This is the written form of my review. For the video form you can go HERE.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds made its debut on consoles when it launched into the Xbox Game Preview Program earlier this month. I do not play PC games so I was one of the people that had to wait to give the game a try. Before this my only experience with a Battle Royale mode was Fortnite. I also want to note that I play on a Day One model Xbox One.
PUBG has been one of the most talked about games of 2017. That being said I went into the game with an indecisive attitude. On one hand, you always want to try the game that everybody is talking about, but on the other I burnt myself out on military shooters within the last decade between Call of Duty and Battlefield, and was not looking forward to another game with that kind of aesthetic to it. Fortnite on the other hand has a cartoony feel to it, that kind of aesthetic draws me in. I was surprised to find that I actually enjoyed PUBG more than I did Fortnite.
For anyone just coming out from under your rock, PUBG is a Battle Royale game. That means 100 people drop out of a plane into a wide world where they must scavenge weapons, armor, and health supplies to outlive the other combatants. The twist on the game is as the game goes longer, an electrified dome closes in faster and faster forcing the players to gather into a singular area.
Let’s get this out of the way: PUBG is in the Preview Program. It is not a finished game by any means and it shows big time. The game runs about as well as your obese, alcoholic uncle on Thanksgiving Day. The frame rate at times drops so terribly, especially when first getting into the game. To compensate for the amount of area the game has to load when your in the sky, the game has some very low res textures on the ground. So much so that you could think you are jumping into a game from the last generation, but with worse frame rate. The lag at moments when on the ground is just stupid. There are plenty of instances where you will have to open the same door about five times for it to register. I also should mention me and my friend had been kicked out of a game multiple times during our time playing.
I was happy to find out that while there are a lot of military items in the game, the game does not have a ton of that military attitude to it. In fact, there are a lot of times the game feels emptier than I thought it would. Despite the fact that there are 99 other people in the same world as you at the start of the match, you can go very long times without encountering other players, but then again there are matches where you land in the same area and are knocked out within seconds of touching the ground.
Those moments of encountering other players are the main appeal of PUBG. No matter what your loadout is looking like, getting into a gunfight with another player is one of the most intense situations in video games right now. That being said, the controls of the game on Xbox One are terrible right now. Yes, I hear all of you PUBG and PC fanboys, it is difficult to put that many controls on a controller with a limited number of buttons to input, but anyone jumping into this game from another shooter is sure to be scratching their head when trying to figure out how to do the simplest things like healing yourself, reloading, or aiming the way you want to. Also. the absence of aim assist in the game is one of biggest oversights I have seen this year (though I am sure it will come sooner or later). Scavenging items off of an enemy you just defeated is probably the biggest offender of the controls being bad.
When a player dies, a crate holding all of their items falls onto the ground near them. Depending on the player and their success of that match, they could have dozens of items on them that you are forced to click through, all of them in no particular order. There is no sorting by weapons or armor, and remembering the right button to press to just pick up an item, equip it, or attach to a weapon is tiresome and takes so long. You could spend upwards of a full 60 seconds standing in the open for others to shoot you while you are just trying to get items.
One of the most noticeable differences between PUBG and Fortnite I found is the vehicles. In PUBG, there are plenty of broken down vehicles, but there is a chance you can find one to drive around. I feel the game hits the right amount of vehicles needed in a match. I feel they are scarce enough that there won’t be many vehicle wars and plenty enough that you should have a good chance of being able to stay within the safe zone should you get lucky. I have witnessed moments where the electric field caught up to me and killed me because there was no way I could outrun it, and times where I was saved because I luckily did have a car. Anyone looking to get in a car, be sure to have caution. They are extremely loud and do run out of gas. While it is difficult to shoot anything in the game let alone someone in a moving vehicle, it can be done and your only defense will be trying to run the shooter over or driving away.
Before jumping into a game, PUBG allows you to choose from playing solo, duo, or in a squad of four people. Personally, playing solo was just okay for me. There are a ton of tense moments, but most of the time I was running into enemies before I had a chance to even get a weapon so death came for me plenty of times. Maybe if I gave it more time I could get into it more, but I enjoyed playing duo with a friend the most. While playing duo me and my friend were able to make call outs and witness those insane PUBG moments that really make this game as enjoyable as it is. If you have three friends to play squad with, I am sure that would be great too, but I had a team of two others that I knew and one random that most of the time would go off on their own and die right away, leaving the rest of us at a distinct disadvantage.
In the end, I had a great time playing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. In fact, I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would coming into December and I plan on putting more time into it as the game grows. However, it is very hard to ignore the problems with the game as it is now. Strange controls, lag and ugly textures, being dropped from the game and no aim assist while using a controller on a console are some big issues the game has right now. That being said, the game just came to Preview which means there will be updates and improvements, some probably very soon. I think there is no question that in the future this is going to be a must buy for people who love online multiplayer experiences because there is nothing else like the feeling of an encounter in PUBG, I am just not sure at the moment that it is worth the money. Anyone looking to pay now are certainly investing for the future.
A heart-pounding experience riddled with performance issues
Gameplay - 9/10
Design - 3/10
Controls - 5/10
Overall, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is a very fun experience at times. Anyone that can look past the performance issues and doesn't mind playing an unfinished game, go ahead and shell out the $30. Anyone who wants a clean experience, you might want to wait awhile before grabbing this.