Minecraft with Guns?- Fortnite Impressions

It’s been a longggggg time since Epic Games revealed Fortnite– six years to be exact- at the Spike Video Game Awards. Epic Games and People Can Fly are finally putting the game into Early Access, albeit paid early access. If you pre-ordered select Founder’s Packs, the game is available July 21st, if not, it’s available July 25th. Let’s get started with my impressions on the peculiar title.

What You Need to Know

Fortnite is a Minecraft-esque game with guns and plenty of loot. 98% of the world’s population has been wiped out by “The Storm”. What’s left of the population is trying to survive against the monsters known as Husks. It is your duty as the newly promoted Commander to keep your people safe from the Husks, who only come out at night. Easy peezy am I right?

Currently, Fortnite is in the paid early access stage. Epic Games and People Can Fly have plans to release the final game as free-to-play in 2018.

Gameplay

Tim Sweeney, the founder of Epic Games, describes the title as “Minecraft meets Left 4 Dead“. As previously mentioned, it’s your duty to keep the survivors safe from the evil Husks that come out at night. This goal is achieved due to the Minecraft element of the game. In Fortnite, building is a core gameplay mechanic. Almost everything you see (cars, trees, mailboxes, etc.) can be broken down with your trusty pickaxe in order to scavenge materials. These materials are then used to build your home base, fortress, or whatever you wanna call it, to survive against the Husks.

The Left 4 Dead aspect comes in at night. The Husks will do anything they can to wipe out your group (of up to 4 people). In a survival mode battle, you must repel them from destroying your base! You can create traps and craft weapons in order to defeat them.

Another key part of combat are the classes. As it sounds, they offer different skills that make the goal of surviving a little easier. When you start the game, you assume the role of Ramirez, the soldier type. Soldiers can use the biggest guns, Outlanders are the best at harvesting materials, the Ninja are good at melee (probably would’ve been nice to play as one when I found the Katana), and Constructors are excellent for buffing your forts. Those are just the basic traits they are known for, as different characters provide different abilities. There are a lot more characters, as each character has a rarity to them, such as common or rare, offering more benefits.

Fortnite-blog-fortnite-build-explore-craft-and-fight-on-july-25-StarterpackHeroes_Screenshot-1920x1080-0feb2575d7aca40bdd9ad0a6d0a6a269f890089d
From left to right: The Outlander, Soldier, Ninja, and Constructor classes.

Once beat the tutorial, you’re off to complete quests in the town of Stonewood. It’s a nice little area in case you were wondering. Quests vary from collecting things to protecting things, but in the end you’ll be creating a makeshift base to hold off the Husk onslaught. As you partake in quests, you will find survivors who need your help. Help them and they will reward you and join your team. The team of survivors is necessary protect bases, and they can participate in side quests for you to gather resources.

You level up through your performances and completion of your quests. Through leveling up, you can take on harder missions and unlock new skills in that really big skill tree. Unfortunately, the tree has nodes that are mandatory to unlock in order to unlock access to some of the different classes, and they’re buried deep in the tree.

Impressions

I knew this game was going to be unique based off of the E3 trailer. Having played it since the paid early access release, I can say that I thoroughly enjoy it.

When you first pick up the controller, it can be a little overwhelming. The HUD is full of different bars and pressing the wrong button can pull up a whole new submenu, but once you go through a couple of missions, you get a decent idea of what you can do and how to do it in the game. I still get caught pressing the wrong button when I’m trying to build stairs. Fortnite really empowers you in the aspect that you can build a fortress with all these materials with no limitation. Freedom in it’s simplest form!

After the tutorial mission, you are given the option to name your home base (FYI: You can’t name it “The Deathstar” or “Casa de Johnny”, I already tried and settled for “Casa”). You can return to your home base at any time to gather resources, store items/resources, or to continue building your insane base. A cool tidbit is that your resources carry over no matter what quest you’re doing or if you’re at home working on your domain. I like being able to feel like it’s my own creation, if that makes sense (probably doesn’t but we’ll pretend it does).

Be forewarned.. There are loot crates in this game. The crates are piñatas in the shapes of llamas, and cracking them open will give you a variety of schematics (weapon/traps), survivors to help protect your base, and heroes with higher rarities which means better traits. However, you do seem to earn them at a decent rate, and when you complete quests, you gain rewards and treasure boxes with loot. Basically there’s 1000 different ways to unlock items, so you shouldn’t feel the need to spend extra money on these crates.. At least I hope not! I’m not judging if you do.

Fortnite has a style that reminds me of Battleborn except if Battleborn actually met it’s full potential. This game is unique in that you can pick up the controller, build Mount Rushmore (bad comparison), and fight zombies off at the same time. Okay, the general idea may not be unique, but Fortnite manages to blend it all together and present it in such a fun way.

I do have a few issues. One concern is that it can get a little repetitive at times, but then again, most games now-a-days are, so I won’t hold it against the developers. Secondly, there are a lot of other things the game doesn’t really explain that well to you such as managing survivors and what to do with them. It feels like a lot of extra fluff to make the game look deeper, but the core gameplay is solid enough to not need these extra mechanics.

I must say one of the most satisfying feelings in this game is being able to put up a wall, mid combat, that blocks off a Husk route, inserting a window, and mowing them down.

Bottom line, it’s good! Let me know what your thoughts are on Fortnite. Are you playing it, going to play it, or won’t bother with it?


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