When I first heard the name PUBG I thought it was a drinking game, however the abbreviation stands for Player Unknown’s Battle Grounds and it certainly feels better than a trip to the PUB so to speak. PUBG is still a game that is in early preview access, so this won’t be a complete review but will more so be a hands-on preview to one of the biggest games of 2017 and beyond. Time to jump!
There is essentially no story to worry about with PUBG as it is literally an all-out Battle Royale style death match, which means no cut scenes to watch, its just all action. From the moment you commence you are placed on an island as the lobby screen fills up to its limit of 100 players. Here you can run about and punch your fellow gamers or take a test run at the various weapons on the tables. However, this fun is short lived as the lobby is only open for 60 seconds where you can run a muck with your friends. Next, you are taken to the skies as your very large cargo plane begins to fly towards the island.
The size of the island is a whopping 8 x 8 km side landscape for you to explore. It doesn’t matter where or when you jump out of the plane, that part is entirely up to you. Should you jump out first or last, or perhaps somewhere in the middle? Each method is in turn its own strategy for survival. As you free fall from the plane once you’ve made your landing selection you can parachute towards the ground and enjoy the scenery, or, you can open your chute at the last second and thus minimizing your time in the air. Each strategy has its merits, however the quicker you are on the ground, the quicker you can try to survive.
The object of PUBG is to be the last man (or woman) standing out of a field of 100 players. The odds are stacked against you that’s for sure, especially if you are playing in Solo mode. Other modes on offer include Duo mode for you and a friend, or Squad mode for you and three other mates. I’ve played all of these modes and again there is a strategy to each, however there is certainly strength in numbers early on. Irrespective of the mode you play, once you and or your squad land there is one important thing to do first, find a weapon and fast!
Immediately your priority is to of course find a weapon, which is as easy as entering any nearby home, school, building or tower, basically anywhere with a door and some walls. You’re bound to find pistols, backpacks, ammunition and more straight away. In fact, the entire landscape is littered with weapons and more, the key is to grab something fast as depending on who landed with you, there could be a battle within seconds. Several times I would discover another player landed in the same spot as I did and entered the same building as I did. It was a race to find the weapons, however I fell victim to a fist fight in the corridor as we both exchanged punches till only one of us was standing. This is how brutal you must be, in order to survive. With my death in that instance, 99 players remained for my opponent, however my game was over right there and then.
I wont discuss every strategy here as we’d be here for some time, however place some thought into where you land, who you game with and importantly which buildings you decide to loot. Open doors mean someone could be inside or waiting for you, camping in the corner. Treat every entrance seriously, otherwise you could be on the receiving end of a shotgun pretty quickly. That’s also the beauty of PUBG, there is no point in sitting still. In fact, the game forces you to move into what’s known as the circle. If you are outside the circle on the map, you have 3 minutes to get to the circle or you will ultimately die. This is where it’s a good idea to run like the wind, or try and find a vehicle such as a jeep, buggy or motorcycle to help with the journey. You can have your team or squad join you as well for the journey which was cool. Once you make it to the circle, you can resume whatever strategy you think will help you survive till the end, but rest assured the circle continues to get smaller and smaller till it’s the size of a building and all hell breaks loose.
So far I must admit I haven’t been the last man standing, but I’ve come close at 7th place. Sometimes I’ve not fired a single shot as I lay in the grass, waiting and moving, whilst other times I’ve driven my jeep guns blazing and wreaking havoc on anyone in my path. Some times blind luck can get you to the coveted first place and that awesome chicken dinner, other times you can fall flat on your face, its so very unpredictable. Either way, its an absolute hoot that will have you coming back over and over again, trying to get to first place, trying all sorts of strategies, landing points, weapons and friends to help you get there. That’s what makes PUBG so much fun, its complete randomness in terms of its gameplay.
PUBG however as successful and as fun as it is does not escape a few issues that plague its early release on the Xbox One. The first issue and probably the biggest one affecting Australian gamers is the lack of dedicated servers for our region. So far only North American, Europe and Asia have servers to game on, with most of my game time being on the Asian servers, there was still noticeable lag. This lag can affect you in many ways, from the inability to pull off your shots in a firefight to having doors refuse to open due to lag as well. I found running was extremely painful as I would be continually reset and thrown back a few feet as the game reconfigured my position. All of these issues concerning lag meant that every time I died, it was not for a lack of skill, but was due to the lag that was present. The were huge amounts of lack combined with a drop-in system performance whilst in the lobby as well as the plane. Jumping out was ok, however landing again tended to be a bit sketchy as well, although I can live with those parts being compromised as its not part of the actual gameplay.
As PUBG is still in Game Preview I must mention these shortcomings so that you are aware of them when playing. Despite these issues, that hasn’t deterred any of the DJ team for playing PUBG over and over again, its that much fun. However, between now and the games official release one would hope for more dedicated servers and for some of the issues mentioned above to be ultimately rectified. PUBG is definitely a must play title even with some lag issues. I’ve spent near a week solid in the game preview and have had an absolute blast. I do recommend getting a squad together and working as a team, the game just becomes that every little bit more fun with friends. In short, grab PUBG and give it a go, its not completely polished but with regular updates and more things on offer, its flat out fun.
Thankyou to Microsoft and Xbox for providing a copy of PUBG for preview purposes.