I spent my entire year watching “Lets Plays” of Player Unknowns Battlegrounds, the breakout PC sensation. PUBG has broken records left, right and centre since it went live on Steam Early Access. It’s safe to say that it is the shock success of the year. When Microsoft announced it was coming to its own version of Early Access on Xbox One it was all I wanted to get my hands on. Every other game would have to wait. Finally it has arrived and thankfully it has delivered.
PUBG is a Battle Royale game. 100 players drop from a plane onto an island. You must scavenge for weapons, armour, medical equipment – you name it. Everybody starts off with the same gear, which is to say no gear. The game encourages combat by utilising a moving “Circle” meaning you cannot just camp in one spot for a never ending period of time. If you don’t make it to the circle before the electric walls close in you will rapidly begin to lose health. You must constantly be on the move and you must survive. This ever shrinking circle forces players to occupy tighter and tighter playspaces together. The last player alive wins. It is an incredibly simple concept that works so well. I cannot understand why something on this scale hasn’t already been released.
Being in the final two is the closest I have been to having a stroke, for now.
PUBG is the antidote to the trend of developers inserting Loot Crates into AAA video games. 2017 was plagued by this practice, some more newsworthy than others. As mentioned above you spend your time “looting” houses for all kinds of items. If you kill somebody you can take from their loot. It’s a great design choice. No matter how poor your start may have been in a game you are always just one kill away from another players curated list of goodies. Wonderful stuff.
It’s clear to see that PUBG was designed for a mouse and keyboard set up…damn nerds. PUBG Corp enlisted the help of some Microsoft owned publishers to guide them on moving this to a standard controller.
Some inputs have multiple functions which may take some players a while to get used to. The one I struggled with was aiming down the sights. In most shooters you hold down LT to aim and press or hold RT to shoot. Here you just tap LT to lock it to a constant aim down the sight view. If you hold the button it switches to hip fire. It’s jarring at first but you will eventually adjust. I still think they should patch in an option to switch to a traditional setup but hey, its early access. It may come soon.
I found adjusting to the fire fights a little difficult due to my previous experiences in console shooters. I have been playing Rainbow Six Siege for years now and its combat is perfect. It’s tight, has a punch and renders in 60fps. PUBG combat is nothing like that. Once again…it will get there. It’s a bit loose, lacks a punch and renders in a slower frame rate. It’s fine but it’s no RS Siege. Shotguns are insanely powerful, as they should be. I find that to be the best tactic in close quarters. Find a shotgun if you can, hide and keep low if you cannot.
There is no getting around the issues that are present. There were some bad framerate issues during the fall from the plane at the start of each game. That was fixed on the second patch, that’s encouraging. It was fixed within a week. Framerates are fine the second you hit the ground anyway. A molehill can become a mountain so easily these days.
Many media outlets have pointed out some poorly rendered textures on things like bathroom floors and some wooded areas. I mean, who cares when THE GAME IS IN EARLY ACCESS and it’s so much fun to play? My example above should prove that this game will be updated regularly to fix issues that players are finding. The media went in two-footed. If this was on PlayStation it would have been treated with more empathy. It probably would have started with a baseline 8/10 before spending any time with it.
I love this game, it’s not perfect and it won’t be while in early access. I’ve played it solo and teamed with friends. Both are great. The €29.99 price point raised some eyebrows but that is a budget price, relax. I’ve played PUGB every night since launch. Being at home in my parents house on Christmas Day forces me to be separated from it for the first time. I miss it dearly. 3.5 Meltzers.