Battle Royale Games
Battle Royale games are widely common these days with many gaming companies attempting to grasp the concept of survival games. Battle Royale games essentially are survival games with every player competing against all other players. What makes these kinds of games unique is that you need to survive against other players until the last man stands. No AI, nothing fancy here just straight up intense PvP gameplay.
The game that has managed to innovate and deliver a fresh and unique experience in the battle royale series of games is Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds. Created by a company named Bluehole and produced by the pioneer of the popular “H1Z1 King of the Kill” and the battle royale mode of “ARMA 3”, Brendan Greene Playerunknown’s battlegrounds or alternatively, known as PUBG has taken the concept of battle royale games and added a new flavor to it, skyrocketing the number of players playing it. PUBG has reached more than 1,5 million players at peak. It only falls short to CS: GO in total numbers of players, which is impressive considering that CS: GO was released back in 2012.
So, what makes Playerunknown’s battlegrounds so unique and why is it considered the best battle royale game?
Concept and Story
Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds or PUBG does exactly what its title suggests fetching one unknown player against another on a specific map. The first time you log into the game, you are prompted to choose a character (either male or female) and then customize your character. Customization options are quite limited and while this can be justified by the fact that the game is still in Beta stage, it would be nice to have more options in that field.
After you are done with customizing your character you join a server and get redirected to an area with all the other players waiting for 1 minute before the actual round starts. In this one minute, you can freely shoot other players, punch them or pick up grenades and weapons and practice your aiming ability. Note that you can not kill any player in that phase of the game. Up to 100 players can join a single round.
After the minute is up you find yourself on an airplane flying over an island called Erangel, an abandoned island controlled by the Russian military. Bluehole has stated that the island’s location and name are totally fictional and any resemblance to actual places or names is coincidental. Everything related to this game is purely fictional.
Your mission is to survive on the island against your opponents. This sounds easier than it actually is because you can not see other players’ location on the map not even after engaging with them. After playing multiple rounds you realize that every round is different. You may find yourself getting through easily and reach the top 30 without problems or get killed in an instant by a headshot. Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds in intense, fun and engaging.
The idea behind the gameplay is pretty simple and fast-forward. After being thrown onto the island with only a parachute and clothes (although this is optional too except for the underwear of course) you are supposed to pick up gear in the form of weapons, clothes, backpacks, police vests and helmets as well as things that will increase your health like painkillers, first-aid kits bandages and energy drinks. It is very important to pick up gear fast as you may land with a bunch of other players on a certain area of the map.
You can choose when to jump off the plane. There are two options available:
- You either jump quickly to hit the ground fast in order to get an advantage over your opponent or
- You wait a while until you reach a more remote area where you can pick up gear more freely without having to worry about getting shot quickly.
It is totally up to you but if you are new to the game, I recommend you go with the second option to get accustomed to the game’s mechanics and feel.
Now, onto the interesting part of the game:
The time you land on the ground you have to get to a specific area of the map marked by a huge white circle. The game will tell you how much time you have until you must reach the area. On the right down bottom, you have a small map which gives you a narrow perspective of where you are. By clicking “M” you can open the whole map and see how far away you are from the white circle. You may be lucky and already be inside the circle or you may have chosen to land on the other side of the map. In this case, it is important to pick up your gear and move to that direction.
If you happen to not be in the marked area, a blue circle will enclose you causing you to lose health. In the beginning phases of the game, the health loss is minimal but as the white circle narrows health loss gets more intense. The game ends up being narrowed down to a small fraction of the map with the remaining players fighting for their lives and determining the winner of the round.
The game may start without much action at times (although this depends as each round can turn out differently) but as you progress through it will get pretty intense gradually. If you happen to be in the last 20 survivors, you are up for quite a few surprises not realizing where the headshot that killed you came from.
Gear, items, and clothes are scattered across the island and you have to pick it up entering buildings and houses. By picking up a gun quickly once landed you have a tactical advantage over your enemy and, therefore, can take him out easier. It is not a good idea going after an enemy with bare fists especially if he happens to have a gun.
As you wander through the map you may find different types of weapons and you can carry up to 3 weapons at a time. Weapons include:
- Tommy Gun
- Frying Pan ( Yes, you can hit your enemy with a frying pan and it is quite effective actually)
You can add specific mods to every gun, which are able to improve the accuracy or damage effect of the weapon itself. If you have a sniper rifle, for example, you will want to find an 8xscope (if you are lucky) to take out enemies from a distance. For assault rifles, it is recommended to attach compensators, suppressors and flash hiders. Compensators inflict a great deal of damage to your opponent while suppressors stabilize the recoil making aiming easier. Flash hiders give you the ability to hide gunfire and they have almost the same effect as compensators at inflicting damage.
