PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, dubbed as PUBG, is a new online multiplayer battle royale video game that has rapidly gained popularity ever since its early access was made available on the Steam online store back in March. Although the game has been developed and published by Bluehole, the creative director and designer of the game is Brendan Greene, also known as PlayerUnknown. In just over 5 months, the publisher has managed to sell over 10 million copies of the game, which is exceptional considering the fact that the game is still in early access. Recently, the game managed to exceed the landmark of 1 million concurrent players, beating the likes of some of the hugely popular video games like DOTA 2 and Counter Strike: Global Offensive.
So, you might be thinking what makes PUBG so special, right? Well, that’s exactly what we’re going to discuss in detail today. With over 700 hours of experience that I personally have on PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, I guess it’s time to give you guys a detailed outlook of the game. So, if you’re considering purchasing the title, you might be interested in reading others’ opinions before you actually decide to add it to your cart. Well, without further ado, let’s take a look at the in-depth review of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds:
Let’s start things off with PUBG’s gameplay. To keep things simple, I’ll just briefly describe how every single game will be. Once you connect to a server in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, you’ll be taken to a place which is known as the “Spawn island” where you’ll be waiting for a short duration for the server to fill up with nearly 100 players. Once it’s filled, a 60-second countdown timer will show up on the screen that lets you know exactly when the match is going to start. Here in the spawn island, all the players keep playing around and have fun till the match starts. You could also communicate with other players using the in-game voice chat, which is something I find myself using all the time.
When the match begins, all the players will be transported in a plane across the huge map that’s 8 x 8 kilometers in sheer size. Players have the freedom to choose where they want to jump off the plane, and once they land, they need to find and loot items to stay alive. These include weapons, armor and medications, that’s extremely useful when you engage into a fight with one of the 99 other players in your server. It’s worth noting that these items are randomly spawned across the map in buildings, shacks and ruins. You wont find weapons in an open area, unless there’s a crate of a dead player. In order to get access to elite weapons, players have to hunt and loot the airdrops that occur multiple times at random positions in a map. I personally feel like the developers have done a brilliant job in this regard, forcing players to do something out of the ordinary to get access to some of the best weapons in the game.
Now, let’s move on to one of the most important aspects of the game, which is the circle. Just like me, the developers clearly doesn’t want players to stay at one location throughout the whole match, and therefore, they’ve implemented two circles into the game. The primary circle, called the white circle shows the safe zone on the map that you have to proceed to. After a short while, another circle known as the blue ring starts closing in, and meets the white circle. This blue ring is an electric field that will slowly inflict damage, thereby reducing your overall health over time, as long as you’re outside this ring. Once this ring meets the white circle, safe zone reduces in size and the white circle will cover a significantly lesser area. As a result, players are forced to get inside the safe area, in order to avoid getting damaged by the electric field.
In order to get your “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner”, you have to survive a total of 8 white circles, before the game comes to a conclusion after lasting for approximately 35 minutes. As you proceed further into the match, the damage inflicted by the subsequent blue circles will be significantly higher, which can determine the outcome of your match. So, our first tip would be, to stay inside the circle as much as possible and maintain your health for enemy encounters. Players can take advantage of the vehicles that spawn randomly across the map, to get inside the safe zone as fast as possible.
In addition to the white and blue circles, there’s another area known as the temporary “red zone” that will be indicated randomly on the map at random time intervals. Here, bombs will be dropped constantly at multiple positions of the red zones for a short duration, say 20 seconds to force stationary players to keep moving. If you’re hit by a bomb in the red zone, it’s a one-hit kill almost everytime, but you can avoid this as long as you’re inside a building and staying away from all the doors and windows.
We do understand every player has a unique play style. Some might want to play safe by avoiding enemy encounters, saving all that firepower for the last circle, in order to win the match. Others might want to follow an aggressive playstyle, and go all guns blazing against most of the enemies they see, to get as many kills as possible, before proceeding to win the chicken dinner. In addition to this, there might be some other people who want to play in a tactical way and make sure they’re one step ahead before they engage the opponent. Likewise, there are similar other ways that you can play this game, and this is one of the beautiful aspects of Battlegrounds.
Speaking about playstyles, if you’re planning to land in a crowded area to get some satisfying kills, you need to make sure that you dive and land as fast as possible, so that you’re one step ahead of your enemies, when it comes to picking up the weapons and start shooting right away. That way, you can even surprise them and finish them off, before they even get a chance to pick up a gun. However, if you want to find all the good items peacefully without finding an enemy nearby, you need to make sure that you land somewhere far away from the plane’s trajectory. This is done by deploying the parachute as early as possible so that you glide far across the map.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds offer three different game modes, which can be played in either third-person or first-person-perspective as of this writing, so let’s take a look at all of them:
In this mode, you’ll be competing against nearly 99 other individual players in your server for the victory also known as “Chicken Dinner”. As the name suggests, you’ll be playing all alone, with no one to give you back up. Every single opponent that you engage and kill, will be instant death for them, and they’ll have to start a whole new match again if they wish to keep playing the game. This is the best mode to judge a player’s actual ability and skills in this game.
