Even if you’re not a Marvel fan (I’m not), Fortnite’s Avengers tie-in, Fortnite Endgame, is a lot of fun. It continues the game’s recent trend of unique limited-time modes that barely feel like Fortnite but still fit right into its world.
As my colleague Mike Fahey detailed this morning, Fortnite Endgame pits two sides against each other. One side is the Chitauri, which this Marvel Cinematic Universe wiki tells me are “cybernetically enhanced beings operating under a hive mind intelligence.” In Fortnite, they’re just gnarly purplish characters armed with some powerful guns and the ability to hover. The Chitauri have to collect Infinity Stones that drop around the map. The first Chitauri to collect a Infinity Stone becomes Thanos, who has a larger health pool, a super-powerful punch attack, and a laser beam. If Thanos dies, the last player to grab a stone respawns as him.
During my very first Endgame match, I got the first stone and turned into Thanos. I was a bit thrown at first, especially since Thanos moves so slowly and can’t build. Luckily, my teammates rushed to defend me, and I soon had fun stomping around the map and towering over my minions. Once I got the hang of playing Thanos, I was ground-pounding and laser-beaming enemies to death in droves.
The other team is made up of heroes who start with a treasure map that leads them to an Avengers-themed weapon. Other Avengers’ weapons can be found in chests, each of them doing what you’d expect. Thor’s hammer can be thrown a great distance to destroy structures, Iron Man’s gauntlets let you hover and shoot projectiles, and Captain America’s shield can be thrown like a discus and, as it bounces around, it’ll do immense damage on anything it strikes before eventually returning to its owner. In the midst of one fight, I found the perfect moment to hurl the shield at an approaching enemy, and it swung back around and eliminated them in one hit. I never felt like a superhero, more like one of Fortnite’s flimsy characters who’d found some sweet loot. Still, it was fun as hell to be a regular character who had somehow stumbled upon a power way beyond them.
The two teams have competing goals. The Chitauri need to collect all the Infinity Stones and then eliminate the heroes. The heroes need to deplete the Chitauri of their pool of respawns and then kill them before they can collect all the stones. This means that as the Chitauri, you have to be a bit strategic and not just rush into battle because you can respawn.
Heroes have unlimited respawns until all the stones have been collected, but you have to juggle finding the Avengers weapons around the map with contributing damage and protecting the stones. There’s a lot to keep track of for both parties, and all of the wild weapons and characters taking to the air makes matches get chaotic fast. I tossed all my Fortnite strategy out the window and just dove into the fray, enjoying the laser beams, hover sound effects, and colorful explosions as teams scrabbled for dominance.
I don’t care much about the Avengers or superhero franchises in general, so I was worried the event wouldn’t do much for me. The Avengers narrative elements in the mode sometimes felt intrusive, like when text would pop onto the screen, but the hero weapons were so fun and so unlike other Fortnite weapons, and the Chitauri responsibilities so frantic, that I had a great time despite being probably the only person on the planet with no plans to see Avengers Endgame.
Fortnite Endgame comes with Fortnite’s 8.50 patch. The patch brings some bug fixes, including placing an invulnerability effect on players respawning in a Reboot Van. There’s also this tidbit: “If a player is eliminated by fall damage while inside a vehicle, the player that last damaged that vehicle will receive the credit for that elimination.” I could see myself picking up a few eliminations that way, as well as giving some to enemies due to my tendency to careen around in the game’s vehicles and kill myself. Epic also fixed an issue with players not receiving XP for survival challenges. I booted up the game this morning to a chunk of XP progress, which was nice. You can check out all the patch notes here.
Between Fortnite Endgame and Air Royale, Fortnite has had some great limited-time modes lately. By featuring vastly different mechanics than the base game, the game’s development team creates modes that barely play like Fortnite while still fitting into its vibe. While playing Endgame, I told myself I’d just play enough matches to complete the currently available challenges, but even with those completed and two days to wait for more, I’m excited to jump back in.