PUBG arrives on Xbox One
No game in 2017 was bigger than PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, known by its community as PUBG. More than 25 million copies sold in nine months, and exceeding three million concurrent players at its peak. To say PUBG is huge might just be the biggest understatement of the year. It’s more like a gaming revolution.
Microsoft scored a massive coup at E3 2017 when Brendan Greene—PlayerUnknown himself—announced PUBG as an Xbox console exclusive. The game has now arrived as part of Xbox’s early access Game Preview program. What is Game Preview you ask? It essentially means the game is still in development, but it’s playable enough for release. Think of it like an ongoing beta that will evolve and improve over time.
Curious to know more about PUBG and how it performs on Xbox One? Let’s take a closer look!
You vs. 99 opponents
The concept behind PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds sounds incredibly simple: 100 players drop onto an island and last person standing wins. In practice though it’s one of the most strategic shooters in existence; no doubt why millions of gamers love it.
All matches begin with 100 players packed into a cargo plane that flies end-to-end over the map’s surface. Possibly the most crucial decision you have to make is where to land on this gargantuan 8km x 8km map.
If you jump early, you’ll likely to land in congested zones filled with trigger-happy players eager to kick-start the action. Alternatively, the middle zone contains many cities to loot, but is often the focal point for intense gun battles. The safest bet, generally, is to drop last and scavenge what you can around the map’s perimeter. However, in this game “safe” doesn’t necessarily reflect the best strategy.
Beware the shrinking force-field
To ensure the action never slows down, PUBG employs a circular force-field that gradually reduces the playable zone over time. Every few minutes the timer will tick down to zero, forcing players closer together and heating up the battle.
To keep you abreast of the carnage around you, a real-time counter shows how many of the 100 players remain alive. If you’re skilled (and lucky enough) to make it into the Top 25, the intensity ramps up fast. Enter the Top 10 and be ready to feel your heart pounding while your palms get a little sweaty. When I say matches can get real intense real fast, I mean it. That’s the beauty of this game.
Loot to survive
PUBG‘s map is essentially two forested islands scattered with numerous landmarks like residential cities, abandoned military bases, and an underground bunker. Inside buildings you’ll find randomly dispersed weapons, weapon mods, and healing items essential for survival. Since item placement is randomized, luck does creep its way into every map. That’s not exactly a bad thing though as having a lucky match is all part of the fun.
What you can be mostly assured of is finding some kind of weapon in each building. It could be a basic handgun, a high-powered Scar-L Assault Rifle, or a good ol’ frying pan. The initial item drop quantity is very generous so it’s not difficult to secure weapons. The challenge is discovering the best weapons.
Getting that chicken dinner
PUBG is well known for its comedic “Winner, winner, chicken dinner!” victory slogan after getting 1st place in a match. The question that often comes up though is: “how do you obtain that coveted chicken dinner?” It’s a question with a virtually unlimited set of answers. That again is another reason why this game is so darn popular.
You see, PUBG caters to all different playstyles, and no one playstyle is inherently better or worse than others. One tactic is to go all-out assault, hunting enemies down one by one and looting their bodies as you go. Another could be stealthily hanging around the perimeter the whole time and picking off stragglers as they rush in. Or you could drop in the map centre, the hole up in a room and wait until the pack thins out. All three are viable options for claiming that last-person-standing chicken dinner.
Toss some unpredictability into the mix
Skill goes a long way towards victory in PUBG, but sometimes you’ve just got to get lucky too. For example, you may get lucky and parachute smack dab into the centre of the safe zone. When the opposite happens—i.e. dropping far from the safe zone—it means you’ll have lots of moving to do. And, you’ll be running straight into the zone where others are likely camping to ping you off.
There are other random factors to watch out for too. Every now and then planes will fly overhead and bomb red danger zones. Supply crates can also parachute from the sky, loading whoever opens them up with rare, powerful items and weapons. Unpredictable factors such as these keep the action emergent and exciting at all time. If there’s one thing PUBG excels at, it’s keeping your adrenaline pumping the whole match.
Xbox One port
If it’s not abundantly clear by now, my overall opinion of PUBG as a game is awesome. The million dollar question though is how does the Xbox One version stack up compared to its PC counterpart? In short, it’s pretty rough but still playable and very fun.
It’s worth noting too that the PC version has never been impressive technically. The visuals are fine, but clearly outdated, and the gameplay is clunky at times. On Xbox One the performance is noticeably worse with faults like pop-up, slow down, and poor framerates plaguing the game. Xbox One X improves the performance, but only by a small margin.
Here’s the bottom line though: despite the technical hiccups, PUGB is still very enjoyable to play on Xbox One. Also keep in mind it’s in Game Preview, meaning the game is very much a work-in-progress. Mere days after release and developer Bluehole was already patching and updating the game. Performance continues to get better since the December 12th launch, and will keep on getting better into 2018.
Keep you eye out on the Plug-In Blog for more updates on PUBG in the future. And hopefully, I’ll see you out on the battlefield!