If you have a friend who owns Battlegrounds, you can team up with him/her and compete against approximately 45-50 other pairs of people to become last-duo standing in the round. One stark difference between a Duo and a Solo match is the fact that you can’t be instantly killed as long as your partner is still alive. Once your health depletes to zero as a result of engaging enemies, you’ll be in a knocked out state for a temporary duration, from which you can be revived by your partner. You could also die after a short while, if your partner doesn’t revive you soon enough. For the enemies to completely kill you, they’ll have to take a few more shots and completely deplete your health bar while you’re in the knocked out state. This is pretty much like a second chance for you to survive in the game. You can get knocked out and be revived multiple times, but you need to keep in mind that the duration of the knocked out state will drastically reduce for every subsequent knockout.
If you have plenty of friends to play the game with, you can create a 4-man squad to compete against approximately 26 to 32 other squads in the same server to be the last-squad standing. It’s quite similar to the Duo mode where you can get knocked out and revived by one of your 3 team members. Engaging enemies will be harder than in Solos or Duos because this will require good planning and teamwork, as knocked out enemies can be easily revived, and they could use one of their squad members to distract you while the others are flanking for a better position, to kill the whole squad. In both the Duo and Squad game modes, players can spectate their teammates after they die, in order to help them pinpoint the enemies easier and guide them to victory.
The graphics of a game is one of the first things that most people consider before buying a game, and on that regard, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds certainly does not disappoint. The games looks absolutely beautiful unless you’re playing on Low / Very low graphics settings. If you’re using a GeForce GTX graphics card, you’ll be pleased to know that Battlegrounds fully support NVIDIA’s HBAO+ Ambient Occlusion technology, that creates realistic shadows around objects for enhanced visual fidelity. The particles floating in the air and the foliage surely is impressive, but we’ve seen them already in a plethora of modern games.
As much as we loved looking at Battlegrounds, the game is no match to recent games like Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands, Battlefield 1 and Horizon Zero Dawn when it comes to visual fidelity. This is fine, especially because PUBG had a much smaller development team compared to the other AAA titles that we just mentioned. That being said, most of the buildings and houses in the map look exactly the same, almost making it feel like the developers did a great job at copy/pasting just to fill up the map.
Graphical Fidelity is nothing without proper optimization. Sure, developers can provide users with next-generation graphics, but what’s the point if the hardware that’s available today is not able to run the game smoothly? When it comes to this department, Battlegrounds is both a hit and miss. If you’ve a PC with relatively new hardware, say a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 480, you’ll be able to run PUBG in 1080p with an average frame rate of 60 fps, at high settings. However, if you’re using a GPU that’s any less powerful, you’ll have to tone down the visuals to reach the 60 fps mark. Anything beyond 1080p resolution will require a powerful graphics card like the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 or AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 for flawless gameplay. Well, since the game is still in early access, there are high chances that the game will be further optimized to perform better on mid-range hardware before the finished game is made available to the public.
One of the major aspects of a game that most people seem to overlook is the sound quality. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds excels in this department, as it offers directional audio, regardless of whether you own a surround sound headset or just a regular stereo headset. With directional audio, you’ll be able to exactly pinpoint where the nearby enemies are from their gunshots or footsteps, so that you can sneak up on them for the kill. The footsteps are clearly audible and distinguished so that you can easily identify whether they’re inside a building or outside. Anticipating enemies using sound can make a huge difference and give you the upper hand in gunfights. However, if you’re using a set of speakers for this game, the directional audio is not quite noticeable, so we highly recommend you to use a good headset while playing this game.
Bugs and Other Issues
As we mentioned earlier, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is a game that’s still in early access, and therefore the game is still a work in progress. So, players will be facing several bugs and issues during their game time. Although the game feels and plays much better than it used to a few months ago, there are still plenty of bugs and glitches that needs to be addressed. The game receives bug fixes and patches frequently, so some of the issues might get fixed by the development team very soon, so you really don’t have to be worried about this.
