PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (2017-) "The OG Battle Royale."

This is Erangel, one of the maps in PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds
In case you haven't noticed, there’s a lot of hype around survival and battle royale games. Fortnite, PUBG, H1Z1, and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4; there’s something for both casual and serious gamers. Fortnite really brought the genre to the mainstream. I started playing PUBG before 1.0, but I had to spend a total of 170h to earn my first solo chicken dinner. I won games in the beta, but this was my first victory in 1.X and that should tell you that PUBG belongs to the category of Battle Royale for serious gamers.

My first, and possibly my last solo victory. Winner winner chicken dinner!
I finally got to enjoy the sweet taste of chicken, and for that reason I feel like in old school gaming terms I've finished the game, at least enough to write a review about it. Thus, let's take a look at the first true battle royale game that had so much potential, but has time and time again disappointed its community, and for this reason is being outperformed by AAA titles and smaller companies alike. I truly hope they will recover and create a community that is strong enough to become a household name.

At the start of each round, players parachute around the map in PUBG
PUBG is the first true battle royale game. Many have tried, but for the majority of FPS players, it should be obvious that PUBG has ruled the realistic FPS/Battle Royale genre for the past 1-2 years. There are several reasons for this, and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is a serious competitor to PUBG precisely because they tackle most of PUBG's major issues with top-notch AAA production value. Let’s go through some of the major advantages and disadvantages of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds against its competitors.

First, the positive news. I would argue that PUBG has some of the most realistic audio design and audio environment for any FPS. Moreover, the shooting mechanics is very realistic with bullet drop mechanics, recoil etc. The games are very intensive at their best and adrenaline rushes through your body when you act the role of aggressor. For a casual gamer the smarter choice is to just hide away inside the ever tightening circle to avoid any contac, because this game is very ruthless. From an old school FPS player's perspective that's a definite plus side, because the higher the skill-gap of a game is, the more interesting is the metagame, too.

What happens in 50% of my games. This game is ruthless.
The physics engine is mostly realistic, BUT it's also one of the main weaknesses of PUBG. At the writing of this article's first draft, there was still a "Fix PUBG" button in the main menu of the game. Since then it has been removed, but what does that tell you? It’s like a car having a sticker in the wind screen saying “This is how you can help fix your car."

In all honesty the game has developed a lot since the beta stages when the game crashed 30% of the time when starting the game, you fell through the map 10% of the time, got stuck 10% of the time, self-exploded to red zone or by hitting solid objects with your vehicles. Still, the engine feels a bit clumsy and that is a feature that isn’t going to get fixed anytime soon. Also, the servers still suffer from early round lagging which is incredible considering that the game was sold in large amounts in early access and it’s now over a year old.

They have made the engine a lot smoother, but some work remains to be done if they want to compete with, for example Black Ops 4. However, the maps in PUBG are awesome, and very versatile. Just last night I was playing Miramar and the sheer size of the map is mind-boggling. It’s like the entire GTA V map and many locations are unique.

Survival rewards, the latest, and yet again, quite clumsy attempt at engaging more players. Temporary objects, really!?
Recently PUBG has tried to attract more casual players with the smaller map Sanhog. It's one of the best updates that PUBG has gotten since it increases the possibility of casual gaming in PUBG. The games last half the time and you get much better weaponry much faster. Most of the time you don’t even need a vehicle, which is a must in the other maps.

Overall, PUBG is for the former CS:GO players who lost faith in the father of online FPS and/or enjoy the Battle Royale concept more, want serious, real physics based FPS gaming, and don't mind the still occasionally haunting server and connection issues.

PUBG is really not for the casuals. It used to be more casual, but as more battle royale games are being released, increasingly it's starting to suffer from what “killed” H1Z1, that is the fact that skill gaps grow too much.

To end this article, I'd like to summarize the Top Three Typical Game Scenarios For Casual Gamers in PUBG:

1. Drop in a populated area, wonder why you are always later than others, find two pistols, two shotguns and get killed.

2. Drop in a desolate area, loot for 15 minutes, get decent gear, fall into a false sense of security, get shot out of nowhere with a Kar98 headshot or encounter someone camping in a random building and lose the 1v1. 

3. Dodge bullets and other players to reach the center of the area with low level gear, hide in the center (buildings, bushes) until inevitable death and Top 10 placement. Wonder how some people can win the game, fall asleep while dreaming of a chicken dinner and start playing Fortnite.

TL;DR

+ Excellent sound design
+ Superb map design
+ Still one of the only real First Person Battle Royales, excellent shooting mechanics

- Not the best choice for casual Battle Royale gaming, large skill gaps
- Their engine is bug-heavy and seems to feed on lag
- I think they have disappointed their community, and I think the recent improvements are too little too late

 

82/100

Pekka's picture
Pekka

Music the great communicator, use two sticks to make it in the nature!