Battlegrounds may have sparked the current Battle Royale trend, but these days, I’d much rather log into Fortnite. Over the last few months, developer Epic Games have crafted a game with a unique identity, if not a better one.
Here’s why I prefer to play Fortnite over Battlegrounds.
I’ve been playing Fornite for around 40 hours now, and not once have I encountered a problem. If I have a bad time, it’s never technical issues getting in the way—I’m probably just sucking. Battlegrounds, though? I swear, half the time I play something goes wrong. Constant crashes. Rubber banding. Inexplicable hiccups. I know that there’s a fantastic game hiding underneath all these issues, but why should I have to suffer through them when I have an option that works the way it’s supposed to?
The second you boot up Fortnite BR, the game greets you with a chill, bubbly track that serves as a shorthand for the type of game it wants to be. Yes, the whole 1 vs 99 thing is inherently ruthless, but within that, Fortnite still feels welcoming. There’s something about Fortnite’s cartoon aesthetic, pastel colors, and memorable character designs that makes playing feel like you’re climbing into a tree house. And unlike Battlegrounds, Fortnite knows how to bring the holiday cheer with seasonal events—if you logged in over the last few weeks, you saw the entire map decked out with lights. It’s wonderful. Battlegrounds may be the place to compete, but Fortnite gives me a place I actually want to live in. It’s pleasant here, when you’re not fearing for your life.
Battlegrounds has more mechanical complexity than Fortnite, but Fortnite’s additions are inherently more fun. Even when used strategically, crafting is silly in the best way. Getting shot at? Time to put down a wall in a panic. Well, now there’s a makeshift house keeping me safe from an unknown danger. What should I do? How long can I survive here before they tear my walls down?
The community loves to play around with the crafting feature, too. One of my favorite things is watching people build elaborate sky towers, especially if it’s in defiance of whatever is going on around them.
Did I mention that you can craft yourself a bush disguise? I love moments when you spend ages hiding in a bush, only to realize the bush next to you has been an enemy player this entire time. Or times when you’re getting chased down, you turn a corner, and transform into a bush to confuse your assailant—where did you go?? Then, of course, you shotgun them in the face.
In Fortnite, you can dab. There’s a grenade that makes your enemies dance. You can run around as a gingerbread man or a knight. Meanwhile, in PUBG you can...vault now? While wearing realistic clothes? Yeah, I’ll take the game where you can ride around on a flying pumpkin, thanks.
Since Fortnite is already a largely functioning game, Epic Games is free to add better systems on top of the main experience. There are daily quests in Fortnite. There’s a Battle Pass that you can level up by playing the game, and it allows you to unlock over 65 rewards during the season. Fortnite gives you a better sense of progression than Battlegrounds. Lately, Fortnite has also been updating with more content on a nearly weekly basis. Whether it’s a another mode or a special item, it always feels like there’s a new thing to enjoy when you dive in.
I’m impressed by how Epic Games handles in-game issues. If there’s a bug, chances are very good that they’ve already hopped into the BR Reddit to explain what’s going on and when you can expect a fix. Usually, Epic addresses big issues very promptly, too, and I’ve never seen any bugs last more than a week or so. Apparently, this aspect of Fortnite is about to get even better: late last month, Epic Games said it is working on its hotfix system which will allow it to “tweak more than just balance numbers without requiring a full client patch.” I’m stoked.
Bonus reason: You can enjoy all of what I just mentioned....for free. Battlegrounds, meanwhile, costs $29.99.
Last year, Bluehole expressed concern over how similar Fortnite felt to Battlegrounds. At the time, the worry felt overly cautious: Battle Royale is the hot new thing, and lots of developers are going to take inspiration from it. While I still think Fortnite is enough of its own thing, I’m starting to understand why Bluehole was sweating in the first place.