What do you think of when you hear the name "Fortnite?" Is it a fat 10 year old kid yelling about how he banged your mom on voice chat? Maybe it's a toddler on his mom's phone talking about how he banged your mom on voice chat. Or maybe it's even a high school kid making the sounds of your mom as he "bangs" her on voice chat. Whatever it is, it's not what you think. Well, it kind of is. But it's also not.
Fortnite is better than you think. Let me clarify that. Fortnite Zero Build is better than you think. Building mode is fucking stupid and shouldn't exist. It's a mesh between two different genres that don't really go together. I'll never understand how this game got popular with that as its main mode for Battle Royale. Imagine trying to blast some fool but he magically creates a 100m wall. You shoot that, but then he makes another one before you can hit him. And somehow you get erased by him at the same time. You try to join him in the quick-build mode. First, gather some materials. Next, hit "ready" because you just got fragged while you're trying to get some wood and stone. This time will be different. You go to a less populated area and start harvesting. You've got yourself quite a lump of materials now and you're ready to create a winding tower when shit goes down. Just kidding, you get killed trying to figure out how to spin a wall before you can even place it. Why is this fucking thing always red? Just let me place it. Hit ready. Repeat several times before you swear off the game.
But that's no longer a problem with Zero Build. It is exactly what it sounds like! There's no building. Well, sort of. Truly, you cannot gather materials to build other structures, HOWEVER you CAN get items that pop up "port-a-forts." It's like bringing the Build Mode into Zero Build! This item is stupid and should never exist in Zero Build. I will die on that hill (Me too! - SFFA). Anyway, let's get back to how there is not building! Instead of finding a spot to gather materials, your goal in ZB is to get down, get a gun, and protect yourself. Find more guns, find some bullets, chase some fools. If you're playing with others (do you even have friends, you piece of shit?), you'll have different strategies depending on how big your team is. Duos are probably slightly easier to deal with because while you've only got one matey on your side, you also only have to take out two squad folk enemies. Trios gets more complicated because you see rush tactics (i.e. three dudes swarming one), triangulation (exactly what it sounds like), or occasionally a mann gegen mann (one-on-one x 3) approach. Squads seem to have the most variation of quality of players within squads. In all of these cases, I am assuredly the worst player in the whole game.
Every so often, they drop a new area into the map. Not an expansion, but a replacement of a former area. Sometimes this is GREAT! Sometimes it's sad. What it brings to the game is freshness to a relatively stale concept. I don't mean stale in a bad way, really, but everyone has a Battle Royale mode. Even movies like Battle Royale! Wait.. When a new map change happens, you'll have a nice gray area on your map with some question marks instead of a name. Now you know you have to go GET SOME! Drop in, reveal, and get back on your way to blasting squads or botching your own team's goals.
Just like the map changes, you also get new weapons. They generally follow the same basic types: pistols, sub-machine guns, rifles, shotguns, and explosives. How do you take that and make it more interesting? How about a shotgun that shoots four shells at once AND causes them to catch on fire? Or a bow that .. also catches the target on fire! A suppressed SMG? A rocket launcher with homing capabilities? You get the idea.
There are a few types of ammo shared between the weapons that can influence what you're carrying. The pistols and SMGs generally use small ammo, your ARs and designated marksman rifles (DMRs) use medium, sniper rifle gets the large ammo, and there are a few other types that I don't care about or feel like looking up right now. You don't want to have a bunch of weapons that use the same ammo type because you'll burn through it too quickly and get stuck swinging your ax at people from across the map while they pew pew at you with their hoards of ammo. Jerks!
My personal preference is to have one rifle of some sort (e.g. Combat Assault Rifle), one shotgun (e.g. Prime Shotgun), one scoped rifle (e.g. DMR), and then maybe a support item like medical spray or some shockwave grenades. Chug splash? Whatever. This changes depending on the items available, though.
Vehicles (and Animals)
If you're like me, you'll frequently find yourself on the edge of the incoming storm. It's not a great place to be because it hurts and it's faster than you can run. Enter vehicles (and animals- but don't enter an animal, just sit on them). They change up the radio stations in cars much like weapons and map areas, so even if you're not a slacker getting eaten up by the storm, you should really get in and listen to amazing songs like 100 Boyfriends.
