Review: Fortnite (Computer)

Fortnite: Official GBAtemp Review

Computer 2,302 views 6 likes 14 comments
Reviewed by Chris Knight, posted Aug 7, 2017
Aug 7, 2017
  • Release Date (NA): July 25, 2017
  • Release Date (EU): July 25, 2017
  • Publisher: Epic Games
  • Developer: Epic Games
  • Genres: Survival
  • ESRB Rating: Teen
  • PEGI Rating: Twelve years and older
  • Also For: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • Single player
    Local Multiplayer
    Online Multiplayer
    Co-operative
Zombies? Check. Item scavenging? Check. LLAMAS?! Triple check. Get ready for Epic Games' unique entry into the survival genre.
Chris Knight
Fortnite is a co-operative 3rd person survival game set in a post-apocalyptic world, which faces you against endless hordes of zombies known as “husks”. It features sandbox elements, and will have you building structures, defending objectives, saving survivors, smashing llamas and a whole lot more.

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Currently Fortnite is in 'early access', and to hop into the game you'll need to buy a package, ranging from $39.99 up to 149.99 USD. However, once the game hits full release, it'll be free to play. I'll touch on what that entails later in the review when I go over the payment model in depth.


First day on the job


The story of Fortnite is a simple one. Strange storms appeared, spawning husks, which wiped out a good chunk of mankind. It's your job to pick up the pieces of humanity and save what's left, while attempting to figure out just what the heck caused all of this. The first few quests introduce you to the core objective defense mechanics the game will employ throughout its entirety. One of the main things you'll be introduced to is your storm shield. This is your persistent home base, and anything you build here will be there the next time you come back. And you certainly will be back, as you continually increase the radius of the shield giving you more and more space to build the craziest settlement of buildings and deathtraps you can think of.


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Speaking of quests, this game has some really charming dialogue. Right off the bat I was quite entranced by the quality of both the writing, and the voice acting. The story itself doesn't get in your way, opting more-so to flow in the background to be paid attention to if you wish. It also blew my mind that each loot pinata has a different voice, and a good number of voice lines to boot. Little details like that really catch my eye.


Anywho, a majority of the game will have you thrown into a randomly generated map, with up to three other players. Within this map, you can go to town destroying everything except good ol' Mother Earth to gain resources and materials. Typically with random players you'll all scatter around doing your own thing. Fortnite, while being a co-operative game, doesn't really promote team play in earlier levels. Destroying objects and chests net only the destroyer rewards, and no one else. Admittedly this does become less important, as big sources of loot will be random objectives strewn across the map that WILL likely require teamwork to accomplish. But most of these more team-oriented objectives seem to be in the second zone of the game.


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At some point, someone will stumble across the objective of the map, and you all will be notified of this finding. More often than not it was only I who actually made my way over to begin prepping the objective to be completed. Honestly I didn't really expect a whole lot more from an online videogame with randoms. It's like herding cats sometimes, I tell ya. Anyway eventually they do manage to totter their way over, and you can finally begin what you were there to do in the first place: kill some damn husks. Most map objectives revolve around slaughtering waves of husks and keeping them off your objective.


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Constructing a better, sturdier tomorrow


How do you do this, you might ask. Well Billy, it's simple. Fortnite has a fairly ingenious system in place to make building structures fluid and pleasant. There's still a good bit of depth as well, with many different ways to shape and alter your structures. Even a complete noob like myself can actually make impressive buildings from time to time. Fortifications can be laid down and customized without much effort, adorned with traps, and be ready to stand between the objective and the husks in a fairly timely fashion.


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Those walls won’t defend themselves though Jimmy, we'll need you and your herd of cats at the ready to mow down whatever those hellish purple storms have to throw at you. Most classes focus on different types of guns, be it assault rifles, shotguns, pistols, etc. But it's also possible to utilize melee weapons as well, and there are a good number to choose from. The ninja in particular is incredibly satisfying when given a melee weapon, or two. Able to jump around, dash through droves of husks, and just in general feel the satisfying squelch of metal-on-flesh as you carefully time your swings to bring down as many husks as you can. Each class has a unique set of skills and passive abilities, which vastly changes how all of them are played. It's fun to fiddle around figuring out which one you like most.


I definitely would not call this game easy either. While it starts out fairly tame, it quickly ramps up as you progress. At first you're fighting off husks, fat husks, and baseball husks. Next thing you know you have demon ghost husks, jacked up charging husks, laser husks, and all you and your friends can do is sit inside peeing your pants and hoping they go away. Heck, even after that you run into elemental husks, which have an affinity for tearing down specific building materials. Needless to say, things get crazy. It's very easy to be overwhelmed later in the game.


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E-everything is just fine.


Now you might be wondering, Malice, how do I get these weapons and traps you spoke of?

Elbow grease, and a bit of progression...


