With Fortnite hitting iOS last month after debuting on the PS4, PC, and Xbox One, you aren’t short of ways to play Epic Games’ battle royal sensation. The developer has touted cross-play and cross-progression as being two key pillars of Fortnite, meaning you can play with your friends on PS4, PC, and iOS, or Xbox One, PC, and iOS, and your progress in one version of the game is carried over to the others. The exception to this being PS4 and Xbox One since Sony and Microsoft can’t come to terms to get cross-platform play to work and thereby resulting in cross-progression being a no show. But what’s the best way to play Fortnite?
For this, we looked at the PS4 Pro, PC, and iPhone X versions of the game. Our experiences with each version bring to light key differences between them despite Epic touting “same gameplay, same map, same content, same weekly updates.” Here’s what you need to know.
How Fortnite cross-progression works
In order for your progress to sync between your PC, PS4, and iOS device, or PC, Xbox One and iOS device, you need an Epic Games account that you can create on the company's site. After creating one, you can link either your PSN or your Xbox Live ID to it. You cannot link both to the same Epic Games account due to Sony and Microsoft not allowing cross-platform play and cross-progression between PS4 and Xbox One. Adding both will lock you out of playing it on console as we experienced, though this was resolved after Epic's support team allowed us to remove one. Both PC and iOS versions of the game require an Epic Games account to play as well, and you're prompted to create one or sign in to an existing one the first time you boot up either version of he game.
Fortnite PC system requirements
If you plan on playing Fortnite on PC, this is what you’ll need.
Fortnite PC recommended system requirements:
• Nvidia GTX 660 or AMD Radeon HD 7870 equivalent DX11 GPU
• 2 GB VRAM
• Intel Core i5 2.8 Ghz
• 8GB RAM
•Windows 7/8/10 64-bit
Fortnite PC minimum system requirements:
• Intel HD 4000
• Core i3 2.4 Ghz
• 4 GB RAM • Windows 7/8/10 64-bit or macOS Sierra
Fortnite iOS device list
To play Fortnite Battle Royale on iOS, you'll need one of the following devices:
- iPhone 6S or newer
- iPhone SE
- iPad Mini 4 or newer
- iPad Pro or newer
- iPad Air 2 or newer
Given the online nature of the game, you will also need an stable, consistent Internet connection regardless of what you're playing Fortnite on.
Fortnite PC settings explained for best performance
Given Epic’s PC lineage, it’s but expected that the PC version of Fortnite has a host of settings and options such as a Frame Rate Limit, Post Processing (allowing for a softer image), Textures, Shadows, and much more. While the game is generous in its suggested system requirements, we’d recommend capping the frame rate at 60fps, set the View Distance to Epic (the game’s maximum setting), as it allows you to see as much as possible which is necessary in its battle royale mode. Depending on your set up, you could also reduce Shadows, Post Processing, and Textures. Doing so would allow for a smoother experience that should hopefully give you the edge in battle, even on older machines.
Fortnite PS4 Pro settings for best performance
As with many other games this generation, Fortnite lets those with the PS4 Pro choose between frame rate and visual quality. Unlike the PC version, all you need to do is look for the '60 FPS' option in the Settings section of the game on PS4 Pro and toggle it on.
Fortnite iPhone X settings for best performance
Fortnite on iOS keeps it simple compared to its contemporaries like PUBG Mobile. You don’t have any graphics options to choose from. That doesn’t mean you can’t try optimising it for the best possible experience. In our time with the game, getting matches on PC and PS4 Pro were a breeze, but this wasn’t always the case on the iPhone X with long wait times due to fewer players. Digging into the game’s settings, we noticed that by default you’re set to play in a region with the lowest ping. In our case this ended up being Asia, but during late night and early mornings, it took forever to get matched with players. In the Settings section we simply switched region over to Europe or Oceania. While the penalty on latency was about 10ms, we got into rounds much more quickly than we did compared to the game’s default setting.
Fortnite iPhone X vs PS4 Pro vs PC frame rate and image quality
Fortnite on PS4 Pro and PC held a steady 60fps which is to be expected considering the number of patches and updates put out for the game on both platforms. In terms of image quality, the PC held its own with sharper, clearer image with all settings maxed out at 1080p and 1440p. As for the PS4 Pro, it's locked at 1080p, making it a formidable budget option (when taking into account PC hardware prices at the moment). Though compared to our test PC running an Intel Core i5 3470, 16GB RAM, a 500GB SSD, and a GTX 1070, or the iPhone X on the same 50Mbps connection, loading up the game took significantly longer compared to either version. We’d pin this down to the fact that our PS4 Pro is running a 2TB mechanical drive instead of the flash memory used in our PC or the iPhone X. Using an SSD might help though the gains aren’t as large on Sony’s console as you might think.
The iPhone X sees frame rate halved to 30fps. Features like the map and menus are identical while buildings and towns aren’t as detailed when put next to the PS4 Pro and PC versions. Lighting and shadows too takes a hit as do its foliage that seems static compared to the lush animations seen on console and PC. As for battery life, an hour of Fortnite on iOS via LTE saw us lose 50 percent of battery. If you plan on playing Fortnite far from a charging point we’d recommend you carry a power bank. Heat wasn’t a concern over prolonged gameplay sessions either.
It holds up well when you consider that it’s running on a device that fits in your pocket rather than the best gaming hardware available right now. Moment to moment gameplay is on point and feels responsive. Throw in some subtle tweaks such as indicators to know where your enemies are and a more lenient auto-aim system compared to what it was at launch, and you have an exceptionally competent experience on the go. It’s almost perfect, save for one concern that may or may not be a dealbreaker.
Fortnite iOS does not include Fortnite Save the World
Fortnite Save the World is the cooperative mode Fortnite first launched with last year. It can be played solo or with friends on the same platform, and is present in the console and PC versions of Fortnite. Its absence from the iOS version means you won’t be able to play Fortnite on your own and that is something to keep in mind if you were thinking of going at it without having to deal with other humans.
Fortnite iPhone X vs PS4 Pro vs PC best way to play
From a pure accessibility standpoint, we’d give the nod to playing Fortnite on iOS. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus too should handle the game just fine given they share similar internals as the iPhone X. It’s a console-like experience on the go that’s surprisingly smooth and fun to play. Since our first impressions, Epic has updated the game substantially, improving visuals, aiming, and performance on iOS. If you’re interested in the game’s Save the World mode, you’re limited to console and PC. With performance being on par, you can’t go wrong with either. All in all, Fortnite plays well regardless of platform and there really isn’t a ‘bad’ version of the game per se.
What does this mean for Fortnite Android and Fortnite on the Nintendo Switch?
Thanks to Epic’s optimisations on Fortnite iOS, it shows that the Unreal Engine in its current avatar is possible of producing great experiences on the go. It bodes well of what to expect from Fortnite Android which is due in a few months and even better news for the rumoured Nintendo Switch port of Fortnite. That said, the real test will be eking out performance on the budget range Android devices such as the Xiaomi Redmi 5A and Redmi 5 and how much of a visual trade-off Epic needs to consider for smooth gameplay.
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