Backlog Slog – Fortnite: Save the World

I debated on whether or not this should be my next Backlog Slog. I feel like everyone and their Grandma’s nextdoor neighbors cat who can’t see too good knows about Fortnite at this point. We even talked about it here a little before release.

But Battle Royale isn’t the whole game, and a little while back, I received a code for the paid ‘Save the World’ story mode of the game. I put it off for a while before finally deciding hey, you know what? Why not. I write about my backlog now and so I should stop putting off games, because if I keep putting off games, I won’t have anything to write about next week and then what will I do? Nothing. And it will be sad.

So, Fortnite: Save the World. It’s a co-op based story mode revolving around discovering the origins of the storm, with your friendly homebase robot Ray, along with a team of other just as friendly and wacky robots. Ray guides you along on missions, of which you have a small handful to choose from on the overworld map. They’re all hugely different which means there’s a lot of different styles of gameplay to be had, though a lot of them can be boiled down to the basics of ‘find the objective, build a fort around it and kill monsters until you win.’

The mission types involve a range of different objectives at least. For example, one mission might have you finding survivors strewn across the map, bringing them items, saving them from monsters or reviving them in order to bring them to your homebase. Another mission may have you working to repair a survivor shelter, which requires finding parts and then building a base to protect the shelter from waves of monsters.

Fort building in this game is a far more integral skill than in Battle Royale, and requires a sort of mastery and variation that isn’t found in the more fast-paced PvP mode. It’s also a lot more fun, with traps being able to be constructed and upgraded, more time to build forts of all shapes and sizes, and strategy between you and up to three other players to create the perfect impenetrable base that will give you the best odds of survival, or offer the best protection for your objective.

The maps themselves are also diverse and fun to explore, ranging from towns and cities through to forests and construction sites. Though at present, that’s… Pretty much it. There are desert based maps coming in the near future, and it’s also important to remember this game is still in early access. That is to say, it’s not finished. The story itself literally stops at the half way point, after traveling through two different overworld maps, at which point the player is just given repetitive missions to tide them over with something to do and a way to increase their homebase level (essentially a power level that dictates what level map you can fight on).

However, there’s also plenty of events to tide players over until the more major updates to the main game occur. Events, generally done for holidays or special occasions (such as the recent meteorite crash), follow smaller storylines with rewards of new heroes, weapons, V-bucks (the in-game currency) and various other kinds of loot. And they’re always masterfully written, absolutely hilarious and charming. A lot of it is helped by Ray once again, voiced by Ashly Burch, though everyone involved in the writing and voice acting team should be credited.

Though due to the player base being smaller than the Battle Royale mode, certain missions can occasionally be more difficult to complete, whether they’re from the main game or a special event. On top of this, until recently the playerbase was rife with scammers and generally uncooperative jerkbags, though this has been mitigated somewhat in recent times with the incorporation of a reporting function.

Though the mission progression in general is hugely chance-based given it’s difficult to complete a mission on your own and co-op is a requirement. However, when you need to play a save the survivors mission, for example, and there are three other ‘save the survivor’ missions on the map at your level, it’s luck based as to whether or not you’ll get in the same one as other people. Match making is still something that needs to be looked at. Same for balance in regards to weapons and traps, as I’ve found myself at a mid-range level not experimenting as much as I did at the beginning of the game, given that I now have a few favourites that work well, and it seems pointless to experiment with other weapons that aren’t going to be as effective.

The other issue that strikes me is that there are simply too many options that may quickly confuse and overwhelm new players. As mentioned before, you have a homebase level. This level is effected by the level of your weapons, the level of your hero and two support heroes, the level of groups of survivors put in several groups. And all of said survivors have two subsets, a personality and skillset type, that need to be matched together to get bonuses. There’s a lot going on, and I still haven’t entirely figured it out, despite being on the third out of four overworld maps, getting to a point where it’s becoming mandatory.

While there are plenty of guides around, the game itself does very little to explain various mechanics to you in depth where it should offer more tutorials, or at least some kind of in-game instruction manual on the elements available.

Still, Fortnite: Save the World has me coming back for more and while I’m not really into the Battle Royale mode, I’m having a lot of fun being creative, building stuff, shooting other stuff and generally laughing along to the goofy humor of the world. If you haven’t given it a try, I’d say it’s worth it, even at this early stage in development and despite the flaws it has.

You can get guns that shoot fireworks.

It owns.

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