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Fortnite's Best Season Ever Is Here, And It's Thanks To One Key Thing

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There's plenty of time for the season to change shape, but out of the gate, Fortnite Chapter 5 Season 3 feels like an all-timer.

Last week, Fortnite kicked off its 30th season in the game's unique history. It became a pop-culture titan almost immediately after it debuted in 2017 and has not only enjoyed a level of sustained success that few other games have ever achieved, it's also turned many other live-service games into followers that must react to the waves Epic's game creates. Fortnite has blazed trails and reinvented itself more times than I can easily recall, and yet it's the latest season, Chapter 5 Season 3, that might be the game's best effort yet.

Subtitled Wrecked, this season of Fortnite reinvents the game to an extent Epic has arguably never gone before. Despite seasons debuting roughly four times a year and the introduction of new islands now being an annual event, Wrecked feels like the biggest and boldest change in how the game plays since Chapter 2 Season 3, which saw the entire island be submerged under flood waters that took weeks to recede. Once they did, cars were newly introduced, too, which further altered the future of Fortnite in major ways. Funnily enough, it's this season's focus on vehicles that's resulted in such an immediately exciting and fresh experience.

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Now Playing: Fortnite Battle Royale Chapter 5 Season 3 Wrecked Launch Trailer

This season is, to put it bluntly, Twisted Metal. With its punk rock- and dieselpunk-inspired setting befitting of Mad Max, the huge sand dunes and high-velocity stunt ramps make each round the most chaotic experience I've seen in my thousands of hours playing Fortnite. Early portions of a round tend to involve players not just loading up on guns and healing items. Now, they also quickly seek out a ride before attaching various mods onto their weapons of gassed destruction.

Players can attach things like machine guns, grenade launchers, spiked bumpers, and more onto any car in the game, and they can easily swap one mod for another that occupies the same slot by simply driving over the mod crates like a classic arcade car combat game. It feels old-school cool but with all the high-end visual flare and tight PvP mechanics Epic's mesmerizing Unreal Engine 5 allows. According to credible leaks, future updates will bring even more car mods, such as spiked tire rims and bulletproof windows.

There are even boss vehicles on the map right now that, if claimed from the baddies, put their drivers and their teams in the figurative pole position to make it to the final few contenders. With gas reserves now much easier to manage, players aren't just making sweet post-apocalyptic rides; they're staying in them for much or even most of a round, with final storm circles now unfolding like destruction derbies. Every season has an item or two that the community leans into and really loves, but never have I seen the composition of rounds and final circles change so drastically--and for the better. Players are suddenly treating their customized cars like a companion horse in an open-world RPG--tending to their well-being and constantly being aware of their whereabouts.

In one awesome moment this past weekend, while I battled it out in duos mode, I jumped into the passenger seat of my enemies' ride, and then used their machine gun to take down the driver's ally. I've had other rounds where I've had to dodge cars like a bullfighter, carefully dotting them with the new explosive crossbow bolts between evasive maneuvers. And the game's Hulk Hands-like Nitro Fists allow players on foot to pack a punch that can adequately counter a charging supercar like a scene out of a Marvel movie. Each round even opens with many players descending into the Nitro Dome for a literal destruction derby that might feature a tenth or more of the entire lobby's competitors boosting off ramps and smashing each other into giant pits of metal grinders.

This season has players considering their car builds as much as their own inventory.
This season has players considering their car builds as much as their own inventory.

I find this latest makeover especially commendable considering just how many times Fortnite has reinvented itself already; this season takes Epic's edict of constantly reinventing the game to a new level. This feels bigger than the debut of Spider-Man Web Shooters, bigger than when Mythic weapons were introduced, and even bigger than the flood. It's such a drastic change that it's simply fascinating to watch this experiment unfold in the games industry. It tells me that Fortnite can be whatever Epic wants it to be, provided the mechanics are there to support it. But more than a live-service experiment, it's also just extremely fun to play. Cars have long been a joy in Fortnite, and this season emphasizes them like no other by basically giving everyone their very own Batmobile. Ultimately, it's this change, which almost seems simple after years of cars in Fortnite, that has transformed the game like never before in its 30th season.

A Fortnite season is ultimately judged not just for its launch suite of new toys, but also for its many smaller changes over the course of a few months. New weapons, abilities, and other unpredictable debuts will spill out between now and August, so I suppose this season could level-out and be remembered as merely another fun one. But given just how different, chaotic, and enjoyable it's already been in its first few days, Chapter 5 Season 3 already feels like the best season of Fortnite to date.

Mark Delaney on Google+


Mark Delaney

Mark is an editor at GameSpot. He writes reviews, guides, and other articles, and focuses largely on the horror and sports genres in video games, TV, and movies.



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