Fortnite is developed by Epic games and was originally designed to be a 3rd person co-op survival game, That part of the game is still around but when the Battle Royale genre exploded with the arrival of PUBG Epic games saw an opportunity and remoulded their game, enter Fortnite: Battle Royale. Although Fortnite shares some obvious similarities with PUBG it has a lot of obvious differences. For starters where PUBG goes for the realistic mil-sim approach Fortnite goes for bright and colourful graphics. Instead of a military plane, in Fortnite we jump from a party bus. the premise is still the same though,up to 100 players are dropped into a map which is constantly shrinking due to the Blue Zone/Storm, with the goal of looting weapons and gear in order to become the last person or team left standing.
After receiving tons of requests, well one…which may have been said jokingly, I decided it was long due the time we covered Fortnite. As far as i know none of us at 4-One really play Fortnite much, instead preferring to dabble in a bit of PUBG. My kids persuaded me to give Fortnite a go and I’ve decided to put more time into it and see what the game is about. Now I’ve actually played Fortnite on all platforms so I’m going to review Fortnite on its own merits and then cover the Switch version afterwards to compare it to the PC/PS4/Xbox versions. If you want to skip ahead to that bit just look for the row of *s
At first glance you might be forgiven for thinking that Fortnite is a kids game and that would be a huge mistake. Whilst the game is massively popular with kids there’s a lot more going on than just jumping around the map trying to shoot each other. Take the building mechanics for example. Building in Fortnite can be just as crucial a skill as shooting. Out building your foe can be the difference between an early return to the lobby or that much sought after Victory. It’s frustrating to learn the art of building but it can’t be overstated how rewarding it is when you manage to out-build someone, knowing that your skills were just better in that encounter. Building used in this way is pretty groundbreaking and sets Fortnite aside from its competitors. Building forts and trying to get the high ground can be important but if like me, you aren’t very good at it then you can for the most part get by with just using simpler structures. It’s clear though that to really become good at Fortnite then building is a skill worth learning.
The game is in third person and whilst you do have an inventory system it’s very simplified when compared to something like PUBG. It works well though and suits the pace of the game. you can quickly manage your weapons and consumables and each item is easy to identify.
Battles with other players are very different to what i’m used to on PUBG. They can be chaotic and over very quickly where as in PUBG I’ve had battles which last for a good 5 minutes or longer. whilst Fortnite doesn’t have the tension of PUBG it certainly doesn’t lack in the fun and chaotic feeling. I love the loot system in Fortnite, no matter where you drop it is possible to get yourself reasonably well kitted out and get you in on the action or keep you alive long enough to get yourself better loot. Weapons come in a variety of rarities and these rarities can turn the tide of a battle.
The progression system in Fortnite is really good, especially if you purchase the Battle Pass and is the area that PUBG fails miserably in perhaps the most. In Fortnight you have challenges to complete and levelling up your tiers provides you with fun rewards or XP boosts. Cosmetic DLC can be purchased from the store and there’s none of the frankly pathetic Loot box system found in PUBG where you buy a key and end up with a billion red T-shirts. In Fortnite you visit the store, see what you want and buy it. Prices for Skins are a bit steep but you can earn Skins just by levelling up your tiers during a season and as it’s a free to play game I guess we can’t really say much about it.
I think for me though the standout area where Fortnite absolutely trounces PUBG is in the way the game runs. Fortnite is so well optimised that its totally understandable to me now why so many players are leaving PUBG behind. Don’t get me wrong i will still play PUBG just as much as I always have but one can’t help but admire Fortnite for how smoothly it plays.
How Does the Switch Version compare to the Other platforms? Surprisingly well to be honest considering how much power the other consoles have over it. The Switch version can be played either in handheld mode or on the TV but if you are out and about you will obviously need an internet connection.
The Switch version obviously has lower resolution and frame rate than its PS4/Xbox counterpart but the core of the game is still the same and shows just how well the Unreal 4 engine performs. the most notable difference is the frame rate. Instead of 60FPS we get 30FPS and resolution sits between 720p and 900p (dynamic scaling is used in docked mode). The hud is rendered in 1080p which means its always clear and easy to see whats going on. The pro controller is definitely the best way to enjoy Fortnite on the switch but once you get used to the joy-cons the game is just as much fun.
It’s truly awesome to be able to take a meaningful version of the game out and about though and in my humble opinion the Nintendo Switch version can sit proudly next to the other platforms.
Hats off to Epic games.