It’s been 12 months as of December 12th since Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) was released on the Xbox one. In this time, it’s been a shoddy mess and it’s been fixed up and refined.
The fixes and patches haven’t made it this 60fps wonder-shooter. In fact, it’s still a little ropey. Truth is though, there’s no other battle royale title that matches the intensity and overall pacing that PUBG delivers.
Out of Beta
The most significant change made was taking it out of Beta and becoming a full-release.
We’ve gone from the one-map to three, with a 4th on the way. Each unique and fun in different ways, keeping the core game squarely in focus.
There’s very little rubber-banding and I haven’t been kicked out of game from the connection dropping out in months. Little things like vehicle travel are nicely smoothed out, so now you can go over a bump without fear of death.
Everything feels a little more limber and user-friendly. Whilst there’s still pop-in and odd textures here and there, PUBG is handling the workload much more effectively.
Let’s be fair, there’s no shortage of competition in the battle royale arena, and if I’m honest, I’ve really enjoyed each game I’ve played. I’d go so far as to say that I’ve become a fan of the genre itself, as tired as it already is.
Fortnite, the biggest of them all is a much smoother experience, but just doesn’t have the same intensity. The building is a great idea but executing it to any great purpose requires more skill and practice than I’m willing to provide. Always fun, but it just doesn’t scratch the same itch as PUBG.
The same can be said for Realm Royale. This is a game that I actually prefer over Fortnite, and I really enjoy the fantasy twist. I’m much more comfortable with this take on the battle royale genre, and even though it’s still in beta, I’ve had a blast.
One “big” contender is the Blackout mode in the new Call of Duty Black Ops game. I played the beta and enjoyed it enough, but I’ve not been able to try it now at full release.
Basically everything is good, and we’re spoilt for choice in the genre, but PUBG provides a pace, an intensity and an element of realism that just works for me.
PUBG is far from perfect. In fact you could say it’s in the worst shape of them all. That “rough around the edges” element is actually kind of endearing though. Without any game breaking bugs to worry about, it’s a much better offering than a year ago, but it isn’t complete by any stretch of the imagination.
One real bug bear of mine is the season pass stuff they’ve added. I get it in a free-to-play game like Fortnite, they get income that way instead of up-front. But not only have we essentially beta tested the Xbox version, we paid for it! Now we’re asked for money towards G-coins and season passes, it just doesn’t sit right with me.
It’s all cosmetic, so there’s nothing particularly lost in not paying, and honestly some of the stuff looks crap (have you seen that Joker skin?!). Oh PUBG, what have you done?
It’s a shame though, because the Xbox version has been built around a strong and vocal community, and we’re being asked for more money, despite putting up with it for a year now.
Beyond that, it looks like community engagement has simmered back down. I found the guys on Discord and Reddit were doing a great job. They went from silence, to active engagement. Now the updates are less frequent again…..
Onwards and upwards
Despite gripes and PUBG not being a perfect execution of framerate or graphical fidelity, here we are 12 months on, still playing. That counts for something, right?
We have the new snow map coming out next month, there are continual bug-fixes and improvements, and damn, it’s still excellent fun every single game.
I think the best way to describe it against the competition would be to say that PUBG is rough around the edges, but it has a tight core gameplay loop. The others are much shinier, but they don’t seem to have fully captured that same feel.
Hopefully, now it’s gone over to PS4 too, they can up development across console platforms. Maybe even taking leaf out of the Fortnite book and enabling cross-play between the consoles?
Either way, it looks like I’m in it for the long-haul. I’ll take a bit of time off from it here and there, but I know I can come back to it and have a blast.
PUBG isn’t perfect, but it kinda is…….