Rarely do I come across a shooter that reinvigorates my desire for online multiplayer. In a moment where shooters mimic the repetitive canon of Call of Duty, the space for skill based shooters is increasingly large. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds fills this gap extremely well. Dropped from a burning plane, you are forced to scavenge for weapons, ammunition, and essential medicine to keep you alive. You drop with up to 99 other players, thrown into the immediate chaos of collecting gears. And if you survive, you are forced to travel to increasingly small circles whist keeping your eyes peeled pixels behind trees, or over rocks, until only one is left standing. This is by far the best MMO Battle-Royale I have ever played. I have been so enthralled by this game that I am loathe to write this preview because I don’t want to stop playing.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was originally a mod for ARMA 2 and 3 mod, and was released as its own platform for early access in late March. It is currently only on PC, but the developers are working on console ports. On the game’s first day of release it made $11 million, an absurdly impressive statistic for an early-access game. There are three different ways to play the game: solo, duo, and in squads of 4. Teams make this game more fun, as solo play often tips into too much stress.
The gun play is solid, and is made exhilarating by the thrill of finding the right weapons and attachments. There is a scavenger game at the core of Battlegrounds. There is little deviation in how the Assault Rifles feel at this point, though this will change on the 20th of April with a new round of patches.
The major strengths of this game to my mind are the heart thumping moments of action, separated by the down time of looting buildings. The play area gets smaller, forcing you to travel into places you would rather not go. Camping is difficult because of this. And in the end game, as ten people are left alive, your heart starts to thump. The first game that I won left me with adrenaline permeating my body. It is simply thrilling.
There are some problems however. Firstly, there are a fair amount of bugs in the game that have yet to be worked out. On several occasions I have gotten stuck in places that I just walked in to. Guns clip walls, so you can get the jump on your enemy. Once I got stuck in the air at the very beginning of the game. Frame rates get dangerously low when you play on higher graphics settings, which leaves you at a disadvantage in firefights. High settings also give you misleading cover. For example, bushes that look like good hiding spots on higher graphics can be seen right through on lower settings. This is not ideal, though the developers have acknowledged that they are not satisfied with the game’s performance yet.
One thing that I do worry about is the longevity of the game. I am not certain that such a specific game mode can continue to exist long term without continued support from the developers. The best way to keep reenergizing to my mind is to introduce additional content, and maps in particular. There is only one map currently, and whilst it is extremely vast, I am starting to have a better idea of predicting where better loot is.
This game is extremely fun. I am excited to keep playing it, and to see where it goes from here with patches before it has a full release.
PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS is being developed with full transparency and is planned to be in Steam Early Access for less than six months.