There is no doubt that PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is a gaming phenomenon, much like Quake Arena was 10 years ago. Every action and decision has a consequence and there is no going back to a save point and trying again. You get it right or you die. Philosophically it’s a concept that resonates with me on every level. I have long thought that a game that can have your character dead with one single well-aimed shot was the ultimate in immersion and reality. Unfortunately, it’s wrapped up in a massive co-op battle royale format that I hate.
When I was young, we were made to stand in a line every morning and take a huge spoon of cod liver oil mixed with molasses and I would hold my nose and swallow as quickly as possible, fighting my highly tuned gag reflex to keep it down. My uncle who administered the “treatment” used to work for the Ministry of Internal Security before the fall of Communism in my country. When our intrepid Leader and Dictator for life got the message on what we thought of his leadership in the form of a bullet in his head, my uncle found himself unemployed and living with us on the farm. He was a miserable son of a gun, as most Socialists are, and I am sure the only joy he had in a day was watching us gag and wretch as he forced the “treatment” down our throats. In hindsight though, we lived in some pretty crappy conditions and I don’t remember any of us ever getting sick, except for my cousin who was a chaste and virtuous woman who died of something that had all the symptoms of syphilis.
Whats my point? That in life often the stuff that’s good for us is horribly awful and uncomfortable, and that’s PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. It is the cod liver oil and molasses of the gaming world. I hate it.
Understand, I don’t think it is a bad game. I think its brilliant, and friends of mine have put in over 1000 hours on the PC version. When I sit in on them talking about it, it’s reminiscent of hearing my brothers talking about their time on the border during the war. That’s the sign of a successful game.
I hate PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds because to get the thrill of knowing that a single bullet from someone hidden somewhere in an open world I have to play with others in a mindless cluster f***.
From the moment you jump out of the plane and guide yourself to your prefered spot on the map, I felt like I was holding a tiger by the tail. There is no time stop and think, to assess a situation and strategise. You hit the ground and run. Just run because you know that if you stand still for more than 45 seconds you are going to die. So, that’s what I did. I ran to the nearest building or tree.
You then have to pick up the first set of gear you come across. The best I ever got was a pistol and what I think was a construction hard hat. Once inside the building, I will find a corner or a stairwell and crouch down out of site so I can try to get my bearings, but stay there for too long and a warning starts going off about how you are running out of time to get into the red zone or something… WHO CARES? I don’t want to be in the red zone! I want to stay nice and safe till there is only one other guy alive and wait for him to come find me so I can shoot him once and win. BUT no, like the acid fog in The Hunger Games, you get forced into the death zone so only the most animal instincts come to the fore. It’s terrible.
I know why it’s called PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. It’s because the guy who created this game is like the silhouetted villain in a Bond film who creates elaborate killing fields and watches as people who have no reason to hate each other are reduced to animals in a fight to survive.
Add to this the absolutely crappy graphics on the Xbox and the plethora of bugs in the game and you have a particularly unpleasant experience. I had it happen a few times that the depth calculation in the game would wig-out completely so you have no idea how far away a person or building really is.
Then there is the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds community. This is the primary reason I don’t play co-op, I had to join a random team as I am the only one of my friends who have an Xbox. Eventually, I just played the expanded Campaign because I would have to listen to a stream of verbal abuse because I’m really crappy at these battle royale type games. Oh, and for some reason, the Xbox version doesn’t have aim assist either.
Now, I know this sounds very negative and, to be honest, for me it has been really negative, but if you are into this arena type mayhem, there is no better option. Fortnight is trying to create a similar type of experience and, apparently, it’s pretty good, but for raw reality, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is the only way to go, and at the price, it’s a no-brainer.
So they brought an obviously incomplete game to market in time for Christmas. No one can blame them for that. Over 1 million copies were sold in 3 days. They have already released a sizable patch to fix many bugs and you can expect many, many more to follow because the game is riddled. That said, this is one of those games you just have to own. Replay value is obviously sky high and the potential for new maps is limitless. If you measure the worth of a game by dividing the cost of the game by hours of gameplay, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds on Xbox will work out to cents per hour.
Unless you are an introvert with a stick up your butt like me, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds on Xbox One will make an excellent Christmas gift for any serious gamer.