Earth’s Mightiest Builders
As dataminers predicted, Thanos returns in this latest mode, but this time brings his army of Chitauri warriors with him for a monumental battle. Also new is the addition of some iconic Avengers gear, including Captain America’s shield, Thor’s Stormbreaker ax, Iron Man’s repulsor gauntlets, and Hawkeye’s bow.
This is definitely Fortnite’s most comprehensive mode that Epic has added since last year’s Infinity War mashup. That mode was extremely popular amongst players because it added new elements to the genre, turning it into more of an asymmetrical battle where everyone was vying for the ultimate power instead of merely surviving. Playing as Thanos during this event was immensely fun but also tended to be short-lived, as you typically had a number of players focusing their attention on you. While his abilities were powerful, Thanos very rarely succeeded.
With the Fortnite: Endgame Limited-Time Mode (LTM), however, the gameplay is a bit more balanced—as all things should be. Instead of a free-for-all, players are split into two teams of 20. One side controls the heroes, with access to the Avengers’ mythical items, while the other plays as the Chitauri army, who have their own unique set of weapons. These include a powerful laser rifle that has unlimited ammo and an anti-structure energy grenade launcher. These can level entire structures in a single blast, which makes for some interesting encounters with the opposing team. For mobility, they’re all equipped with a jetpack, identical in usage to the ones available about a year ago in the 4.2 content update of the Battle Royale mode. There is a small cooldown after use, though, so you aren’t able to fly indefinitely. Overall, the Chitauri feel very powerful and fun to use – you definitely don’t feel like one of the meaningless grunts used in the movies for Hulk’s smash fodder.
As the match progresses, individual Infinity Stones will drop from the sky and land at various points on the map. This is where the real fun begins, as you race to each Stone and either try and collect it as a Chitauri warrior or carefully protect it if you are on the opposing team. When the first Stone is collected by a member of the Chitauri army that player will transform into Thanos, who returns with his giant leap ability, ground-pounding smash attack, and energy beam. Each Infinity Stone collected makes Thanos and his Chitauri army stronger, giving them upgrades such as increased health and shields, bonus damage for Thanos’ abilities, increased jump height, and more. Both sides are granted respawn abilities until the Chitauri army suffers 100 casualties or they collect all six Infinity Stones, at which point it becomes a no-respawn fight until only one team is left standing. You’re in the endgame now.
To offset the imminent threat, the Avenger team members all begin with a map that directs them to buried treasure that, when unearthed, gives you access to one of the Avengers’ mythical items. There are other treasure maps scattered around the world, as well as regular chests that contain these items as random drops, too. It’s entirely possible (if extremely rare) to wield all four abilities at once, swapping between them as you please during battle. This wasn’t as interesting as it could have been, though, because as far as the individual items go, Iron Man’s repulsor gauntlets are the most powerful and definitely the most fun to play with. They let you double jump and boost high into the air, even hovering for a limited time, while you fire down at the Chitauri. This improved mobility adds a lot of strategic options to your play, and makes for some interesting encounters on the other side as well. The repulsors also come equipped with an automatic lock-on reticle, so all you have to do is aim and hold down fire to melt away at Thanos and the Chitauri. It’s worth noting that Epic already had to adjust the damage output since they were so powerful, but that doesn’t make them any less fun to use.
Of course, that doesn’t mean they’re the only gear worth getting—the other Avengers’ abilities are fun to use as well. Thor’s Stormbreaker Ax feels similar to Kratos’ Leviathan Ax in God of War, albeit not as polished. When thrown, Stormbreaker will boomerang around and smash through whatever you toss it at before returning to your hand. You can also swing the ax as a melee weapon to deal damage or collect resources. This is an extremely effective way to farm materials, as it automatically destroys any structure in one hit. You can also leap toward a target out of mid-air, smashing down with the ax for an area-of-effect attack.
Hawkeye’s bow includes a grapple arrow that functions just like the Grappler item, allowing you to latch onto distant objects momentarily and pull yourself forward at incredible speeds. Its secondary ability is a deadly explosive shot that shows you where it’s going to land, making it extremely easy to use. I found Hawkeye’s bow to be one of the more satisfying items—especially since each shot deals 200 damage, making it a great way to pick off Chitauri who’re trying to capture an Infinity Stone. Lastly, Captain America’s shield may be the most iconic item in the Avengers arsenal, but was unfortunately the least fun to use. It’s not bad, per se—you can block incoming damage, which is always useful—but it’s just extremely dissatisfying to throw at enemies and structures because of the lack of heavy damage or knockback on impact. That said, a group of players who’d found Cap’s shields creating a barricade around an Infinity Stone like Roman legionaries was definitely a cool sight to see.
Importantly, whichever side you’re on you’ve got a fighting chance, and wielding some of the Avengers’ iconic items or crushing your enemies as Thanos is a great change of pace from the standard gunplay. If you can’t wait to see Avengers: Endgame, or just left a theater and need more Marvel-ous action, this is definitely the mode for you. Here’s hoping it doesn’t get snapped away from us too quickly.
What’s your take on this LTM? How does it stack up against the Infinity War crossover, or Epics other experimental modes? Let us know in the comments below, and for all your other Fortnite (or Avengers) news, stick with IGN.
Matthew Adler is a freelance video game journalist and Host of In Your Element—A Gaming Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @matthewadler.