Breaking down the best and worst of Fortnite Chapter 2 - Season 8.
Four years ago, no one expected Fortnite Battle Royale to explode in popularity and become undoubtedly one of the most iconic video games in history. Somehow, in 2021, it remains a top dog in a sea of hungry competitors. While many players and streamers have come and gone, the latest season has proven that Epic Games still has a few nifty tricks up its sleeves to keep fans coming back.
Epic dropped Chapter 2 - Season 8 on September 13 following a brief downtime and yet another spectacular season-ending event. Waiting on the other side were several mysterious purple cubes, a gold cube and a blue cube. What this all means is unclear, but Season 8 itself has been a fresh and fun experience so far.
The storyline is expected to develop more over the coming weeks, as will the game itself through various updates. However, we've had enough time to soak in what Chapter 2 - Season 8 has to offer and it's time to break down the good and bad in Fortnite's 18th season.
It's such a simple addition to the game, but Slipstreams are something that the general fan base has wanted back for some time. First added in Chapter 1 - Season 9, these wind tunnels provided quicker and more efficient movement around the island. It was a delight to see Slipstreams return almost ten seasons later.
Although you cannot fly vertically as in C1S9 — Slipstreams are still a fun way to travel around, evade enemy fire, and even unexpectedly jump on the opposition. Bravo to Epic for resurrecting Slipstreams and spreading them across the landscape.
More Locations & Loot
The past few seasons of Fortnite have been challenging from a loot perspective. Since Epic lowered the chest spawn rates, relying on any given location for weapons and healing items became impossible. Some chests would not spawn consistently, making early game fights problematic. While Epic still has not increased chest spawn rates, they did add hundreds of more crates.
All of the downed UFOs are surrounded by chests. These locations are now entirely viable because they offer much more than a few loot options. Don't get me wrong; I'd love to see 100% chest spawn rates return. But Epic's current solution is to add more options overall, and it's at least palatable for the time being.
Armored Wall Traps
For the first time in what feels like an eternity, a new trap has found its way into Fortnite. Epic introduced the Armored Wall Trap in hotfix v18.00, and it's a lot of fun to use. The basic gist of an Armored Wall is that it's a reinforced wall with 2,500 HP. It opens up a world of opportunity in many respects.
Armored Walls are helpful when evading enemy fire. They have enough HP to allow a player to consume shields and a Medkit, making it an excellent defensive option. Additionally, more aggressive players can deploy them on their enemy's walls to box them up like never before. It's a simple addition — much like Slipstreams — but Armored Walls are an excellent inclusion with endless possibilities.
Chapter 2 - Season 8 introduced the Sideways as an area separate from Fortnite's familiar environment. Inside the Sideways, there is no building. Players can jump higher and are constantly pursued by Cube monsters of all shapes and sizes. It's a true throwback to the Chapter 1 days of Rift Zones. The Sideways weapons are also a unique addition to Season 8. It'll be interesting to see how this new feature progresses throughout the season.
The Toona Fish cosmetic outfit quickly became a Season 8 highlight. A take on the classic Fishstick skin — Toona Fish is a fully customizable cartoon character in the Battle Pass. Players can unlock color schemes for Toona Fish by venturing around the map and collecting Color Bottles. Once you gather all three of the same color, you can apply it to your Toona Fish skin and unlock its Fortnite character counterpart.
It's the best customizable skin that Epic has offered through Fortnite, allowing players to choose whichever colors they'd like and showcase it in-game. I've had a good time collecting the Color Bottles and playing with different combinations. Toona Fish is an outstanding addition to the game.
Carnage & Venom Mythics
Mythic items have a polarizing past in Fortnite. The Midas Drum Gun from Chapter 2 - Season 2 showed just how powerful Epic could make one single weapon in the game. Others — such as Jules' Glider — had their positives but indeed carried some risk. Epic introduced two new Mythic items this season.
Venom and Carnage's Mythic Symbiotes gave us memories of the superpowers from Chapter 2 - Season 4. In fact, the Mythic Symbiote is just an improved version of Venom's Smash & Grab power from that season. Unfortunately, the Symbiote is a little too much. Its grab range combined with glider redeploy and fast cooldown time makes it nearly impossible to counter.
Nothing is worse than making it to the end game only to have Carnage's tentacle snatch you through a fully built structure and then fall to a one-pump. The Symbiote could use some adjustments to make it at least a little vulnerable to the user.
Doctor Slone: The Overpowered NPC
Non-player characters (NPCs) and boss characters have been somewhat of a staple in Fortnite Chapter 2. Some may remember Midas, Brutus and Meowscles from Chapter 2 - Season 2. Despite their unfathomable power at times, none of those characters could hold a candle to Doctor Slone in Chapter 2 - Season 8.
The Corny Complex boss moved locations in Season 8, and it's beyond challenging to defeat her and claim the Mythic Burst Assault Rifle. She has 500 health and 500 shield to start but also clones herself twice when attacked. Each Slone copy has 100 health and 200 shield.
Doctor Slone currently spawns near Dirty Docks with little cover for anyone looking to acquire the Mythic Burst Rifle. It would be nice to see a health reduction for Slone or at least the removal of her IO Guard friends. Otherwise, it's just not worth risking an elimination to fight several NPCs.
Desolate Lobbies in Public Matches
Fortnite, for the last few seasons, has suffered from dead lobby syndrome. The lack of players in public matches is approaching alarming levels. This issue is not specific to Season 8, but it remains something that's concerning. Whether it's a solo, duo, trio or squad match — only 20 to 25 players remain after the first storm circle closes.
It's a shame because Season 8 is outstanding so far, but it seems the 100-player Battle Royale lobby doesn't hold up like it once did. Maybe an increase to 150 players per game could make a difference, but there is not a clear resolution to this issue.
Fortnite Chapter 2 - Season 8 is a breath of fresh air and an adequate follow-up to Season 7. The Slipstreams and abundance of loot alone make it an experience similar to the Chapter 1 days. The Sideways offers an exciting way of mixing up the action, and the Toona Fish skin concept is worth the $7.59 USD Battle Pass.
Despite the problematic Mythic Symbiotes, Epic Games has done an excellent job this season. We'd certainly like to see 100% chest spawns and more primary points of interest (POIs) down the line, but Season 8 feels fresh, and the ongoing Cube storyline should keep things interesting.