If you've been playing Apex Legends and been left thinking "there's something not quite right", you're not alone. It's the netcode.
You'd think a game made by Respawn, alumni from great multiplayer titles such as the original Medal of Honor, Call of Duty and the Modern Warfare series, and one built on the solid framework of the Source engine, would be rock solid. But Apex Legends works a little different, as an analysis from YouTuber and networking geek Battle(non)sense found.
The first major knock against Apex is that it downloads more, on average, over the course of a game than most other major shooters:
There's also a ton of general lag in general gameplay. In tests with two PCs that both had a ping of 24ms to the server, Apex - and this was towards the start of the game, when most players are still alive - had a higher average delay than almost every major shooter. It was also the most inconsistent, with some huge differences between the shortest and longest delay while moving, firing and taking damage.
But perhaps the most critical flaw is the game's tendency to always confirm a hit on the client side, irrespective of how bad a player's ping is. If a player has an especially high ping, they would traditionally have to lead their shot to account for the delay between them shooting and the server registering the shot.
Apex, however, will always favour the client. So if you have a good ping and try and run behind a corner, and someone with a dodgy connection sees you and shoots, it doesn't matter if you were already behind the wall by the time the high ping player gets data to the server. The hit will still land, which explains why you might have died or been knocked down despite being well behind cover.
It's all covered in the video above. There's also a nice trick whereby you can force yourself to connect to one of five data centres in Sydney (two of which are hosted by Google) by waiting at the start screen for a minute, pressing the ESC key, then Cancel, and then choosing the Data Centres option that appears at the bottom. You can make the menu appear on consoles as well by waiting a couple of minutes on the start screen, entering the Accessibility Settings, quitting, and then pushing in R3 on PS4/Xbox.
No servers in Perth or Melbourne, but at least we've got something local in the region. Even if there are times where it never feels like it.