No matter what you may think of Epic, they never want Fortnite to feel stale. Since the launch of Battle Royale, they’ve been pretty regularly adding new items and weapons to keep the game fresh and interesting. While Chapter 2 may have seen that ramp down a little with fewer updates than normal, the launch of Season 3 saw some pretty widespread changes.
One of those changes included the second vaulting of the Pump Shotgun, best friend of sweatsters and pros in the Fortnite community. Though the Pump was nowhere near the game-ender it used to be, it was still a good pick that rewarded accuracy with a clean finish. It was synonymous with the game, the famous “Double Pump” exploit still being talked about lovingly to this day.
Seeing an opportunity to change up the shotgun meta, Epic introduced the Charge Shotgun in the place of the Pump. Players can either shoot almost instantaneously for okay damage or charge it up (weirdly enough) for significantly more damage, a fully charged shotgun doing numbers comparable to the Pumps of legend.
While this strange new weapon has made players second-guess boxfighting and how they approach close confrontations, there’s one big problem with it: it just doesn’t feel very fun to use.
The major issue with it is the noise, its whirring up being audible to not only you but also any players you have in your sights. Any smart players will know to immediately defend themselves with a wall when they hear the Charge starting to do its thing, and it’s not like you can shoot them from afar to compensate.
So, then, you may think it’s better to use it uncharged and simply land your shots. You really may as well use a Tactical Shotgun in that case, which boasts 8 shells to the Charge’s poor 3 and isn’t completely obvious to negate. Only the Mythic version of the Charge is worth a damn as it has 5 shells, charges faster, and hits harder.
It also generally feels rather clunky and weirdly weighty to aim with, like it has its own separate sensitivity. Perhaps this is just down to the lack of familiarity with the gun, but it feels much harder to whip around to a target than with a Pump or Tac.
What this leaves you with is a weapon that isn’t fun to use and feels like a major step back from what we had previously with the Pump. While flawed and arguably a weapon far too many players depended on, the Pump simply felt right in its inclusion. With the Charge, it feels like Epic is just experimenting to mix things up for the sake of mixing things up. There’s something to be said for adapting to new metas, but it feels like adapting backwards with this gun.
Of course these are still early days for the Charge Shotgun in Fortnite. You would expect some tweaks down the line, so whether that’s the noise being less audible, the shells being expanded for the more common variants, or something else entirely, Epic’s experimentation isn’t likely to get vaulted any time soon. It might even be the case that, much like the Combat Shotgun of Season 9, we may get so used to the Charge that we grow to love the thing.
For now, though, I need more convincing.
Fortnite: Chapter 2 – Season 3 is free-to-play on PC via the Epic Games Store, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android.