So. Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) is a pretty hot topic right now. Everyone’s talking about the game for all kinds of reasons, good and bad. Bluehole’s hit battle royale game has taken the world by storm and has over 25 million players. But… is the game as great as everyone seems to think it is?
Short answer; No. PUBG released into early access and practically exploded out of the gate despite being inundated with flaws and bugs. Upon it’s “official” release on PC in December you’d be forgiven for thinking that it would be mostly fixed and playable. And the Xbox One Game Preview version is an absolute travesty. Yes, it’s essentially in Early Access, but it’s unstable, a graphical monstrosity that’s so poorly optimised that it crashes on start up, and the level details don’t render or spawn until you’ve already landed and have been running around the map for 30 seconds.
Frankly, it’s disgusting. Even the PC version, despite its full release, is not perfect, still plagued with bugs and technical issues, but it is in FAR better condition and way more playable than the console version. Sure it’s listed on the marketplace as “Game Preview” but the fact that it’s being fully released under this banner and how it’s killing the video games industry is a separate issue entirely.
The technical isses that come with PUBG aren’t the whole problem, so much as the way Bluehole is handling the whole thing. PUBG runs on the Unreal Engine, owned by Epic Games who also produce Fortnite, PUBG’s competitor thanks to its new Battle Royale update. Bluehole raised some waves by publicly calling Epic out for not offering the same support to PUBG that they’re offering to their own title. That’s like complaining someone is supporting their own child on sports day and not some other kid.
Bluehole even mentioned that they would consider legal action against Epic Games for cloning the game genre they claim to have pioneered. It’s almost as if they’ve never heard of DayZ, H1Z1, The Culling, and more… In the Fortnite Battle Royale announcement trailer Epic Games even say that the mode is inspired by PUBG, something which Bluehole have also taken offence by. To say this is pathetic is an understatement. Your competitor gives you credit and you try and turn that against them? You’re really not helping yourselves here, Bluehole.
To top it off, Bluehole have created/renamed a branch of themselves “PUBG Corp.” in order to allow themselves to work on other things as well. It’s common sense and good practice to allow themselves to diversify but “PUBG Corp”? Really? Come on… You don’t see Rockstar renaming their GTA team “Grand Theft Auto Inc.”, do you? Probably not the best example but you get the idea.
PUBG has shot to AAA status and the game doesn’t reflect such a title in any way at all. If any other developer released such a poorly put together shit show of a game it would be buried so deep in negative Steam reviews that they would have pulled it from the library! Why is everyone heralding this shoddy construction as the second coming of cyber-Jesus? Polygon, in all of their infinite wisdom, gave the game a perfect 10/10 despite highlighting it’s numerous flaws. Then they release another article, defending their review, the next day justifying why this steaming aborted bowel movement of code is great despite the smell.
So, what exactly is it that attracts people to PUBG? The name can easily be misread as “PUG” so that’s possibly a reason? But seriously, the game is riddled with bugs and the recent explosion of hacks, aimbots, and exploits that have swept across the PC first-person mode. The game crashes when you alt-tab out for too long, start it up, or just generally play it; given its all-round instabilities it’s a miracle this game has risen so quicky through the ranks.
Is it for the player interactions? Probably not, after all you spend 90% of the game hoping not to see anyone else clutching your rifle and crying in the corner. When you do see someone the engagement tends to be a painful experience ending in a brief high velocity tungsten tipped exchange and a lot of blood loss. In actual fact it probably took you longer to read the last sentence than the average combat engagement in PUBG. That’s assuming you can even see the dude shooting at you, and he’s not hiding behind a tree or in a window 3/4 of a mile away with an 8x scope.
Before you know it you’re face down in the dirt and they’re picking off your friends, using you as bait for a sadistic trap. There’s no in-between, you either have a frantic and frenetic exchange of bullets or you get blindsided from 2000m.
Unique gameplay? Possibly. PUBG isn’t exactly the first of its kind nor is it alone in its field. Fortnite springs to mind and it’s in way better condition, far more polished, stable and refined. It’s just generally better all round, so why people pick PUBG over Fortnite is beyond me. Sure as hell isn’t for its interesting and involved storytelling.
So is PUBG Literally the Worst? EA did some really crappy stuff last year and kicked up a media shitstorm surrounding it. You’re either doing something dazzlingly brilliant or horribly awful in order to unite hundreds of thousands of people. Hitler did too and no-one’s calling him a good guy. Bluehole have somehow amassed 3 million players on Xbox One alone with an unfinished product not worth any measure of anything ever, yet no-one is calling them on it. Everyone is tripping over themselves to get on this decrepit and broken bandwagon that is only a couple of seconds away from bugging through the ground at any given moment and send everyone careening into the void.