Fortnite’s latest season is well underground and it’s brought about plenty of change for The Island. Although the introduction of no-build modes is the big change that all anyone can seem to talk about, the real stars of the show are the new movement options; mantling and sprinting.
Up until now, Fortnite’s movement has always been pretty limited, really only letting players move around with a leisurely jog, a short hop, and a crouch. This was always by design to go alongside the ability to build wherever you are and to compliment the range of vehicles and interactive elements on the map, but after a few years it started to feel a bit stale, especially when compared to other battle royales like Apex Legends.
Thankfully, Epic has started to remedy this over the past few seasons and seems to be placing more importance on movement than ever before. The first sign of this was with the ability to slide which came just a few seasons ago, but it’s now gone even further by adding sprinting and mantling, two moves which I hope become permanent fixtures rather than just temporary features of a season.
Mantling lets you clamber up walls and other structures, while the new sprint lets you press the button in to perform an all-out dash in front of you. This upgraded dash is a god-send, especially when going up against the Storm, and (obviously) gives Fortnite a much faster pace than it had before. Beyond the obvious tactical advantage of being able to sprint in and out of a battle, you’ve now got more chances to explore an area for items, which makes it more worthwhile to stop off at more areas than just Tilted Towers.
Meanwhile, mantling gets rid of the need to build for tiny obstacles and gives Fortnite a new layer of verticality it could only achieve through building before. It feels so natural that I can barely remember how Fortnite used to play without it. Oh wait, I do, it was having to build a ramp every time you want to reach something just out of arm’s reach.
Although both features were very clearly put into the game to work alongside the no-build mode and the fact players can’t just build pathways to wherever they want to go, they work just as well alongside building. They don’t invalidate that style of gameplay, they just give all players a few more options and make things feel a little less unfair for the players who can’t just click their fingers and have a hotel appear underneath them.
We’ve talked before about how no-build is a great example of Epic shaking up the main formula, but sprinting and mantling feel like more worthy candidates for such a title. They’re not just a new mode added to the game, they’re new (hopefully permanent) tools added to the player’s inventory that improve how Fortnite feels to play. Sure, neither of them are new features for a battle royale and Fortnite probably owes Apex Legends a pint or two alongside the round it owes PUBG, but they’ve done a lot to make Fortnite more satisfying to play.
As is the case with anything introduced to Fortnite, there’s no indication whether these features are going to disappear in a future update, but I hope they don’t. Epic seems to have a problem with keeping its movement options in the game, as anyone who’s a fan of Spider-Man or snowboards will tell you, but I have hope that it keeps these in and builds on the core gameplay tenants some more.
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