While Fortnite is not about to disappear, there is a new battle royale game competing for children’s attention. Apex Legends offer the same style of gun-battle on a shrinking map with lots of other players. Here’s what you need to know about it if your child is asking to play.
On the face of it, the two games look quite similar. However, in the UK the rating for Apex Legends is 16 and over whereas Fortnite is only 12 and up. This means it’s illegal for anyone under the age of 16 to purchase the game in store.
Similar to Fortnite it’s free to play but offers in-game to access particular characters and visual enhancements. Because of this, there is no credit card transaction required before downloading. It can be useful to check you have a PEGI age rating specified on your console, so you can have a conversation about older games like this before your child tries them.
Here’s everything you need to know to get the most out of this popular new game, safely and sensibly.
In the UK and Europe, PEGI rate Apex Legends suitable for those 16 and older because it features sustained depictions of violence towards human characters. The VSC expand the rating in their examiner’s report which states: “Players can use a range of modern military weapons such as pistols, sniper rifles, automatic guns, frag grenades, and knives.
Successful hits from a firearm will degrade the health of a character, indicated by some splattering of blood. Once this reaches a critical point, they will become immobile. Finisher cut scenes provide the best examples of realistic-looking violence, although powerful-looking the effects are not classed as very strong violence.
Different cultural sensitivities compare the violence in Apex Legends and Fortnite differently. In the US it gets the same 13+ rating as Fortnite, while in the UK and Europe it gets 16+. Beyond the player actions that trigger these ratings, Apex Legends goes to darker places than Fortnite.
There are the finisher moves that specifically execute defenceless enemies. There are also other special moves that use chemical gas attacks on multiple enemies before finishing them off.
Apex Legends is free to download and start playing, meaning that no purchase password is required from parents. As signified in the ratings the game includes purchases. These purchases range from £7.99 to £79.99. While this money will only unlock cosmetic improvements, it is also a way to gain access to all the playable characters in the game more quickly.
Apex Packs that can be earned in the game or purchased with money, offer a “loot box” style chance to win items of varying rarity. This is not classed as gambling by the Gambling Commission in the UK as these items don’t have any monetary value outside the game.
Apex Legends is, by its battle royale nature, an online game. It’s enjoyable because of the competitive play with 60 other players. This means that there is some pressure to play at a certain time when friends are online. It also means that quitting in the middle of a game is detrimental to your teammates.
Players communicate with each other with headphones and mics. This audio interaction is not covered by PEGI ratings, so although the game isn’t rated for profanity, its online nature could expose younger players to offensive language from strangers via the voice or on-screen text chat.
Although you don’t hear opponents talking, communicating with teammates is an important, and enjoyable, part of the game but does mean that by default it allows you to talk to strangers. However, Apex Legends offers a new way to communicate with teammates without voice, by triggering a “ping” about items found or enemies shot. This makes it possible to play without talking to strangers.
If your child is playing with strangers in their team, you can mute them in the inventory screen during play. On consoles, players can join a lobby of friends before they play to permanently mute players, not in their group, who they don’t know.
Set up your console or PC to limit access to older PEGI rating games. You can also control the sort of interactions your child can have with other players online in these settings.
It’s a good idea to ensure you have passwords and payment limits set up on any credit cards associated with gaming accounts. Also that these accounts are set up with emails that you check regularly to get timely information about payments
You can also set up time limits for playtime. Use this as an opportunity to encourage children to play a wide range of games and activities rather than simply controlling their play without discussion.
If Apex Legends is rated too old for your child, the following games offer a more age-appropriate alternative:
See articles and resources to help children stay safe online.