Friday, January 5, 2018

PUBG Xbox One Overview and Impressions

The hottest game of 2017 is now on Xbox One through the Xbox Game Preview program. Yes, now you too can play Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds just like the cool PC gaming kids. What’s it like? How does it perform? Should you play it? Find answers to all of these questions and more in our full PUBG on Xbox One impressions.


What Is PUBG?

Just as a quick reminder of what Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds is, it is a free-for-all deathmatch where 100 human players are dropped onto an island and have to fight it out until only one player or team remains. You drop onto the island with no weapon or armor or items and have to scrounge through houses and other buildings to find them. The island is huge, too, so there are lots of places to go, things to find, and even vehicles to drive around. At certain intervals the play area shrinks and players have to move into an increasingly smaller circle to stay alive. There are solo, duo, and 4-player team modes available.

Early Access

First off, PUBG on Xbox One is in early access / the Xbox Game Preview program. This means it is not a polished finished product. It is glitchy and buggy and janky and can (and does) have problems. You are paying $30 for early access to essentially help play test the game. When it is finished, you already own it. If you are not comfortable paying money for an unfinished product, that’s fine, but don’t, as so many ignorant people have been doing on message boards lately, complain that it isn’t finished and you shouldn’t have to pay money for it. This is how early access is supposed to work.

Already in the first month on Xbox One, PUBG has seen several patches and updates to improve it. Framerate performance has improved, graphical pop-in has improved, and even overall visual quality has improved. Little touches like making your player dot on the map yellow instead of white have also been implemented to make it easier to play. The game is, without a doubt, better today than it was when it launched and as the team is able to impelement more user feedback and updates and fixes, PUBG will continue to improve. Again, this is how early access is supposed to work.


B-b-but I Heard That ...

Most of the coverage of PUBG on Xbox One so far has been split between folks playing it and having a decent enough time, and other folks that want to nitpick and tear it down for not having perfect performance. You see the term “unplayable” thrown around a lot, mostly from people that haven’t actually played it and more than likely have an agenda against Xbox. They don’t want the game to be a success on a platform they don’t prefer, you see, so they are putting their efforts into a FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) campaign to spread misinformation about it. I know it isn’t really kosher to criticize other folks’ criticism, but I have to call it like I see it.

Performance

The truth is that PUBG on Xbox One is OK at this point. It does have framerate issues, tons of glitches, wonky controls, semi-ugly graphics, and is a bit of a janky mess, but so is the PC version, if we’re being honest. Framerate in particular has been a touchy subject, but on Xbox One it starts choppy in the pre-game lobby and while 100 players are jumping out of the plane, but as the game plays out and the player count drops, it greatly improves. I don’t really think it’s a problem now and it should only improve as the game gets updated. I should also point out that I’m playing on a launch day 2013 standard Xbox One, too, and I think it’s fine. Don’t expect silky smooth 60 FPS (or even 30FPS) and you won’t be disappointed. It’s unstable, but playable. If that’s a deal breaker, well, PUBG might not be the game for you.

My Impressions

As for my personal impressions, I honestly find PUBG’s success to be kind of weird. I love the concept and find it to be incredibly intense and fun while you’re sneaking around the huge open world and scrounging for items. When it comes to actually shooting people you come across, however, PUBG has bottom tier trash garbage gameplay. Shooting just feels absolutely awful. Simply moving around and picking up items and reloading your weapons is fairly awkward and far below the standards set by pretty much every other multiplayer shooter over the last 20 years. The game is also definitely not a looker and is somewhat ugly, though with 100 players running around I can understand why it isn’t a visual showpiece.

So how can a game so janky and ugly and mediocre become so popular? I think, for one thing, the sneaking around and scrounging for items aspect of the game is a lot of fun and very intense and satisfying. Even though I suck when it comes to shooting, I keep coming back to the game because everything up to the shooting part is enjoyable in spite of the flaws. I also think that as a co-op duo or team game it is exponentially more fun and satisfying to play. Coordinating with your friends in order to take out other teams is amazingly fun and absolutely 100 % the recommended way to play. Playing solo just highlights all of the negatives about the game. Playing in teams makes the flaws a lot easier to forgive.

Should You Play PUBG on Xbox One?

Should you play PUBG on Xbox One, then? I would say yes, if you’re into multiplayer shooters already, but there are caveats. You have to understand that it is early access and the performance won’t be perfect now, but you also have to understand that it may never be spectacular just judging on how the PC version still plays to this day. If you couldn’t possibly play a shooter that isn’t locked at 60 FPS, you’ll need to look elsewhere. I also highly recommend that you plan to play with teams instead of solo. Teams absolutely make the experience better.

These are our impressions after the first month or so of PUBG being available on Xbox One. We’ll continue to update this article if / when anything meaningful changes.

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