Beyond Battle Royale
Many people know about all of the various Epic-made and community-made game modes. Others do NOT. I don't really want to talk much about them because I come for the Battle Royale, son. But let me tell you about another piece of Fortnite that makes me happy to enjoy it.
I don't know the business model behind this, but Fortnite has quite a few emotes that are basically TikTok dances to chunks of pop music. My most recent purchase was Savage, which is a song by Megan Thee Stallion. Classy, bougie, ratchet. You know how I roll. It's worth mentioning how damn good their motion capture/animation is for these. They're :chefskiss:. (Pretend that's some sort of emoji)
The stock Fortnite characters are not horrendous, but this is the equivalent of being an egg on Twitter circa 2008. Or a person outline on Slack. Get a fucking clue, you nub. Unfortunately for me, most skins cost a bunch of real-life dollarydoos, but they represent that in v bucks. How many v bucks are there in a dollar? I have no idea. What I do know is that this is an INVESTMENT IN MY FUTURE so I should keep buying them. I've only bought one outside of the Battle Pass (which I will get to in a minute, relax), but it was enough money that I shuddered a bit. You're wondering what skin I use? Well, look up at that savage video, because I purposely used the Beach Jules skin for the video I included. BEACH JULES FOREVER!
You give them 950 v bucks (I think that's like USD$2309?? or so) and you can unlock cosmetics throughout the "season." A season seems to last a few months. I'm sure they have an actual timeline, like 90 days or something, but I am too lazy to look it up. The point here is that you get levels by playing and doing quests within the game (like burn five buildings in Greasy Grove, no penalties if you burn your teammates) or playing and winning (or losing). As you get levels, you unlock "Battle Stars" which are basically a currency-within-Battle-Pass. You use them to unlock particular cosmetics. There is some freedom in how you select which you want to unlock first, so there's that.
I have no real complaints about the Battle Pass. It's not that much money and you end up getting back more v bucks than you spent in the first place, so it's basically a net zero as long as you get to level 100 (it's easier than it sounds). If you're going to be playing for most of the season, it's a no-brainer. If you're late to the party, you'll probably want to skip it unless it has some skin you desperately want.
If you missed out on something, fear not. It usually pops back into the Item Shop after a period of time. They change up some items daily (in the.. you're not going to believe this.. daily section), while others will stay for a week or so. They rotate through some older ones as well. There is usually some sort of theme going on in the item shop, so you can collect a bunch of similar stuff at once if you want to blow a bunch of money. You can do that if you hate yourself, but I'd recommend being conservative with what you buy. Shit is overpriced and has literally zero effect on the game itself - unless you buy some sort of neon skin that people will see from across the island. Think of it as painting a giant target on your forehead. But man you'll look cool before you get blasted.
This is NOT a pay to win money grab
So there are a ton of items you can buy, customized skins you can wear, and things to pick up from chests you find in the map or freshly dropped bodies. If you use real money to buy v bucks you can quickly kit out your character and capture the gaze of passersby. But what you don't get from spending that money is a winning edge. You're just as worthless as the rest of the chumps you're in a match with. There is no paywalled rapid fire sniper rifle, butthole-seeking rocket launcher, or whatever other sick weapon you can imagine.
All players start the game with the same item. You can change the way it looks but you can't change the way it works. Any great weapons that you find in the map are available to everyone else. You might luck out and find a decent gun when you land but it's not because you spent real cash on the game. Fortnite is famously equal as far as player capabilities are concerned and you're all better off this way. You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else.
So .. Is It Good?
It IS good. It's almost embarrassing to admit that I play it considering I am nearly 40, but fortunately I've lost all sense of self-worth over the years and I don't really care. I do recommend turning voice chat off for random people unless you want to hear young squires squawking about your mom. You can replace that with your buds on a discord channel. It's like having an exclusive club that's also in the middle of 90 other people. Like a few Masons on Main Street in a town of 1500. It's not really that exclusive, nor is it really that secret, but people will be annoyed that you aren't yelling along with them all the time. But who cares, you're playing this for fun, not new friends! If you're on here trying to find friends, you are a pedophile.