PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds for Xbox One Review

So it’s finally here, the multiplayer sensation that has captured the hearts of PC gamers worldwide; PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has at long last made its way to consoles. Although it’s part of Xbox One’s Preview program, it still qualifies for review because you do have to pay for it, just bear in mind that its preview status means that it will be updated, tweaked and fixed in due course.

After months of hype, rave reviews and ridiculous player numbers, of PlayerUnknowns this and PUBG that, in the cold light of day, PUBG’s debut on Xbox One, is revolutionary ambitious and, in its current form at least, a bit of a rough ride.

For the uninitiated, PUBG is vaguely inspired by Kinji Fukusaku’s 2000 cult classic film Battle Royale and pits one hundred real players against each other on a huge 8km by 8km island where the last player alive is the winner. The catch is that the game picks a safe spot and gradually shrinks the play area towards that point, with all players outside that zone having to fight with a depleting health bar. Players first jump out of a plane in their own time and, as soon as their feet hit the ground, it’s a deadly fight for survival. Where PUBG really shines is its strategic options, do you play it safe and stay hidden or scavenge as much as you can, arm yourself to the teeth and kill anyone who enters your line of sight. The choice is yours. Wait, I said play it safe? Scratch that, nowhere is safe.

Unfortunately, PUBG on Xbox One is in a bit of a rough state at the moment. From the lobby area (think Call of Duty’s Headquarters) to the game itself, it’s littered with glitches, texture popping, graphical hiccups and frame-rate dips. If PUBG wasn’t in early access, this litany of bugs would doom it to a brutally low score as the game is, quite frankly, hideously unfinished. Luckily though, it is playable in its current form and still offers the sort of exhilarating, unpredictable, and adrenaline-fuelled battles that enthralled so many on PC. Within these chaotic frenzies, there are so many special moments, from hunting players to being hunted, rushing towards the next building for a brief breather and the quintessential PUBG experience: racing the timer towards the safe zone after finding yourself miles away from it. Most importantly, every game is different, and every game produced stories you’ll by dying to tell your friends about.

Unfortunately, PUBG on Xbox One is in a bit of a rough state at the moment. From the lobby area (think Call of Duty’s Headquarters) to the game itself, it’s littered with glitches, texture popping, graphical hiccups and frame rate dips. If PUBG wasn’t in early access, this litany of bugs would doom it to a brutally low score as the game is, quite frankly, hideously unfinished. Luckily though, it is playable in its current form and still offers the sort of exhilarating, unpredictable, and adrenaline-fuelled battles that enthralled so many on PC. Within these chaotic frenzies, there are so many special moments, from hunting players to being hunted, rushing towards the next building for a brief breather and the quintessential PUBG experience, racing the timer towards the safe zone after finding yourself miles away from it. Most importantly, every game is different and every game produces stories you’ll be dying to tell your friends about.

With any PC to console port, controls are always a worry, with a gamepad requiring a very different setup to the mouse and keyboard combo used in PC shooters. In this case though, the dev team have done a fantastic job, with the standard Xbox shooter controls (LT to aim and RT to shoot) combined with a few weird choices that are easy to get the hang of like holding X to reload and tapping LT to aim down the sights in first-person mode. The right bumper on the other hand switches between first-person and third-person views, with third person mode useful for tactical planning and first person great for immersive, exciting shootouts. It’s also easy to drive the various vehicles that are scattered among PUBG’s maps, although the handling is generally sluggish and if you roll them, they’re done for, there’s no flipping them back like you’re Master Chief.

Another shortcoming is that PUBG is missing a progression system. The only reason to play currently is to earn enough BP (or Battleground Points) to buy a loot box that contains a different piece of clothing that has no impact on gameplay. That’s fine, but it would be really great to have some sort of Call of Duty-style levelling system, one that doesn’t affect gameplay no matter how high up you are, but getting to a certain point unlocks special loot boxes or clothing items/skins that aren’t available in loot boxes.

For those lucky enough to have an Xbox One X, the graphics are fantastic once they’ve rendered, with the island featuring a variety of buildings and structures that make it seem habitable. From a quarry and a school to farms and even power plants and military bases, there are so many locations where fierce firefights can ensue and the best weaponry can be found. There’s plentiful grass and foliage to hide in, trees can be used as cover and hilltop and mountainsides are beautiful obstacles that can be seen from miles away thanks to the impressive draw distance. Overall, there’s enough good here to show that PUBG is a great looking game under all the glitches.

Developer: PUBG Corporation

Publisher: Microsoft Studios

Platforms: PC, Xbox One

Release Date: 12th December 2017

Summary
PUBG bursts onto the Xbox One and, while it offers great survival gameplay that’s full of amazing and tense moments, the experience is undermined by a host of graphical issues and a lagging framerate.
Good
  • The battle royale granddaddy is finally on console
  • Superb premise that is tense from the minute your feet hit the ground
  • Home to a lot of incredible moments
  • Plenty of ways to survive and win
Bad
  • Plagued with graphical and frame-rate problems
  • No progression system at present
  • Only one map
7
Good
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Written by
Ive been an huge gamer since the late 1980’s. My first console was the ZX Spectrum but preferred my Amstrad CPC464, cool machines. Oh what a time we come from. I provide reviews on games and gaming related gadgets and accessories for Gaming Respawn of which I promise to be 100% honest and unbiased. You’ll find me pumping iron, listening to metal or drinking coffee.