Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Why You Should Give Fortnite a Shot (Again)

Fortnite in 2023 running on Unreal Engine 5.1
Epic Games

It’s been a few years since the world lost its collective mind over the Fortnite craze, but the game has shown little signs of slowing down. If you haven’t tried the game before, or you put it down a while ago, now might be the time to jump back in.

What Is Fortnite Battle Royale Again?

If you need a refresher, Fortnite Battle Royale is an online multiplayer battle royale shooter. The game pits up to 100 players against one another on a large open map, scattered with weapons and power-ups. Players must battle one another as the playfield shrinks in a bid to be the last player standing.

Fortnite running on Unreal Engine 5..1
Epic Games

The game is free-to-play on all platforms including PC (via the Epic Game Store), PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One and Series consoles, Nintendo Switch, and Android. Due to the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Epic, Fortnite is currently not maintained on iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. You can play on your iPhone using Xbox Cloud Gaming, however.

The game uses a chapter-based monetization model that requires you to purchase a subscription to a battle pass. As you complete challenges and earn experience, more tiers of the battle pass are unlocked, and more rewards become available. You don’t have to buy the battle pass if you don’t want to.

Fortnite Is Easier to Get Into Than Ever

2022 saw the launch of Fortnite‘s “Zero Build” mode, which removed a large barrier to entry for many who were curious about the game. Building in Fortnite takes a lot of getting used to for the casual shooter fan. Mastery of the mining and fort-building mechanics was pretty much essential in the late-game, where players would face off against fewer adversaries in an increasingly smaller arena.

Fortnite Zero Build mode
Epic Games

With Zero Build, the mechanic is gone completely. This opens the game up to a much broader audience who likely already have experience shooting and looting, allowing even casual players to dip a toe into the weird and wacky world that Epic Games has created. Fortunately, Fortnite has a big enough following that it can sustain both the vanilla mode and the new Zero Build variant, keeping die-hard fans and curious newbies happy.

With the building removed, you’re left with just the action. The game also isn’t all about winning anymore, with quests and challenges to complete as you play. Winning or even placing well is no longer a prerequisite for making (what feels like) meaningful progress. You will need to cough up money for the Battle Pass to get your hands on the best rewards (950 V-Bucks, around $7.99) but it’s not too hard to earn enough V-Bucks back to be able to buy next season’s battle pass if you play enough.

It Looks Incredible

You might find it hard to believe, but Fortnite is one of the highest-quality games you can play right now in terms of 3D graphics. It’s arguably the best-looking free-to-play title by quite some margin, despite the cartoony art style remaining the same as it always was. This is because Fortnite now runs on Unreal Engine 5 (version 5.1, at the time of writing).

It makes perfect sense that Epic Games would use its most popular property as a showpiece for its latest technology. This includes Nanite for highly detailed geometry that renders millions of polygons at a time in a way that doesn’t tank performance, lighting engine Lumen for real-time global illumination that features bounce lighting and ray-traced reflections on reflective surfaces like water, advanced virtual shadow maps for more accurate shadows, and Temporal Super Resolution (TSR) which uses upscaling to render the game at a lower internal resolution before increasing the resolution for higher quality displays.

Though all versions of the game have been ported to the new version of the engine, only the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and S, and PC versions get the latest effects. The action remains locked to 60 frames per second on consoles, while PC gamers have the option of turning these features on and off as they see fit.

It’s Just as Goofy as It Always Was

Most importantly, Fortnite is a fun game that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The chapter-based subscription model introduces seasonal rewards and crossovers with other games and TV shows. 2022 saw the addition of Spider-ManDarth Vader, the Doom SlayerIndiana Jones, and Naruto to name but a few.

Grab Fortnite for free from Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo’s storefronts on console or via the Epic Game Store on PC or Google Play on Android. Interested in Fortnite but don’t play many games? Check out what else to play if you don’t consider yourself much of a gamer.


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