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Build ‘em up, knock ‘em down

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    Rating: 3.0 – Fair

    Build ‘em up, knock ‘em down

    I have been intrigued with Fortnite since it was announced years ago. As the first major new IP from Epic Games after Gears of War, there has been a lot of hype for Fortnite. Its combination of crafting and horde mode-style gameplay, mixed with third-person shooting and co-op support makes it rather appealing to many people. Technically, Fortnite still isn’t out yet, as its an early access title, but since the game costs money, I think it’s fair to assign it a review score in its current state. Keep in mind that this review pertains to the version of Fortnite that is available right now, in early access. The full game won’t be available until some point in 2018.

    Since it launched in early access, there has already been quite a bit of changes to Fortnite. The game launched with a co-op campaign of sorts, where players learn how to build bases and protect them from monsters that spawn from the "storm." The game plays like a combination of Gears of War and Minecraft, where players collect loot, build, and then just keep cycling through that process repeatedly. The early game in Fortnite is rather well done and fun to play through with friends, with the loot cycle rather rewarding. However, the end game is a grind fest, where players will quickly grow bored or become frustrated when their bases are destroyed.

    This is the only part of Fortnite that actually costs money. Is it worth the $30 asking price? I don’t think so, necessarily. There are numerous technical issues that hold it back, and the end-game is just way too grindy to be enjoyable. Having said that, Epic Games is constantly making changes to Fortnite to make it a better experience, and there’s no doubt in my mind that the game will be a much more polished title next year.

    The other side of Fortnite is the PvP battle royale mode that was added as a free, standalone experience of sorts a few months ago to capitalize on the success of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. This battle royale mode can be a lot of fun when playing with the right people, but with only one map, it gets old pretty quick. It also is hard to shake the feeling that it is just a PUBG ripoff, and the Fortnite-centric elements, like being able to build stuff, don’t really improve things.

    Fortnite also suffers because of its visuals. The cel-shaded art style just ends up making the game feel generic and uninspired. There’s nothing really noteworthy or memorable about the way the game looks. It doesn’t help that a lot of the UI and visual effects feel ripped straight from PUBG, to the point that legal action against Epic Games has been threatened.

    Fortnite also suffers from a lack of music for most of the game. There’s long stretches of quiet, which can make things dull. You really don’t realize how important video game music is until you have to play a game that doesn’t have it the majority of the time you’re playing it. Granted if you’re playing the Battle Royale mode, you will be talking with friends most likely, but still.

    In its current form, Fortnite is a fairly mediocre shooter with a pair of game modes that fail to live up to their full potential. The game can be fun with the right group of friends, but regardless the endgame is still too grindy and most players will stop after they complete the early sections of the game.

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