If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past few months you’ve probably heard of Fortnite: Battle Royale.
The last-man-standing online shooter (modeled after PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds) was grafted onto Fortnite in September 2017. It quickly blew up as a free-to-play game on PS4, Xbox One and PC and now it’s more popular than ever.
If you’re ready to dive into Fornite Battle Royale you might be wondering which version to get. Should you download the free player-vs-player game or pay for the full experience with player-vs-environment mode included? And, if you have the choice, should you play on PS4 Pro or Xbox One X? Here’s everything you need to know.
Battle Royale Only (Free)
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If you only care about playing Fortnite’s Battle Royale mode, you can grab that for free right now. In this mode, you drop onto an island with 99 other players to scavenge for weapons and build forts as the play area gradually shrinks. If you’re the last person (or team) standing you win. It sounds simple, but with 100 players on the map there’s a surprising amount of variety.
Before you start playing, there’s one more decision to make. Will you pay for the Battle Pass? Unlike a lot of other online games that rely on loot crates to randomly dole out special items, skins, and other cosmetics, Battle Royale uses a tiered system so you can see the items you’re working to unlock as you rank up. If you’re playing for free you’ll unlock a few things along the way, but to get the most out of the system you’ll have to pay up for a Battle Pass.
To get a Battle Pass you’ll need to use V-Bucks, Fortnite’s in-game currency. The easiest thing to do is just spend some real money on V-Bucks. For $9.99 you’ll get 1000 V-Bucks, which is just enough to grab a Battle Pass. If you want to go all out you can also pay $24.99 for 2,800 V-Bucks, which gets you a special bundle that includes the Battle Pass and also unlocks the first 25 tiers of rewards automatically.
If you don’t feel like paying for your V-Bucks you do have another option, but it’s not free either. Instead, you’ll have to pay for the full game, which includes both the Battle Royale and Save the World modes, and costs at least $40.
Once you start playing Save the World (Fortnite’s original PvE mode) you can earn 50 V-Bucks just by logging in each day, or win 600 of them for making progress in the game. For a full breakdown of Fortnite’s V-Bucks rewards, check out this dedicated website.
The Full Fortnite Experience (Paid... For Now)
If you do decide to pay up for the full game, you still have a bunch of options to choose from. Before we get into any of that, however, it’s important to note that Fortnite is still in early access.
It’s to get an official launch as a free title sometime in 2018, but we still don’t know exactly when that will happen. So if you don’t feel like waiting, you’ll have to pay up in order to play the full game, which includes the Save the World mode that lets you fend off hordes of zombies with up to three friends.
The cheapest way to get your hands on the full game right now is the $40 Standard Edition, which also comes with 7 loot crates (called Piñata Packs) and 4 in-game banner icons. For $60 you can upgrade to 33 Piñata Packs and bunch of other extras with the Deluxe Edition.
The next tier (Super Deluxe Edition) is where things get interesting. For $90 you’ll get an extra copy of the game for a friend (great if you don’t want to play alone), along with 47 Piñata Packs and a ton of extras. Finally, for $150 the Limited Edition nets you two extra copies of the game, 99 Piñata Packs, exclusive heroes to play as, and a whole lot more.
Console vs. PC (and Mac)
Fortnite is available on all major gaming platforms, including PlayStation, Xbox, PC, and even Mac. You’re still getting the same game no matter where you play it, but there are a few factors to consider.
For a lot of people, playing on a dedicated gaming PC is a no brainer. Not only do you get more control over the graphics (resolution, shadows, textures, etc), but you’ll also shoot more accurately using a mouse to aim rather than a joystick. GameSpot tested Fortnite out on a mid-range computer and got it running at around 100 to 150 FPS. It dipped slightly during intense firefights but never got anywhere near 60 FPS, which is where the most high-end gaming consoles max out.
You can also play Fortnite on a Mac, but don’t expect a great experience. Apple’s computers aren’t really meant for gaming, and multiple Mac owners have reported lagging, stuttering, and other graphical issues with the game.
Check here for a full list of system requirements to play Fortnite on PC and Mac.
PS4 Pro vs. Xbox One X
The only real difference between playing Fortnite: Battle Royale on PS4 or Xbox One is the graphics, but it’s a pretty noticeable one — particularly on the enhanced versions of each console.
The Xbox One X is capable of playing Fortnite at a full 4K resolution while running at 30 frames per second. If you amp that up to 60 FPS, the resolution will drop down to dynamic 4K. By comparison, the PS4 Pro is limited to full 1080p at 30 FPS and drops to dynamic 1080p at 60 FPS. Either way, the difference is easy to spot, and you can see it for yourself in these side-by-side screenshots from GearNuke.
Of course, this only matters if you actually have a 4K television. Otherwise, just pick the console you prefer to play on — or the one more of your friends like to use.
Fortnite for Smartphones?
Epic Games recently announced that that Battle Royale is coming to smartphones as a free app. We still don’t have a lot of details on how the game will change to fit mobile screens or exactly when it will launch, but Epic is promising that it's the same game you play on console and PC, and that it will even have cross-platform play with the PS4, Windows and Mac versions of the game.
Starting on Monday, March 12, you can sign up for an early iOS invite on the Fortnite website. Invitations should start to go out soon for iPhone owners, but if you have an Android phone you’ll have to wait a few more months.
You can start playing Fortnite: Battle Royale for free right now, and if you have the option you should play it on Xbox One X (or a good PC). For the best possible experience you’ll probably want to pay for a Battle Pass too, and the cheapest (and fastest) way to get it is shelling out $10 for some in-game currency.
If you’re interested in seeing everything that Fortnite has to offer you should also consider paying for the full game (or paying extra so a few of your best friends can pay too). But if you’re not in a rush, you might as well just wait until the entire game goes free-to-play later this year.
Credit: Epic Games