PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) has made its debut on Xbox One and honestly, it’s pretty bad, but if you can see past the game’s glaring issues there is a potentially great version of the game for console players. There are just a few major kinks to be worked out first.
Jumping into positives, PUBG‘s Xbox port is pretty much the same game we’ve come to expect from its PC counterpart. The same map, the same weapons, and the same character models. Interestingly, PUBG Corp. have imported the new vehicle sounds from the test server as well as the vaulting / climbing mechanic. But aside from this, the differences are minimal.
Overall the PUBG experience is a thrilling one. Jumping into a gigantic map filled with 100 other players who are all after blood, whilst trying to scramble for a good weapon. As the death toll keeps rising, so does your heart rate as you get ever closer to the remaining players as the circle closes in. Whether you’ve fought your way to the top or you’ve been keeping in the shadows as everyone else kills each other, the game is intense and incredibly entertaining.
Unfortunately, this feeling isn’t exactly unique any more, especially on console. Fortnite beat PUBG to the punch and unfortunately it shows as PUBG is clunky, it’s messy, and it can at times be frustrating.
So let’s get onto the first point. PUBG‘s controls on Xbox One are a mess. While they’ve clearly tried hard to deliver something familiar to console players, there are just too many controls in this game to be ported onto a controller. What’s more, some of the more obvious controls have been turned on their heads. One of the more glaring issues is how they decided to prioritise third-person aiming over traditional aim-down-sight.
Holding the left trigger has you focus aim in a third-person perspective. It increases accuracy slightly, but ultimately it’s not the most accurate way of shooting, especially when there’s a perfectly optimal aim-down-sight (ADS). Instead the controls have players quickly pressing and releasing the left trigger in order to ADS, which in a pinch isn’t the easiest thing to remember. And when you’re in the panic of a firefight it can almost be jarring when letting go of the left trigger doesn’t release the view.
Instead the developer could have simply prioritised ADS and had third-person aiming bound to a half-press of the trigger, like the Sniper Elite series, for example. Another is to have the click of the thumbstick to switch between views, a little like Ghost Recon Wildlands – though this would have meant that leaning would need to be switched to another button.
This isn’t the only time the controls have been turned on their heads. Reloading, rather than pressing X to reload, you have to hold X. Whereas tapping X interacts with doors and items. Surely it’d be more intuitive if it were the opposite?
Unfortunately the way that PUBG splits each mechanic into its own control system has caused it to become pretty complex and frustrating. My first time with the game, I didn’t know how to get in and out of a vehicle, because naturally you’d use the same button you used to get into the vehicle (X in this case) to get out. Instead, B is the control to exit a vehicle. Handbrake has also been bound to Y, when naturally it should be A or X.
Due to the way the controls make everything more clunky, trying to do something in a pinch is almost impossible, and was usually the cause for my untimely demise. Swapping out items and attachments in the inventory is a task in itself as everything is split into columns rather than having a pointer (a la Destiny) manage your inventory that way.
Another area where PUBG can almost be painful to play is the visuals. I can’t count the amount of times it took a good 10 seconds for entire buildings and its contents to properly render. Draw distance is incredibly short, and you might as well be blindfolded parachuting in as landmarks tend to render about 100 metres out.
Here’s the main question though. Would I advise against buying PUBG right now? Honestly, I wouldn’t. Despite these flaws, the gameplay is unlike no other and it definitely deserves the hype surrounding it.