Dropping into Storm Point, Apex Legends’ newest map, drives home just how massive the map really is.
The immensity of Storm Point is impossible to ignore in just about every aspect of the map. The high grounds are so much higher. The lows so much lower. The points of interest are so massive, pushed even further by the smaller camps that sprawl from the edges of most POIs on the map. Even compared to World’s Edge, Storm Point is so big that it’s sometimes difficult to maintain any sort of perspective on how a person should feel about the map while playing it.
Storm Point has been very fun so far. It’s not perfect, however. And both of those feelings stem from how big the map is.
Let’s start with the obviously good stuff. The map is absolutely gorgeous. Where the previous three maps in Apex all followed the pattern of varied terrain, vegetation, and building elements that become progressively more and more destroyed as seasons go on, Storm Point feels refreshing and appropriately wild. The lighting of the map, the colors, the new building types; all of these features breathe new life into the game, and dropping into the map is a pleasure every time. The POIs are interesting and varied, and while a couple favorite landing spots for many players have clearly emerged, this is possibly the first time since Apex Legends was first released where I feel good about landing at almost any single POI on the map.
Perhaps a little more surprisingly, the wildlife dens on the map feel interesting and well-balanced. They represent a unique risk/reward scenario that’s been seldom seen in Apex so far. Do you rush into each den and shoot up the AI for a little bit, grabbing some extra loot and a little extra damage for evo shields, while risking any nearby teams hearing the shots and deciding to sneak up on you? Do you bypass them entirely? Fighting off Prowlers while simultaneously fighting off a team trying to take advantage of my squad being distracted is the most fun the game has felt in quite some time, and with the exception of very specific instances in Bloodhound’s Trials, it’s something that can’t happen on any other map.
And the fights! The fights are where Storm Point shines. Coming straight off of a Kings Canyons ranked split, it feels incredibly refreshing to be able to fight a team and not fear an instant third party. The space of the map allows for legend movement abilities, tridents, and the new gravity cannons to not feel like oppressive tools of any player that hears a gunshot halfway across the map. Third-party fights are a natural occurrence in battle royales, but it’s hard to argue that a small map like Kings Canyon doesn’t exacerbate third-partying, and how helpless it can feel. On Storm Point, even with plenty of squads around, players can take in the info around them and make the decision on whether to take a fight or let other teams duke it out, waiting for the dust to settle a bit.
But that same concept of space brings us to the main criticism of Storm Point: sometimes it just feels like there’s far too much of it.
Yes, the bigger map is nice, because it doesn’t feel like you’re forced to land at the same POI as five other teams just to get decent loot, and third parties don’t seem to happen as frequently. Sometimes, however, you just want to fight, and there’s no one anywhere close to fight. An example: I dropped into a duos match with a friend, both of us having only played a couple of games on the new map. Deciding we wanted to explore a bit more and see some spots we hadn’t, we landed on the very north side of the map, at High Point, before rotating over to Lightning Rod. Satisfied with seeing some new stuff, we began going southward to the circle as quickly as possible. We went through Thunder Watch, down to Storm Catcher, then down even further to Launch Pad, and realizing neither of us had even seen Fish Farms yet, traversed even further south there, where the circle was pulling.
We ran through the entire eastern side of the map without hearing a gunshot. With only a couple teams left and searching for a fight, at this point, we bumped back up to Antenna, where two teams were fighting. As we began to walk up, however, we noticed another team approaching from the opposite direction, as well as the vast amounts of Caustic gas emanating from the center of Antenna. My competitive brain kicked in, suggesting we head back to Fish Farms, since this fight was happening so far from zone with little time left. And so we did. And we waited. And waited. Finally, after a couple minutes, the victory screen simply appeared. We won the game, registering zero kills, zero knocks, and a grand total of 45 damage between us.
That’s an extreme example made worse by the fact that we were intentionally trying to avoid fighting early on in the game to explore the map, but it illustrates the point. This is not a map for pub-stompers to pad their stats on. The same amount of space that allows Storm Point to avoid some pitfalls of other, smaller maps, can become a pitfall unto itself with how long some of the rotations are. The long sightlines also make snipers and marksman weapons almost a requirement, and being on a team without a Valkyrie can feel like a death sentence at times when faced with long uphill rotations and the high peaks that segment much of the north and center of the map.
And even though the POIs are enjoyable, it’s difficult to ignore the fact that many of them are so large that the loot feels incredibly spread out on them. Yes, most of the POIs have the space for several teams to land in them at the same time. But in World’s Edge, a player can loot one building in Fragment and feel like they’re prepared to take a couple fights. In Storm Point, it’s relatively easy to loot an entire building in a POI and still feel like you’re forced to fight off another team with scraps. There’s probably more loot overall on the map than any other Apex map, but actually finding it feels time-consuming.
Despite these concerns, the map is still a great time to play. There are plenty of games were fights do occur frequently, and where you can find good loot to take a fight early on. Winning frantic fights off of spawn feels incredibly rewarding, and surviving to see chaotic late-game fights are made all the more interesting by the new terrain and map features. As players adapt to what is a very different map than all the ones that came before it, hopefully some of the issues with the map, like how spread out the loot actually is, are alleviated. Or they may not be, and that’s also fine! Not all maps need to be universally beloved. It’s perfectly possible that Storm Point becomes a favorite map for a certain type of player, while another type of player detests it.
The bigger factor to be wary of is how quickly the shine of a new map wears off. Will the way combat flows on this map still be enjoyable six months from now? Or is it simply fun right now because it’s new? Can Respawn solve the map critiques by adding more loot spawn points, or are these issues just inherent in the map design itself, and Storm Point will feel like a new Kings Canyon in time?
Ultimately, there’s enough obvious difference between Storm Point and some of the least enjoyable map elements in Apex that this probably won’t be the case. The foundation of the map feels strong enough that some easy fixes to the map can really elevate it even further, and take the map to even greater heights than the ones it already reaches. In the meantime, all that’s left to do is continue playing it, and see if it holds up.