Fortnite OG is a major downgrade without the lens of nostalgia
| Last updated
Featured Image Credit: Epic Games
Fortnite recently celebrated a monumental occasion. Six years after it was launched, the game has just hit an all-time player count high thanks to the release of the latest season, Fortnite OG.
In case you missed it, Fortnite OG brings back the beloved original map, last seen in 2018 - and I say beloved through gritted teeth. Featuring fan-favourite locations like Tilted Towers and Greasy Grove, Fortnite OG is a dream for anyone who enjoys singing ‘Chug Jug With You’, and that’s clearly a lot of people. On X, formerly Twitter, the Fortnite team announced that Saturday 4 November marked “the biggest day in Fortnite’s history” with over 44.7 million players jumping into the latest season, totalling over 102 million hours of play.
Take a look at Fortnite OG in action below.
As an avid player of Fortnite, I’ve had several people message me to say they’ve redownloaded the game - eager to jump back into the classic map they remember after years away. It’s delightful to see, but there is one major problem. If you weren’t around in 2018, which I was not, you won’t be looking at Fortnite OG with rose-tinted lenses of nostalgia and without those, the latest season is simply a major downgrade that may just be the most divisive and disappointing update Epic has ever released.
I’ve been playing Fortnite for just over a year and in that year, I have put an ungodly number of hours into this game. It’s not just about winning. It’s an opportunity to hang out with friends for a couple of hours of silly fun - something we do several times a week. I’m always excited about the fresh opportunities a new season brings, even if it does take a couple of days to warm to the new loot pool - and that excitement was even more palpable given the immense hype about the return of the game’s original map. We’ve all heard legendary tales about the entirety of the lobby landing at Tilted Towers.
On Friday, I sat down with my usual chums, thrilled at the prospect of a fresh Fortnite experience. It wasn’t long though before I was left feeling disappointed and underwhelmed. My issue isn’t necessarily with the map itself, although I do think it pales in comparison to Chapter 4 Season 4’s (We’re all going to have our preferred eras). It’s more to do with the fact that in releasing Fortnite OG, Epic has stripped away so many features that ‘newer’ fans understand to be a key part of Fortnite’s identity.
Maybe this is simply naive of me, but I didn’t expect that Fortnite OG would strip things back to basics quite so drastically. I centre the vast majority of my gameplay, both in solos and as a part of a team, around objectives. By which I mean I might land at a hotspot and capture the flag there to gain some decent loot. If the loot isn’t that great, I’ll shop around at nearby vending machines. If there’s a hireable NPC, that landing spot becomes even more lucrative.
Once the loot is secure and I’ve seen to anyone else that landed nearby, there’s a decent chance I’ll take out a bounty. It always feels great to have a target and a focus instead of aimlessly wandering around. Partway through the game, me and my teammates might decide to go for a nearby cache or even the coveted Loot Island. In the previous chapter, those activities were joined by vaults and forecast towers.
These kinds of activities weren’t without risk. They usually involved fighting NPCs you needn’t otherwise fight. While Low Cards didn’t deal a fat lot of damage, High Card bosses - including the likes of the Diamond Dealer and Kado Thorne - could quite heavily deplete your health and shields. As for those vault turrets, they were lethal. There’s also the fact that triggering a vault alarm could cause player enemies to lie in wait and ambush you. We’ve also all started opening a cache only for it to pull in a large number of players to your position.
But these objectives were all about risk and reward. Overcome these obstacles and you’d likely end the game with an array of Epic, Legendary, and Mythic loot with a couple of Slurp Juices in tow too. Such items weren’t necessary to win. I’ve had wins against well-stocked players using the pathetic loot I’d picked up following a reboot, but these kinds of opportunities to better your position added an extra layer of interest into the game. All of the above are now gone.
You can possibly understand then why it’s so strange for players who are used to this kind of level of opportunity to now be left feeling underwhelmed by Fortnite OG. On the day the update launched, I spent around four hours in matches. During that time, I found one singular legendary weapon and perhaps a handful of Epics - most of my time left stuck with items of Rare or Common ranking. That ‘back to basics’ nostalgia doesn’t quite work if you weren’t there for that OG magic.
I still enjoyed playing with my friends, but there was an element of magic missing. Instead of discovering something new, as you typically do with a new Fortnite season, I instead kept stumbling across something else that had been taken away. Oh, you can’t drive vehicles? Slurp Trucks don’t exist? No Slap Barrels? Where are the keys and Holo-Chests? Thank heavens you can still light a campfire.
While I wasn’t prepared for this season to leave me quite so instantly disappointed, I am now finding positives in it. Well, sort of. I can’t say that I enjoy the limited number of shield and heal items, but it does force you to become a better player - rationing your items more tactically and perhaps playing a tad more cautiously too. The pretty dire weapons line-up means that every shot counts. I won’t run off in trios or squads anymore because with this loot pool, there’s no way that I’m taking out a full team alone. It’s a different kind of challenge. Not exactly one that I was looking for, but one I shall rise to nonetheless.
That loot pool is set to expand weekly with ‘through the seasons’ favourites, until we go back to ‘normal’ with the launch of Chapter 5 Season 1, so I’m intrigued to see where the season heads. Then again, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t more intrigued by Chapter 5 Season 1 than I am regarding anything Fortnite OG has to offer.
I’m in a clear minority, I’m aware - although a quick trip to Reddit proves that I’m not alone, yet I’m glad to see that a record number of players are enjoying diving into this nostalgia-fuelled season but that’s exactly what it is: nostalgia-fuelled. Take away the nostalgia and you’re left with very little gas in the tank. Games evolve, that’s to be expected, and not everyone is going to feel fondness for a game ‘as it once was’. I would’ve loved to have seen the original map return with those aforementioned modern features current players have come to expect from Fortnite, but you can’t have it all.