Apex Legends players feel that the game is cramping their style. Skins are a frequent source of complaint in the game’s community, cropping up in forum posts every few weeks. As a free-to-play game with a set roster of characters, skins are how players can customise their characters. They’re also how Apex Legends makes money, whether by including them in loot boxes or selling a select few individually via the daily updated Featured Store, with most skins being available for about a week. It doesn’t matter where you get them, though; almost all Apex Legends skins have the same problem. They’re boring.
“I know this sounds silly, but the slight colour change skins don’t really count,” wrote one forum poster. “I’d rather have a selection of 3 or 4 major skin changes than 20 or 30 slightly different colour pallet [sic] swaps.”
That sums up the major issue with Apex Legends skins: They largely comprise palette swaps. Consider Bloodhound’s Legendary and Epic skins, for example. Because of their rarity, they’re supposed to be the best of the best, the most ornate and exciting you can get. In reality, they’re quite dull—mostly just new colours. The only substantial changes show up in the Royal Guard or Imperial Warrior skins, which add a bit of ornamentation that push Bloodhound into a more samurai aesthetic.
And even those two skins are pretty similar to one another.
This is consistent across every character’s set of skins. Even the ones who fare a bit better, like Gibraltar, don’t break too far from the mould. His legendary skins are more transformative, but only a little. Like Bloodhound’s, Gibraltar’s four legendary skins are just two different outfits, each done two ways.
This is Dark Side, Gibraltar’s most elaborate Legendary skin.
As for his epic skins, they’re all mostly palette swaps with a couple prints thrown in for good measure. This is par for the course in Apex. It starts to feel like skin inflation, if you will—padding out the epic-tier skins with simple colour adjustments and only making marginal changes to the legendary ones. It only gets more thorny when you consider the game’s weapon skins.
On the one hand, they’re about as boring as the character skins. On the other, given the way weapon acquisition works in Apex Legends, a gun will only have your chosen skin on it if you are the first to find it on the map. And given the way Apex Legends requires you to constantly be on the lookout for better weapons and gear no matter where it comes from, there’s no guarantee you’ll even get to see a weapon skin you might have spent as much as £16 on (or $18, across the Atlantic).
“Almost all my guns come from bodies not the ground most games. So they have someone else’s skin,” wrote one player. “Why would I pay $18 for a skin I won’t see even if I use the gun?”
The in-game economy only exacerbates the problem. Prices are just too damn high. £16 is a lot to spend on a single skin—you can buy entire games with that much.
What’s frustrating is that Apex has shown at least once that it can dazzle with weapon skins without impacting how the game is played. The legendary Havoc weapon skin, added to the game as the level 100 Battle Pass reward, transforms as you get more kills. It’s legitimately cool looking, but it also takes a ridiculous amount of work to get. It’s also currently the only skin of its kind in the game.
It would be nice to see more bold, unique skin options in Apex Legends, particularly given the price. But it’s also worth keeping in mind that developer Respawn Entertainment is attempting to avoid employee burnout while updating the game. It remains to be seen where skins will fall on Respawn’s priority list, but many would consider them a welcome change.