Most games are experienced in exactly the same singular way. You purchase the game you want, either in-store or digitally, play it to the point of completion, either factual or self-established, and then forget about it. However, some titles are experienced in parts, as sometimes the developer and/or publisher add a couple of additional steps to the typical formula. And the recently released early access version of Fortnite is one of such titles.
Fortinte, unlike other games, at least in my case, came in three separate parts just like Dante’s Divine Comedy. However, where the eponymous subject of the epic poem journeyed through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven – I, while playing fortnight, have travelled through Purgatory, Paradise, and finally Hell. And while the order may be different, my experience is comparable to the one of Dante’s.
Part 1 – Purgatory – Downloading Fortnite
Most titles, either in their final form or in the state of early access, are commonly accessible directly through the PlayStation Store. However, Fortnite is unfortunately not like other titles. And this is because the form in which I’ve received it, required the use of Epic’s Game Launcher, and an Epic account linked to a PlayStation Network ID – sounds simple enough, but unfortunately it isn’t. And this is because anybody who has played Epic’s Paragon, and hasn’t synchronised his/her Epic and PlayStation ID at the time they launched the title in question for the first time, is forced to jump through hoops in order to unlock their account, and then link it to an Epic ID on which they’ve redeemed the title.
Once one has linked his/her accounts after battling the irrational process of redeeming the title, he/she can now proceed to play it on their console. But not until they’ve downloaded it on a PC first, because prior to a full download of the PC version, the game cannot be accessed on console. And if you are like me, and only own a notebook with a handful of GBs of spare memory, you’ll need to seek assistance from one of your friends or acquaintances. And if not for Push-Start’s Barry Davis, I would probably still be looking for a way to unlock the console version of Fortnite.
The above-mentioned process made me feel like a postmodernist liberal, who is reading an academic/scientific paper. At first I was confused, because the process of redeeming the game code wasn’t structured in the way in which I expected it to be. But as the confusion started to dissipate, anger grew within me as I was getting increasingly ‘’triggered’’. And as I was about to email Epic asking them to ‘’check their privilege’’, I calmed down, and began downloading Fortnite, and fortunately what came after the agony of redeeming the digital code was much improved.
Part 2 – Paradise – Playing Fortnite
The process of redeeming Fortnite, while troublesome and infuriating, was ultimately worth the final product, as Fortnite as an early access title is better than a vast majority of complete releases. And content-wise, possess a higher level of polish than critically acclaimed titles such as Overwatch – and while both titles differ from each other significantly, the underlying features of both are alike.
Unlike the previously mentioned Overwatch, Fortnite is a four-player co-op survival title, where fortifying, as the title suggests, is the bread and butter of the core gameplay. However, unlike the early impressions suggested, Fortnite is not another Minecraft clone, but a mission-based action RPG, with substance and personality.
In Fortnite, in order to progress you’ll have to complete missions which commonly conclude with defence of an object/s, but not always. And each and every one of those rewards you with an end of level chest, and mission relevant rewards. And you use these to further your progress, and level up your home base. However, while the campaign missions, which allow you to proceed further with a story, are the main objective of the title, there are still an extensive number of tutorial missions, side quests, daily quests, and other challenges, meaning that even when you’re a stuck on a story mission, you always have something to do.
The structure of Fortnite resembles a vast majority of free-to-play titles, both on consoles and on mobile platforms. However, unlike the other titles of alike financial structure, Fortnite wasn’t built with greed in mind. Every mission, and every task furthers your progress, and whenever you complete a mission you feel like you’re making progress. And this ultimately makes Fortnite a title as captivating as the Grant Turismo series. Because whenever you complete a mission, your mind instantly catches onto the next, and then another, and before you know, you’ve been playing for 6 hours straight, and missed the fact that it’s already dark outside. In short, it is simply addictive, and modern titles such as Overwatch, could learn a lot from Fortnite when it comes to rewarding players for their actions.
