I’ve played a lot of zombie games over the years. Everything from Left 4 Dead to Dying Light has had me shooting and looting my way through some version of the post zombie apocalypse. So when I first fired up Fortnite, the long awaited Zombie hunting, sandbox survival title from a collaboration of Epic Games and People Can Fly, I had a few ideas of what to expect. However, after about four hours of playing this zombie title, I have to say that I am thoroughly impressed with everything Epic has packed into Fortnite. I will be investing the next couple of weeks in this zombie sandbox title so you can expect a full review soon but I did want to highlight a few things that have really jumped out in this early access title. So grab that coffee, kick back and enjoy this preview of Fortnite.
Originally announced at the Spike Video Game Awards in 2011, Fortnite has been a long time arriving but is well worth the wait. This zombie survival sandbox comes packed with features; from its streamlined and well-developed construction system, incredibly useful crafting system all the way to its wonderfully rewarding exploration and unique class systems each is well thought out and seamlessly works together to create a very customized playthrough. The whole gameplay experience thus far has felt well rounded and polished.
The first thing of note is the progression system in Fortnite. After a quick walkthrough of the game mechanics, you are introduced to some base progression through player level and crafting. The game smoothly walks you through each layer of the customization and progression that it offers without leaving you overwhelmed. As someone that easily gets distracted in most survival sandbox games this focused progression system coupled with a great, easy to follow questing system kept me engaged and always wanting to take on the next challenge. As with any progression based title, I can see the potential for a grind heavy experience but I also get a sense from the way the game is structured that there might be enough variety with customization, daily quests and the permanent home base system to keep people coming back for more.
Speaking of base building (intentional segue), Fortnite’s construction system is one of the best I have seen in recent memory. It works fast, is easy to pick up and with some creativity becomes incredibly robust. The system itself uses a snap on tool meaning that sticking walls, floors and ramps together becomes a quick click of a couple buttons. This is especially handy in the heat of battle. There were a few occasions where throwing up a wall in combat was the difference between defeat and victory and Fortnite didn’t disappoint.
The final item that really stood out early on in Epic’s zombie title is the reward from exploring. One of my biggest gripes in most sandbox titles is the lack of progression from simply running around, checking out the scene and harvesting all of the things. Not to mention that more times than not it’s slow, tedious and usually leads to endless grinding. This is another area that I feel Fortnite really got right. Moving through the world and checking every dumpster, basement and abandoned car brings with it a host of rewards. The sheer amount of rewards gained from running around is reason enough to spend time in the world. This coupled with bonus XP gained from finding and protecting survivors, a sweet Whack-A-Troll mini-game and the beautiful art style all work together to create a rewarding exploration experience.
At this point the game seems shiny and new but time will tell if the above mentioned concepts and other systems that the game have to offer really hold the attention of this A.D.D. gamer. At the moment, however, I’m itching to get back in, build up my base, party with some buddies and wreak havoc on some husks! See you in game and don’t forget to pack extra ammo.