Battle Royale has quickly became the hottest mode in video games; We even have a Battle Royale Hub here at thelootgaming.com – Popularized by Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, the mode features a large numbers of players being pitted against each other in an ever decreasing zone. As the zone becomes smaller players are forced into confrontation with either a solo player or a group emerging as the last man standing depending on the mode. A third of PC players are playing one of these games, and both Fortnite and PUBG are massive on streaming platforms such as Twitch and Mixer. Since its release in September 2017, Fortnite has not only became the most popular Battle Royale game, it has became a cultural phenomenon. 17.9% of daily stream viewership is attributed to Fortnite alone. The game set a Steam record of 3.4 million concurrent players in February and also had its most successful month in terms of revenue despite being free to play.
Release Date: September 2017 on PC and Consoles, April 2018 on iOS, Android version TBD
Price: Free with cosmetic only microtransactions
Genre: Action, Multiplayer, Battle Royale, Survival
Developed by: Epic Games
Published by: Epic Games
This will be a short segment here as there is virtually no story in this mode. The game doesn’t even have factions or characters so this section will be judged on the map design, which is fantastic. Each match starts identical, the Battle Bus flies players over the island where they can parachute down to a variety of area. The map is incredibly diverse with unique areas. This allows the beginning of each game to have variety, as you can choose where you begin differently every time. Some areas, like the city Tilted Towers, are hot spots for players to land due to the vast amount of loot. This brings in a risk reward element to the gameplay and actually creates a sense of lore for the area. It has became pop culture as it is so well known in real life, giving the game some true character thanks to its impressive region design. The map has evolved since release, with new areas being added periodically. One of these is Lucky Landing, an Asian inspired locale. It is testament to the design of the world that it fits perfectly with the rest of the map, never feeling out of place.
The game has three different main modes; Solo, Duos and Squads. Solo sees you taking on 99 others alone. Duos is 50 teams of 2. Squads is 25 teams of 4, although you can enter with as many players as you want up to the maximum of 4. Occasionally there are limited time modes, such as snipers only. These add variety to the game when they are available and are helpful for achieving certain ingame challenges. The Battle Bus flies 100 players over an island. They have a set period of time to tactically make their drop, weighing risk with reward. Players tend to drop into the areas that have the most loot, like Tilted Towers or Retail Row, making these areas deadly at the beginning of matches. There is an intensity right away here, except unlike most other multiplayer games there is no respawn. Once you die in solo, you’re dead. In team modes you can be revived, but only if you manage to stay alive in a downed state until an ally reaches you. An enemy can finish you off at any point while you’re down with a few bullets. This makes every moment of the game feel important, but the beginning when you’re surrounded by enemies even more so. If you fail to reach a weapon immediately then there is every chance you won’t last seconds. The possibility and consequence of death are really what brings Fortnite Battle Royale alive. No game ever feels slow or boring, as you never know when another player might be near.
When it comes to combat Fortnite excels. Guns feel like they should, shotguns do massive damage at close range where assault rifles are accurate with decent damage to opponents health. There are many more weapon varieties than this, from snipers to grenades, each feels the way you would expect. Shooting is solid as well, the gun’s recoil is accurate and you never feel like you’re missing a shot because of bad controls instead of lack of skill. Shield potions and health items also populate the island, giving you a chance to recover after a near death encounter or to be better prepared for nearby enemies. Having an extra 25 hit points due to a small shield potion can often be the difference between life and death in combat.
The next unique element is building. By destroying in game objects such as houses, trees and cars you will accumulate three varieties of material; Wood, Stone and Metal. These can be uses to build structures; walls, floors, stairs and roofs. Using these you build can forts to defend yourself from opponents or even simply stairs to reach a hidden chest or a mountain peak. In a building you can be more vulnerable, as it gives away your position to enemies and they can be destroyed easily depending on the material used. If the building connecting your structure to the game world is destroyed the whole structure will collapse. Sometimes if you are high enough the collapse will leading to you falling to your death. The strategic elements added from building really help to raise the skill level required, making the game much more than a simple survival shooter.
When talking about gameplay progression is one of the most important elements. Players need a reason to keep coming back. Fortnite offers this in two ways. Firstly is the XP you earn for in match actions such as kills and survival time. Secondly is daily challenges, these range from eliminations with a certain weapon to placing in the top 12 or 50 of certain game modes. This XP allows you to earn tiers in the Battle Pass. This unlocks objects from in game currency to new pickaxes, nothing gives a gameplay advantage. However if you pay £7.99 you can purchase the premium Battle Pass. This unlocks much more rewards as well as giving you XP bonuses. Many more costumes are available, as well as emotes and 1000 V-bucks; this actually gives you enough in game currency to purchase the next seasons Battle Pass free of charge. The season lasts 70 days, meaning there is a lot of value to be had in the transaction. If you require progression to enjoy a game the Battle Pass is a must, even if you don’t I believe it offers a lot of value. Every two days the game changes the items that are available to buy at a premium. None of these are delivered through loot boxes and you can choose exactly what they want. These are often sillier skins that again have no impact on gameplay, they range from dinosaur costumes to Easter bunny outfits.
Graphics and Sound
Fortnite looks stunning and performs beautifully. The game runs at 60 frames per second on all consoles, including the weakest original Xbox One and PS4 models. It performs best on the most powerful console, the Xbox One X, averaging at 1440p resolution while it has a steady 1080p resolution on PS4 Pro. The 60 frames per second is the real triumph though, making sure no platform has an advantage and meaning the game is incredibly smooth at all times. In the more densely populated areas there can be slight dips. However I found these to be very rare, only happening at the very beginning of matches when there are full player counts. The game’s aesthetic is stunning. The colors really pop and the art style gives the world a lot of character, bringing it alive and helping it to stand out from other shooting games which usually only have different shades of brown in their palette. The variety of skins add to this, each has its own inspiration and stands alone in the world. It is honestly hard to choose which character I want to be in the game’s hub. The sound design is solid. Each weapon sounds brilliant, shotguns have the associated blast whereas snipers have a much more individual bullet, ranged sound to them. Explosions sound fantastic. If a player is running nearby you can hear it clearly, alerting you to proximate danger. Likewise if you run you can hear every footstep, aware that enemies can hear you. The menu music is good and suits the tone of the game. It is repetitive but never gets annoying.
What is really special about Fortnite is the moment to moment gameplay. It is currently unrivaled in the multiplayer market. There is a reason this game is so ridiculously popular and you’ll understand that after only a few games, especially as you improve and start to consistently be involved in the final moments of matches. Epic have strongly supported the game since launch, and due to the increasing success that support will only grow in the future. The only real issue is that the game suffers from regular downtime, mostly due to weekly updates or too many players trying to play at once. As there is no way Epic could have prepared for the unprecedented demand this is understandable, and will likely be ironed out over time. The game is a marvel and really deserves every second of its time in the spotlight, as do Epic as a developer. Not only do they support the game, but with updates such as 60 frames per second and the Battle Pass seasons they have shown that they are going to properly support the game with additions that actually mean something.