Let’s be honest with each other here, the hype for PUBG is now well and truly over, as the last time the title in question has been genuinely popular, was at this point nearly a year ago. But the title’s proverbial fall from grace, has ultimately did it more good than bad, as the once two dimensional royal battler (yes, I have coined this term), has with time, evolved significantly into what many call the most refined last man standing simulator – as far as the PC goes. However, since its technically and mechanically meagre beginnings, PUBG has spread across all modern platforms, as its most recent PlayStation 4 release has finally allowed the title to become multiplatform game –just like Fortnite Battle Royale.
The PlayStation 4 release might have been delayed for many reasons, but even if Microsoft has truly went out of its way to secure a one year exclusivity deal on this particular royal battler, then it has ultimately done Sony a huge favour. And that’s because the launch version of PUBG is miles better than the initially version which has seen the light of day on Microsoft’s platform, Xbox One. But just because PUBG works better on PlayStation 4, than it did one Xbox One, then it does not mean that it is perfect, as even after what I’m guessing is years of development, PlayStation 4 version of PUBG still has its issues.
For the most part, PUBG works relatively well – even on the original, day-one PlayStation 4. And while it has performed slightly better on my PlayStation 4 Slim, than it did on the so called ‘fat’, it still has a lot of room for improvement. For example, the framerate is relatively consistent, and even when it drops, it never causes any significant issues. But unfortunately, those drops are noticeable, and can make a world of difference in a firelight, as a millisecond of delay in PUBG can make a world of difference, as this particular royal battler, is not as forgiving as H1Z1, Fortnite, or even Blackout.
As far as Battle Royale goes, PUBG is the most complex and fleshed out experience on the market. As the sheer amount of weapons, attachments, utility, equipment, and other miscellaneous items is simply astounding, and gives the title the variety which other titles of the genre lack. And sure, it would not be too brash to assume that a large pool of items can lead to messy gameplay, but due to PUBG’s core framework, it is impossible to get by just by abusing utility items, like it is possible in Blackout. And this in turns result in much more skill, and player-focused gameplay, which shines especially brightly during the end game encounters. As those final two, or three one-v-one are games of skills, and not games of ‘who has more Molotov’s and semtex grenades to spam’.
When compared to all of its direct competition, PUBG comes up trumps as far as the core, and uninterrupted gunplay goes. As all gun battles which I had during my playtime were miles better than those which I had in Blackout in the recent weeks. As while Blackout is a might impressive game, then it does heavily rely on everything but the guns to make it work, whereas PUBG relies on its firearms first and foremost. And this is visible from the second you pull the trigger, as all guns feel meaty and impactful, and impact you, the player in a vast number of different ways. One taps with M14 fill you with a sense of excitement in accomplishments, full-auto mow-downs give you a sense of superiority, whereas last-stand shotgun blasts give you a shot of adrenaline like no other.
In terms of sheer, uninterrupted gunplay, PUBG is simply second to none. But even after all these years, the title’s gameplay as a whole is still not at the level where it should be, or where other titles of the genre are. And sure, shooting people in the head feel superb, but, getting to those people is unfortunately not as fun. And this mainly stems from the fact that the in-game traversal does feel a little clunky, and overall lacks the fluidity which other royal battler do already have. And this is at is most noticeable, whenever you are chasing a bot you’ve just lit up, but are losing ground because he/she is already behind a waist-height wall, which takes your character multiple seconds to vault over. Because in PUBG, unlike in Blackout, vaulting is dependent on a very strict flowchart. And this means that you can’t vault mid-sprint while running at the wall diagonally – no, you have to run up to the wall, stand still look at it perfectly straight, and only then you will be allowed to get to the other side.
Issues related to auxiliary gameplay features of PUBG extend well beyond traversal, or vaulting, as neither procurement of items, nor the inventory management, are neither enjoyable nor convenient. As during my playtime, I’ve often struggled to make out which item is which, and even once I’ve picked it up, I would then have to dig through the rather obtuse, inventory screen which does take some time to get used to. But as abhorrent as both these features were at first, my opinion of them changed drastically with extended playtime.
Both above described features, or rather gameplay elements, can be problematic and seen by many as inconvenient, or archaic. But the more time you spend with PUBG the more you realise that they are not as bad as the initially appear to be, and that in the long run, they both ultimately make PUBG the title which many PC, and Xbox One players love so much. As ultimately, the inventory collection and its subsequent management, give the title another dimension, which is missing from other royal battlers. As the title does not only force you to explore your surroundings more thoroughly, but also keeps you in check in regards to your inventory, as you constantly need to ensure that you only keep the items which you need, and that you always have some free room within your backpack to panic grab things such as medkits, or ammunition from fallen hostiles.
The combination of the rather heavenly gunplay in conjunction with a complex system of inventory management, result in a title which is incredibly difficult to learn in entirety, but one which can be picked up and played by virtually anybody. As ultimately, PUBG does feature a vast amount of underlying mechanics which have to be learned and understood in their entirety, in order for the title to be played at a high level. But at the same time, it is also completely devoid of any and all invisible walls, which could prevent one from every picking it up in the first place. And that’s mainly because PUBG does not feature do-or-die mechanics such as building.
Once you get in a battle royale trance, and start knocking out match after a match, you will completely ignore all of PUBG’s flaws, as you will simply have too much fun to pay attention to them. But unfortunately the said flaws are there, and they all have to be underlined. Especially considering the fact that the most jarring of them is related to the title’s visuals, which are, well, not as good as they perhaps could be. As PUBG is filled to the brim with blurry textures, jagged edges, and near endless texture pop-ins which occur throughout an entire match, and every match. Having to lay-low while waiting for the textures to load-in can be incredibly annoying, then in the end, it is not the end of the world.
Before we jump to conclusion, the one final thing which I feel has to be brought up in regards to the PlayStation 4 release of PUBG, is the fact that royal battler in question, does like to lag every now and then. And unlike all the above described issues, a single lag, lasting even a fraction of a second can make a difference between life and death. And lagging appears to be at its most abhorrent during the final stages of the match, as whenever a large number of players converges on a small play area, the crunching begins, and can last until only a handful of players is left. And this unlike all the other flaws of the title simply cannot be excused, as it impacts gameplay directly, and can result in your match being cut short to no fault of yours.
To conclude, I’d like to underline that PUBG is by no means a perfect Royal Battler™, as its flaws are apparent and as you had a chance to read for yourself, disappointing at times. But even with all the imperfections taken into the consideration, then even I, Blackout’s number one fanboy have to admit that PUBG is the most exciting and enjoyable BR title on the PlayStation 4 – currently. As unlike all the other titles within the genre, PUBG does not rely on gimmicks or auxiliary features to excel, but core, down-to-earth gun fighting. And I don’t feel any shame in saying that if you are looking for THE royal battler to play, then PUBG is definitely that game. And that’s simply because PUBG is the very best that the genre has to offer – and you can put that on the box.