The biggest issue that users have been facing so far during their game time. and that’s occasional crashes which are annoying to say the least. Sometimes, it makes me want to uninstall this game from my computer. Well, crashes mostly occur for users either when they’re trying to get into the game’s main menu or while the player is in the spawn island waiting for the actual match to start. Now, that’s not to say that the game doesn’t crash anywhere else. You literally can crash anywhere, anytime regardless of whether you’re in a match or not. This is completely random and I’m baffled as to why the issue hasn’t been addressed by the developers yet.
Now, let’s move on to another major issue that people with slower mechanical hard drives been constantly facing. The problem is most noticeable on systems having 5400 RPM hard drives. Most of the times, when a match begins for a person with such hardware, buildings might not necessarily render or load for him on time. Sometimes it takes a minute or two, which can completely hinder the gaming experience. Suppose you’re landing in a crowded area to engage enemies as soon as possible, you might be disappointed when you realize your buildings haven’t loaded yet. This means you cannot search and loot for weapons until the buildings have been rendered, which puts you in a tough situation in the match. Enemies will easily gain the upper hand, and ruin the entire match for you. This is due to lack of proper optimization from the developer’s end, and we really hope it gets fixed by the time the finished game is released. That being said, as long as you’ve installed the game on your SSD, you will never notice such issues.
Some people with slower hard drives also face a loading issue which occurs when they try to connect to a match. Basically the game will get stuck on the loading screen which displays the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ logo for minutes, even after the actual match has began, as a result of which the whole match is ruined for you and your teammates. Another issue that we’d love to discuss about is game mechanics. As of now, players cannot vault over walls that are half their height, which is kind of disappointing. Instead, they can only jump over walls wherever possible. However, the development team is working hard on this one trying to add vaulting mechanics to the game, as early as next month. In addition to these major issues, there are plenty of minor glitches and problems that’s yet to be fixed in the game. Some of them include ability to see through walls and buildings, getting stuck at weird locations, hit registration, network lag, etc.
PUBG: Pricing and Availability
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is currently available on Steam as a part of Valve’s Early Access program. There are multiple prices for the game, and they vary depending on the region. PUBG costs $29.99 in the United States and €29.99 across Europe. Apart from this, the game can be purchased for £26.99 in the United Kingdom. Well, the prices might be just a tad high considering the fact that it’s an early access game and they’re a small development team with not much reputation in the past. However, if you’re lucky to live in India, you’ll be pleased to know that you can purchase this game for just Rs. 999 (~$15) which is significantly lower compared to the global pricing, for unknown reasons. Well you could basically purchase 2 copies of the game from the Indian Steam Store, for the same price customers abroad are paying for a single copy.
As far as availability is concerned, Battlegrounds was originally planned with a 6-month early access program in mind, meaning the finished game was supposed to be released this month. However, due to further delays in development, creative director Brendan Greene recently announced that the final game will be released only by the end of the year. Apart from PC, PUBG was also announced as an Xbox One console exclusive title back at Microsoft’s E3 press conference in June. However, both Microsoft and Bluehole have refrained from giving a solid release date for the console.
After reading everything that the game has to offer, and if you’re still confused about purchasing this game, the hardware requirements might pretty much be the deciding factor that you’ve been waiting for. Let’s take a look at the minimum as well as the recommended system requirements suggested by the development team, in order to play PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds:
|Minimum System Requirements||Recommended System Requirements|
|Operating System||Windows 7 (64-bit)||Windows 10 (64-bit)|
|Processor||Intel Core i3-4340 / AMD FX-6300||Intel Core i5-7600K / AMD Ryzen 5-1600|
|Memory||6 GB RAM||8 GB RAM|
|Graphics Card||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 2 GB / AMD Radeon HD 7850 2 GB||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB / AMD Radeon RX 480 8 GB|
|DirectX||Version 11||Version 11|
|Network||Broadband Internet Connection 1 Mbps or Higher||Broadband Internet Connection 1 Mbps or Higher|
|Storage Space||30 GB||30 GB|
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PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds: Should You Buy It?
If you’re a person who’s into shooting games, then of course you should definitely try this game out, as it’s the best battle royale shooter as of yet, despite being in early access. There are several updates being planned for the near future, including new maps that will make users stick to the game for a long time. If you’re having a PC with low to mid-end hardware, we suggest you to wait for the final release before you purchase, because we expect the game will be a lot more optimized for your hardware by that time, which is the case for almost all other early access games. So, what do you think about PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds? Are you planning to buy it while it’s in early access, or are you going to wait for the final release? Do let us know, by shooting your valuable opinions in the comments section down below.
Purchase PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds here.
Optimization & Performance
Despite being in early access and coming from a not-so-major studio, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has managed to sell over 10 million copies, and that's because of the developer's fresh new take on Battle Royale games. With plenty of room for improvements, PUBG has all the potential to be a blockbuster video game franchise.