There are many more attachment options for your guns which give you a tactical advantage over your enemy. Going through all of them would be a long process. Hopefully, I gave you a good overview of how the gunplay works in Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds.
It is important to look for painkillers, first aid kits, bandages, and energy drinks while searching buildings. Getting shot is quite common and you want to refill your health. Moreover, if you are far away from the white circle and you run to get to a specific area of the map, isn’t it a shame if you finally made it only to get killed by low health? Refilling your health is, therefore, crucial. Energy drinks, apart from the rest, fill up your energy levels instead of your health. Energy levels decrease if you run for an extended period of time.
Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds does not offer anything spectacular on the graphical end but looks quite decent considering the fact that it is is still in Beta since its release back in March 2017. On Ultra and High settings the game looks acceptable with trees, water, and buildings looking how they are supposed to look. However, once you turn settings down, which you will unless you have a very powerful Pc, the graphics are mediocre at best especially if you are used to playing 3xA titles like Battlefield 1 or Ghost Recon Wildlands.
If you happen to have a decent Pc you can tweak the graphical settings to find the right balance between performance and visuals.
To make things easier for you, I will provide you with a quick guide on how to configure the graphics options to optimize performance and visuals. Note that these are totally optional and I am only giving you my recommendations. If you have an older computer, ignore this and turn everything to Low.
To be able to configure the graphical settings head over to Settings<Graphics.
- Anti-Aliasing: UltraAnti-Aliasing has a very small effect on performance when turned from Very Low to Ultra and improves visuals by refining the flickering edges of objects in-game. Turning this to Very Low will have a huge effect on visuals.
- Post-Process Quality: Very Low
Post Process Quality improves the visuals of explosions and other effects in the game. Not really needed unless you can afford it graphically. Turning this to Very Low will improve performance significantly while not worsening visuals.
- Shadows: Medium
Shadows have a huge impact on the game’s performance. From Very Low to Medium the difference is rather small while from High to Ultra the impact is huge. You want Shadows on Medium to be able to see your opponent’s shadow and turning it to Medium will help you take them out more easily, while still getting a decent framerate.
- Textures: Ultra
You want textures on Ultra if you want a game that does not look like it was produced in the 90s. Textures are the most significant graphical setting which will make the game look decent at least. The performance cost is not big and having it on Ultra will make the game look graphically bearable.
- Effects: Very Low
Effects have a huge impact on the performance of the game and visually they do not add something special to the game. Very Low is your best option here.
- Foliage: Ultra
Foliage enhances the grass in the game making it look taller and denser. Graphically the game looks better with it while it does not decrease performance much. Many people suggest setting Foliage to Very Low in order for you to see your enemies easier, as they can not hide in the grass, but, from personal experience, I have not seen a difference in my gaming experience by setting it to Very Low.
- View Distance: Ultra
View Distance determines how far away an object or person is being rendered. Turning this to Ultra will ensure that you see your enemies from a greater distance. Graphically, View Distance is not demanding, so do not be worried about setting it to Ultra.
- Motion Blur: Off
Turn Motion Blur off unless you want to see blurred images. Motion Blur should always be turned off in Pc games because of high framerates.
- VSync: Off
Unless you want to limit your framerate to 30 or 60 fps.
Optimization and Smoothness
Optimization is the worst aspect of Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds. The game runs inconsistently even on high-end systems. The only chance you have of running this game on Ultra on 1920×1080 at an almost consistent 60 fps is with a Gtx 1080. For 2560×1440 you need a Gtx 1080Ti, to run a smooth 60 fps. Still being in beta stages is the obvious reason for these terrible framerates and Bluehole recently addressed the issue by improving performance on Low-End Pcs, but the optimization and smoothness of the game are still abysmal. Edges flick consistently, objects continuously pop up out of nowhere and are taking a lot of time to load, and moving around creates lots of stutters. Even on a Free-Sync monitor, the glitches and optimization issues are apparent. Hopefully, Bluehole will improve the smoothness and on optimization of the game once it is fully released.
Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds is an innovative and fun-to-play game with lots of things to do. Once you get into the game you will find yourself playing one round after another while fighting against other players in specific areas of the map. There is a reason why PUBG has been picked up by so many players and is being players by almost a million players around the world daily. If it was not for the bad graphics, optimization and the fact that it is still in beta after 6 months this would get easily a 9/10 due to its concept and intense gameplay.
To sum things up:
- Intense Gameplay
- Great Concept
- Amazing PvP combat
- Fun Factor
- Mediocre graphics even on Ultra Settings
- Bad Optimization
- Still in Development Stages (Beta)
- Limited Customization Options
I hope that you found my review useful. If you like the game leave me a comment below and tell me your opinion of it. Do you think that the game is worth its money?