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'Fortnite Battle Royale' Review

The early-access game allows players to play for free in new PvP mode.

Epic Games' Fortnite (2017) Cover and promotional material.

In today's review, we’re gonna be taking a look at Fortnite’s "Battle Royale." Should you download it? Let's find out!

Fortnite is an early access game developed in conjunction with People Can Fly game studios and Epic Games. It is a co-op sandbox survival game that has been released for paid early access to the main game. The "Battle Royale" mode was added in recently and is 100% free to play. A full free to play version of Fortnite is expected to release sometime in 2018.

'Battle Royale' Drop-in

This gameplay feature was borrowed from PUBG.

My Thoughts So Far

Fortnite’s "Battle Royale" is an almost complete carbon copy of PUBG (Playerunknown's Battlegrounds). Adopting the drop-in feature and the steadily shrinking map features, Fortnite plays similar but just has a different aesthetic. If I had to be completely honest, I prefer the graphical fidelity found in PUBG. However, the building aspects found in Fortnite do add an additional level of fun that isn't present in PUBG.

When dropping into a game, it is important to pick a location and stick with it. Do not change your mind halfway while airborne. Pick a location and drop fast. Assume your opponents know the map better than you. Do not rely on dropping far enough to survive as the storm system will probably disappoint you. Also, you’re never too far from a weapon, so don't get too paranoid looking for that perfect drop location.

Great Art, Animations, and Features

Battle Royale Squad based gameplay.

What I Liked

I love how the graphical style wasn’t compromised with this game mode. The mode still feels legit, as if it was built for this. The animations work well with the design aesthetic and it's easy to spot players sprinting in open fields thanks to the dust clouds trailing behind them.

I love the audio cues you get from the maps. You can hear the storms approaching, the heavenly hum from loot chests nearby, gunshots, and footsteps in a realistic 3D style.

Suffering FPS, Shotguns, Bugs, and Glitches

"Battle Royale" promotional material

What I Hated

First and foremost, I have to emphasize that this game is in early access. The game is still undergoing heavy updates as well as fixes. It is important to note as there may be changes to the game by the time the full release comes around.

The game is riddled with lag and weird bugs. Rendered frames are often unstable and drop constantly. This is difficult to deal with in a game mode such as "Battle Royale," when survival is key.

Because of the fps issues, hit detection seemed a bit off at times. As a result, gunshots don’t always hit how you expect. This makes sniping a lot harder from far range. Lastly, shotguns have an unrealistic range, giving your opponents unfair advantages at great distances. 

Poor Optimization Thus Far, Weird Pricing Structure

AMD RX-480 8GB Graphics Card.

A Note on Optimization

I think that the problem with optimization goes beyond just my PC, as well. I don't have the most powerful PC, but I am running an AMD FX chip overclocked to 4.4ghz and an XFX RX-480 8GB model card.

It is more than powerful enough to play games like Overwatch at ultra settings (above 60fps), and titles like Call of Duty WW2 with high settings hitting over 80fps. In an attempt to improve the performance of Fortnite, I turned off all optional graphical settings and turned the settings down to low.

I still experienced dips in the frame rate while achieving well over 200fps. At times, the frames would go well below 30fps. Adding a frame limiter option did not yield an improvement in results.

I remain hopeful, but I know this wasn't due to my internet/network settings, either. I have a gigabit-speed fiber optic connectivity and I haven't experienced any issues with other titles in the past. This makes me a little concerned that Fortnite will still suffer from connection and frame rate issues even after release because of the server size. While I remain hopeful, I won't hold my breath.

Pricing and Marketing Structure

Standard edition  - Limited and Founder Editions of Fortnite Available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

On the Topic of Pricing

I have an issue with Fortnite's pricing structure. Epic Games has incentives for people to support Fortnite during early access. This is typical of an early access game and I must admit I don’t have issues with early access games. I have even purchased Ark: Survival Evolved and DayZ in the past.

What I do have an issue with are games selling "early access" copies of titles in major brick-and-mortar retailers. This is an attempt to generate more money for development, and I understand that. However, It doesn't seem right to market a game as if it's incomplete in a Wal-Mart or Target.

I also am against the price ranges of early access packages. Fortnite claims that it will release as a fully free-to-play title. This is slated for sometime 2018. It has been a belief of mine that an early access game should be no more than $30. However, the marketing team over at Epic Games thought it was a good idea to charge their most devoted supporters $150.00 for the limited edition release of a FREE TO PLAY game. Really?! I understand that one day you will be charging microtransactions. That doesn't seem really fair now, does it?

I think that as a free-to-play title they should focus on first establishing a large player base. "Battle Royale" was a great first step, but they should release the full early access game for free. They can then add in their incentive-based packages ranging from $15 to $40.

Final Thoughts

Save the World PVE Mode.


Anyway, I digress. Fornite does seem like an appealing title. It will be released as a free-to-play game in 2018, but no solid date has been announced.

Unfortunately, because they are trying to get more funding, the game is currently early access, but only to those who want to fork out $40. Who knows, maybe it will be fantastic when it's fully released. My suggestion is to wait until then and hold your money. Unless, of course, you really, really like survival shooters and have been waiting for Fortnite for quite a while.

The recommendation to buy Fortnite will not come from me. There are still other games releasing that do a better job of what Fortnite has to offer. These titles include State of Decay 2 (announced for release as of spring of 2018), Escape from Tarkov (currently in alpha), and, obviously, PUBG is a considerable option if you want to play a realistic battle royale mode with your squad.

Tell me what you think! Did you pay for access to Fortnite?

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