Apex Legends continues to pump out meaningful mid season content designed to mix up the status quo and deliver changes in keeping with each holiday theme. Mirage's Holo-Day event is a lively and often hilarious spin on the formula.
With this latest limited time drop, Respawn's free to play battle royale shooter has seen more than just a sprinkling of Christmas cheer. Beyond the obligatory snowy textures, Christmas lights, and presents littering every crevice, the big new addition is Winter Express, a king of the hill style mode that makes some key changes to the standard BR template.
It forces you into combat right from the off, leaving little time to breathe. You'll definitely see much more action here than in your typical "early defeat" while playing the standard game mode.
Each legend sports a regularly rotating loadout that forgoes the need to land and loot. Once you're in, it's a race to the next station as you battle opposing sqauds of three to maintain control of the central carriage. Once you've held on for a sufficient amount of time, or everyone else has bit the dust, the festive locomotive departs for another destination, respawns kick in, and it's on to round 2.
Camping does you little good with so many exposed flanks, so you'll need to keep your wits about you and ensure your head is on a swivel.
It's very easy to get caught off guard, so communication becomes an even more critical requirement for potential success. Certain locations on the map offer more chokepoints and perches than others, with the first and third stations forcing a true test of your skills. Caustic's Nox Gas barrels are absolutely lethal when you're fighting in tight quarters on the train, and since we're quite partial to Wattson (a criminally underused hero), her electrified fences can also really help tip the scales in your favour.
In much the same way as the Shadowfall LTM, Winter Express is a zippy and relentless slice of Apex Legends action, that places a tighter emphasis on quick reactions and spatial awareness. It may take a couple of rounds for everything to fall into place, but it still remains one of the better experiments that Respawn have patched in.
Of course, limited time modes have a tendency to introduce map changes to the main experience, and we can say that Mirage's hovering party ship (aptly named the "Mirage Voy'age") is absolutely brilliant. It's totally in keeping with his well established ego-centric and self deprecating humour, but beyond the Jacuzzi and homages to Titanic, the design work here is very impressive. The whole thing feels fresh and custom built, without reusing existing assets.
Whereas Wraith's "Voidwalker" event was more about exploring her backstory, Mirage's Holo-Day Bash is a loving tribute to the excess and wit of his character, as determined by Mirage himself.
There's some mechanical easter eggs built into his mighty vessel that we won't spoil here, but suffice it to say, if you get the opportunity to explore outside of combat, it's worth poking around to see what's what. Combined with the unlockable cosmetics (which remain a tad on the pricey side), and bevy of fresh voice over dialogue, it's absolutely worth jumping back in.
Apex Legends is available now, for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
Mirage's Holo-Day Bash limited time event runs until 7th January 2020.