Apex Legends Team Deathmatch Impressions

by David Sanchez February 19, 2023 @ 3:30 pm

Apex Legends TDM

Reviewed on PlayStation 4

It’s crazy to think that Apex Legends has officially been around for four whole years. Having launched in February of 2019, the game went straight into a full release as opposed to going through a beta period. And though there were some issues to sort out, the game’s launch was pretty solid and smooth overall.

Since its release, Apex Legends has received multiple updates, new characters and weapons, battle passes with lots of unlocks, and even new modes. Now, as part of the game’s four-year anniversary and 16th season, Revelry, developer Respawn Entertainment has decided to release probably the biggest new mode to date, and something that fans have been hoping for: Team Deathmatch.

In the past, Apex Legends has received Team Deathmatch-esque modes like Gun Run and Arenas (and, to a degree, Control). That said, Arenas has seemingly been phased out this season, much to the chagrin of a few players. It’s a shame, because Arenas was a solid fast-paced mode that was easy to get into and made for some exciting battles. So how does Team Deathmatch stack up as the new pick-up-and-play mode, and is it a worthwhile experience?

Apex Legends Team Deathmatch Explained

Apex Legends Team Deathmatch - Kings Canyon Map

Team Deathmatch in Apex Legends works just about how you’d expect it to. Two teams of six players each face off in small-sized zones. At this time, the available maps include Skull Canyon, Party Crasher, and Habitat 4, and these are cycled through via a timer that rotates them out regularly.

Like in Arenas, you’ll start TDM in a weapons menu. This works in a largely different way than it did in Arenas, though. For starters, you won’t be accruing any in-game currency to purchase weapons, grenades, and abilities. Instead, you’ll be presented with multiple preset loadouts that focus on different play styles. The “Close-Quarters” loadout, for example, includes the R-99 SMG, EVA-8 Shotgun, and Arc Star. Meanwhile the “Assault” loadout includes a Flatline, P2020, and Frag Grenade. These are just two loadout varieties, though, and you’ll see different loadouts rotated over time.

It would be kind of cool to just be able to choose whichever weapons you like or set up your own custom loadout for TDM. At the same time, Apex Legends — and a lot of battle royale-based games — thrive on randomness. So this might just be a case of having to take it on the chin and accept the unpredictability of play here.

TDM rounds end after one team reaches 50 kills. Games are generally fast-paced, though Arenas matches felt shorter and faster. Still, this is a good “fast mode” to jump into if you’re just looking to kill a few minutes at a time as opposed to the often longer-drawn-out battle royale component.

Apex Legends - Team Deathmatch Loadouts

One of the biggest problems with Team Deathmatch in Apex Legends is an issue that, well, is hard to control. This is in regard to players disconnecting or starting a round with less players than the other squad. Straight-up, when this happens, it’s a drag. Being at a disadvantage from the get-go or having teammates bounce is definitely problematic. And though a “searching for players” message will appear in the empty slot, at this time, it doesn’t look like new players can just join ongoing games.

While EA has suggested that players who disconnect will be punished, that doesn’t seem to be the case just yet. Perhaps once the mode has been around for a while, there will be appropriate penalties in place for disconnecting players.

Is Team Deathmatch a Worthy Replacement for Arenas?

While Arenas had its detractors, it was a really fun, fast-paced mode that was easy to get into. It was perfect for warming up and a great choice for shorter play sessions. Team Deathmatch is similar in both of those regards. If you need to shake off the rust from not having played for a while, or if you need a warm-up before jumping into a battle royale game, TDM works well. It’s also a good way to spend a few minutes playing without dedicating too much time. Alternatively, it can get somewhat addictive playing round after round of TDM.

Apex Legends - Mirage

So is Team Deathmatch better than Arenas? It’s hard to say as that depends on how much you enjoyed Arenas. Personally, I miss Arenas, but I’m glad TDM is there, and I’ll continue to play it. I do, however, hope that it becomes a more balanced affair over time. As it is, I’d say it’s on par with Arenas, though it’s a little different. Even then, it’s a fun time and definitely a nice addition to Apex Legends. Here’s hoping both modes are rotated via the upcoming “Mixtape” mode playlist.

Another thing to keep in mind is that while Apex Legends shares similarities with its sister series Titanfall, Team Deathmatch here feels significantly different than it does in that franchise. Maps are more compact, and though the shooting is similar, this game’s TDM doesn’t feel as focused or developed. It might get there, but that will likely take some time.

Ultimately, Team Deathmatch in Apex Legends is a fast and entertaining mode that’ll keep you busy in between rounds of Trios and Duos. It’s not perfect, but it’s a great alternative that’s a blast to play.

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