From the beginning:
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (Pubg) was originally a Mod for Day Z, made by Brendan Greene. It then became wildly popular in its early access in the PC version on Steam. When released, it’s popularity only grew due to its individuality in gameplay in comparison to other popular shooters. Pubg’s massive popularity gave birth to the ‘battle royale’ genre that is dominating 2018. This gave birth to other battle royale games such as Radical Heights and the highly acclaimed Fortnight. Microsoft announced Pubg would come out to the Xbox one as part of a preview, and as an Xbox exclusive.
Pubg is strictly multiplayer based, only offering its battle royale game mode. This mode is essentially 100 players spawning with nothing over a massive island with many different terrains and having to scavenge for supplies to better combat other players in an enclosing map. In a more technical way, there are six major defining characteristics that define Pubg: the deployment, combat system, weapons, items, vehicles, map, and circle.
The deployment has players jump from a plane. This is significant because the plane only flies over the map once in a linear motion. Despite the entirety of the map being visible, the limitations of the player’s range of gliding limits where they can land. This decreases the chances of solo landings, and instead increases player interaction. Another form of deployment is the care packages that randomly spawn over the map. These packages have loot of immense value, often not found anywhere else. These packages allow for players feeling lucky enough to rush towards them, usually resulting in more player interaction.
The combat system in Pubg is super skill intensive. Because of its controller adaptation of a PC interface, the layout is a little janky. While the basics of shooting, movement, and combat stance are very fluid, others — like changing grenades or adjusting weapon attachments — are awkward. They become so nondiegetic they often ruin intense moments and separate the player from the game as a whole. Other mechanics that greatly influence the gameplay is the leaning mechanic that allows for players to peek around corners. This mechanic in particular adds to the intensity of the gameplay due to the importance of having and using cover. It also makes clearing buildings more intensive due to the hyper realism affect.
The various weapon types, attachments, and ammo scattered throughout the map further add to the intensity. There are several weapon types, each with their own defining characteristics and variations. Each weapon has a specific ammo type and attachments that can be equipped or applied. While a player may find an effective weapon, they may not find the right attachments or ammo, rendering their treasure to be useless. Because the game is so choice focused, this only further emphasizes the need for exploration in order to utilize this weapon, advancing the sense of survival. These choices can greatly affect the gameplay because it affects how the player is able to customize their loadout, which greatly affect the end result.
In addition to finding weapons, finding other items can be essential to the battlefield. These can include healing objects, throwable items such as grenades, and more. Possibly just as important to finding a weapon, if not more so, is finding a backpack. This gives the player more inventory space, and being without inventory space can be very limiting. There are levels of rarity to these backpacks (1-3), the higher the level, the more difficult it is to find. The same concept applies for extending a player’s life total. There are vests and helmets, each have a level of protection that increases with the level’s rarity. Other items such as gas cans, weapon attachments, and clothes also litter the map, each with its own value depending on the player’s needs and preferences.
The vehicles that scatter the map come in various shapes and sizes, each with their own advantages and limitations. The characteristics that define the vehicle are its carrying capacity, armor, visibility, and speed. Some vehicles can carry only two people, others can carry five. Depending of the mode chosen, this can be either a blessing or a burden. Finding a vehicle that can only carry three people when a squad of four approaches it can lead to some tragic complications. While other vehicles may have armor, they often lack speed, or vice versa. Depending on your deployment and your destination, a vehicle can literally be the difference between life and death.
One thing that is a shining difference to Pubg on PC, is that the Xbox version only holds one map. This map is wonderfully huge, and no two areas play the same. This will range from small cities with intense door-to-door close combat to vast open grasslands ripe for sniping. Each of these places, especially those labeled on the map, have a certain amount of items that can possibly spawn. Weapons and items are found all over the map, but are more prominent in the areas that are labeled. This draws players into these areas, causing more intensive and strategic deployments.
The last of the defining characteristics is the enclosing circle. It is one of the most essential mechanics in Pubg. Because the map is so massive and yearns for exploration, there needs to be a way to force player interaction to progress the game. The circle does this by giving protection from the constant damage outside of it while it decreases in size. Despite the circle’s nonsensical, narrative reasoning in the game, it does fulfill its purpose and forcing player interaction.
The Experience of Pubg:
Pubg can be experienced with in several different modes, with options like: solo, duos, squad (four people max), and other renditions of these — i.e. solo vs. squad. These all affect the experience in different, fun, ways; giving the player a choice in their preference of play. Regardless if you die early or get that delicious chicken dinner, you’ll still want to play more. Often you will find yourself saying things like “I can’t end on a game this bad,” or “I’m on a hot streak, I can’t let this slip up.” Regardless of mode, Pubg leaves every player wanting another round.
Each combat is very intensive, because it can come from anywhere, at any time. The different textures and structures on the map only increase the anxiety felt. This is because the circle’s pressure and forced movement can reveal a new enemy or complication. While the game rewards aggressive players, promising better loot or a high kill count, it also punishes risky players.
While the game functions well enough, often glitches or rubberbanding problems ensue. This can be incredibly unfortunate since each second in game can be the difference between death and a chicken dinner. It isn’t a huge problem late game, but early on, often the map will not have loaded, causing players to get stuck in walls, stairways, or among other miscellaneous perils. Combat is greatly affected if a weapon loads a second too late or if the player rubber bands out of your sight. Despite these glitches, the game is still playable. With problems like this occurring this late after its release, players have to adapt. Adapting to this is no different than adapting to the battlefield. It’s another (unwanted) mechanic that adds to the overall intensity of landing.
Pubg on the Xbox is an incredibly skill-intensive battle royale game. For those looking for an skill-intensive adrenaline rush, Pubg delivers perfection. While it still gives the excellent gameplay and awe of Pubg, it often disappoints due to the buggy interface. Although it is still notable that this is specifically a game ‘preview,’ not a full game. The game is fully released on PC, and is highly acclaimed. Xbox still has a lot to work on, but also a lot to look forward to. With the promise of the desert map later this month, and constant updates attempting to further improve the interface, Pubg on Xbox looks very promising. For its price of thirty dollars, the investment is a little steep, however I believe it is worth the investment. With the PC version as a model, Pubg on Xbox is like chicken dinner: delicious, but slow cooked.