The End might have lacked but Fortnite Chapter 3 is already Epic's battle royale at its best
Playing this game might make me feel far older than I am, but boy is it still impressive.
A few days ago, Epic Games rounded out the second era of Fortnite with The End: a global event that saw the next chapter of the Zero Point storyline come to a close. This massive event also saw the battle royale's island literally tipped on its head, as the Cube Queen actually used her immense powers to flip the island, revealing a new world, with some returning locations on its underbelly.
In terms of the grand scale of Fortnite events, it's hard to really say The End was Epic at its best, as while the appearance of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was a definite highlight, this event lacked the interaction and excitement that prior events had served up, with having to face Galactus, watching Mecha Team Leader slap around the massive monster, and Chapter 1's version of The End all being highlights.
In fact, when I think about what Epic served up with its collaborations, it's difficult to suggest Chapter 2's The End was even on par with these. The Ariana Grande and Travis Scott concerts remain some of the best live shows we've seen, and being able to check out a new scene from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker during Live At Risky served as a great example of what is to come in the future in this game.
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This is why I find it challenging to look at Chapter 2's The End as one of the top events in Fortnite history - in fact I'd argue that it would struggle to crack the top ten. But, even though the live experience lacked a bit, Chapter 3 is a significant upgrade for Fortnite, one that deserves a little bit of celebration and recognition.
At the forefront is the upgrade from Unreal Engine 4 to Unreal Engine 5. Aside from providing a boost to visuals and performance, this upgrade also allows Epic to get even more creative with what it can deliver in-game. This means there's now a variety of new mechanics to use to your advantage, including the ability to slide (similar to other battle royales), and even stash gear in tents so that you can then grab and use it in future matches.
Then there's even a variety of new items to wield, such as Med Mist and Guzzle Juice to heal up damage in unique manners, and a batch of new weapons to shake up the meta all in one swift action. On top of this, to mark Spider-Man's entry into the battle royale, players will soon be able to find Web-Shooters to swing across the map for faster traversal, further adding to Chapter 3 Season 1's focus on expanding mobility in-game.
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And, for the really talented players out there, Epic Games has introduced a new challenge in the form of Victory Crowns, which is basically a way to brag about how many back-to-back wins or top finishes you've had in a row - not that I'll be getting a taste of that anytime soon.
There's no denying it, Fortnite is still one of the best examples of a polished and incredibly well-designed video game - and that's coming from someone who finds themselves completely out of their depth when it comes to using one of the game's biggest core mechanics: building. My inability to quickly construct any form of protection or structure essentially affirms that I will not be taking any Victory Royales soon, but that doesn't change the fact that Fortnite is still a game with absurd depth and a huge amount of focus on the intricate details. More so with the improvements added in Chapter 3 Season 1.
If you haven't had a chance to dive into Epic's massively popular game in some time, I'd suggest doing so, because it's drastically different. Not necessarily in the gameplay (even though there are plenty of modern mechanics, items, and features as I mentioned a moment ago), but in how Fortnite has evolved as an entire experience.
The revamped Battle Pass takes away the linear progression and instead asks players to complete challenges to earn stars that can be spent to unlock items in a more free manner defined by the player's choice. Then on top of this; the options to explore new unique game modes, created by the community, are available from the matchmaking hub; there are a huge amount of ways to customise the experience to your personal needs or hardware's limits (even if there's still no field-of-view slider); and this is all without mentioning that you can queue into a game with Master Chief, Kratos, and Batman in your squad, only to be eliminated by a team composed of Lara Croft, Spider-Man, a banana with legs, and John Wick. What other game can say that?
A transition as large as this isn't without its issues however, and I personally have experienced a few. Looking past the server issues that sucked the life out of Chapter 3 Season 1's launch day, I've had a few issues when trying to run Fortnite at its limits. Using DirectX 12, I've found that the game often struggles to render the game world, leaving just confusing blobs of colour on-screen, and I've even had a few crashes to boot. But I have faith in Epic that these problems will get ironed out, as they have in the past, so they're hardly alarming.
Even though I am embarrassingly bad at Fortnite, I still find this game to be infatuating and exciting. There's no title on the scene that makes me feel far older than I am in the same way that getting slammed by Fortnite's typically young audience does. And even with that in mind, I can't help but appreciate what Epic Games has created with this title, and I can't wait to see where the future takes it. The collaborations, the live events, the crossovers, the immense support - if this is what the metaverse has in store for us, count me in.