the answer but at least we are getting more variety.

Also, give us a pistol-only mode and an energy ammo pistol! Thanks!

Kings Canyon After Dark | JAN 24 – 25

Apex Legends Kings Canyon after dark

Yoshyaes: D

I’m only rating Kings Canyon After Dark this highly because of all the nostalgic fields associated with the first map.

I had an OK time with the Shadow Fall event last October so I figured this mode would be equally OK. Instead, I was blown to bits by people hiding in the darkness again and again.

I had a tough time seeing anything without a digital threat. Even with the digi, I had to aim down sight to take advantage of the red outline, slowing down my movement speed and making me easier to kill.

When I wasn’t getting mowed down by darkness-dwellers, I was being smacked in the side of the head up a 4-10X-wielding longbow. Equally painful but slightly more impressive.

The one positive was being able to reminisce about our glory days at the Water Treatment Plant way back when. I’m excited to have King’s Canyon returning for Season 4 ranked play, and I’m also thrilled to have moved on from this LTM.

Flash: C-

Kings Canyon returns. The missed OG map that more and more people are claiming is the far superior of the two. I don’t know if I agree with this narrative and think it is more so nostalgia and “grass is always greener” effect but we got it nonetheless. This time the lights are out. I was excited for this up until I found out some of the design choices for this Grand Soiree mode. 

First, digital threats are everywhere. This unintentional nerf to Bangalore ruined the mode for me. I would have either rather just complained about not seeing anything or the developers lightened map vs giving everyone access to one of the most powerful sights in the game. This had a residual effect because I found myself dropping guns that could not equip a digital threat in favor of those that could. Second, and the event is over so I can’t verify this, but I believe the ballons were gone from this mode. At least the Water Tower ballon was. I’m not sure why they decided to remove one of the best ways to get around. 

Happy to say that next Season ranked mode will visit Kings Canyon with the lights on! We will have to wait to see which POI they include.

DUMMIES Big Day | JAN 26 – 28

Apex Legends Dummies big day

Yoshyaes: A

Even though DBD was nothing like I expected, it’s had me cracking up from the very first game. I tip my hat to the devs at Respawn for being able to misdirect the community into thinking this was an AI-fighting PvE mode. Well done.

For starters, being able to poop out loot is one of the most satisfying things I’ve done in the game! It removes some of the burdens of scavenging containers and feels like you hit the lottery after seeing a purple attachment fly from your hand.

Next, the decision to cycle through random ults is genius. Given the unpredictable nature of these dummy ultimates, I didn’t feel guilty using the ult as soon as it was ready.

I’m not sure if it was intentional, but this mode also put all players on a level playing field. I know the devs want this to be a class-based shooter, but there’s no denying the value in having a queue where no character has an advantage over the other based on their kit.

Flash: C

If nothing else, the finale to the Grand Soiree was unexpected. The developers didn’t give us much to go on other than clips from the event’s trailer. 

From the selection screen I thought each color would have a different ability or at least ultimate to differentiate between them. Turns out, it was just a palette swap. That didn’t stop the game mode from being entertaining. Throwing out random loot became a group exercise. There’s something exciting about not knowing what will come next. In fact, it reminded me of a loot-based legend I had conceptualized a few weeks ago.

That being said, this quickly became a bit mundane. I had an ah-ha moment when I realized that we weren’t necessarily testing new features but probably playing a modified early prototype version of the game (sans the ultimate). Apex can be quite boring without ziplines, traps, fences, jump pads, portals and the like. Unfortunately, it is the longest Grand Soiree event, lasting 3 days. After one evening of playing, I think I was over it.

What We Expect in Season 4

For starters, there needs to be a change to Mirage’s abilities. DUMMIES Big Day showed us the legend’s potential to become a more viable character by adopting some aspects of the “surprise dance party” ult.

It doesn’t need to perfectly replicate what we saw in this LTM, because that may become too OP, but the dummies from Mirage’s ult should at least execute more actions than just running in a straight line.

Next, there is sure to be a nighttime event in World’s Edge. For better or worse, Respawn is locked into the idea of having us fight in the dark. Hopefully, some of you other legends are enjoying that!

Additionally, we expect at least one of these LTMs to make a comeback in the next season. Since the shotgun-sniper mode has already been re-done and given our own personal bias, we hope to see a more refined version of Always Be Closing!

Lastly, there will be some very interesting changes to the energy weapon category. Respawn recently removed extended energy mags and alluded to impending updates. Perhaps we’ll finally see the introduction of Titafall 2’s Volt weapon?

Do you agree with our rankings? What was your favorite Grand Soiree event? Leave us a message in the comments section below!

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