Paying for a game that is going to be free later?

Fortnite, from Epic Games, has been in Early Access for three weeks. Haven’t pulled the trigger on it? Want to know if it’s worth buying a game that will be free sometime next year? Allow me to drop some knowledge on your face.

Fortnite is a base-building/survival shooter with an added and necessary co-op element. You begin the game as a “Commander,” thrown into the fictitious town of Stonewood. As Commander, you choose your hero type from four different classes: Ninja, Outlander, Soldier, and Constructor, and as you’d expect, each class possess unique abilities. For example, a constructor class hero is oriented more towards building, as opposed to the ninja. The variations are simple and allow for a wide variety of play styles.

In Fortnite‘s post-apocalyptic world, an unknown plague has taken over, brought upon by several “storms.” These storms bring zombie-like enemies into the world known as husks, and also vary in strength and abilities. You’re tasked with exploring, looting, and building bases/forts to aid your defence against the dead. Everything on the procedurally generated map is destructible and provides various crafting resources. For example, upon destroying a stone, you gain that specific element, along with other goodies. These can be used to build walls, traps, and weapons.

It’s easy to get lost in the grind of these repetitive tasks. Destroying rocks, looting resources, and building your base will take time. However, this repetition doesn’t necessarily grow old. It’s merely the core gameplay loop in Fortnite; depending on your tastes, this could be a positive or a negative.

Alongside Fortnite‘s crafting and survival elements, you have a large skill tree and a few other layers of the game at your disposal. There is a storyline that drives the game, but the primary motivation comes from traversing the skill tree. Gaining the ability to construct better walls, weapons and traps are infinitely more interesting than the narrative. It’s all too common to skip the narration, look at what quests you have to complete, and prioritize your item levelling.

To be honest, there’s a lot to manage. Some players put the game down after a few hours simply because of the excessive micro-management. However, others may thoroughly enjoy the deep, tedious gameplay. It may be best to ask around in your friend group, to see if any others would like Fortnite‘s style.

That’s because Fortnite‘s 4-player co-op is at its best when played with friends. However, even when playing with strangers, it’s rare to have a party with a toxic attitude. Everyone is out to advance their skills and complete their quests.

Should you buy Fortnite now? I would suggest a lot of research and video-viewing. The developers at Epic are promising that Early Access adopters will receive some good perks. The current game justifies its current $40 price tag, but only if you’re dying to play it now. Otherwise, it may be best to wait for the free-to-play release. If you do play early, there are plenty of patches and new game modes on the way. By the time Fortnite fully launches in 2018, it should be a tremendous success.

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