I finally played the new Fortnite update, and my God, it has really changed the game. Fornite Chapter 2 is more than just a regular update, and it almost feels like a sequel. In fact, Fornite Chapter 2 feels more like a sequel than some actual sequels. Now, I played Chapter 2 on the Nintendo Switch, so I didn’t get to see everything in high detail, 60 FPS, and in 4K, but what I did see surprised the hell out of me.
When I first loaded up the game, I was greeted with a cutscene. I found this odd. Fortnite doesn’t exactly have many cutscenes, let alone one that was just the public trailer. I had already seen the trailer, and I couldn’t skip it, so I put the controller down and started scrolling on my phone. This was a mistake, because it wasn’t the entire reveal trailer, as it ends as a character jumps out of the battle bus. It then shifts to gameplay where you are said character, and you’re gliding into an already filled map of players. This took me completely by surprise, and delighted me all at the same time.
This immediate jump to gameplay wasn’t the only surprise I would find. First I got two kills right off the bat, and it felt good. Really good, and that’s because the controls feel different. Everything feels tighter and smoother. It’s completely different than how it felt in the past, even on the Xbox One X. The building feels better, too. Everything has been fine tuned, which is saying something, considering Fortnite was already a fine tuned and beautifully polished battle royale experience.
Another surprise was the amazing detail and lighting. This game has changed. Even though my draw distance sucks on Switch, all of the detail is still there. The trees move and rustle in the wind, as does the grass. Everything is still cartoony, but the art style has been updated. Everything has so much more detail, now. There are wrinkles, creases, etc. on your clothes. Your character moves more fluidly and naturally, and the lighting is now dynamic. Light and shadows bounce and move realistically based on where you are in the world. This is completely different from the original game, as it just used what seemed like baked in lighting. Nice lighting wasn’t exactly important in a game where the goal is to be the last one standing, but now that it’s here, I honestly don’t know how we lived without it.
Guns have also been removed, as well as a lot of items. In my short time playing, I noticed that shields were very hard to come by, but decent loot was easy to find. There are no mechs, planes, swords, or any other of the crazy stuff that we were all used to. There is a boat now, and I got to use it once. It works. That’s about all I can say.
I found that decent loot was a lot easier to come by in Chapter 2. I never managed to win it all, but I never felt overwhelmed or out gunned. I was just unlucky. The people who killed me had similar weapons to what I had. No magical weapons or upgrades. Just standard stuff.
The map is also brand new. So new, that nothing is mapped out. You are encouraged to explore and fill out the map. Every time you find a new location, you are rewarded with XP, and it being revealed on the map. Unknown locations are covered in question marks and a blue “fog of war”. This makes everything feel “new” and exciting.
The new leveling up system also helps with the excitement. Battle Royale games can be pretty disheartening, especially when you just can’t win. Winning being rare is part of the appeal, but dying to starts to become annoying after awhile. The new leveling system seems to fix this. You are rewarded for building, killing, scavenging, fishing, and exploring. It makes you feel good, and like you accomplished something in every match, even if you don’t make it very far. This is probably the smartest thing that Epic has implemented in Fortnite so far. All of the “sameyness” has disappeared, now that there is more to do than just kill or die.
I’m really excited for the future of Fortnite, and for whatever else Epic has in store for us in the future. It seems they really know what they’re doing. Every time we think Fortnite is getting old or on the decline, Epic finds a way to bring it back, and reinvent everything we thought we knew. If they keep this up, Fortnite is going to be around for a long, long time, and I think I’m okay with that.