Game Review: PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
Have you ever watched The Hunger Games and thought, “You know what, I could probably do this?” Well, you crazy sociopath, you’re one step closer to that goal with PlayerUnkown’s Battlegrounds, or PUBG for short, and even closer yet with the game’s Xbox One Game Preview release earlier this month, or the 1.0 release two weeks ago on PC.
Much like the aforementioned Hunger Games reference, PUBG is a “Battle Royale” style game, where 99 players are dropped into a remote island and fight each other for the coveted Chicken Dinner (or you know, the end screen that says “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner”). Once on the island, players start to scavenge houses or other areas of interest to find supplies. That is the core gameplay to PUBG: looting houses and hoping that no one is sneaking up on you to do the same.
That’s where PUBG shines, however. As Extra Credits (which is an amazing Game Design YouTube Channel, if you’ve never heard of them) mentions in the above video, PUBG is an amazing gaming thriller. While you spend most of the game sneaking around with no one remotely close to you, there’s still the tension of someone being right behind you, or watching you from a distance with one of the game’s many types of long range weapons and scopes. Coupled with the spatial audio engine that allows for players to feel where sound effects are coming from via sound, the constant sounds of gunshots or engine rumbles make you never feel quite safe.
While PUBG is pretty fun to play on your own, the game really shines with a group of friends. While the game features up to 99 players, you can get into squads of one, two or four to join up with your friends and plan together toward victory. This is the most strategic I’ve ever been in a multiplayer game. The game turns from scavenging around for whatever your bag can carry, to a constant trade network of helping each other get the perfect kits. It creates an awesome experience of people taking points, plotting out plans, and then inevitably improvising when that plan goes horribly wrong.
PUBG has also just launched into 1.0 on Steam, and with it comes better performance (at least for my two rigs), new vehicles, guns, and the newest map, Miramar. While I haven’t had as much time in this new map, it’s clear that the developers have put a lot more thought into the design of this map, creating more interesting buildings, and areas of interest.
As I mentioned earlier, the game has since come out on Xbox One Game Preview, which is Xbox’s take on early access. While it is great that the game is now available on Xbox, bringing it to an all new audience, it’s still not quite ready for the full $30 price tag. The game brings over most of the PC experience (WHERE’S MY ALL CHAT?!), but it’s still mired in bugs and crashes that make the game fun but frustrating. There’s been plenty of times where I’ve landed in an area with none of the textures and a lot of the models not loaded, which has caused me to get stuck under staircases, shipping containers, or rocks as they load into play.
Luckily, PUBG also brings over the feature to re-join a game in progress if you were forced out, so when the game inevitably crashes (at least every two or three games for me), you can reload the game and rejoin it in progress. This has created plenty of great moments between my squads in party chat, typically starting with a few choice expletives, followed by a tense wait for the motionless body on the ground to come back to life.
PUBG is a highly enjoyable experience. In fact, it’s probably one of my favorite games of 2017. While both versions have their issues of glitches and crashes, both the PC and Xbox ports will provide a great way to accidentally kill six hours, especially if you’re bringing along a few friends to the fight.
Overall, I give PUBG an almost chicken dinner out of 10.