The lights are on
Fortnite's mixture of action and base-building is designed
to appeal to many styles of gameplay, from accomplished shooter veterans to
armchair architects. Earlier this week, we checked out Fortnite's gun-toting
commando class. Today, we're taking a look at the game's other combat-focused
class: the katana-wielding ninja.
While every character in Fortnite can build, explore, and
hold their own on the battlefield, each class is suited to a particular style
of play thanks to a variety of abilities and bonuses unlocked via its skill
tree. Below is a look at some of the elements that make the ninja stand out, as
well as our hands-on impressions of how the class plays.
Click on the image for a larger view
Class Name: NinjaWho is it for: Melee
fighters. Players who prefer speed and technique over bullets and bombs.
Starting Ability:Mantis Leap – Allows the ninja to perform a double jump
capable of vaulting over single-story walls and cliffs.
First Unlock Ability:Assassination – Deals additional damage with each consecutive
strike of an edged weapon for a short time. Can stack up to seven times.
Other Abilities:Throwing Stars – Allows the ninja to throw a trio of
medium-range projectiles.Smoke Bomb – Creates a smoke cloud that stun locks enemies for
a short period of time.Shadow Stance – Killing an enemy turns the player into a
shadow and temporarily reduces the amount of damage taken from enemy attacks.Dragon Slash – A powerful attack that instantly propels the ninja
forward, dealing massive damage to enemies caught in their path.
Hands-On With The Ninja:The ninja is the second of Fortnite's combat-oriented
classes that will be available at launch. The ninja features an affinity for
melee weapons, and as such, many of its skill upgrades focus on close-range
combat. However, the ninja's preferred weapon of choice isn't the only aspect
that differentiates it from the commando class.
While not as beefy as commandos or constructors, ninjas are
incredibly deadly in certainly situations thanks to their speed and abilities. Facing
a tougher enemy like the wall-destroying Smasher head-on can be a
life-threatening affair, but a well-timed smoke bomb or Dragon Slash attack can
help mitigate the danger of having to get so close to your target. Abilities
like Shadow Stance provide defensive buffs for killing enemies, allowing the
ninja to stay in the thick of the action longer and combo together kills.
Despite these abilities, it's still important for ninjas to
use the environment to their advantage. Setting up defensive traps near your
fort can provide a safety net to fall back on should the odds tip out of your
favor. In one zone, we designed a gauntlet of spike plates, electricity traps,
and wall arrows outside the ground floor of our stronghold. When the invading
monsters started ganging up my ninja, I led them to their deaths in the booby-trapped
corridor like a demented Pied Piper.
However, the most important of the ninja's abilities is the Mantis
Leap. Mantis Leap allows the ninja to perform a double jump, providing just
enough air to leap over single-story walls and cliffs. This combined with the
ninja's fast movement speed make the class a great choice for exploration as
well as combat. Being able to vault up onto a roof without building a ramp that
monsters could then also use helps the ninja leave pursuing foes in the dust.
I still kept some guns on hand during my play sessions with the
ninja, but rarely felt the need to use them during enemy encounters. Slicing my
way through an entire horde of sluggish husks never got old, and finishing off
powerful enemies with a lightning-fast Dragon Slash proved the ninja doesn't
need advanced weaponry to be a formidable foe. I still ultimately preferred my
time playing as Fortnite's commando, but once I have more time to tinker with the
ninja's skill tree options, I could see it becoming my favorite class.
With The Ninja:Epic says it will have a variety of competitive multiplayer
modes ready at launch; our introduction to PvP was a five-on-five mode that tasked
us with defending a unicorn statue from the opposing team, while simultaneously
attacking their own statue. Quickly building and fortifying a base around the
statue proved an important key to victory.
During our early look at Fortnite's competitive multiplayer,
Epic made it clear that the balance of the classes and their abilities is far
from complete. Our time playing as the ninja confirmed this; the ninja's smoke
bomb ability stun locked opponents for so long that it was basically a death
sentence – the assaulting melee master could slice even the strongest foes to
death before they regained control. While we're sure Epic will nerf the smoke
bomb's effectiveness for launch, the ninja class is still a force to be reckoned
with in head-to-head matches.
The ninja's speed makes it a great class for running out and
collecting resources for their team's constructor at the beginning of matches;
during our play sessions, this sometimes proved to be the difference between getting
a well-defended fort quickly erected, and an early, shame-inducing defeat.
However, like in Fortnite's campaign mode, the Mantis Leap
in an invaluable ability that sets the ninja apart from the other classes. The
PvP map that we played featured an inconspicuous, one-story plateau near our
statue and the fort we built around it. While the geological structure didn't
mean much to the constructors or commandos in the game, it gave the invading
enemy ninjas the perfect platform to double-jump up and above the high walls
our team had erected and fortified to keep them out. To add insult to injury,
it wasn't until a duo of fleet-footed ninjas hopped their way past our defenses
that we realized we had forgotten to place doors in our outer wall – we had
effectively built ourselves out of our own base, leaving the opposing invaders
alone with our statue. Thankfully, players can easily modify walls at any
point, but the embarrassing gaffe and the exploitable design of our base
ultimately cost us the round.
Ninjas are no slouch when going up against human opponents,
either. Dragon Slash is a great attack to use against aggressive commandos. With
it, ninjas can wait behind a building or rocky outcropping for the commando to
draw near, then use Dragon Slash to instantly close the gap and slice through
them. This often propels you behind your target, making it easy to turn around
and launch into another offensive attack before your enemy even knows out what
Fortnite's ninja class strikes a good middle ground between the
commando and constructor. The ninja's speed and Mantis Leap facilitate the exploration
elements of the game, while the character's deadly sword strikes and offensive
abilities make the class a more than viable option in combat.
Check back later in
the week for our in-depth look at the constructor class, along with more
hands-on impressions. To see all of this month's bonus Fortnite features, click
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