Apex Legends has changed my life. It is, without a doubt, my favourite competitive shooter ever. I’ve made memories, and I’ve gained friends. It’s something that I probably take way too seriously (if I find you camping in a corner with Caustic traps, prepare to be mercilessly quipped after your inevitable demise). It’s a game that has ruined other games for me. No FPS offers the same level of freedom and control that Apex does. Well, except Titanfall 2.
Another key reason that I, and so many others, have fallen in love with Apex is due to the fantastic lore that the Respawn Entertainment team have developed since its launch in February 2019. This sets Apex apart from other battle royale titles. Since the very beginning, Lead Composer Stephen Barton has done a wonderful job in helping to bring each legend to life, with all of them having their own unique musical themes. These themes are then incorporated into other aspects of the game, such as lobby and victory music. To my knowledge, Barton has been at the controls for every music pack released so far. Most of guitar work you hear in these themes are courtesy of Tom Strahle.
As of March 2021, there are now 16 playable legends. After much deliberation, I’ve carefully ranked each musical theme that accompanies our beloved heroes (and villains). There’s a noticeable pattern to the list: the newer the legend, the more memorable and distinct the theme. This is likely because Barton has had more time - and creative flexibility - to work on each individual theme since the original cast of characters.
Thank you to Barton for making such magic, and of course to Respawn for the memories we’ve made. For anyone reading: feel free to get in touch to tell me how much you disagree. I’m sure we can settle it in the firing range.
Bloodhound is one of the best legends in the game. The inclusion of a non-binary playable character is refreshing, and it’s very important. However, their musical theme is the weakest of the bunch. Whilst its pulsating rhythm does create atmosphere and tension, the music itself lacks any memorable characteristic. The tribal drums do sound great, and are bound to get you pretty pumped for the battle ahead. As we’ll come on to soon enough, though, this isn’t a feature exclusive to Bloodhound’s theme. This is still an effective piece of music, and perfectly pleasant to listen to. If only for the Apex melody, which certainly soars here.
Wraith is another excellent legend, and undoubtedly one of the best to play. Statistics show she’s been the most popular since day one, though recent nerfs for Season 8 seem to have thrown a spanner in the works. I can’t say I’m sad about it given the number of times I’ve been one-clipped by a bald Wraith named something like iGunz. It’s a shame, then, that the musical theme doesn’t quite live up to her prestige. The electronic elements are nice enough, and the soft vocal effects lend the theme an otherworldly feel, but the music doesn’t give you much insight into Wraith’s character other than a sense of mystery. To be clear, it’s a good piece of music, just not as memorable as many others.
Sorry Mirage, you’ve been bamboozled. Like Bloodhound and Wraith before, this theme is short and simple. The guitar riff is charmingly cool – as you’d expect with anything associated with a heart-throb like Mirage – and is eventually accompanied by a beat that almost has a chillwave vibe to it. These aspects do give us a better sense of Mirage’s character than the previous themes, but it’s not nearly as interesting as the ones still to come. Although, once again, the Apex melody sounds fab here. Anyone else get goosebumps whenever they hear it? No? Just me…
Our favourite passive-aggressive robot has a theme too. It seems many Apex players, myself included, didn’t unlock his music pack at the time, but fortunately enough the internet exists so we can still listen. It’s a fun little theme, driven somewhat expectedly by a tech-heavy beat with nice intricate details. I really enjoy the swirling bassline too. Unfortunately, it does sound very similar to the music attached to other original cast legends, particularly Wraith and Mirage. Actually, it also reminds me a lot of Astrolander from Timesplitters 2. Bit of a blast from the past there. What a fun game that was.
Dr Alexander Maxwell Nox, AKA Caustic, has been a divisive legend since day one. He was the first villainous character, before Revenant so ruthlessly introduced himself. His musical theme certainly plays on this. Though it’s not massively memorable, it is slightly terrifying. The introduction reminds me of classic John Carpenter soundtracks, and wouldn’t sound too out of place in a game like Dead by Daylight. In terms of sheer suspense, Barton did an excellent job with Caustic’s theme. Appropriate too, with quips such as ‘I do not care who makes the kill, as long as I can observe it die.’ You just leave Wattson alone. Understood, Doctor?
‘Lock and load. Rinse, repeat. It’s that simple.’ Bangalore’s theme may seem fairly elementary on the surface, but boy does it get you pumped for the games. Very few themes on the list sound as triumphant as this one. True to Bangalore’s character, the music sounds like it’s taken from an epic war film. Those horns simply ooze VICTORY. Whilst it may not be the most unique theme on the list, it instills vital motivation when necessary. Sometimes that’s all we need. Especially after a handful of games ending with zero kills.
Prior to ordering this list, I thought Octane’s theme would rank higher. However, after listening through each theme intently, it became clear to me that there are much more detailed and powerful pieces elsewhere. That’s not to say Octane’s isn’t incredibly effective, and I wouldn’t be surprised if many players put it in their regular rotation. It’s a drum and bass inspired theme that opts for a quick thrills, driven by a vigorous breakbeat that accelerates to a climax before you even know it. It’s basically perfect for a speedy adrenaline junkie. Job done. Scooting and looting, amigo.
