Enlarge / At its best, Fortnite looks (and feels) like this nicely staged promo pic of in-game action. However, so many free-to-play annoyances drag this “build a base, blast some zombies” potential to the unseemly depths. (credit: Epic Games)
Fortnite comes very close to standing out from the crowded online-shooter fray.
Some video games let you hunker down with friends and shoot a zillion oncoming zombies. Other games let you build a giant, personalized fortress. What if a single game let you do both—and made the fort-building stuff a cinch? (Basically, a particularly smooth gaming combo of peanut butter and chocolate.)
To test that attractive sales pitch, I have racked up about a week of on-and-off Fortnite testing, spread over the two weeks since the game launched in a peculiar “paid early access” manner. With that much time, I’ve confirmed that Fortnite includes a darned good synergy of those game ideas, backed by robust game mechanics, incredible art design, and a base-building system that really finds a good balance between simplicity and depth.
Trouble is, I’ve also struggled to have fun with the results thus far. While Epic has declared that this is an “early access” game for the foreseeable future, whose elements are subject to change, I’m concerned that Fortnite‘s root issue can’t be so easily patched: the poisonous real-money economics stirred into the gameplay pot.
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