PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, or PUBG as it’s widely known, has been taking the gaming world by storm since its launch earlier this year. So much so that it’s getting two mobile games in addition to a release on the Xbox One!
So, let’s get into PUBG and analyze the good and the bad…
As far as games go, PUBG is as simple a concept as it gets. In this online multiplayer shooter, up to 100 players are parachuted onto a large map and start off with no gear aside from cosmetic clothing options that don’t impact gameplay. On landing you’ll have to scavenge for guns, grenades, items, and armour, which are distributed at random, killing players as you come across them. You can switch between first-person and third-person perspectives, and we preferred the latter as it allows for a wider field of view, letting us spot enemies faster.
Sounds simple enough? Well, there’s an added complication. The game map shrinks every few minutes, forcing you to relocate to a new area, and damaging you until you do. Failing to enter a new safe zone results in death. If you’re the last player standing, you’re greeted with the phrase ‘winner, winner, chicken dinner’. You get in-game currency at the end of each round that you can use towards purchasing cosmetic gear to kit out your character.
On paper, PUBG sounds fantastic. The execution though, leaves a lot to be desired.
The learning curve is exceptionally steep and PUBG is unwelcoming to newcomers. There’s no tutorial, nor can you play with bots to ease you in, learning the game’s finer points. All you’re greeted by is a screen with a giant button telling you to play PUBG. This immediately starts a new round – there’s no single-player campaign whatsoever. You can however, choose your server to play on such as US, Europe, and Asia, and you can play with your friends as well, through PUBG’s squad feature or be paired with a random individual in Duo mode to compete to be the last ones alive.
It’s as barebones as it gets in terms of game modes sporting the single battle royale option that has made it popular. Future updates may change that what with the developers claiming they have something in the works to ease newbies in. Thankfully more maps such as the desert-themed Miramar are on the way.
Despite some problems, there is some fun to be had with PUBG. The gunplay is satisfying when aiming works as it should, and the ever shrinking map provides an interesting challenge as it results in more frequent, chaotic encounters. But in between landing a headshot and sprinting to the nearest safe zone, are long moments of silence, spent rummaging through houses and buildings in search of equipment — if you haven’t been punched to death by another player in the first few minutes.
At the moment, PUBG is an interesting addition to the FPS landscape. There’s an intriguing balance of randomness and skill that could make it a mainstay of the gaming community. But until it sorts out its many technical issues as well as becoming more accessible to newbies, we’d suggest holding off for a while…