While the marketplace for online, multiplayer survival games is becoming incredibly saturated – think Ark: Survival Evolved and Conan for example – there are still companies doing things slightly different that make their titles stand out from the rest. One of those companies is Epic Games, who have recently released a paid beta for their 2018 Free to Play title, Fortnite. For the purpose of this review, we were provided a code by Epic Games to conduct this review. However, the game is open to anyone willing to put down the money to play, knowing full well that this game is meant to be free-to-play in 2018. While some will scoff at this idea, there are perks involved.
What is Fortnite
Fortnite itself is a predominantly multiplayer title, with some single player elements – forced early on, optional later on in the game – where teams of 4 players get together to complete one of numerous objectives. For the most part, you will work together to protect a drop shipment or a pre-designated area, save survivors, or protect your main base of operation. Within each game, you yourself might have a mission to complete to further your own story line, but that won’t necessarily be the objectives of those you are playing with. It’s actually a really intriguing setup that allows you to progress your game, without having to wait for others in a similar situation to team up with. You might need to find 4 audio recordings across the map, while the people you are playing with will not. Because of this setup, matchmaking is NEVER a problem, which is important to this type of game.
Protecting your Base
When you first launch the game, you will be forced to play a single player tutorial of sorts that will teach you the basics of the game, as well as introduce new elements and enemy types as your progress the story. Here is where you will be first introduced to crafting and building. Although I was incredibly overwhelmed about the prospect of building in real time as I defended my base – or primary objectives in other missions – but it’s much more simple than that. You will first get to build your base, than activate your target and begin the defense.
When building your base, you can build traps, walls, ramps and more to defend against the oncoming assault. Generally, each level will have a build ceiling, which, if you stay under that, you will be awarded extra experience.
Protecting your base will be required at various times during the campaign. Like I said, early on you will need to complete this solo, but as your progress forward, you have the opportunity to allow random players to jump in and help you. These players will not be able to build – as you won’t be able to build on their maps either if you jump in with them – so they are there purely to help with the defense. You will push forward the overall story, while those fighting alongside you will get some outstanding XP, as well as potentially completing some secondary objectives of their own.
Outside of building bases, there is also an important crafting mechanic within the game, although after playing for 25+ hours, I can openly admit that I have yet to craft a single weapon as I always use what I find. Like with building materials, crating supplies can be obtained by knocking down the almost competed destructible world, gaining basic materials like wood, brick, and metal, as well as extra materials like plants, nuts and bolts, and more. During your adventures you are also liable to stumble upon weapons, weapon blueprints, and even ammo, so looking around is incredibly important.
Playing with Randoms Online
My initial thought when first playing with random individuals online was, “What happens if the people I’m playing with won’t attempt to complete the various side missions that award bonus XP!?” I though Fortnite would be at its best with 3 of your own friends, rather than three random individuals. While this is still the case, being matched up with random people wasn’t as bad as I was originally thinking, thanks to this clarifying text from Nick Chester, PR for Fornite:
Love this game, but I need to find more friends who play. With randoms, it can be incredibly frustrating. Miss out on bonuses a lot 🙁
— Adam Roffel (@AdamRoffel) July 28, 2017
Good news is that while the goal is important, all of the side stuff — even exploration and harvesting — adds up to the total team score.
— Nick Chester (@nickchester) July 28, 2017
As you can see, while completing the secondary objectives – like keeping under a certain build limit, beating the scenario within two days, etc. – will net you some great XP, so will almost everything else you do in Fortnite, including such destroying everything within your path!
A Game For Loot Lovers
Fortnite is a game for loot lovers. You will be opening loot piñatas daily – sometimes these piñatas will be just regular loot – various XP bonuses to upgrade your survivors, upgrade your weapons, or upgrade your heroes – but other times you will get silver or gold piñatas that will include weapons, blueprints, and some epic gear! If you love loot, you will love Fortnite.
We won’t be submitting an official review score, but one is is pending. I still have so much more to explain about this game, including how survivors work, how to send out expeditions, how to change your hero and find one that suites your play style, and so much more. Fortnite is a big game, and more content is coming down the pipeline soon. By spending money now on a title htat will be free to play in 2018, you will get various perks and bonuses, including extra loot, and things called Founders coins which can be spent on even more loot. Add in the collection log that you can fill out – for those collection enthusiasts – and you’ve really got lots to bite your teeth into here!
If you enjoy multiplayer, cooperative, online experiences, it’s easy to recommend Fortnite. You won’t be disappointed. We will have more coverage soon on some of the non-action elements of the game, so stay tuned!
Pending Score: 8.5/10