The Swarm Are Coming

Zombies, zombies, zombies everywhere and there's no sign of that survival genre slowing down any time soon. I'm a bit zomb'd out if I'm being brutally honest and it takes a certain kind of game to grab me in this genre. I'm patiently waiting to see what Jeff Strain can do with Undead Labs and State of Decay 2, since the first was a brilliant example of a different take on zombie games.

I can use that as a clever segue to say: so is Fortnite. Though it's obvious the game has constant updates and it's a way's to go. I'm not sure I like the whole pay for game, then have to pay for various founder packs. That's a negative for me right from the get-go and I measure every game that's going to head down the F2P route by Warframe now.

Yeah, Fortnite is going F2P sometime next year.

That doesn't excite me, it worries me, and it's put a lot of the people I know off playing Fortnite until then.

Still, this is what I've experienced so far in Fortnite and what I think of it.

A Spotlight Article. Don't expect a Must Buy or anything, because in my opinion the game's still getting updates and balance fixes. So it's not really in a final state to review.

Solo Swarm Management

Yeah, you can play Fortnite solo if you want and there's a story (ish) with lots of missions, objectives and the like which introduces you to the game's concepts and prepares you for the whole gameplay loop that involves zombie horde based tower defence in a nutshell. Only it's third person and you can construct the most elaborate way to protect your HQ's vital area around it, not quite Minecraft style, more a simpler version of the settlement builder in Fallout 4.

Making Defences

I love the build system in Fortnite, it's easy to get materials from the environment since you can smash and bash virtually everything in sight to grab a steady supply of everything you need. Editing a wall to make a smaller wall, or a door, or some kind of window is really easy and the game does a great job teaching you the fundamentals of construction in the early stages - right down to placing traps and how to alter construction materials as you build.

Also, Fortnite will remember build settings on things. So if you want to make a lot of low walls you can set the pattern, then just build one, from then on Fortnite will let you build low walls until you change your mind or run out of materials.

There's a lot of fun to be had in building the most elaborate fort you can think of, then facing down a massive swarm of zombie-like creatures in third person action fun. Where you can use your weapons, either found, or crafted (there's a deep crafting system too) from blueprints and the like. You can repair on the fly, build on the fly and face down the swarm how you want.

Heroic Looter

It's a hero shooter in third person, with a bunch of weapons, abilities, options, skill trees and all sorts of management outside of the zombie blasting. Since this is a spotlight, I'm not diving deep into any of this since it could be subject to change as well. But basically, there's loot, loot can give you heroes and you can play various classes that have bonuses, like the construction guy, he's great at building and repairing stuff.

Then you have a scavenger type class, the Outlander, who gets more raw materials (and so on).

Again, not diving too deep into this.

How you get loot is through smashable pinatas, in your HQ. You can get lucky and nab some sweet rewards for free, or you can spend real world cash (boo hiss) and buy loot pinatas that have various rarities and so on. We've seen it before in games like Mass Effect 3 and I wasn't a fan of it there.

You can get anything there, including rare heroes and weapons. Many of the complaints I've read and heard about the game revolve around the fairness of such systems, compared to those who gain the Founder's packs at the various levels of 'buy in' vs the people like me who just want to pay for the core game and that's it.

It seems weighted to give you better loot if you buy in at a higher level, kind of makes sense only it puts people off playing like me. After I'm done with this I'm going to go back to Warframe for example, because as much as I like the idea of zombie slaying fort building, there's just something about Fortnite heading f2p next year that rubs me up the wrong way and that sours me on the game.

Don't let me put you off though if this is your thing, you'll love it.

Fort Night Night

At the moment there's just not really much to draw me back to Fortnite, especially not if I want to get anywhere. You might dig the kind of game it is, spend time playing on the maps, making a cool fort and playing with randoms (through match-making) and friends to stem the tide of the Swarm, zombie horde, monsters and so on.

Pretty Stuff

It's cartoony, it's well animated, it's all the trademarks of a developer like Epic with slick designs and so on. You can't grumble at how well it runs or how nice it looks. Yet, again, it's not enough to keep someone like me from coming back. I'm kind of burnt out on the whole: defend thing against hordes of things since Gears of War and the like came up with interesting Horde Modes.

The servers are smooth, there's been no applicable lag and the community seems decent so far for a shooter like this. I've had a couple of crashes, but they were quickly fixed and the devs are ontop of updates quite constantly - for the Xbox One version that is. I'm not sure about the others, I'm assuming so.

I'll keep my eye on Fortnite, there'll be a review probably when it goes F2P next year - but for now if you like third person shooter-looters with simple and effective building, hero classes, lite base management and a stream of craftable loot items, you're probably going to love this.

I like it, but I don't love it.