Apex Legends Season 12: Defiance was released today, bringing with it an explosive new Legend and an even more explosive new game mode called Control.
Control was billed by developers Respawn Entertainment as a “fast paced, low pressure” 9v9 game mode with quick respawns and near-constant fighting.
As someone who used to play Apex Legends upwards of three hours a day but fell off of it somewhere around last summer, I was excited to hop back into Season 12. It’s not that the game got worse or anything; I just played it so much that it felt like there was nothing new anymore. (Plus, they removed the Hammerpoint Rounds, which was a horrible mistake that I’m glad they’ve now remedied.)
But Control seemed like the kind of thing I’d always wanted out of Apex Legends. For me, the movement and combat has always been what makes Apex Legends sing, and being able to play a game mode with quick respawns and tons of running around and shooting seemed like the dream.
After taking Control for a few spins, I’m pleased to report that it’s exactly what I always wanted out of the game, and it made me truly enjoy Apex Legends again after months of, on and off, dipping my toe back into the water.
How Control works
Control is a game mode based on capturing control points across a slice of one of the battle royale maps. There are two teams, each comprising nine members in total and made up of three squads of three. Once you’ve queued in, you select a pre-determined loadout from five options and head right into battle.
Once in the game, your team will fight to capture and defend three control points. Capturing the point closest to your base spawn is pretty much a given, so the game really begins when you charge into the point in the center and fight the other team for dominion there.
Control immediately feels different to other Apex Legends game modes when you start playing it, and not just because you have six more teammates than you usually do. The flow of the game is much faster and more tightly focused because you have clear-cut objectives and know roughly where the enemy will be coming from at all times.
One thing I particularly enjoyed about Control is how you can play on your own or with your teammates, and how fluidly you can switch between those two playstyles. One moment, I’d be solo defending from the roof of Hammond Laboratories, the next I was running up the flank with my two squadmates to sneakily back cap the enemy’s control point. One of the three-person squads I played with set up on high ground, each of them with a long-range loadout, and laid down cover fire the whole game while the rest of us moved around the map to attack and defend points.
Another thing that makes Control unique is the flexibility and reactivity it gives you. If you want to switch things up between respawns, not only can you switch loadouts, but you can switch Legends as well. This marks the first time Apex Legends has had a game mode where you aren’t locked into one Legend the entire time and it makes for some pretty interesting strategies. In my first game, I started out playing Horizon, But, as it became clear we needed some more robust defense, I switched to Caustic halfway through. It was like a game of rock paper scissors, something that could only be achieved in a game mode this fast-paced.
Overall, Control has reignited my love for playing Apex Legends and brought something new to the game that it has sorely needed. I sincerely hope Respawn decides to keep it around as a reprieve from the tense, slow-moving Battle Royale mode that the game was created around.