Is Fortnite: Battle Royale on Xbox Series X any good?
More than three years after its initial release, Fortnite: Battle Royale officially became a two-generation console title with its recent release on Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Xbox Series X and Sony’s PlayStation 5. Epic Games’ iconic entry into the Battle Royale genre has generated billions for the North Carolina-based video game developer. It remains relevant today on a multitude of platforms, including Nintendo Switch, PC and Mobile. Considering Fortnite’s following, it did not come as a surprise to see Microsoft and Sony commit to working with Epic Games to grant launch day status and optimize the game significantly. I secured a pre-order for Xbox Series X months ago, and Fortnite was the first game on my radar.
Dynamic Visuals, Physics and 1080P Resolution
Although I must admit that I don’t have a 4K monitor, Fortnite plays smoother than ever on the Xbox Series X. It is astounding how much better the game appears visually on Microsoft’s newest system compared to the Xbox One. The mist at Misty Meadows is clearly visible, the storm is much easier to track and navigate and explosions, grass and trees look better than ever on console. Graphics and visuals were two of the only aspects that Epic Games swore to improve as Fortnite moved into the next generation. I can confidently say that Fortnite has never looked better on a console.
From an FPS standpoint, Fortnite on the Xbox Series X delivers on all of its promises. I played upward of 20 matches, and the FPS stayed at 60, regardless of what was happening on-screen. For the price of nothing, except for the $500 USD console, Fortnite fans would be wise to experience these enhanced graphics on the Series X. They would not stand a chance against NVIDIA’s latest graphics card line, but the Xbox Series X offers a cheaper alternative without having to build a PC.
Split Screen Enhancements
Epic Games added a split-screen feature to Fortnite on consoles in December of 2019. It’s far from perfect in a general sense, because of the limited view and capabilities. The developers promised an improved experience overall with Fortnite’s debut on the Xbox Series X, Series S and PlayStation 5. Mechanically, nothing changed from the last generation to this generation with the split-screen feature. However, everything I said before in terms of visuals holds true even while playing split-screen.
My duo partner and I were able to experience high definition and 60 FPS. My computer’s graphics card could not hold a candle to the Xbox Series X in that regard. I certainly won’t use split-screen often, but it’s a nice feature for others, particularly those with massive monitors and multiple people to play alongside.
Faster Loading Times
Let’s check the third of three boxes with Fortnite’s expedition into the next generation. Epic promised faster loading times before Microsoft and Sony released their newest systems, and they delivered. I have never seen games load faster than when I am playing on the Xbox Series X. It’s not revolutionary by any means, but loading into games quicker makes playing Fortnite more tolerable. Dying off spawn, while still annoying, is much less annoying when I can load into a new game without much of a delay at all.
Console Fortnite is Still Inferior
Other issues still exist, which are difficult to look past at times. Input lag/delay is a massive deterrent for Fortnite on console and has been since the beginning of time. Regardless of my controller sensitivity, my button commands feel slow and clunky, particularly with the joystick movement. I’ve played around with my sensitivity and even mirrored the same settings on my PC to no avail. This issue is not specific to Xbox, but console in general.
Another noteworthy downside is that Fortnite can only run at 60 FPS on 1080P despite these beefed-up powerhouse machines. Microsoft announced the Series X’s specs quite some time ago. We know that it is capable of running at 120 FPS. Why is Fortnite capped at 60? It feels like something is missing here. Adding an option for 120 FPS would level the playing field even more between PC and consoles. Hopefully, Epic can make that happen soon.
Is it Worth Buying a New Xbox for Fortnite?
The ultimate question to ask is whether Fortnite alone is worth buying a brand new Xbox. While the game itself is free, the Xbox will run you $500 USD. These graphical enhancements in Fortnite are exclusive to next-generation consoles. If you don’t have a decent monitor, it won’t make much difference whether you buy an Xbox Series X or pass on it. The improvements to Fortnite from Xbox One to Series X are relatively small.
Better graphics, split-screen and loading times are not enough to warrant the price tag, in my opinion. I would not go out and buy a brand new console just for Fortnite, but that’s just me. I typically play other games and plan to do so down the line when more titles release. However, I will say that Fortnite’s price of nothing got me to use my new Xbox Series X much more frequently than I expected. The visuals are stunning, and I wouldn’t mind shelling out a couple of hundred dollars for a 4K monitor to get the full experience.
If you’re buying a next-generation console anyway, go ahead and give Fortnite a try. You might want to play more after experiencing what the game looks like at its graphical peak on the Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5. If you don’t plan on buying a next-generation system, Fortnite alone should not be your deciding factor. It all depends on what you value as a gamer.
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