Game Info:

Developer: Epic Games, People can fly
Published by: Epic Games
Release Date: Early access: July 25, 2017 Full Version: 2018
Available on: Windows, macOS, PS4, Xbox One
Genre: Action, Shooter
Players: 1-4 in PvE, 100 in PvP
ESRB Rating: T for Teen, Violence
Price: $0-$150

Thank you Epic Games for sending us a review code.

Fortnite: great zombie MMO to some and just another quick cash grab to others. I'll want to crystal ball this really fast and say that I want to give the game at least an 80 percent with a gigantic asterisk over that score. Let's not waste anymore time and navigate the storm. This is Fortnite.

In Fortnite you can play as a multitude of different heroes defending against zombies that come from a mysterious lightning storm. I'd like to say that there's more to the story, but that's it. I have no care or interest in this game's world of colorful characters. It tries to have its fun by saying the world's dying yet it gives you objectives like protecting the rock and roll man Lars while he gets ready to fly his truck into the sky. Materials are a valuable resource yet you can get some help from miniature llama pinatas. You can buy them too, so yay for micro-transactions.

In the game's player vs environment (PvE mode you start on a randomly generated map, and you have a chance to mine for resources. The main three resources are wood, brick and metal. You can play as various classes you have gained whether it be soldiers, ninjas, outlanders or constructors. Each of these classes have various abilities that range from making your forts stronger to finding exclusive items and materials. Your goal is to protect an objective; this can include a weather balloon with information about the storm, Lars and his floating van or other various things. Once you locate the goal, you have a chance to build a fort around the objective to make it easier to protect. You can make walls, stairs, roofs, floors and ceilings and you can build various traps within the fort. You only get a limited time before the waves of zombies, known as husks, attack. Once you outlast the horde, you get your quest rewards and you rinse and repeat. Keep in mind that players can join you at random if you go it alone or you can wait for people to join any lobby you create for a mission.


Strong Points: Though it is unfinished as of this preview the PvE is exciting and well rounded. Those who enjoy grinds to a challenging end game will get a lot of fun out of Fortnite.
Weak Points: Free to play PvP only mode. $39.99-$149.99 for various PvE early access packages. Fortnite will be completely free to play on full release. This game is designed for microtransactions. You'll feel the pull to buy buy buy at every point.
Moral Warnings: Light slapstick violence. High risk for gambling addiction, this game can hurt those that are easy to fall to addictive habits.

The player vs player mode is a 100 man survival game similar to the game PlayerUnknown’s Battle Grounds. Once you're matched up with 100 people, you take off on the flying party bus, and you choose when you wish to drop onto the map. Your only goal is to find supplies and weapons to stay alive for as long as possible. Don't expect to stay in the same spot for too long, as the match progresses the play area shrinks in size, forcing players to get closer together. While you can still build forts like in the PvE mode, it doesn't matter too much when you'll have to eventually move to a new location anyway.

So the PvE mode is great; you have plenty of enemy varieties, the weapons and classes all feel fun and unique, and the meta game is easy to understand. The game has a lot of currencies and skill trees to balance but it is not complicated at all. Now let me talk about that asterisk mentioned earlier. This game's monetization system is one of the worst on a gameplay basis and a moral one. I've talked about loot boxes on record before yet I don't believe a game has made it more obvious that It's gambling before Fortnite came along. Those llamas you can get have a chance to turn silver or gold, increasing the amount and rarity of loot you get from them. What makes this worse is the game's flaw in XP grinding. You have to retire heroes when you add them to a collection book, you have to evolve survivors and schematics by grinding up XP and you have a chance to recycle the schematics you're not going to use. You'll also have to choose between evolving characters or putting them in the collection book. The Recyling and Collection books aren't explained well in game as of yet. The only reason they encourage you to do these things is to get more XP to level up other schematics or heroes. The rewards in the Collection book are semi randomized as you level it up. Some levels give random prizes and other level's give guaranteed prizes.

A lot of Fortnite's design around leveling up screams “Temptation buy”. Games that are designed around an extreme grind for xp or gear currencies say you don't need to buy the microtransactions but they sure as heck make it tempting. I haven't made it to the end game yet and I have a feeling I'd need to put in at least a few weeks of hardcore nonstop playing to even get to that level with a weapon or a hero. I don't need to buy the microtransactions, but it would sure help increase my power level. The fact that everything has a rarity makes the temptation higher. Uncommon and rare heroes for example can only evolve 3 or 4 times. Epic, legendary and mythic heroes can evolve up to 5 times. If you don't get an epic from your quest rewards or your free mini llamas, you'll only feel that pull to buy a llama even more.

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 84%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 10/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 74%
Violence - 8/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 9/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 0/10

The PvP mode is ok but the separation of loot into rarity makes the hunt for PvP gear all the more cruddy. A common level shotgun won't do as much damage as a legendary one. Now in a match I was lucky enough to obtain both an epic and legendary sniper rifle. They seemed to have a small difference in level of power. A competitive gamer will still see that as a luck based advantage and cry unfair. Hopefully the gear system in the PvP mode will be reworked before a full release. While the base building aspect in PvP is unique to its competition, it's still a moot point. Unless you successfully predict where the play area's final space will be you're not going to be camping out the whole game in your awesome fort. Sure you can build a sniper's nest but that's assuming you find a sniper rifle. Firing a pistol or shotgun just won't give you the same results from your pretty nest. Keep in mind you get no rewards for playing the PvP mode as of now. It is strictly for fun.

Sound and graphics are both mediocre at best. You can't really customize your hero; they all look pretty similar to one another accept a few haircuts or skin tones. The music is ok but gets old after a while.

On morality the violence is slapstick; no blood when you're fighting opponents in PvP or the husks. The language is relatively clean and the story doesn't have anything really offensive in it. The gambling aspect however is pretty grotesque; this game is designed to tempt you to buy buy buy or you'll waste so much time doing it the long grindy way. On the gameplay side, it doesn't say a lot about your game if you're encouraging people to skip past portions of it for cash. It also means you're trying to encourage a sinful and addictive habit.

Fortnite is a great game for people that love "defending the objective" style goals and fighting against hordes of monsters. However I'd encourage you to wait on its development right now until it gets closer to a 1.0 state. The game will become free to play once it is complete. Anything you pay for now is for early access and a few in game goodies.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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