Saying “now is the perfect time to play Fortnite” is a bit misleading, since it’s almost always a great time to play it. We haven’t seen anything like it before, where new jumping-on points are introduced like clockwork through big events, shocking twists, and an onslaught of savory licensed and unlicensed content. These entry points are distinct in that they can attract both retired Fortnite veterans and newcomers alike. Ideas like “We need to team up to defeat Thanos” likely even brought back people who swore they’d never play the game again.
From gameplay to cosmetics, the complete picture of Fortnite’s battle royale experience has evolved dramatically since it launched in 2017. Seeing a game shed its skin and reinvent itself over and over again is truly a remarkable feat on Epic Games’ behalf, especially when you consider most of the changes and new content are great.
I’ve always enjoyed Fortnite and have marveled at its scope, but it wasn’t until last week that I was absolutely floored by its ambition.
The content that hooked me is based on The Mandalorian, the best show out there right now. I purchased this season’s Battle Pass with the notion that I was just getting a cool Mandalorian skin. I then saw I could unlock “The Child” as a companion if I ranked up to level 100, a feat I didn’t expect to achieve. I’ve purchased the Battle Pass a couple of times in the past, but didn’t make it much higher than level 30. I always fell off of the game before reaching many of the notable unlockables.
The Mando skin is a thing of beauty in its own right, but what it does for the game is even better. I was surprised to see obtaining the skin unlocks a sizable quest that pushes the player to complete mini-tasks to unlock Beskar visual upgrades. The first mission I completed gave me a Beskar shoulder plate, complete with the mudhorn signet. This is the first piece of Beskar we see Mando get in the show, and it’s the first in the game as well – a brilliant little touch on Epic’s part. If you complete all of the missions, which push you to play and play and play, you’ll look just like Mando does at the end of the first season, decked out in shiny silver. I can’t express just how awesome this is. Here I am competing for the victory royale, and at the same time, progressing on a quest to make my Star Wars character look cooler.
It gets better, too. As I played, I stumbled across a jungle area that the Predator calls home. By downing an NPC-controlled Predator, I earned his skin, which also creates a unique questline that is pushing me to track down various weapons and items for this merciless killer.
Yes, Epic is leaning heavily on these licenses to generate meaningful new content, but it’s blended with rewards and unlocks for the ever-expanding unlicensed Fortnite universe, which is quite awesome in its own right. I’m particularly taken with the new pancake character, who drops into battle streaming syrup and butter. I equipped that syrup and butter to The Mandalorian. How could I not?
Fortnite is currently midway through Chapter 2 – Season 5, and I know my recommendation of jumping into it now isn’t ideal. However, if you are a Star Wars fan or a Predator fan or even a Terminator fan, you should download it and check it out before their skins and content disappear in mid-March. I’m having a blast with the game, which has also become a favorite of my daughter’s. We get in a few matches each evening, and are now sitting at rank 55 on the Battle Pass. We think we’ll get The Child if we keep going at our current pace. For a Star Wars fan, that’s a hell of a reward and a great way to end a season.