Simple Julie, you craft them. Throughout your adventures, you'll be given weapon or trap schematics as rewards from quests, and more typically by smacking around a charming llama pinata with a sledgehammer. Or whatever else you could find in your shed. For the most part this means the schematics you have available to you will be fairly random. To some this is an absolute sin, but to me I find it quite enjoyable. I'm often using the random weapons given to me as rewards or loot, and several times i've found new favourites. While it can be frustrating sometimes to be given a really cool weapon, only to have it break and realize you don’t have the schematic to recreate it, that’s an aspect of survival games I always enjoyed. Simply using what's available to you. Sure, it's not your favourite weapon, but it gets the job done all the same.


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It is worth noting that right now, at least during early access, you get a lot of loot. Tons. There's a pretty good chance you'll get what you want, at least in regards to weapons. Heroes seem to be a lot harder to stumble into, but you are given an uncommon version of each class which serves you fairly well until much later. You’re also able to transform crappier schematics into better ones for another shot at something you’d like, whilst also clearing out some inventory space.


So you've got your guns, your traps and your walls. What else could you need? Why, stats of course. Fortnite has a massive amount of character building fun to mess around with. There's always something to fiddle with to make you that slight bit more powerful. Everything is explained well enough through the story, and introduced gradually as to not overwhelm the player. It may just be my years of RPG and MMO experience, however I really never found myself googling how-tos when it came to Fortnite's character progression systems. They're all straight forward despite packing such a huge amount of depth.


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Last and unfortunately not least



I decided to leave a touchy subject for last, and that's the payment model. Right now, Fortnite is a buy-to-play early access title, but eventually it will be free to play. As such, the current model is built around that. The primary way to obtain schematics and people, is through llama pinatas. Pinatas are bought with premium currency. But, and this is a big but, it is possible to obtain this currency by doing quests. Honestly it just hands the stuff out at first, and continues to do so for a while. Daily quests, challenges and story quests all give v-bucks. It’s actually quite similar to a gacha game, in the sense that you’re overwhelmed by a tidal wave of v-bucks, and after that it’s more just an adequate stream.


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There are two big things people need to remember and understand in regards to this information. One, is that quests CURRENTLY only lead up to the end of the second zone. Zone two of four. This is the first major content wall, despite being able to continue doing missions in the next two zones, your ability to bring in v-bucks is sufficiently hindered. People mistake this as pay2win, or as a pay wall. Neither is the case. It's quite possible Epic will make this spot a pay wall. But the more likely answer is simply that they just haven't added that content yet. Zone one and two both hand out a generous amount of v-bucks in their fully implemented state. But in general, all properly implemented content can currently be beaten without spending a dime more than what you paid to gain access to the game. As far as character progression is concerned, you hit a soft content wall. You’re still able to continue down your skill and research trees through playing. It’s just your squads that slow to a crawl.


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Reminders like this are everywhere

The second thing is that i've seen a tremendous outcry over people being unable to fill out all of their squads, weapons, and traps with legendary and mythic cards. Fortnite is not, and I don't think will ever, be a game that focuses on being beaten in a few days. Character progression is a long, slow process and is more of a side project that happens as you continue to enjoy the game. It's truly asinine to expect to be able to fill out every slot with end game cards, fully upgraded, weeks after the game releases...for free. I just don't have any words, but I did feel the need to touch on that.



In conclusion



Overall, Fortnite has a lot to offer and it's quite a blast to play. Solo or not. Although missions can get a bit repetitive, I always keep coming back for more. It's important to realize Fortnite is in early access. They slap it absolutely everywhere for a reason. There's plenty of room to improve, to add, and to fine tune. Right now there are some things that could use some tinkering, but overall Epic has built an incredibly fun game that just oozes charm and polish. I'm very hopeful that this can be an even greater game once it has all of its content fleshed out.


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Verdict
Pros
+ Gunplay and melee feel very solid
+ Intuitive and fluid structure building mechanics
+ Good difficulty scaling
+ Solid, well realized visuals
+ Charming, strong narration
+ LLAMAS
Cons
- Currently content incomplete
- Can be a bit repetitive at times
- It can be a little difficult to gather a party of randoms to do harder missions
9 Presentation
Visually, Fortnite is a very beautiful game with a great aesthetic. This is complimented by some really good voice acting and writing. Even the UI and menus are well done and visually very nice. Overall I can't say I have any complaints or issues with the presentation, Epic did a great job here.
9 Gameplay
The gameplay itself performs very well. Gunplay feels tight, and melee is wonderfully visceral. Building structures is very intuitive and easy to pick up. There's a good deal of husk variety to keep you on your toes. There is a wealth of ways to build your character that can keep a player busy for months.
7 Lasting Appeal
Although the core gameplay is very solid, right now in early access the game does lack variety. Unless you really love building structures and/or defending objectives, you may burn out on this game if played too much too often. I found that I can easily play an hour or two every day.
8
out of 10
Overall (not an average)
Fortnite is a great title that shows a lot of promise. Even though right now its content is a bit sparse, the game already shows incredible promise as well as a lot of polish. The world and its characters are charming, and it's clear a lot of care and attention has gone into building this title.
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