I think it is safe to say that PlayerUnknown?s Battlegrounds has been a smash hit during its time as both a Early Access title and full release on the PC, so it?s probably not too surprising to see the game have a modicum of success on the Xbox One as well. Having spent a bit of time playing the game on Xbox One over the past few weeks, it?s easy to see why the game gets so much love from its fanbase. The 100 person battle royale formula makes for a tense, nail-biting experience unlike any other shooter on the market today. And while the Xbox One version of the game doesn?t compare as favorably to the PC version in a number of areas, I had a lot of fun with it despite a number of technical shortcomings.
This isn?t a review, per se, as the game is still in the Xbox Game Preview program and not fully finished. Yes, you?re paying money to play it still, but thankfully we know from the PC release that the game will see plenty of support from the developer in order to hit a full release status down the road. When that will happen, exactly, isn?t known at this point, but I would certainly expect to see the full release within a year. Just within the past three weeks PUBG has already seen a number of patches, clearing up or improving upon crashing issues, texture loading, and other problems. It still has a way to go, but progress is certainly being made early on.
Not familiar with PUBG? I?ll attempt to explain! PlayerUnknown?s Battlegrounds is a 100 person online multiplayer shooter, featuring third-person, and more recently, first-person modes. When you load into the game world you do so via an airplane flying over a fairly large island. From there you?ll tap a button to eject from the plane, and start your descent towards the island. As you approach ground you can release your parachute, and glide into the dangerous world below.
When landing, you?re generally going to want to do one thing, and do it quickly.
You?ll do this by exploring your surroundings, entering buildings, homes, shacks, or other structures. Most locations are multi-leveled, have multiple rooms to explore, and may contain a number of useful items. You?ll generally be looking for a backpack to expand your inventory, guns with which to kill opposing players, ammo for said guns, attachments, armor, and health items. You can also find random articles of clothing to change your look during the round, explosive items, smoke grenades, and more. That said, loot can often be scarce. You?ll have to visit multiple locations throughout the map to get fully equipped, and often enough you?ll end up meeting your demise before discovering higher-end items. Thankfully, you can also loot opposing players that have been slain, allowing you to quickly outfit yourself and fill in inventory gaps.
Of course, killing opposing players isn?t easy. The map is large, and it may take a number of minutes before you even encounter another player. Even then, getting the drop on them can be difficult, with a lot of environmental objects scattered about. Also, while fun to shoot, guns aren?t as precise as you might expect when dealing with a first-person or third-person shooter. That?s not to say the shooting is bad, but it feels a bit more realistic than most modern day shooters. Attachments and scopes will help things like sway, but bullet drop needs to be accounted for in long-range encounters. However, if you can land a few good shots, most encounters are over quickly.
Where PUBG manages to ramp up the tension is by limiting the map space over time. Every few minutes or so there is a circle on the map that will slowly start to constrict. If you?re caught outside the circle, your health will automatically start to deplete. This isn?t the end of the world early on in a round, you can generally haul yourself inside the circle and still survive. But as a match progresses and the window of time before the circle shrinks begins to decrease, the damage effect becomes more catastrophic. This all builds up to a satisfying and harrowing encounter between multiple players in a small space, all of whom are vying for that coveted ?Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner? for being the only player left alive.
So, in PUBG?s current state on the Xbox One I?d say it can be a little rough. Texture loading is still an issue here and there, the framerate is a little spotty, and you?ll still encounter a fair number of bugs. These can be a little frustrating, but in my time with the game I?ve had a lot of fun despite those issues, and I think most people will too. Just be aware, as the whole Game Preview status implies, that this is not quite a finished game. If you keep that in mind, I think you?ll really enjoy PlayerUnknown?s Battlegrounds too.