Opinion

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds: An Early Access Overview

Woop takes a break from playing PUBG to discuss the Early Access title that has stormed onto Steam.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) burst onto the gaming scene on the 23rd March. In a matter of days, all of my favourite Twitch streamers had switched from their comfort games and dived into the Battle Royale scene on a quest for their chicken dinners – a virtual prize for being the last player or squad standing.

Within a few months, PUBG had sold millions of copies and sat firmly in the top row of the Twitch pages. Soon after, my friends list became alive with people throwing themselves onto the island – currently the only available map, as the game is in Early Access, with a release date planned for later this year. Never fear, there are more being made as we speak.

Yes, Early Access was just mentioned, but put down your pitchforks, this is different to any other Early Access game. Many of my friends used to spit in the direction of them, and quite rightly so in some cases, but I for one back this game as one of the good ones and even converted many non-believers to the dark side. It was easy, they just watched the game being played; it sells itself.

What they observed was fluid gameplay. It begins by throwing you onto an island from a plane with nothing but 99 other people. Your quest for a chicken dinner is simple; survive. As you hit the ground running (if you survive the janky parachuting mechanics) you either fight your way to the loot and dispatch all those around you, or pick up the loot and hide until the game forces you to move and fight.

Forcing you into different areas of the map to fight is an important feature of this particular genre. In PUBG, as in may others, it is achieved by randomly choosing a point around which to constrict the playable area, commonly referred to as “The Circle”. After a short time, a new, smaller circle is chosen inside the current circle, again around a random point, until eventually you are close enough to throw the bullets at the enemy. So far, staying inside the circle doesn’t sound too important, but that’s where “The Blue” comes in. While you are outside the circle, you will constantly take damage until you either make it to the circle, or die pathetically.

PUBG_Map.jpg
Spend too long outside the white circle, which is the playable area, and it may be the last thing you do!

Of course this is just scratching the surface, people have different play styles and time limits. Each match can last anywhere from 30 seconds to 30 minutes. Certainly in my circle of friends we like to have a quick warm up which generally means us landing in the middle of a war zone and we fight our way out. Once everyone on your team is dead, or you slay the rest of the server, jump into another game and off you go again.

For the loot hungry this game can be a nightmare, there are certain times when looting a body can get you killed or “just picking up this attachment that I probably will never need ever” can get your buddy killed. The race for loot drops which happen every so often can also lay you down to the same fate – but without risk there is no reward here.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing, in its short life PUBG has had its fair share of controversies. We have seen players being banned for breaking a questionable “Code of Conduct” which sees “stream sniping” included in that, along with alleged publicity stunts and community displeasure at the addition of micro-transactions. Not to mention the often hilarious, but clearly game-breaking bugs that have plagued even organised tournaments. Stats, on the other hand, do not lie.

One of the most notable achievements sees PUBG sat 1st on the “Top games by current player count” above CS:GO and even the mighty Dota2. It comes down to this: PlayerUnknown got this right, he learned lessons from his work on DayZ and H1Z1, putting the best elements onto the PUBG drawing board.

So I will close out on this simple statement. Ignore the Early Access haters, the bad publicity, the bugs, glitches and embrace this game’s quirks, what is to come is something even more special than what is already available.

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