A New Combatant Enters the Arena” Fortnite: Battle Royale Review

Posted in Kulturecade by - October 04, 2017
A New Combatant Enters the Arena” Fortnite: Battle Royale Review

Fortnite: Battle Royale is the newest contender in the ever-expanding “battle royale” survival game genre. Released amidst a storm of controversy, including the possibility of legal action from Bluehole, the studio responsible for the genre behemoth PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, many wondered if this game would be anything other than a shameless rip-off. After spending some time with Fortnite: Battle Royale, however, I’m happy to report that there’s enough different here to make the game truly distinct.

For the uninitiated, Fortnite: Battle Royale is a free to play expansion for Fortnite, a game that will be free in 2018 but for now, requires purchasing early access to play. Obviously, the free Battle Royale mode will prove to be a neat bit of interactive marketing for Epic Games, converting casual players into fans and encouraging them to buy the adjacent co-op experience. That’s the full extent of product pushing in this game though, and I was pleasantly surprised that outside of a small encouragement to purchase early access to the full game, Fortnite: Battle Royale is entirely devoid of microtransactions or advertising. It’s refreshing to play a free to play game that doesn’t obnoxiously charge extra to further progression.

Of course, the free to play model doesn’t mean a thing if the game isn’t fun to play, and Fortnite: Battle Royale delivers the tense action the genre is known for. After dropping into a procedurally generated world with 99 other players, you’ll make a mad dash to scavenge for weapons and supplies, all while staying within a gradually shrinking circle as a storm rolls in and renders most of the map uninhabitable. Gunfights in Fortnite: Battle Royale are often brief and unexpected; skill with third-person shooters helps, but it really comes down to which player has the element of surprise on their side and can land that crucial first shot.

All of this is typical for the genre, but what sets Fortnite: Battle Royale apart are the crafting mechanics and the tactical opportunities they open up. By breaking down objects with a pickaxe, players gain crafting resources to build structures in the world around them. These can be as simple as small pieces of cover or sniper perches, or something more elaborate, like building a fort to hole up in or strategically placing barriers in an environment to funnel trespassers through choke points. This element of the game makes Fortnite: Battle Royale’s deathmatch infinitely more interesting in the later stages, and it’s these tactical opportunities that keep the game feeling fresh, adding an extra layer of strategy beyond camping in a corner somewhere.

All that being said, Fortnite: Battle Royale isn’t perfect. A loading screen leads to a waiting room, which then leads to a countdown on a floating bus before you jump into battle. While this entire process is relatively quick, it is irritating to sit through essentially three countdowns and then die almost immediately. After a good match, the load times don’t seem so bad, but if you have a string of bad matches you’re going to be spending more time waiting than playing. I will admit that this is only a concern due to my decidedly average skill at the game though, and players who routinely break the top 25 (the highest I’ve gotten is #7) will find this issue less prevalent, for obvious reasons. More objectively irritating are instances where you die from an incredibly difficult to see trap rather than straightforward combat; opening a door to an insta-death electric bolt feels cheap, especially if you’ve spent an inordinate amount of time preparing for combat beforehand.

Still, these are small blemishes on what is otherwise a great free to play experience. Fortnite: Battle Royale provides the same edge-of-your-seat action as its contemporaries, but the ability to build and destroy the world around you adds a welcome layer of depth. This is a game that’s well worth your time and is more than just a simple copycat.

This post was written by
Comments are closed.