I’m definitely one who gets sucked into the hype, but for some reason, Fortnite passed me by until a week or so before release. I watched one trailer on YouTube and I was hooked. However, on the face of it the game seemed pretty straight forward, but when I finally got to play it I quickly learned that Fortnite has some depth to it, in fact so much depth I don’t even think I’ve scratched the surface yet.
Fortnite has so many layers to it you’ll have to forgive me if I don’t address them all. I am also finding it quite hard to define exactly what type of game Fortnite is. To give you an overview it’s an action RPG, grind fest, builder, loot fest management game. Just to give you a brief snapshot of what is actually going on, loads of storms have hit the earth and turned mankind into the walking dead. The zombies look a little like twisted versions of the ones from Plants Vs Zombies but there are different types, some bigger and some with special abilities. You play a commander whose task it is to gather resources, survivors, and weapons in order to survive the apocalypse.
The main aim of the game is to defend a point on a map from hordes of zombies, or Husks as they are called. The overall aim doesn’t change and a lot of the time it’s rinse and repeat. You start each mission with time to gather your resources. You swing a massive pick axe, hitting objects to break them down into resources that you need to build your fortress and create ammunition. Pretty much everything on each stage is destructible so you’re never really short of stuff, but it does get old quite quickly and it is very time-consuming. It’s a necessary evil, no resources then you can’t do anything but turn up and be a nuisance to your team.
Once you’ve gathered enough and found the main objective then it’s up to you and your team to defend it by building a stronghold that will prevent the husks from attacking and destroying it. Building is brilliant and extremely simple. With a touch of the B button you can quickly switch to build mode, select the item type you need, either wall, floor, stairs or roof, and away you go. You can edit each piece and quickly select a pattern to suit what type of piece you need to create your masterpiece. I love how easy the building element works, it’s straight forward and not complicated at all. On the odd occasion, you can build a radar when you find it on each map, following the pattern is easy and straight forward so bravo to Epic for making it that way, I think it could have been so much more difficult if they wanted it to be.
Once you’ve got bored of gathering (or a team mate has) and you have activated the thingymajig then the horde begins its onslaught. Zombies are spawned from within a storm and typically attack from one direction at a time, with the number of zombies increasing, and adding additional types, as the mission progresses. The combat is very nicely executed and your arsenal ranges from small arms to large machine guns and melee weapons. You can also use a special ability. I played the ninja so I was a dab hand with a sword and had an airstrike as my backup when things got busy, but the cooldown for such devastation comes at a price and can only be used once every three minutes. The third person angle provides a good point of view of what is incoming and very rarely are there any nasty surprises. Ammunition for your weapons can be made on the fly, which I think is a brilliant touch, however, that’s only if you have the resources to make it!
Throughout each mission you’re awarded medals for combat and resource gathering, this will help towards the end game loot chest that you’ll get for completing the mission. Speaking of loot, Fortnite has tonnes of the stuff! In fact, and I never thought I’d say this, I think it has too much! This is a matter of opinion, though, and I know of some folk who think there isn’t enough. As well as the end of mission reward chest loot, there are also Llamas…..don’t ask, because I have no idea why they chose Llamas. The Llamas are basically a pinata that you smash and it drops additional loot, such as new characters, experience, weapons, etc. On rare occassions, your Llama won’t break and it automatically upgrades to the next tier of Llama making the loot inside more desirable.
Of course, with Fortnite allegedly going free-to-play next year they need to make money somewhere, so you can buy coins and spend them on Llamas if you so wish. I did find that loot was plentiful but this had the opposite effect I expected. For me, it became boring getting the loot and wondering what to do with it all. You get schematics for new weapons, survivors, XP boosts, traps, followers and coins but all this does is give you the exclamation mark in each subject to let you know something new has arrived, then you spend ages getting rid of them and not really knowing what you’re supposed to do with all this stuff. If I was to slate Fortnite for something it would the fact you get far too much far too quickly and for some this could lead to frustration and a sense of being overwhelmed by what’s happening. Eventually Fortnite reveals the use of all these unlocks you’ve been collecting, but it takes hours upon hours before everything is fully explained. A nice touch to all the loot, though, is a collectors book where you place an item into a section relating to the loot type, this takes it out of your inventory and into the book. I did get a sense of nostalgia doing it and it kind of reminded me of when I collected Back to the Future stickers all those years ago. I’m determined to fill the book that’s for sure.
One thing that is important to understand is that Fortnite is still in development, regardless of who paid what for it and the amount of money people are spending on micro transactions, the game is not finished and there are a few niggly little bits that could be ironed out. One annoying thing is a glitchy match making systems making the game freeze whenever a random joins your session. I often thought my Xbox had frozen and sometimes it took ages before it resolved itself. These things will be ironed out by the time it goes free-to-play, I’m sure of it, and by then it will be up to you to buy new characters, chests and bloody Llamas to keep the game afloat. With any game like this, there are always updates and improvements making the experience better and that’s reassuring to know.
Once the annoying stuff has been addressed and fixed Fortnite stands to be an amazing game. Fortnite’s appealing gameplay and claws that keep dragging you back for more aren’t easy to shift. Epic could have done a better job in explaining different features such as squads etc. but on the whole, if you’re not bothered by a game,s side objectives then you can pretty much jump into Fortnite and smash your way around a mission or two.
The cartoon like graphics make the game very light hearted, it wouldn’t have the same feeling if the environments were more serious and sinister with proper motion captured characters and detailed graphics. The voice acting and sound is on point and Fortnite is generally a happy and upbeat game that’s easy to look at and listen to.
Like I said right at the start Fortnite has more layers than a show piece wedding cake, to tell you them all would take ages and I’ll be honest I don’t fully understand them all yet either, I mean I haven’t even mentioned the massive skill tree’s yet have I?….I’ll leave that there for now. As gamers, we ask for games with depth and Fortnite has it. I was excited for Fortnite from one trailer and the game hasn’t disappointed me, although at times the resource gathering and management can get very old but the combat and quirkiness of the game quickly make up for it. I feel that my multiple hours though is certainly not enough to get a full grasp of what’s on offer and I’ll definitely be diving in for months to come, so feel free to join me. To check out some gameplay and this review watch the video below.