Review: Fortnite (PS4)

Review: Fortnite (PS4)

Formats:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • PC, Mac

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
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Title: Fortnite
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (14.51 GB)
Release Date: July 21, 2017
Publisher: Epic Games
Developer: Epic Games / People Can Fly
Original MSRP: $39.99 – $149.99 Founder’s Packs (Required to play)
ESRB Rating: T
PEGI: 12
A copy of the digital Deluxe Founder’s Pack version of this game ($89.99) was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Fortnite nails the gameplay loop. The amount of exploration and gathering at the beginning of each mission depends on the area in which the mission is taking place, but it all leads to crafting.

The building is grid based so all walls, ceilings, and floors snap together easily.

Once all the gathering is complete, it’s time to place traps.

I use floor spike traps to deal damage and slow enemies down, but when I’m up on a cliff I also make sure to use the wall traps that knock enemies back.

I should be fighting, but I like to stop and watch the husks get knocked back over the edge for cliff.

Once the defenses are complete, the first wave of zombies approaches. The enemies are essentially zombies but within the game they are referred to as “husks” or “monsters”. My favorite type is called the pitcher. It wears a baseball uniform and throws bones at you.

The game provides an arsenal of melee weapons and guns. The melee combat is perfectly fine and does the job well at times but is a limited to the one attack with few animations.

The guns on the other hand feel great. With every hit, numbers are coming out of the enemy showing the damage dealt. The way their head snaps back and disappears in a puff of smoke is pretty satisfying.

It takes a too long to start unlocking abilities for your commander, but they add another level to building and combat.

If you want to play Fortnite you currently have to pay for the game. Epic Games considers it to be in Early Access with the full launch coming in 2018 when it switches to a Free to Play (F2P) model.

I bring this up because it feels like a F2P game. There are so many systems and different types of XP that it can be overwhelming. Even as someone who has played a lot of F2P MMOs it took some time to understand. I’m not saying this is a bad thing but people should not expect a typical game with one XP bar.

In some ways all the various systems make sense. I level up in general, helping me no matter who I have as my commander. New systems are slowly unlocked through the skill tree, prompting a new tutorial quest. The game can feel overwhelming at first but there are numerous tutorials that do a good job of walking you through things.

Not everything is explained though. It’s not clear or easy to find what resistance means. Do I take less damage? Do the walls I build hold up better? Or both?

Your power level is your overall level. How to increase your power level is never explained. I played for hours without my power level increasing despite earning many skill upgrades. A quick Google search showed many people were just as confused as I was.

The only thing available for purchase in the store is either loot boxes or the ability to upgrade the game to a higher edition. The loot boxes take the form of llama piñatas that must be attacked to open.

The loot boxes and the currency to buy them are earned naturally throughout the game. I earned a few every night and have never had the urge to pay for them. There is really no need to buy a bunch either.

I would probably get legendary traps or weapons faster if I spent a bunch of money but the rare versions of those items works pretty well too.

Besides the homebase, everything built is just for that mission. It’s a judgement call on how much to invest in terms of resources for each mission. The game starts off pretty easy and it takes a while to get harder.

I have hit a few difficulty bumps along the way but that was usually due to me not building enough defenses and traps. There is no difficulty scaling as far as I can tell so grouping up with three other people is a simple way to make things easier if need be.

There are different areas to explore. The city even has underground caves and chests hidden around the area. After completing main quests, there are plenty of reasons to go back and replay levels.

There are daily quests, hero quests, and challenges. In the end though it all comes down to laying traps and killing waves of husks. A little more variety would have really helped.

Visuals:
Fortnite has a great cartoonish art style. I love watching trees explode after a few hits from my pickaxe as the little piles of logs dance around me in the air before being added to my inventory.

What I really like is that Epic Games has managed to create a horrific and gruesome game that’s covered up by the cute cartoony graphics. The basic husks wear the human skin and the head has fallen back making it look like a hoodie. Most of the time I see something like that it’s in an M rated game.

Audio:
The voice acting is very well done across the board. This is impressive given the sheer volume of dialog and numerous voice actors. The voice for the llama pinatas has a large number of one liners for each time you open a loot box, as well as the many different survivors, and your robot companion talking before and after every mission.

Online/Multiplayer:
I have only encountered a few people using mics. Direct communication is not necessary as cooperation seems to happen on its own. If I was the person who discovered the area we were supposed to protect, I would start building and someone else would come along and start throwing down traps.

I have only had one issue when not using a mic was a problem. There was a timer counting down until the first wave of husks began and someone started building again even though I could see no reason for any additional walls or traps.

They made it look nicer, I guess, but they built too many things that pushed the group over the limit clearly shown on the screen. They cost everyone a big bonus and I had no quick way of telling them to stop.

Conclusion:
I have no idea how Fortnite will change next year with the full F2P release, but right now I have some reservations about recommending the game.

There are tutorial quests but more explanations of some of the mechanics are needed. Also, the entire user interface (UI) needs to be redone. I have also spent a good amount of time in menus.

If you enjoy building, setting traps, and killing waves of zombies and you can overlook UI, then this game is for you. If you’re hesitating to pull the trigger, there’s no harm in waiting until it’s free next year.

I’m really looking forward to messing around with a few friends. The visuals and voice over set the tone for a funny and goofy world. The game scratches an itch I haven’t felt since my first MMO experience.

There’s something addictive about watching all my different levels go up and improving my commanders, survivors, and schematics.

I have been cramming as much of this game into my day as I possibly can and there have definitely been times during a four hour marathon that it starts to feel really repetitive. Yet after an hour away from the game I want to play more. I think that says it all.

Score:
8.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Matt Engelbart

Matt Engelbart

I love all things video games. When I am not gaming I am watching the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals, BBQing, and reading.

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