Fortnite went dark for a couple of days this week. The whole world knows it. The "live event" which literally became a black hole on television screens became a media frenzy and spawned multiple worldwide Twitter trends as kids around the world had no idea what to do with themselves without the popular free-to-play game functioning. Should they switch back to Minecraft? Should they go outside? Should they just stare into the black hole? To be fair, I stared at that black hole longer than I'm ready to admit. However, once the wait was over, those who survived Fortnite's downtime were treated to something very fresh -- and possibly better than anything Fortnite has rolled out in the past.
Season 11 launched on Tuesday morning, but it is not being called Season 11. Instead, this new edition of Fortnite is being dubbed Fortnite Chapter 2 - Season 1. It is very much a new game in the vein of Call of Duty or Madden dropping another title each year that features the same mechanics but given the unfathomable number of downloads Fortnite has piled up over the years, it was smart to keep the game as is and roll this out as an update. Now, anybody who put the sticks down for a while can easily jump back onto the Battle Bus and experience a 100-person Battle Royale without having to go into their console's app store. They just update the game and play it again -- and they should.
The latest update on Fortnite is outright great.
The game got clogged up with too many features throughout its later seasons. Mechs plagued the island, planes came and went over the winter seasons, and tubes around the map were offering fast travel which seemed to defeat the purpose of keeping the shrinking storm circle in mind. Vehicles were running rampant and people were starting to tune out of the game (though there were also millions that weren't).
Now, Fortnite seems to have identified what its gameplay and features were when it hit its peak and reverted to those being at the forefront on a whole new map which offers the same exploratory feeling the bandwagon bunch had in 2017.
That revert to simpler times does not come without some fun advancements, as well. For example, players can now upgrade their weapons at various locations around the island for a resource cost. Swimming is a thing now, rather than being bogged down by trying to scurry across Loot Lake and jumping as a means to try to speed up an escape. The only vehicles are boats which are limited to the four rivers that all lead to a center point on the map. Plus, there are enough new weapons combined with old ones to allow a fresh experience without losing the ethos of what Fortnite built for the hardcore fan that never left it behind.
Those gamers who did leave will inevitably be welcomed back by an onslaught of kids much younger than them who can build wildly and send them packing with ease, which might discourage some gamers at first. However, the Chapter 2 also comes with a matchmaking system which will cater to various skill levels, helping the less advanced Fortnite player get into a game where they can actually compete.
Hopefully, the all-too-big Medals and XP Advancement announcements which splash across the screen will become a thing of the past as they're tremendously distracting and inconvenient during crucial moments. Those are really the only thing to complain about with this new update, though. The marking system, the ability to Ready Up immediately after a game without going back to the lobby, and even hiding in dumpsters or haystacks are all things Fortnite has finally mastered.
Fortnite is back, and it might be better than ever.