#DISTRACT – New Game: Fortnite!

Fortnite is the latest game offering from Epic Games, the creators of the Unreal engine and the team who have brought us classics like Unreal Tournament and Gears of War.

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Fortnite’s first trailer was released back in 2011, but the game was finally premiered at this years E3, and despite not having a presentation of its own during the main press conferences, it still managed to attract plenty of attention.

I was lucky enough to get my hands on an early access key, and my initial reaction, after about six hours of game play, has been positive.

The story-line of Fortnite is simple, and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Strange storms have suddenly started springing up all over, and with them come hordes of monster’s hell bent on destroying everything in their path.

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The game is a hybrid mash-up of a bunch of different genres. There is a unique feel to the way they’ve managed to combine game-play from shooters, tower defence, and action rpgs, along with sandbox elements, to make something that feels really fresh.

Maps and environments are all procedural generation, and players co-operate to construct forts and other buildings, and hold out against waves of the mobs. The monsters are a series of cartoonish undead with their own introductory splash art which, along with the character design and combat system, gives the game a bit of a Borderlands feel.

The match-making system is easy to use and will match you with any other online players regardless of where you are in the story and what your Commander level is. As soon as you join someone else’s mission your hero is scaled to meet their level, making jumping into any game easy! You can also complete your own mission objectives during another person’s mission, so it makes sense to play cooperatively.

There are 4 different hero classes. Outlanders, a class dedicated to exploring and with great movement buffs. Soldiers, experts with ranged weapons, although a little on the slow side. Ninjas, the melee and mobility experts, who are great for clearing waves and lastly, Constructors, masters of buffing forts.

You begin play with the Soldier class and earn other hero classes from llamas and completing quests and mission objectives.

One of my favourite aspects of the game so far has been the massive skill tree which allow you to customise your heroes and your play style. The game has both a skill tree and a research skill tree, both with four tiers. I’ve only unlocked the first two so far, but massive skill trees are a feature in a lot of my favourite games, and Diablo 2 and FFX both sprang to mind as I started investigating the sort of options available in Fortnite’s skill trees.

The game allows you to break apart pretty much anything and everything you come across to get crafting materials to build your forts, traps and weapons. And I’ve gotta say, there is definitely something enjoyable about smashing down a burger joint for metal, wood and nuts and bolts.

The building system takes a little getting used to, but it’s easy enough to break down any mistakes you might make, which means that there is no downside to getting experimental!

Early Access began on July 21st, and the game is also free to play on the Playstation Network for those console gamers out there.

The game is now moving in to paid beta access, and will be available through the Epic Games launcher, currently there is no word on when the game will launch on steam. But if you’re eager to jump on board during the paid beta, you can purchase a copy of the standard edition from their website for $39.99 USD. There are also Deluxe and Super Deluxe editions available with a bunch of additional founder perks.

Overall Fortnite proves to be a well-rounded game, with something in it for players of multiple genres to enjoy.  If you’re a fan of action rpgs and building sims, then this game will tick all the right boxes for you.