Opinion PlayStation

Fortnite is everything and more I could ever want in a co-op sandbox survival game

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Described as a "co-op survival game", Fortnite has completely blown away my expectations. We live in a day where a game changes from the reveal up to launch. Be it cutting back on some features, or just taking away some mechanics that simply don't make it to release.

When Fortnite was initially revealed back in 2011 I was very excited to see how the game would end up, and after spending the entire weekend with it, yes, I was completely absorbed by the game for 48 hours, I have to say that it has surpassed my expectations far beyond anything I have played in years. Although the game is in "Early Access", it feels like a final product as the sheer amount of polish and features in the game completely blew me away. 

Fortnite comes across as a simple survival game, but as I progressed through the opening chapters more and more was unveiled to me. Skills that affect my overall gameplay experience, squad and survivors that need to be slot into roles to help boost my stats, and the attention to detail in the loot system, makes it something I could not put down. When the game starts, things are simple. 

I entered a level and was tasked with building a fort around a Storm Base, which acts as my main base of operations. First I needed to go chop down some trees in order to gain some wood to build these walls, stairs and floors around my base, and then I was able to easily bring up a build menu, choose what I wanted and start placing objects around the base.

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You would think that building a massive fort would be hard to do, but this is the opposite in Fortnite as you simply select what you want, walk around your base and place these structures around the area. Later on, in the game, I was able to upgrade these walls I built using extra resources to give them more health when defending the base from the Husks. 

Luckily the resources are divided into three types, metal, wood, and brick, and the only things you need to build it just that. Sure the traps which you can place around these buildings also require more resources like nuts and bolts, and bacon - yes, you need bacon to build fire-based traps, but the overall structure can be built with a simple handful of wood. 

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The world is yours really to build as high and as big as you want in every mission. Most of the time, however, the most simplistic forts are the most effective. You see after you have found the Atlas or the zone where the balloon will drop, every mission ends up requiring you to protect this item from the ongoing waves of Husks that come at you from the storm's location. Once you know where these Husks are coming from, you can then build your fort accordingly. This is only half the fun as your hero which you control in the game adds another layer of depth to Fortnite's awesome combat system.

Assassin, Constructor, Outlander, and Soldier make up the hero system, each of them has their own unique set of skills and every hero you obtain in a loot pack, like all other items, can range from common to legendary. This constant excitement to unlock an epic hero was what kept me going throughout the night.  But in the end, I decided to settle with the Constructor as he can fortify walls in the fort that causes them to do damage to Husks trying to penetrate it. 

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While I had other heroes, the Ninja was also very cool to use as he can double jump and is much more agile. Still, there are no limitations here as you can change your hero after every mission to another which you have obtained through loot boxes. Although some weapons benefit specific heroes more, there is again no limit to what weapon style you can use on what hero. I had my Constructor using a sword, which works better with a Ninja, but I couldn't care really as it was awesome nonetheless. 

Once your fort has been built and traps have been set, the initial wave process starts where you need to just go balls to the wall and destroy everything coming your way. Waves last anything from seven to ten minutes and they can get rather intense as more Husks come and different enemies require different ways you need to kill them. 

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The Lobber is a crazy witch-like Husk that tosses her explosive head at you from far off in the distance. She often hides away and you need to hunt her down by looking for the origin of smoke which is left behind in the sky. Then you have the typical Husk which just runs and tries to smash things and a few others which cause other havoc on your base. I simply loved the amount of detail gone into each enemy, and I am sure I have not even scratched the surface on the different types which are in the game. 

Now the game kind of feels divided into two portions. You have the missions which you run around collecting resources, built a fort to defend the base and end the mission if you successfully defend it, and then after all that you have the admin side of the game which is another enjoyable experience on its own. 

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Throughout the game you will get survivors, defenders, weapons, gear, heroes, you name it, it is there. While not on a mission, it is here where you can sit for a while and sort our life out by placing survivors into roles which boost stats, organise your inventory with the best schematics you have, upgrading your heroes using XP earned in missions, and lastly, send people on expeditions to gather resources for you.

The sheer amount of admin that goes into the game's mechanics is truly fantastic. There is so much going on behind the scenes with all these specialised settings that you can really sit for a while and make sure everyone is doing something beneficial to provide a boost in some way or another. Even if it is placing your duplicate schematics into the collection book, this is even a task that requires much attention as you could totally just discard an item you love. 

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The more I played the game the stronger I felt and the more I wanted to micro-manage all the people and survivors who had specific roles and perks that would come in handy in the game. We then have the skill tree which again is a 400-node menu to try and wrap your head around. Each branch compliments a different play style and hero, and you will want to decide what to unlock very carefully before making the decision. 

What makes Fortnite so addictive is that there is always something you are busy doing in order to get something out of it. Every resource you collect stays with you in the game, so why not spend an hour chopping down trees. The heroes are teeming with the potential to be unlocked by playing more and earning XP to level them up. It is all a beautifully oiled machine that runs like a charm. 

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We then have the fact that four friends can do all this with you and their progress and items carry on to their profiles too. This makes it a party every time you enter a new mission with a handful of friends. I am a sucker for co-op so this is Fortnites' selling point for me.

What I am trying to get at is that Fortnite feels like the survival co-op game that we have been missing this generation. It has fully realised the genre in every way possible and every feature feels like something that must have taken the developers months to refine. Fortnite, for me, has redefined the co-op survival genre and I just cannot get enough of it. 

Fortnite is currently in early access releasing today for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Take a look at some gameplay below as I fight off the Husks while trying to defend my home base.

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"Fortnite, for me, has redefined the co-op survival genre and I just cannot get enough of it."

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