Fortnite Review

Ready to build up your defence?

Fortnite (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Developer: Epic Games/People Can Fly
Publisher: Epic Games
Released: July 25, 2017

Epic Games has given us some fantastic titles over the years, well known for their work on the Gears of War and Bulletstorm for example. They make some pretty in your face games that don’t pull any punches, and like any company, they’ve started to branch out into some new territory. Fortnite is their latest release and if you are expecting a bit of the similar over the top action shooting that one has come to expect from Epic Games then be prepared for something a bit different. Rough around the edges, but dig hard enough and you’ll find something to love.

Hard to categorise, Fortnite sports a multi genre style of gameplay. One part Tower Defense, one part Zombie Survival, and well… okay, there is a lot that makes Fortnite what it is. At the core, you build a fortress against the advancing Zombie masses in various opens world spaces that are large and randomly generated, so no two experiences are ever the same. 4 people can team up with specific character roles and set about gathering supplies, building their defences, and battling the undead masses. Not exactly the normal action filled stories that Epic is used to with big buff men screaming over their tragic backstories, much different.

Fortnite is colourful, humourful, and at the core fun. If you give it a chance and sit down to take the time and learn all the mechanics the game has to offer and believe us. There is a LOT on offer to understand and dig into. So let’s jump right into a few things about Fortnite and what makes it a great game…most of the time.

Story

Fortnite has a Story Mode for all of you solo fans who are worried that games are going to continue to be made with just a multiplayer mould in mind. It’s not the deepest story ever, but there is a level of love there in it that makes it enjoyable to experience. It’s more of an add on really, not exactly on the level of Destiny or Evolve where you’ll need to pay attention to figure out anything about the characters or the world of Fortnite.

In summary – The world has been destroyed by a series of storms that have turned the human race into zombies, who show off their victims by wearing them like a fashion accessory. It’s amusing, that given such a dark concept that the game’s visuals do very little to inspire fear in the enemies, instead, they all look somewhat cuddly! If not evil as heck at the same time. You start off as one of the characters from the trailers and get put the through the standard tutorial paces.

There isn’t much else to expand on for the story beyond that. It is suggested that you at least tackle the story mode with the help of a few friends, and not because it’s tough or anything. Just to make it a bit more interesting, as Fortnite works best when you have a good crew with you. Be aware though, it does not support couch co-op, which is a bit of a bummer. More and more games that seem to be promoting co-op are still missing the vital essence of a good co-op game, which is split screen gameplay! Minor bed bug, but overall, if you have a friend with the game, we suggest inviting them if you plan on tackling the story mode.

Gameplay

As mentioned before, Fortnite is a mash up of different genres and elements. But at the core it is a game based around tower defence. Sprinkle in as much RPG elements, action game elements, and more as you’d like, but the main crux of the game is finding a base, and turning it into a fortress that no zombie big or small would be able to get through. Fortnite makes this as interesting as it can in a variety of ways when you start the game, you get told to find the ‘objective’ which is just where you’ll be setting up as a base. You scavenge for supplies as you find this base, fighting the odd zombie or two while doing so, and then when you are all ready, you signal the hordes of Zombies to ‘bring it on’

Using traps is where a crux of the fun comes from obviously. Thankfully Fortnite shines in this aspect as building is incredibly easy, and it’s clear that some serious thought went into the control scheme for building your defences and using traps. Jumping into combat and switching over to lay a new trap in place of an old one is easy as pie and keeps the gameplay fluid, where in lesser games you risk breaking up the flow.

There are a ton of great traps and such that you can lay in the heat of battle if makes no difference if the trap is going on the wall, roof, or ground. The building system is built in such a way that you know you’ll be able to make whatever creation you want with no hassle whatsoever and is great foundation of the core gameplay. Laying things like Spike Traps while in the heat of battle is a great deal of fun, build a trap and pull out your rifle to take down some Zombie punk.


Speaking of Weapons, that is one area that Fortnite also shines. You get a few options to suit whatever playstyle you favour. Want to be the token Sniper? Maybe a sword is your style?  Or do you want to be the medic? Those options are all there for any of the characters you decide to go with, and it really helps. Only thing is that the combat while satisfying starts to feel pretty standard after a while. There is no real difficulty curve with the options you’ll choose, if you use one weapon, you’ll have used them all just about. But from the get go, it feels pretty darn good.

Time is one of the bigger issues with Fortnite. Like we mentioned, once you do something once, that is just about it. If you dive in, master the game, and learn it inside and out, then that is pretty much it for the game. Where other games leave some level of replayability even at an expert level, once you chunk those 40 hours into Fortnite, you are left with not much else to do. You’ll be standing as a beacon of power for new players and bored in the driver’s seat. It’s a bit like an MMO, there isn’t a level cap perhaps, hopefully, there will be new additions in the near future to cater for those higher level players”

Getting to that level will take some serious dedication, however. Fortnite plays a bit of a naughty trick with you, once you start the game it introduces the mechanics and hands you all sorts of neat things. Like the currency that’ll let you unlock the ‘loot chests’ in the game, that hold some of the more important leveling items for your character. But that is only at the start after you get further into Fortnite, the well will dry right up. Those characters you were unlocking, XP buffs, guns, etc? Those are now locked behind a paywall. The dreaded, micro transactions rear their ugly yet once again in modern gaming.

It’s no fun when your method of progression is locked away behind a paywall. Simple as. Overwatch has Loot Boxes which is for purely cosmetic items, not locking away special abilities, weapons, and more from the player unless they pay out. Especially when you start getting hooked on the game and it suddenly pulls the fun away, it’s a slap to the face that leaves you with a choice of appreciating the game at the core for what is has on offer, or writing it off and moving on. It’s a shotgun method that is quite dated at this point and has no place in gaming today. Which is sad for Fortnite, because despite the rough around the edge nature, there is a fun game there.

Summary

Fortnite is a good game that takes some dedication to get invested in. It’s stylistic, has fantastic mechanics, and is fun. But is also troubled by a paywall early on and lack of content if you dedicate yourself for the long haul, as you reach the end of all the loot on offer far too early to justify spending the time in the game.We just played the early access version. It’s a shame because it is clear that the developers clearly spent quite a lot of time in parts of this game, and it’s come from a place of love for sure.

So should you get Fortnite? It’s hard to say. It depends on your personal tastes, and if it ‘calls’ to you really. Every game has its dedicated fan base. Evolve still has dedicated players, For Honour isn’t as dead as people think, and Fortnite will no doubt find its place in the long run. There is a lot to love, and the developers have said they’ll be doing what they can to take in whatever recommendations people have and will continue to build on the game for the community to enjoy.

We had fun with the game, we got frustrated with it. But it isn’t bad. Fortnite has a LOT of potential and we cannot wait to see what happens with the game in the future and hopefully, it’ll continue to grow and bring more fun tower defence gameplay to the table and hopefully back up on the microtransactions.

That was our review of Fortnite! Have you been playing the game? Let us know what you think in the comments!

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