Having clocked right around 300 hours game time in PUBG one might say that I do genuinely enjoy the game, but over the last couple of months it really feels like it’s just gone to shit. Every update seems to break more stuff, they seem incapable of getting on top of the whole anti-cheat situation, and almost a year after first release they still struggle with things like optimising the game to run better and BEING ABLE TO CONNECT TO THE LOBBY.
With all of these factors tearing away at my gaming-soul I decided to download and install Fortnite, the free-to-play “PUBG clone”. It might be worth mentioning that I have downloaded and played it before (once), but found it so shit that I instantly uninstalled it in what was probably the harshest reaction to a video game I’ve ever truly had. However considering the staggering patronage Fortnite continues to amass day by day I thought it might be time I give it a second chance.
What I’ve come to find is an appreciation of both games that see’s me splitting gaming time between the two and enjoying both for what they are. As such I thought I’d throw together a little something that outlines a few big glaring differences between the games that might fill in some blanks for anyone that only plays one of them but is curious about the other.
One of the base mechanics of PUBG is the backpack, where you find level 1,2, or 3 backpacks on the ground like any other loot and the bigger pack you’ve got the more supplies you can hold. This becomes increasingly important as you find more loot so that you can hold a good amount of ammo, grenades, and heath supplies; but in Fortnite this mechanic is entirely absent. In Fortnite you get 5 slots to hold things and that’s that, once you’re full if you want to pick up another gun or shield potion you’ll just have to drop something – them’s the breaks.
While PUBG matches tend to be half looting, and half hiding / shooting, the restricted nature of the Fortnite inventory takes that option away which forces the gameplay into more gun fights and action. In my opinion this speeds up the game dramatically as the time spent looting (or gather resources, which is another big difference in the games) is kept to a minimum. As a side note you also can’t go prone in Fortnite and there’s no high detail grass all over the place, so hiding is also not really a thing.. It’s more like a tactical avoidance.
6Sky Diving Vs Hang Gliding
They’re entirely different things ok? There’s no content rip-offs here, just like a flying bus is completely different from a military plane. No really, the actual game mechanic between the ‘entry method’ in both games looks, feels, and performs quite differently. This is also related to the land mass of the maps, where PUBG has a smaller “possible fall diameter” (for lack of any type of eloquent wording) Fortnite you can almost glide to anywhere on the map from anywhere on the flight path.
Unless it’s something I haven’t grasped yet (which is very possible), Fortnight also forces you to fall much slower once the glider is out (and like PUBG it auto-deploys when you hit a certain altitude). As a PUBG ‘veteran’ I’m struggling to get the hang of this and often find myself jumping far away just to keep moving when the glider deploys, because hovering straight down fills me with dread that someone else already hit the ground and is going to skeet me out of the sky any second.
5Fortnite Is Stable
One of the harshest things about PUBG is its stark lack of optimisation, and its horrifically sketchy stability. A year after initial release and the game still struggles to load into lobby without ‘servers are too busy’ errors. There’s also a (dirty) laundry list of crashes, rubber banding, texture and door glitches, interface lag, that make the game (for as wildly popular as it is because of it’s gameplay) an absolute abortion of coding.
Fortnite has none of that, at least none that I have seen. It doesn’t crash, it doesn’t randomly explode vehicles killing players, it doesn’t have shelves that allow you to see through rooftops, and it doesn’t fail to connect you to lobby. On the stability front there is a blaringly obvious chasm between the modding background of the PUBG team and the published games background of the Epic Games team, and its displayed in stark contrast when you look at their products side-by-side. I will say however that I think the Epic Launcher is a pile of junk, and they should have released it on Steam, for what my opinion is(n’t) worth.
4Lack of vehicles
Speaking of random exploding and acrobatic vehicles (which are much more physics issues than vehicle issues)… one very obvious reason that issue does not exist in Fortnite is because there are no vehicles. In a cartoon world of flying buses and insta-carpentary Epic found no call to include any sort of transport other than your own two feet (oh.. and a jump pad or rockets…). Honestly, the game doesn’t seem to need them either due to the fact that you can pretty much run the whole map if you’re unlucky enough to need to.
PUBG in comparison requires vehicles in order to get from one side of the map to the other inside the regular game time (to avoid the circle / blue zone). There is just way too much land mass Vs. speed of running that if you’re unlucky enough to drop on the opposite side of the map to the starting circle, you’re going to need to find transport or perish while playing running simulator.
Back onto the looting system, let’s talk about Fortnite’s treasure chests for a moment. I personally love the treasure chest idea and their frequency. For anyone that isn’t familiar, when you’re looting around a town in Fortnite many houses have treasure chests either sitting around or hidden behind a wall for you to knock down and grab. These chests take about 1 second to open and spew out a mixture of weapons, ammo, heals, and building materials for you to sift through.
This makes looting much less of a chore (as does automatically collecting non-inventory items by running over them (ammo and building materials), turning the management of ones affects into a comparison with a view to upgrade, rather than scrounging around trying to find something worth shooting before you get the old Django Unchained treatment.
2Upgrading Your Arsenal
Both of these games have weapon upgrades available through their respective loot mechanics, and both approach it in a different way (again highlighting the fact that even though they are modelled off the battle royale archetype, they are by no means duplicates of each other). In PUBG your weapon upgrades come in the form of attachments found on the ground in houses such as grips, optics (scopes), and magazine upgrades to mention a few. These upgrade things like gun recoil (less of) and ammunition per clip (more of) and how far away you can see enemies.
In Fortnite there are no attachments for guns, but rather just ‘upgraded’ guns. All weaponry has a level (common, uncommon, rare, epic, legendary, and mythic) with a corresponding colour (their glow on the ground or background colour in the inventory). So rather than trying to find attachments for your existing gun(s), your actually hunting more guns and quickly evaluating if you need/want it and if it’s any better than your existing. An interesting twist on what I had personally gotten very used to being normal (the PUBG way), and one I enjoy more and more.
1Fort Building Is Really A Thing!
Watching Fortnite on Twitch and YouTube, I was a bit dubious about the whole fort building mechanic, largely due to the fact that I’m a run and gun sort of player and it didn’t connect with me how a battle royale shooter could accommodate building things. Surely you would just annihilate the builder while their attention was on building… right? Well apparently not as I’m learning more and more. The building (which takes a bit of practice and key binding to get right) is pretty much instant which provides instant cover.. Vital in a battle royale showdown.
In huge ‘contrast’ (or so I thought) to PUBG, watching the final few players fight it out in Fortnite is more often than not a frantic build of gigantic forts in order to gain the high ground and somewhere to hide out of view while you work out how to attack your opponent. It’s a real thing and that’s how the matches end! What was revolutionary to me then is now a “ooooooohhhh, of course!” Moment, because in PUBG if you can hold a house to end a match, you do it! The last (and most often, always) thing you want is to have a final circle in the middle of an open field with every man and their Kar98k trying to blow holes through you. With that in mind it makes perfect sense why Fortnites major game mechanic works so well, and differentiates it from PUBG in a very real and meaningful way.