The Battle for Chicken Dinner

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
A game review by Laura Martin “Fuyumé”

You sit quietly among 99 of your peers, the roar of the airplane engines drowning out their voices. Miles below is an abandoned island, littered with weapons and protective gear for those fast enough to reach it. People begin to leap from the plane, but you wait. Finally, when the plane is almost empty, you jump. Wind whistles past your ears as you pull your chute. No one else seems to be nearby. You land and head towards the nearest building, only to be felled by a headshot from a faraway sniper.

This is PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (hereafter known as PUBG). One hundred players are dropped on an island to hunt for weapons, gear, and the ever-elusive chicken dinner awaiting the last one alive. The player can go alone, in a pair, or in a squad of up to four. There’s a global voice chat to hear your allies, or for your enemies to hear you.

Weapons are distributed randomly across the world, hiding in rundown buildings. In these buildings you will also find gear, like backpacks, first aid kits, and police vests. Scattered on the roads you may come across vehicles ranging from tiny buggies to five seater UAZs. The island itself is surrounded by a blue ring; outside of the ring, players will begin to lose health steadily until they either get into the ‘safe zone’, or they die. The ring becomes progressively smaller as the match goes on. The last player or squad left standing wins the match.

The world of PUBG is not particularly attractive, but that only adds to its war-torn aesthetic. The player isn’t quite sure what happened to this desolate island, but clearly something happened to cause whoever once lived here to flee. There are a few bothersome things about the design, however; every player character has the exact same idol animation, the character creator itself is highly limited, and a large majority of the buildings and rooms are clones of each other. Most of these things are passable in a good game, but the scenery gets very repetitive after a few matches.

For the majority of the game, the gameplay more than makes up for the heavy design flaws. Because of the random nature of loot, no two games will be the same. As an example, I once reached the last ten alive with a single weapon, no ammunition to speak of, and no protective gear; all I did was run and hide. If the player drops in a heavily populated area, he may find a weapon first and dominate others landing in the same area, thinning the herd before moving on. However, he also may end up one of those being picked off as he runs for a weapon.

The game is far from perfect; PUBG is plagued with bugs, errors, and poor optimization. Doors may appear open that are actually closed. A vehicle driving across a flat surface may suddenly begin to roll, injuring or killing its occupants. Players with highly capable computers may experience heavy lag regardless of their graphics cards or internet connections. However, one must keep in mind that this is a game in early access. Bugs and glitches are to be expected. I for one am eager to see how far PlayerUnknown can take this game.

The fun factor cannot be denied. With every round bringing a new experience, it’s hard to get bored with the gameplay. Friends bring an added layer of amusement and strategy in equal measure. For those of you on Xbox, no need to fret; Microsoft announced at E3 that PUBG would be coming to Xbox One as well. At only $29.99, less than half the price of a standard game, it’s well worth the buy.

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