The lights are on
Fortnite constitutes a major departure for Epic Games,
thanks to its strong focus on fort building and exploring large, procedurally
generated worlds. However, the first of Fortnite's character classes will be
reassuringly familiar to fans of the developer's venerable history in the
triple-A shooter space. The commando is the tried-and-true lynchpin of any
player squad, providing ample defense against the storm's encroaching monsters
with an arsenal of high-powered firearms.
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 commando stand out,
as well as our hands-on impressions of how the class plays.
Click on the image for a larger view
Class Name: CommandoWho is it for: Shooter
fans. Players who know their way around a gun and prefer the thrill of combat
to elaborate building.
Starting Ability:Debilitating Shots – Hitting a target temporarily increases
the amount of damage he or she takes. Can stack up to three times.
First Unlock Ability:Make It Rain – Landing a headshot increases the commando's
rate of fire for a short time.
Other Abilities:Grenades – Allows the player to craft and use grenades.Proximity Mines – Allows the player to craft and deploy
Hands-On With The
Commando:When I started playing as a commando, it didn't take long
until my inventory had been transformed into my own virtual armory. I acquired
and crafted a variety of pistols, machine guns, rifles, and shotguns, each with
its own unique stats and color-coded by rarity.
While every class can use firearms, the commandos' unique
abilities give them an advantage over other gun-wielding characters. The
commando's first two upgrades – Debilitating Shot and Make It Rain – both
reward accuracy by increasing damage and rate of fire for a short period of
time, making it easy to quickly take down groups of slow-moving husks. Combat
will be immediately familiar to Gears of War fans; aiming in Fortnite zooms in
to an over-the-shoulder perspective, giving players the ability to line up
precise headshots from a distance.
Unlike Gears of War, however, players aren't limited to toting
around a pair of guns and their trusty pistol at one time. After looting some
new weapons from treasure chests on a suburban-themed zone we played, I loaded
up my quick bar with guns for every occasion. I kept an automatic shotgun handy
for clearing out infested buildings, along with a bolt-action rifle for long-range
sniping and a couple of submachine guns and assault rifles for when things got
out of control. An early prototype rocket launcher even let me blow up entire
walls – the perfect tool for a fast getaway. Like many loot-focused action
games, old favorites were periodically replaced by new favorites, capable of
dealing out more damage.
The commando's ranged-weapon skills come in handy when defending your makeshift fort from attacking monsters. Sure, you can
run around in the thick of the action and blast enemies at close range, though
your slower movement speed puts you at a disadvantage compared to the
fleet-footed ninja. Instead, commandos excel at attacking from elevated
positions. Most of the forts we built during our play time were sprawling,
multi-level structures, making it easy for commandos to get the drop on
invading enemies. Using the simple construction mechanics, players can add
balconies and windows to their forts, providing cover for the team's
Commandos also have some explosive weaponry at their
disposal. Grenades and proximity mines are two of the predictable but
nonetheless invaluable items commandos can deploy. We laid out proximity mines
in front of doors and chokepoints near our fort, and used grenades to clear out
swarms of husks as they attempted to break through our walls.
Thanks to Fortnite's crafting mechanics, we never had to
worry about running out of ammo. In addition to looting ammunition from crates,
cupboards, and other containers in the environment, you can create your own ammo
from basic resources you collect by breaking down objects in the environment.
Crafting grenades and mines requires rarer resources, so don't expect to have
as abundant of a supply of explosives. Players also randomly receive new weapon
schematics for completing a zone's objective; these blueprints allow the player
to build the new weapon as many times as they wish, provided they've collected the
With The Commando: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.
The commando plays an integral role in defending your team's
base from enemy invaders. Placing the commando's proximity mines in front of
doors (enemies cannot open your doors, but are free to run through them if you
don't close them on your way out) and around the statue helped take down
unobservant intruders before they could deal too much damage to our totem.
Camping out on the roof of our base allowed commandos to spot and deal with
foes from a distance.
On offense, the commandos come in handy for drawing enemies
into firefights, allowing the swifter ninjas to sneak into the opposing base
and unleash melee attacks on their statue (in the build we played, projectile
weapons would not damage the statue, so players had to switch to their trusty
pickaxe or sword). After a period of time, night sets in, spawning waves of
monsters that complicate the tug-of-war battle between the two teams. One of my
favorite moments from our PvP time with Fortnite was leading a string of
monsters to the enemy's base under the cover of night, and then sneaking in
through the base's front door when an opposing team member came out to deal
with the NPC invasion. A few seconds later, I took down the opponent's
constructor, giving me a few uninterrupted moments to bash on their statue
before reinforcements arrived.
Fortnite's commando may not be the most unique class of the
bunch, but it provides a stable foundation for the game's combat and fort defense
elements. Because players are free to play and level-up multiple characters,
you'll definitely want to have at least one decked-out commando in your roster.
For more on Fortnite and to see the game in action, check out our hands-on impressions video. Make sure to check back later in
the week for our in-depth looks at the ninja and constructor classes, along
with more hands-on impressions. To see all of this month's bonus Fortnite
features, click the hub banner below. Want to play Fortnite for yourself? Sign up at Epic's site for a chance to be included in the upcoming alpha.
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Email the author Jeff Marchiafava, or follow on Google+, Twitter, and Game Informer.