Featured Reviews Software & Games

PlayUnknown’s Battlegrounds Review

Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) concept is simple: throw 100 people out of a plane onto a large map and let them all kill each other.  Every single game is different, but you land and immediately run for the nearest building looking for any type of weapon to defend yourself before the other 100 people in your area find and kill you. It is strategic, random, addictive, and brutally unforgiving.

PUBG has been on the market in Early Access for about a year, and it finally saw it’s full release on December 20th, 2017. The path here for developer Brendan Greene has been long as he originally tried to realize his concept with his Dayz Battle Royale mod for Arma 2 way back in 2013. DayZ itself was a jumbled mess of ideas and tests but it resulted in huge popularity at the time. The Battle Royale genre is booming and PUBG is the current king.

 

The Experience

At the start of every match, 100 players are boarded onto a plane (in solo queue, squad play, or free-for-all) and thrown onto a massive map filled with military bases, small towns, caves, wilderness, and most importantly, guns. The only goal you have is to survive, and this is what makes PUBG so intense. You can decide to land in a densely populated area with guaranteed gun fights and immediate loot; or you can instead choose to parachute into a small group of isolated building where you may be stuck with just a pistol and some bandages.

Every player can choose to play how they want – whether it be with guns blazing, or by roasting a campfire in your own private hut.  But no one can hide forever. The game will force you into a random spot on the map with what I like to call the “storm.” If you do not move towards the randomly generated “safe-zone” you will be slowly killed by the incoming electrical storm that drains your health.

RNG is truly what keeps me coming back to this game. I can land where I believe I will receive the most weapons, only to be left with a single shotgun or a pistol. Other times, I will land and be full looted within a minute only to be mowed down by an entire squad.

PUBG is brutal and addicting.

Gameplay after a year in Early Access

Concept, sound design, variety of weapons and vehicles, and a 100 gamers in every match are part of the recipe to create one the best games that we have ever played.  Recipes also require proper execution and PUBG – while very good – still feels like it needs to be in the oven for a little bit longer.

Gunplay in PUBG is stellar. Whether it’s a shotgun or a full-auto AR, the guns feel beefy and powerful in the right hands. Attachments improve the guns slightly but are not necessary to win. Guns feel right, and when combined with the large map and the need for survival, the game comes together fantastically.

A player ultimately becomes victorious when they master navigating the field while gaining awareness for every death trap. You must choose when to fire a weapon, choose when to enter a building, or when to move from your current location. Ultimately, victory is extremely glorious and satisfying. Even in defeat, the thrill of hunting other players will bring you back each time.

Performance, which we will dive into a little later, has improved but there are many bugs and exploitations from players that often interferes severely with gameplay. We have personally landed into several matches and attempted to sprint to the nearest loot point only to experience a terrible rubber-banding bug or the inability to pick up a single weapon, only to be immediately shot by another gamer.

The rubber-banding bug has already been semi-patched by the developer. This is good news but game still has little issues like this that can ruin the experience.

Exploitation of the system and “teaming” in solo play is abundant enough to become aggravating. You can jump into a free-for-all match only to be met with 5 players working together who kill you instantly. Team, squad play, is there to remedy the loneliness, but even then I had trouble finding lobbies where the player was from my country or spoke English so there was never any good communication. Bring a friend and the fun will increase exponentially.  

Performance

As mentioned earlier, the PUBG recipe is here to create a fantastic game. But the flaws in the experience reveal themselves rather quickly in PUBG. Server stability is still a major issue, and while the aforementioned rubber banding bug has been somewhat fixed, we are still experiencing major connection issues.

Glitches often happen and hilarity will ensue when you simply crash into the tiniest rock only to have your Jeep blown to the next world. However, constant disconnects on a fast connection or “network-lag” detected screens are often infuriating and uncontrollable.

Development is ongoing but PUBG is still one of the best overall experiences that we have had in a long time, but the ability to play a stable game for more than a single match would be welcome.

We tested PUBG on our AMD RX 480, GTX 1050 Ti, and our GTX 1060 6GB . PUBG and Nvidia declare that the GTX 1060 is the perfect card to experience a stable 60 FPS at 1080p, and we agree:

 PUBG performs well on every card we tested but we often saw severe frame drops on our Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti when playing on high details at 1920×1080. The AMD RX 480 and the GTX 1060 sometimes had similar issues with the game running at 1920×1080 on High, but issues were very rare and most likely the result of bugs in the game. The overall experience was positive and can be extremely enjoyable with some patches.

In conclusion, PUBG has its issues and everyone knows it. Yet, it is still one of the best experiences currently available in gaming. The Battle Royale genre has these bugs and glitches that we have learned to deal with. The game is intense and extremely fun especially when playing with friends. You will spend countless hours chasing the win, or the “Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner” end screen. Some may never attain it, but the chase is so addicting and journey to the top is the whole reason PUBG is so widely popular. 

PlayUnknown's Battlegrounds

$24.99
PlayUnknown's Battlegrounds
8

Overall

9.0/10

Performance

7.0/10

Gameplay

8.0/10

Multiplayer Experience

8.0/10

Pros

  • Large maps
  • 100 Player matches
  • Gunplay is among the current best
  • Every game you play is different
  • Solo and Squad play are fun

Cons

  • Bugs
  • Performance issues
  • Server stability
  • Exploitation of solo play
  • Deaths caused by bugs