*Games that receive this ⭐ star have a score of 95% or above. This is purely from a game design perspective and is not in any way related to our morality evaluation.
**Note: Fortnite, as many other games these days, is continually updated with new content, often on a daily-weekly basis. Because of this, Catholic Game Reviews tries to release a new review every in-game season. Each review will be based on the start of each season, but since new content is added throughout you may encounter things not mentioned in this review. I only cover the much more popular Battle Royale game mode, but I have played a lot of the Save The World mode and can say most morality notices are pretty similar across the two. I do not cover Fortnite creative mode.
Have you ever seen the movie Home Alone?
You know the part where the Mom realizes they are missing one of their kids and screams “KEVIN!!”? That’s pretty much Season 8 in a nutshell.
For those of you who don’t get what I’m talking about, about 3 years ago (that long already?!) we were in Season 6 of Fortnite Chapter 1. During that season a large cube that was dubbed “Kevin” by the Fortnite community rolled it’s way down the map, leaving many mysterious symbols and shadow cubes in its trail. It all ended in an epic event where he (Kevin) exploded and changed the map as we knew it.
So, as you might have guessed, our friend Kevin the cube is back — except there’s not just one. You see, Chapter 2: Season 7 ended in an awesome event which led to the destruction of the Mothership that had been hovering above the island, and it left quite a lot of mysterious cube-shaped debris in its waste. There’s been a kevolution as I call it, and now our best 3-dimensional friend comes in several different colors and has spread all over the map. There is a blue Kevin (Blevin) that heals you, and a mysterious gold one that has been on the move. Kevin-related zombies spawn in sideways dimensions, and although they do try to kill you they drop new weapons and useful items when defeated. Thanks guys!
It’s like the entire map is filled to the brim with new friends, really.
Also with a new Season brings the usual new Battle Pass. It’s… a bit better than last Season, I would say. Always a great deal if you are playing Fortnite pretty actively and is the only in-game purchase I can say I recommend in general. The format is similar to last Season, where you have more control over which rewards you can claim, and it’s less restrictive than last time, which was my biggest complaint with the system. The customizable skin is an upgrade over the previous one as well, at least in my opinion. You are “painting” a cartoon version of the popular Fishstick skin, and each color you get allows you to unlock a completely new style based on other skins in the game. None of this is to mention you also get a glider, back bling AND pickaxe that are changed with these styles as well.
The tier 100 skin this time around is Carnage (to coincide with the movie) and it’s neat if you don’t already have the Venom skin. It’s pretty similar to that, including how gross and scary it is, so be warned that children (or even those sensitive to gore in general) might not take it well. But to those who aren’t as sensitive, it’s quite a cool skin and his “symbiote” is even one of the mythic weapons this Season. I’ve been able to play (and win) a few matches with it and it’s great. Some of the other highlights for me are J.B. Chimpanski (a planet-of-the-apes esk skin) and Fabio Sparklemane (a buff unicorn who is a parody of sugary kid’s cereals). Now, while there’s nothing this season that is going to affect the overall parental/moral warnings I may as well note that the lyrics in Fabio Sparklemane’s emote tells a quite dark yet hilarious story and the tier 1 skin appears to be a teenage girl possessed by a demon. Not that unusual for the modern day hardcore gamer’s tastes.
Let’s not end this review with a downer though. You bet I will take every chance I get to make playing Fortnite count as teaching the faith. There is a topic I think we can reflect on as we play this Season: That evil is often hidden in or disguised as things we think to be only good. How does this relate to the new Fortnite Season, you may ask? Well, the event that ended the last one was a surprise to the players. We thought we were going on a mission to save the island when in reality we were being tricked and helped bring about our own demise. I have recently experienced something like this myself in the past few days, actually.
Earlier this week I finally decided to quit one of the games I had been playing daily for almost 3 years. This game was Supercell’s Brawl Stars, which I reviewed earlier this year. I love a lot of things about it and figured it was helping me find fun daily. But this perception was changed when I watched the video “Let’s go whaling: Tricks for monetising mobile game players with free-to-play”. This is 20 awful minutes of a “freemium” mobile game developer giving a lecture on strategies he uses (and for the audience to use as well) to trick (he calls them that) and psychologically manipulate players into spending as much money as possible. It is not short of stomach-churning and he does little to hide the fact that it is not respectable, may I even say despicable. In fact, he almost seems to be embracing it, even mentioning at the start that he would not be discussing the morality of the practices in his presentation and straight up uses a picture of a demon or the devil greedily reaching for money on his slide that talks about how it should be possible for people to spend at least $1,000 on your game.
Whether Supercell or the Brawl Stars developers really have such malicious intentions with their games, I can’t say. But what I do know for sure is that their games incorporate a lot of the tactics this man talks about in his presentation, and after some personal reflection it appeared that it was having quite a negative impact on me. I have since announced to my wonderful Christian friends who also play the game that I would, for the present time at least, be taking a break from Brawl Stars. They understood and already after just a few days of not allowing myself to play any freemium mobile games I am so much happier. I wasn’t aware that when I was booting up the game and playing up to 30-60 minutes every day I wasn’t really… enjoying that time. I had convinced myself that it was good for me and a great way to interact with friends but was subsequently confused when I would end a session and not feel that great. I would always think it was because I had been stressing too much or too concerned with the work I had to do later, when in reality… it was because I hadn’t enjoyed the time I spent playing. It had rather enslaved me, and I was always concerned about missing my daily rewards, or getting that new brawler who was a really rare pull out of the loot boxes!
Now, I’m not saying that you need to quit playing any similar game (heck, Fortnite ain’t devoid of some of these tactics too) but I encourage you to reflect on things you do that don’t appear to yield benefits. Make sure you are actually enjoying that time watching those couple episodes of that show and not just trying to get through it because you feel like you have to, because you’ve “just gotta know what’s happening next!!”. It’s not good for your health and obviously not something God wants you to be wasting your precious time doing. Be productive at working and resting.
Phew, that was a long bit. Back to the review, though. Overall, I think I like this season better than last. I also can’t help but notice that we are getting extremely close to Season 10 and therefore the next Chapter in the Fortnite book. While I (well, most people actually) can’t say they love all of Epic Games’ moves they have definitely created quite a special game here that continues to be fun with friends to this day. I know Fortnite gets a bad rap like many other games that have grown to be so large, but I must say, if you are of the older kind and enjoy playing shooters with friends – you can’t go wrong here.
Also, did I mention there’s a Rasputin emote now?!
Ra ra Rasputin, lover of the Russian Queen…
Scoring – 96% ⭐(EXCELLENT SHOOTER/BATTLE ROYALE GAME)
Language: Completely clean aside from select concerts/events, although there is optional music when riding in vehicles that may contain bad messages and swearing, which unfortunately is more than I can realistically monitor. There is voice/text chat in some places. All of this can usually be either turned off or avoided, however.
Sex/Nudity: Many of the female skins have revealing clothing, and select male skins don’t have a shirt. A few emotes have somewhat sexual themes through dancing and/or lyrics. There are also a few “pride” cosmetic items in-game along with a flag in creative mode.
Occult: Some skins themed after demons/the devil, with some pentagram-like symbols. There are also wizards & witches, and few skins/cosmetics are referred to as gods or parodies of false religion.
Violence: Guns are realistic, but no blood. Animals drop meat, but it’s very cartoony.
Consumerism: Many expensive microtransactions, some skins are themed after real people or fictional characters that love to show off their material possessions.
Addiction: Very stimulating and addicting feedback loop/gameplay. Make sure to pace yourself!