No doubt you’ve played, seen, or at least heard of the sensation that is PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. It’s creator, Brendan Greene, has been working towards this game for a very long time. All the way back in 2012 he started down the Battle Royale road with various mods. Now, the “Land, loot, kill, win” genre is growing at an astounding pace, with PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (sometimes known as PUBG) leading the charge.

Origins

PUBG takes its origins from the movie Battle Royale,  a Japanese film which showcased high school students pitted against each other for survival. Brenden started modding similar game types into the Arma games and eventually worked with H1Z1 to put forth King of the Kill. From here, he branched out and partnered with Bluehole from Korea. Together, the created what we play today as Battlegrounds, and prefixed it with the creator’s gaming name Playerunknown.

Back in the beginning of 2017, the game was first starting to really make waves with some streamers. From there, it gained interest and was available as pre-release up until the full release December 20, 2017. At that point, it released with two maps, several guns, and dozens of items, each which have some impact on the game. It’s undergone several bug fixes, gameplay changes, and even gotten a new map since then. Now those things are ‘official’, and the full 1.0 release is out, these assets and tweaks are obvious in that they aren’t. Bullet drop seems logical, vehicles seem to work pretty well the vast majority of the time, and player movement is solid and without issue both for the player and the enemies. Unfortunately, games don’t always feel solid and stable on launch, but PUBG sticks the landing like an Olympian.

Stable and Ready for Launch

With solid gameplay and basis for the rest of the game, the momentum can take root and really gets moving. While it has some flaws, the launch went off pretty well on PC, with gameplay feeling refined and without issue. Since launch, there haven’t been any major issues either which is something to say considering a lot of games release with the need for massive patching immediately.

Should you be playing alone, and want to pair up with randoms, PUBG has the same issue as every other online multiplayer. The community isn’t always the greatest. While this isn’t inherently PUBG’s fault, they really seem to have dropped the ball when it comes to mitigating and providing a solution for it. Currently, there seems to be a lot of people from other regions playing on servers far from their origin. This means two things. One, the ping of their connection is much higher and can add upwards of a quarter of a second to their reaction time over you. Additionally, and most importantly when it comes to pairing up, they may not speak the same language. In a game like this where communication is important, having a partner not even speak your language is debilitating. Instead, players who want to team up are reliant upon pure luck, or 3rd party matching solutions.

Keep Aware

Countless times I’ve heard a military movie use the phrase “Keep your head on a swivel”, and no game type exemplifies this more than a Battle Royale game. While not trying to be exactly a real-life military simulator like ArmaPUBG does try to have a good amount of realism. The threat of the enemy is always there, and no way can you know exactly what is going on everywhere, and where the enemy would be coming from. Keep aware of your surroundings, including sight and sound. Gunshots crack and echo but always come from the direction they were fired. If you hear a shot behind you, you can be guaranteed that the enemy is there, and by the loudness of the shot, you can tell about how far.

The other critical observation comes from sight. While there is ample cover around, objects and terrain are very useful for isolating enemy silhouettes in the distance. Seeing a fleck of movement in the distance is available, allowing an observant player to spot enemies. They key to this becomes the word ‘observant’ however. Especially in the original map, the forest and grass-covered Erengel, there is a lot of options for people to hide in small places and corners, as well blending into the ground. Looking out for players prone in the tall grass is important, but sometimes this can be compromised. Unfortunately, in order to reduce the load on lower performance computers, it is possible to turn off small textures such as the grass. By removing the grass, it does increase performance and allow more people to play, it also allows some nefarious use. If users of any performance spec opt, they can reduce textures and expose players attempting to use grass for cover at a distance from the player.

Have Fun while Dying Again and Again

When you do inevitably die, which will happen quite a bit, perhaps one of the most refreshing pieces of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is the speed to get right back in the queue and play again. From death to flying in on a parachute again can take as low as 3 minutes. There is no need for the roughly half hour of a full game to complete before leaving and getting into another instance to try your luck again. This mechanic isn’t very common, and most notably exists in World of Tanks. It adds an immense level of fun to the game, allowing for literally every type of execution to be tried and tried again. If your desire is to drop, land in a highly contested area, get as many kills as possible before you die, you can. If you prefer to land solo and loot, playing the long game, you can too. Searching for a server is almost instant, and finding all 100 people for a game takes maybe a minute.

No Help Here

As much fun as the game is, don’t expect a single bit of help or hint. As you spawn in, there is nothing except the controls menu to tell you how to play. While this is intentional, it does make for a very rough entrance for new players. Depending on your viewpoint, this could be a selling point or a detraction. This means that every single round is built upon your experience in the previous one, and those that pay attention and learn well are the ones who progress and inch their way close to victory and earning the “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner” screen taken from the Blackjack table. This ends up being a lot more fitting than one might initially realize, as just like Blackjack, a thinking player can edge the odds in their favor. In Blackjack, one must count cards to have the edge. In PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, things like spawn rates of high-end gear, drop rates of particular guns, knowledge of how to cook a grenade or change a zero distance on a scope, and many other things can edge the odds toward you. Even if you are an expert, don’t get too cocky, as some random player could come out of nowhere and ruin your day with a few well-placed shots while you are off your guard. All this together doesn’t make the game worse, but definitely makes it more of a challenge.

Winner Winner

Everyone you come in contact with who has played at least one game of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds will have a different suggestion and recipe for a win. Some will go all out and be extremely aggressive, hoping to force the enemy to make a critical mistake. Others will want to wait and let the different groups fight it out and then swoop in to finish off the victor while they’re wounded. Either way, the player will always win when it comes to the structure of the game overall. Yeah, that’s a bit cliche’d, but it’s true. The game is just solid all around. It’s difficult to play just one round, with the swiftness of death, as well as rebirth in a new lobby, it’s simple to enter into a several hour long session without realizing it. Minimal issues combined with a location, situation, and player dynamic that is always changing keeps the game fresh and fun even with the limited map selection of 2 at launch.

 

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds Review
The Good
  • Solid Gameplay
  • Rapid Re-Queue
  • Massive Replayability
The Bad
  • Limited Instructions
  • Lacking Loot Controls
9Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
0.0

About The Author

Bobby C
Director, Editorial/Reviews

Bobby C is a veteran FPS and adventure gamer, starting with the NES and Super Mario Bros. The game that really started his love for the FPS Genre was Goldeneye for the N64. Since then, the love grew. From casual, to semi-pro COD with Modern Warfare 2 and 3, and back to casual, it’s a bad week when there isn’t at least 15 hours of games played.