When I sat down to play Fortified, the first thing that struck me was that the gameplay was very similar to Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare. And while Fortified looks like that game on the outside, it actually features a greater level of strategy and depth than the easily accessible Garden Warfare.
Fortified is styled after 1950s sci-fi movies. The enemies range from robots that resemble Robbie from Lost in Space to flying saucers that look like they came from War of the Worlds. There are four characters to choose from and each has his or her own special weapons and abilities. I played as the Rocket Scientist. Honestly I just picked her because she was the only female of the bunch. She uses mostly ranged weapons that cause a lot of area damage, such as a rocket launcher and a bazooka. Besides weapons they actively use, each character can place stationary weapons to help them. These include a variety of turrets and even an extra set of soldiers that you can command to do anything you want. You can upgrade your handheld weapons and the stationary weapons to help them do more damage as the levels get harder.
The gameplay is designed for four people to play cooperatively, but you can play in single player as well. You’re protecting your base, which looks like an an old rocketship, from the swarms of monsters that attack you in waves. You get a reprieve from the attacks between waves. This gives you time to place your stationary weapons and move to the spot you want to attack from. Neon green swaths of light tell you the path your enemies will take to get to your base. It sounds fairly simple, but it’s kind of difficult. Adam Garib, art director on the game, told me the game was purposefully designed to be hard. The developers really want players to strategize their defenses. Even on normal difficulty the game will be hard, so that’s something to keep in mind if you don’t like your games to be too challenging.
I had a lot of fun playing Fortified. As a fan of the third-person cooperative shooter genre, I felt right at home in the game. All of the weapons were cool and I appreciated how different characters were needed to dispatch different enemies. The only thing that tripped me up was that the characters themselves felt a little generic to me. It’s not a huge issue as the gameplay is still great. But if I had to choose between Fortified and Garden Warfare, I would probably choose the latter just because it has a bit more personality. If that doesn’t matter as much as gameplay to you, then Fortified would be the way to go.