Written by Game On AUS community member Adam “Bruce L33t” Lamotte!

Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds!

Imagine hunting a lion. You’re seeking signs it’s near.. like tracks, trees with claw marks, or finding a recent kill left behind. You can also feel it’s out there just at the tip of your senses. Meanwhile, the lion can smell a new prey, it knows it is close, it can hear the wake of its passing, but the lion can’t locate it just yet. If they meet, only one will win. It’s a deadly game of cat and mouse.

This is PUBG – Player Unknown’s Battle Grounds.

PUBG is intense, heart-racing and fun. You fight like a lion and prey would but with guns, fists and your wits to win. PUBG is part of the Last Man Standing (LMS) genre and currently has the most players on steam. It snatched the crown from DOTA 2 in no time at all. PUBG is a combination of Third Person Perspective (TPP or over the shoulder) and First Person Perspective (FPP, think Doom). You can use trees, rocks, buildings and even grass to hide from your enemies or set up traps. There is a range of guns to use including: pistols, sub-machine guns, automatic and semi-automatic rifles and sniper rifles. For melee, you can punch or use crowbars, machetes, sickles and even a frying pan. The pan has made it into PUBG lore as being the all-around melee weapon of choice. It can be used to defend or attack.

When the game loads for the first time, you’ll be greeted with a couple of different options of play. There’s Solo, Duo, Squad and 1-Man Squad, meaning you go as solo against other squads. You can team up with your steam friends using Duo or Squad, or you can be assigned random team-mates. This game is a lot of fun if you play with your friends.

If this is your first game, I would recommend selecting the squad option. Also, selecting TPP makes shooting someone a bit harder, but this view allows you to look over walls by manoeuvring your mouse. You can then check places where you think people will hide. Where FPP you’ll have to look and potentially get shot.

Once you’ve clicked start, you’ll be placed in a lobby. All the match participants will be in there with you. Make sure you do the customary run around and punch everyone. Don’t worry, the damage won’t be dealt in the lobby. This will allow you to get a feel for the mechanics as well. You will then load into a military-style cargo plane called a C-130. Eject when your squad does. Once you hit the ground. Find some loot in the surrounding buildings, make sure to prioritise guns and get them loaded. PUBG is won with weapons. If you can’t find them, you are a sitting duck.

I queued solo for my first couple of matches. At the time it was hard to figure out why this game was played by so many. I would drop into a map and die, straight away and do that a lot. It wasn’t until I teamed up with a mate in duo that the game then became fun and engaging. Being shown the nuances, opened the game up to me in a new way. We dropped into certain areas based on a predefined strategy. If we were feeling bold, we could drop into a hot spot, or if we were pensive, we would hit up a small housing area. I was introduced to the use of the compass, which is at the top of the screen. It slides based on the direction you’re looking at. It starts at 0 and goes around to 360 degrees. With North, South East and West imprinted. This made it super easy to communicate where an enemy was or which direction we should go. For example, you could say “There’s a dude at 330, blue building, second floor”. We could decide what the best course was. We could then control the outcome and decide who will be the cat and who will be the mouse. It was so simple and made the game flow.

It may or may not be a design flaw or a game mechanic, but close-range combat feels awkward. My friend and I dropped into a smallish housed area. An enemy dropped near us and we all ran into different houses to see who could find a gun. I found a handgun in one house but my friend didn’t. I suddenly heard him shout on Discord (Discord is like Skype but for gamers) “The guy is shooting me”. I found the battle and started firing. The enemy had a handgun as well and was shooting at my mate. I hit the enemy once while using fifteen bullets. The enemy then booked it because he ran out of ammo. We then had to chase him down and punch him to death. For the whole time, it was as if we were in a real fight, everyone was fumbling around trying to win and then when the advantage was lost, he bolted. It was hilarious. Then a car rocked up because they heard gunfire and took my friend and I out with assault rifles. The cat turned into the mouse it seemed.

There’s a significant language barrier right now. For example, there’s no in-game chat wheel to display common answers and questions. If the random squad you’re in, doesn’t speak English, it makes it harder to work as a group. In saying that, I can usually tell by a teammate’s tempo and pitch if someone is near them. There seems to be a universal “there’s an enemy right there” queue that goes off in my head. That could be my 15 years of playing online games talking. I should just learn Cantonese, it would make my life so much easier.

One thing I’ll be up front about was my growing disappointment with this genre of game. If we go back in time, a couple of the juggernauts that lead to this style of game was ARMA 2 Day Z, H1Z1 (The King of the Hill was made mostly by the guy was instrumental in making PUBG, Brendan Greene) and Rust.  They had some bugs but it was a combination of survival, zombies as well as versing other players. The main difference was, if you died and lost all your loot, you could reconnect to the same server and start again. Where PUBG has a new match each time. Day Z was epic as, it had intensity, factions, helicopters and you could build a base. H1Z1 and Rust were similar. Although they just didn’t hit the mark with me. Rust was weird. I’ve never seen so many naked characters in one server at one time. It was frightening. Being chased by a naked dude with a rock trying to kill you is both comical and confronting. Then H1Z1 brought out an expansion, called King of the Hill (a LMS game). This pushed the genre up the totem pole to the large player base it has today. King of the Hill was fun. But it was a 2 part game meaning it was H1Z1 first and King of the Hill second. It didn’t quite work. Then PUBG dropped, and praise the pan it did.

There is something about running over different vistas and hearing gun fights around you. Sometimes close, sometimes far away. It’s an extreme do or die experience that keeps you moving. With the gun fire going off around you also realise everyone is fighting their own battles. They’re hunters seeking refuge in buildings from open fields and lions running between trees on a hill waiting for the next strike.

 

This game deserves a 4.5 Malcolms when they fix the communication issues I’ll give it a 5.

Some PUBG fans made a short animation about their experience with the pan:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFK7RfcGqgM

Written by Adam “Bruce L33t” Lamotte

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