At this point, Fortnite feels like a lot more than just a game. It’s a full-blown cultural phenomenon. It even made a brief cameo appearance in Avengers: Endgame, cementing its place in pop culture history.
However, gamers can be a fickle lot. What’s popular today may be replaced tomorrow. And the major popularity of a game doesn’t always indicate it’s as good as a new player might think.
So, is this free-to-play game worth your time? Or should you go play another Battle Royale game such as Apex Legends? Keep reading to discover the answer!
Bigger Is Better
The first thing you’ll notice about Fortnite is that it’s big. If you’re used to playing games like Overwatch or Halo (which are typically broken into rounds of 6-on-6 or 4-on-4), then Fortnite’s 100-player matches will feel massive.
Even compared to other Battle Royale games, Fortnite feels pretty chonky: its nearest current competitor, Apex Legends, currently only has 60 players as its max. So, Fortnite is a big game, and this ends up being both a blessing and a curse.
The sheer size of these matches makes any given encounter feel more epic than it otherwise would. And victory feels truly special — when your squad is the last to survive, it feels like you’ve really accomplished something.
However, the size of the game can make it difficult for new players (more on this later), and it virtually ensures that most matches will end in a quick death instead of the kinds of epic gunfights you might be expecting.
We love to see a game that actually evolves instead of resting on its laurels. And Fortnite is a game that has actually been doing this since well before it got so popular.
The original concept of the game was Fortnite Saves the World, which was a game obviously inspired by Minecraft. Players mined resources, fended off undead enemies, and found increasingly creative ways to live off of the land.
When Battle Royale games became popular, Fortnite pivoted into that space, but kept the Minecraft-style elements. That is arguably the most unique thing about Fortnite: you must harvest resources and build structures in addition to finding weapons and hunting down enemies.
The game has continued to grow and evolve since then, rewarding players who might be worried that the game will always feel like more of the same.
Keep It Simple
If it sounds like Fortnite has a lot of moving parts, that’s because it does. You’re scavenging, running, and gunning, all while staying in constant communication with your squad.
Fortunately, Fortnite keeps things simple whenever possible. While you can find a variety of weapons and accessories, you can only carry up to five at a time. And while you can build almost anything you can imagine, you are limited to only three kinds of building tiles.
This can sometimes feel frustrating for veteran players, but keeping things simple is one of the ways Fortnite tries to make the game more accessible to new players. And the actual gameplay is similarly simple: the shooting feels familiar to anyone who has ever played an FPS, and the ability to revive squadmates who are fallen but not dead is both intuitive and familiar.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Speaking of squads, this game is all about teamwork. You won’t make it very long trying to fight and survive on your own: instead, you and the rest of the four-man squad must work as a single unit.
As anyone who has ever played a multiplayer game can attest, this is easier said than done. If you’re playing with strangers, you simply hope that people have their microphones on and are willing to use them. Furthermore, you hope that they know enough about the game to shout out familiar landmarks and landing zones.
The best way to play Fortnite is the best way to play most multiplayer games: with your own friends. And with the cross-play compatibility between so many consoles, PC, and even mobile devices, playing with friends is easier than ever.
Enter the Battle Pass
Fortnite is a free-to-play game, and that’s one reason that it’s so popular. However, many players feel as if they must purchase the Battle Pass to get the most out of the game.
A Battle Pass typically costs around $10 and allows players to earn a variety of skins, icons, and other cosmetic upgrades. Is it actually worth it? That depends on how you look at it.
Because the upgrades are primarily cosmetic, it’s possible to never buy a Battle Pass and still enjoy the game immensely. And for veteran gamers, the fun of gameplay is the whole point of playing: there doesn’t necessarily need to be a special carrot every month to help you enjoy the game.
On the other hand, the Battle Pass is cheaper than buying random loot boxes from other games, and it provides an added sense of progression and accomplishment. While that value may be intangible, it is very real for the most hardcore playes.
Big Learning Curve
Is this game easy for newbies? In a word, “No.” In three words, “Not at all.”
Success in the game relies on intimately knowing the map as well as the location to all of the best weapons and items. Additionally, you’ll want to have a game plan for where you prefer to land and how you’ll work your way inward when the storm is closing.
This means that you’ll probably need to do a lot of homework before you dive into the game. While that may sound annoying or intimidating, it makes your eventual success feel that much sweeter and well-deserved.
Should you play Fortnite? Personally, I think everyone should try it and see what the hype is about. It’s free, fun, and fast, and you’ll have an easy time finding matches, even if you’re playing all by yourself.