Like Pathfinder, Lifeline’s theme is another that seems to have gone under the radar slightly. That’s a damn shame, because it’s a lovely little piece of music. It starts off with intricate guitar parts and a kick drum that replicates a heart-beat - just to emphasise Lifeline’s main strength on the battlefield. There’s a really nice variation on the Apex theme that eventually enters towards the end too, as the string ensemble rises to a delightful crescendo. It closes out with silky smooth sub-bass to further stress Lifeline’s sense of style. I’m rather attached to her character, if you hadn’t already noticed. We drummers gotta stick together.
We’re midway through the list, and in my humble opinion Gibralter’s theme is the best of the bunch from the original Apex cast. It sets the tone immediately, opening with a palm-muted guitar riff and continues to build towards the momentous Apex melody, aided by tribal drums that pound powerfully with urgency and desire. It feels like a real rallying cry. It’s not the most complex of themes, but once again it proves incredibly effective. It’s a fairly good representation of Gibralter’s abilities as a playable character, too. I do love our big boy Gibby, but please, Respawn, nerf that bloody gun-shield already.
Crypto’s theme is a perfect representation of his character. He’s a skilled hacker and encryption expert who uses drones to track down his opponents, which you’d probably guess just by listening to the music. It’s a piece driven by electronic textures, reminding me a little of Michael McCann’s exceptional score for Deux Ex: Human Revolution. The attention to detail in the percussion is superb, especially the hypnotic hi-hats that pan back and forth. There are so many subtleties that radiate the perception of digital warfare. Plus the Apex melody is super prominent, which as we’ve established already, is always a huge positive. Great stuff.
I expect Barton was very excited upon seeing the details for Fuse, a highly confident Australian who is as enthusiastic about explosives as he is guitars, because clearly a lot of fun was had making this one. Guitars have been prominent throughout this list, but they have never been used so creatively until now. Fans of classic rock will adore Fuse’s theme, and I’m sure for many players this will rank even higher - especially those with a keen ear for roaring riffs. This is proper hair-metal stuff. It skirts dangerously close to being full-on ridiculous, but it’s all the better for it. I cannot help but chuckle every time that absurd vocoder effect comes in during the introduction. This is undoubtedly one of the best themes to date, and a real insight into Fuse’s character. He’s loud, he’s crude, and he doesn’t really give a fuck.
Boy are we getting to the good stuff now. Revenant’s theme is arguably the most unique of the bunch; appropriate for a legend so distinctly evil. Barton did an exceptional job of making the Synthetic Nightmare seem so menacing. A solitary acoustic guitar opens the piece, creeping along with unnerving confidence, before launching into an industrial-inspired climax that prompts obvious comparisons to Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson. It just sounds so gloriously sinister, making Caustic’s theme seem like child’s play. Ultimately, it’s the perfect theme for a legend with such quips as ‘I want your heart, I can slice it up for a snack’ and my personal favourite, ‘I want to eat your children’. Yikes. Team Loba all the way. Speaking of whom…
Banger alert. In addition to being Revenant’s mortal enemy, Loba Andrade is an adept thief with a keen eye for opportunity. Barton’s theme captures her character perfectly. Just like Revenant’s before, it starts with a lone acoustic guitar, though this time with a sense of wistful elegance. Loba’s past is one of tragedy, and the way in which this theme develops makes her seem like a phoenix rising from the ashes. It demonstrates the gracefulness that she so often exudes, but also her hostile mannerisms. There’s a slight twist to the Apex melody here too, supported superbly by sumptuous sub-bass. It’s bloody brilliant, basically. Put this one on repeat.
If we’re talking in terms of outright fun, Rampart’s theme may be the best here. There are so many different aspects to the music: the Ska guitars during the intro, the groovy basslines throughout, and the bouncy drums that recall the feeling of jumping in time with the music at a Summer festival, alongside friends, beverage in hand (remember those days?). Once again Barton does a fantastic job of creating a theme that feels totally separate from the rest. Rampart’s music gets you in the mood for some frolicking, which is really all you can ask for from a video game like Apex. If only Rampart were as fun to play as. Alas. I’m sure her day will come.
Hands down the most under-rated theme in Apex. What? No, I’m not biased. So what if I’m a Wattson main? Whilst the music doesn’t feature one particular element that sets it aside from other entries here, the arrangement is, quite frankly, exquisite. Despite the game only recently celebrating its two-year anniversary, the romantic strings that open the piece overwhelm me with nostalgia. The orchestration here is beautiful. You can’t help but think of Wattson’s past, and the relationship she had with her Father. From there, you’re greeted with the classic tropes of Apex themes - most notably, the thumping drums, and the fabled Apex melody, which seems to carry more emotive weight here than anywhere else. It’s a gorgeous piece of music, composed with thought and consideration to a deeply special character.
We have our Apex Champion. Horizon’s theme was an immediate fan favourite, and it’s easy to see why. This is perhaps the most celestial of the bunch, which in itself makes perfect sense. Horizon is an astrophysicist, after all, and quite sharply named her son Newton. The first half of the theme is totally tranquil, almost as if you’re floating in space. It’s perhaps the most peaceful moment of all the music showcased here. I’m reminded of modern sci-fi film soundtracks such as Clint Mansell’s Moon. At least, until the second half of the theme, where the music erupts and the bagpipes start blaring. If you weren’t already aware of Horizon’s Scottish heritage, her theme is sure to enlighten you. Truly, it’s one of the most euphoric musical moments Apex has to offer. Horizon’s theme has it all. Not only does it get you pumped, but it makes you feel. It’s a stunning showcase of Barton’s talents. Wonderful work.