‘Fortnite’ Preview: An Early Access Treat
Fortnite has been getting A LOT of buzz since its release. Now is the time for the almighty Entertainment Buddha, to chime in on the subject. I will have YOU know that I absolutely love this game, straight up. First off, yes, this is a preview, not a full on review.
Fortnite is still technically in, “Closed Beta,” as it says when you boot up the game. This doesn’t deter from my opinion of the game, as I love early access titles anyways. Now, Fortnite will have a full on release in 2018 and you’ll probably see a full review then, but, until then, you get this beautiful preview. Now let’s rock and roll!
Fortnite is yet another survival/crafting game, but does some things differently. I will say, when you first boot up Fortnite the main screen is a little intimidating, there is no proper tutorial that walks you through all the menus. I was left with some screens that I didn’t quite know what to do with. They do end up going into what they are, but I feel like this should be something fleshed out at the beginning of the game.
At the start, you get to open up some loot llamas to get your first characters and gear. The loot llamas are this game’s version of a loot box. You will be able to choose between four different classes: the Outlander, the Soldier, the Ninja and the Constructor. Each class excels at different things when you level them up and flesh out their skills. Ninjas are best at melee combat, the Soldier excels at using ranged weapons, the Constructors are the ones that focus more on base building and the Outlanders are best at scouting for treasure and picking up resources. Each class also has a couple different characters, consider them like sub-classes. Each of these characters has different abilities after they level up. This creates a nice sense of diversity in the game when you play with other people.
Along with character cards, there are weapons and traps. Each of these cards can be leveled up and evolved just as much as the characters. When you get blueprints you get to hold onto them forever and duplicates can be used to power up existing cards. Though, I did notice that if you build a weapon, then upgrade said weapon’s blueprint, you would have to craft it a second time to reap the benefits of the higher leveled item. To craft these items you have to explore each level.
Speaking of levels, these are mission based adventures. The only aspect of wave based, horde-mode style gameplay is when you defend the Storm bases. You do get to carry your resources over from mission to mission. You will have to craft other resources to make your blueprints, which you do mid-game. Each of these levels has different objectives, which mainly have you defending a certain point for a number of waves of enemies or a set period of time.
This does seem repetitive at times, until a new mission type is introduced only every now and then. There are four hub worlds, each one letting you have your own Storm base, which will stay fortified with whatever you put into it. Even if the levels are repetitive there is some fun narratives between the characters in the game. You have a robot companion, who is the epitome of sass. She’ll interact with other characters you come into contact with and the dialogue is hilarious.
There is a skill tree system in Fortnite as well that is rather extensive. There are a total of four different skill trees and four resource trees. Resource is a, well, resource that you can accumulate over time. You benefit from logging in daily, not only to gain your daily rewards, but to claim your resources and spend them. You can only claim/hold a certain amount of resources.
The first skill tree has 74 different nodes, which is insane. You gain a skill point every time you level up. Experience is gained when you complete missions. You also have four different squads that you can fill with survivors that will give you different buffs in missions. They will increase your fortitude, offense, etc. This means that the better your survivor cards, the better passive stats you gain.
There are also defender slots you can use for your Storm base. Think of these as extra fighters in your base, that you have to equip. You even have to give them ammo, which can be a little micro-managerial at times. To me, the defender isn’t absolutely necessary unless it’s a tough defense mission. You can also send characters on Expeditions, which are timed AI missions that yield resources and crafting components.
Doing the missions with three other players is where this game really shines. You are scored in the levels for the amount of damage you do, how much you craft and how much you destroy/search through. When you have four players, the gold medals are easily achievable. I haven’t had a match yet where one person wasn’t doing what they’re supposed to do. Fortnite as of late does suffer from some server problems though. I have experienced lag when playing with random people, but none when I play with my friends. I know that my friends experience some lag when we play as well. The servers are up and down, but the team is diligent with fixing the problems and compensating the players for this. Fortnite also currently suffers from some menu input lag too.
There is so much I could say about Fortnite and there are still new and exciting things that I am discovering. The combat is tons of fun, exploring each map for new resources is exciting. Playing with friends is a blast, it’s been awhile since I’ve found a game that I actually enjoy playing with my friends. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Fortnite and be on the lookout for a full review when the game launches next year!
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