We’ve spoken about Fortnite: Battle Royale a few times in the past – I even listed five reasons why you should check out the free-to-play shooter titan. But in a games industry where huge patches can radically change the state of a game, it seems to make sense to revisit a hugely popular title and ask the question: is it still good?
Within the aforementioned list, I wrote about how Fortnite’s development team were hugely receptive to player feedback; the Battle Royale subreddit, for example, consistently features input from the devs, as they engage directly with their audience. It was just last month that they gave every player a token of gratitude for sticking with them during a rough patch – never a bad sign.
But we’re here to talk about the big changes that have impacted the game recently. Back on the 18th of January, Fortnite: Battle Royale got its large map updated (to V.2.2.0) with a whole host of exciting new locations and points of interest; not just small additions, but huge, murder-filled zones like Shifty Shafts for players to duke it out in. Honestly, the difference between old-school Fortnite and the current offering is night and day – the environment feels so rich and dense, and gunfights are more varied than ever.
Yes, most people just drop at Tilted Towers and die immediately, but it’s the effort that counts.
In fact, the inclusion of these new locations has changed the pace of games dramatically – if you know where to look. A strong tactic for veterans and newcomers alike was to drop to a heavily populated area; either you’d kill everybody and leave victorious – and drowning in loot – or you’d die quickly with some good practice and the ability to join a new game immediately. This has been accentuated with locations like Tilted Towers, where it’s not uncommon to see 25% of the players in-game dropping together towards a bloodbath. Personally, I tend to veer away from these locations, but their addition has added to the variety on offer within Battle Royale’s sizeable map.
The improved map (dubbed Map 2.0) isn’t the only gamechanger, though. Since then, we’ve got our hands on the minigun weapon as well as the recent Valentine’s Crossbow. The former is an imposing death machine capable of shredding cover in a matter of seconds, and is truly a force to be reckoned with. The latter is…a crossbow.
It’s not bad by any means, but the slow projectiles it fires, combined with a minimal scope, means it’s certainly not for newcomers. I’ve seen some impressive clips of long-distance assassinations, however, so maybe I’m just terrible. Probably that.
Despite the introduction of all these new weapons, many people still opt for the tried-and-tested method of carrying two pump-action shotguns, and switching between them after each pull of the trigger. Sure, it’s a system that works, but it’s starting to irritate even the most avid fans – especially when combined with the inconsistent damage delivered from the shotgun’s pellets. This is something developer Epic have said they are working on, and they’ve recently been testing what they’re calling ‘Shooting Test’ modes – special matches that tweak gunplay and encourage feedback. Hopefully, this will lead to a more level playing field.
Every game has bugs, but there’s been some truly enraging ones included in some of these otherwise excellent patches. The main point of contention for most is the ‘building glitch’; an issue that incorrectly selects a certain type of structure, despite the player choosing another. For those unfamiliar with Fortnite, this might not sound like a big deal. But it is. Imagine you’re midway through a shootout, and instead of building some stairs to act as cover, you place some wooden flooring to collect your blood when your enemy promptly shoots you with a shotgun – not fun. Again, this is something that Epic have acknowledged and are working on, but it’s grating to say the least.
Ultimately, in a game this huge, it’s expected that some things will go wrong. Just this past Sunday, it was announced that Fortnite had 3.4 million concurrent players – a number that tops PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ record of 3.2 million. Regardless of whether you’re a fan of some of the recent changes, it’s admirable to see a developer so receptive to feedback.
But what about the future of this beloved, evolving shooter? Well, in a recent blog post to the Epic Games site, the Fortnite Team teased some upcoming artwork of potential gliders (pictured above) – the tools players use to reach the ground safely. They also alluded to new ‘Limited Time Modes’, or LTM’s, that could be arriving in the coming months. These range from fan favourites like 50v50 teams, to more exotic variations on the formula like a ‘The Floor is Lava’ gametype. All in all, there’s never been a better time to be a fan.
So is Fortnite: Battle Royale still good? I’d certainly say so, and it looks like things will only get better.
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