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Fortnite's grind rails are just super


It says a lot about the pace and invention of Fortnite that, as soon as we heard the new update would add grind rails, as a team we started questioning whether the game had ever had grind rails before. Things come and go here, who can tell? There have been ziplines, and those wires that shoot you up into the air. And there was the track that the ballers could role along? Grind rails, though? At some point?

Now I've had a chance to play on them, I'm pretty sure - only pretty sure, mind - that this is new for Fortnite. And it's good news, because grind rails make every game better. Jet Set, Sunset Overdrive? I love a grind rail. Who doesn't?

And Fortnite's are handled with typical flair. Getting on and off a rail is easy - you get a boost when you're coming off one, which is so natural I actually found that I had anticipated it the first time I encountered it. You can grind in either direction and change your direction pretty easily. The lock-on for getting onto them is generous, and you can alter your speed and shoot while you're moving. Best of all are the moments when you exit one grind rail and see another one almost lining up - how fast do you have to be going to make that connection? It's Fortnite with a bit of Burnout Paradise and its magnetic street junctions built in.

Fortnite goes cyberpunk in Chapter 4 Season 2.Watch on YouTube

I say that's the best bit, but there's a lot of best bit. The grind rails are colour-coded, which allows me to role-play that I'm just wandering around the Barbican on a lazy Sunday, and from a few matches' inspection they all seem to start and end somewhere. None of that endless looping that sounds like fun but quickly grows tiresome. What I think I actually like the most is that they feel like a genuine transportation system. They cover a range of heights, and they have a polite habit of forming natural drop-off points on the tops of buildings and at interesting platforms elsewhere. You can kind of imagine commuting.

As you can tell, I've spent all my time with the new Mega update hanging out in a single location, Mega City, which is where I found all these beautiful grind rails. It's a city, like Tilted Towers, but it's also nothing like Tilted Towers. You can move so quickly, around on those rails but also up and down, from street level to the tops of buildings. There's a nice indoor/outdoor flow as they say on Selling Sunset, and so far I've found the neon-struck Cyberpunk Japan stylings a welcome diversion rather than overpowering. Huge hologram warriors lurk over the skyline, which is possibly a bit much, but one building is encircled by streams of digital fish. It reminds me of Gibson during the Idoru sequence.

Eventually I will tear myself away from Mega City and see the rest of the island. It's been a bit of a while since I last dropped into the game, in fact - something I can tell because when I did load it up I was still wearing a Christmas outfit, and I need to dig into the menus at some point and de-jingle-bell the downtime audio. I hear bikes revving in the streets and I just found a Katana that was fun for a few minutes. It can be hard to tell what's new here and what's changed because you stepped out of Fortnite's world for a month or so, and as Heraclitus once pointed out, the only constant is change.

Anyway, I think Mega has what it takes to bring me back. At its best, Fortnite is a game that understands the great thrill of running away from a situation that has gotten well out of hand. With those grind rails, I have so many new means of running away! And there's this Katana I suddenly have, too. Good times.

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