June 23, 2017 by Paul Curtin
Fornite was one of our favorite games that we played at E3 2015, which is why we were sad to see that it wasn’t at the show last year when Epic Games focused on promoting Paragon. Thankfully, the team at Epic is back to promoting Fortnite, and the game is shockingly set to enter early access in just a few more weeks on July 25, 2017.
Gameplay has remained fairly similar to what we played two years ago consisting of three phases: 1) Exploring and Scavenging, 2) Base Building, and 3) Defending. Fortnite is made with the goal of allowing fans of all genres to work together cooperatively as a team of 4 to defeat multiple waves of monsters. Each player can select from one of four unique classes. The Constructor and Outlander classes specialize in contributing more towards the building of the team’s fort, while the Soldier and Ninja can focus more on defending the base with more devastating special weapon attacks. So whether you’re a fan of shooting and looting games like Borderlands or building block games like Mincraft, there’s a class for you.
In the latest build we played at this year’s E3, we noticed that a ton of changes have been made for the better. A new character unlocking system has been added that allows different variations of the four classes with different skill bonuses to be unlocked via pinata packs. Like card packs and loot boxes in other games, pinatas can be acquired by completing rounds, objectives, or purchased via microtransactions. The menu screens have also received massive overhauls with the mission selection map being completely revamped from its previous somewhat confusing setup that lead many to believe Fortnite was going to be an open-world game (it’s not).
But the most noticeable of said changes are new animated cutscenes that help bring the world to life — think Wildstar‘s wonderful cinematics or Overwatch‘s character-driven short films. Sadly, unlike Overwatch, one of things that Epic couldn’t make work over the past few years of dev time was the PvP system, which has been removed (for now) in an obvious move to finally get the game out to the public.
From our two hands-on experiences with the game, it’s clear that what sets Fortnite apart from other horde and tower defense-style games is the sheer amount of unlockable content and customization. Epic has created over 100 different variations of characters to collect, with more weapons, traps, schematics, and other upgrades than we could possibly count in just an hour of playing the game at E3 this year.
Fortnite has so much going on that it can be completely overwhelming when you first sit down to play it — which is a good problem to have. The level of depth was deeper than any other game we played at this year’s show and the full game is certainly going to warrant many hours of not just playing the wave-based mode in the future but theory-crafting optimum classes to use and bases to build.
With how many different genres Epic is trying to merge together to fit so many different playstyles, it’s no wonder why it has taken the devs so many years to balance everything out. Thankfully, Epic has just announced that Fortnite is currently available for pre-order which will grant players a four-day head start to early access on PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. At the moment there are 4 different editions ranging from $39.99 to $149.99. Epic has also said that the game will go free-to-play in 2018.