Gameplay-wise, Fortnite is incredible. The core loop is borderline enslaving, and the feel of the combat is immensely satisfying. And I’ll go as far as to state that Fortnite may just feature the best handguns since Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, as unlike in other titles, even the lowliest of pistols has a serious kick and can deal a serious amount of damage. However, all these features of the title are relevant to a singular player, and Fortnite as stated previously, is a four player co-op game, so it is important to take into consideration the experience of all four (or less), players.
Fortnite, when played with complete strangers or friends, is equally enjoyable. And even if you are playing with a group of three other players who are not communicating using voice chat, you don’t have to worry about what they are doing, because every player joins the game with a self-centred goal in mind, but ends it as a part of the team.
Within the preparation phase, Fortnite is a free-for-all. One player may be gathering resources, another is most likely looking for the objective, the third player may be scouring the map for the objective in order to start building, and you, if you are anything like me, are going to be searching for the side quest objectives in order to secure some of those sweet loot piñatas. But once the final phase of the mission begins, every single one of you will stand as a team and defend your fort, and that’s simply incredible, because such level of teamwork is a rarity even at higher tiers of the competitive play in other games.
Fortnite is immensely enjoyable to play both in co-op and single player. And while playing, you’ll feel like you’re enjoying a full title rather than an early-access game. As the only major flaw of the it is the dropping framerate, which is a common thing past level 10. And if you end up in a middle of an enemy spawn, with all the particle effects right in your face, the game can slow down to an absolute crawl, where frames per second could be counted on your fingers. However, you’re very unlikely to suffer from any network related latency issues, as Fortnite runs incredibly well when online, and only suffers from minor stuttering when other players are joining mid-game. But this doesn’t always happen, and could be classified as a rather rare occurrence, and more often than not you won’t even notice when other players are joining your game.
Ultimately, Fortnite, despite its early access status, is an incredible game, and one which I myself will enjoy for months to come. And it will definitely surprise many early adopters, as well as free-to-play players. Its infectious gameplay loop and satisfying combat will surely capture the minds of many. But if you are not a fan of titles with inconsistent framerate, which can drop very often, and insanely low within certain late-game levels, you might want to wait for the final free-to-play release, as by then the majority of frame rate related issues is likely to be solved.
Part 3 – Hell – Where Controllers go to Rest
This part, unlike the previous two, is going to be short, but unfortunately it won’t be sweet. As Fortnite, while being an immensely enjoyable and captivating title, is responsible for a major crime of destroying my controller.
The aforementioned pistols, which as I’ve stated previously were extremely satisfying to use, require a lot of pulls of Dual Shock 4’s R2 trigger – thousands, if not tens of thousands of pulls per session. And unfortunately, towards the end of Fortnite’s first major area, my R2 trigger due to extensive use of handguns began to malfunction. And two levels into the second major area, it has unfortunately given its last breath and passed away. And as R2 is responsible for Fortnite’s most important actions of mining and shooting, it is impossible for me continue at the current time. May it rest in peace.
RIP Dual Shock 4
May 2017 – July 2017
Gone but not Forgotten
Disclaimer: At the time of this review, despite of my controller’s refusal to cooperate, I have played Fortnite for at least fifteen hours, and possibly for as many as twenty. And despite lesser amounts of exploration of the second portion of the title, I believe that such playtime is sufficient enough for a thorough review. However, I will cover any and all major bugs which may be in the game at the current time, and ones which may be a side effect of any future patches. And will review the final, free-to-play release of the title, once it launches at a later date.
+ Borderline Enslaving Gameplay Loop
+ Satisfying Combat
+ Helpful UI
+ Reasonable Free-to-Play Elements
+ Surprisingly Stable Online Environment
+ Constant, Uninterrupted Progress
- Common, and Significant Framedrops
- Occasional Network Related Stuttering
- SFX Audio Needs Work