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TEST: PUBG

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Some game concepts are so profane that a major publisher would probably have asked during the presentation of the project: “Is that all? So it’s all the better that, thanks to Early Access, a concept started as a modification can mature into a world hit. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds merely asks which of 100 players is still alive after about half an hour. In the test we get to the bottom of this phenomenon.

 

Black Sea and Mexico

 

I know: Nobody still says “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” today, which is why I will call it simply PUBG. The nifty abbreviation fits better to the nifty game anyway, because although PUBG is quite challenging, it’s really only about jumping out of an airplane to survive as long as possible on an island in the Black Sea or in a closed off part of the Mexican desert.

 

Where one jumps off and how far one glides afterwards with the parachute, one chooses oneself thereby: Do you plunge into the turmoil at building complexes close to the airline or do you land far outside in order to collect weapons and armour in peace? Either way, a white circle soon marks the area you have to go to – if you stay outside too long, you constantly lose life points.

The circle points the way

 

PUBG forces the players to keep moving at all times: After a few minutes the next circle within the original marked zone is displayed and at some point the following area is so small that the showdown between the last survivors occurs. How handy that you can not play at every corner, but in total with

 

There is a high probability that you will find a vehicle with which you can quickly get out of danger.

 

Clever are also supply boxes with particularly valuable equipment, which can be a worthwhile, due to the demand but natural as well as dangerous target, and changing red marked areas, which are bombed. In these areas you should at least not walk across the open field.

 

Plumb, plumb, plumb!

 

Oh yes… the loot, which one finds in great numbers in houses, warehouses, sheds, public buildings, with dead ones etc.: Without Loot nothing runs! After all one starts without backpack, without ammunition, without weapon, without helmet, without bandages or other equipment, but has to find everything first. And that’s no problem, because almost every room is a small treasure trove.

 

Particularly high-quality equipment, however, e.g. protective vests of the level 3, very large pockets or a visor with eightfold magnification, comes under one already clearly more rarely. Therefore the search for prey is worthwhile also in the later process still. Above all killed opponents often carry numerous “valuables” with itself. Who lies only in the bush and sneaks secretly from target area to target area, gets easily under the last ten – without the right calibers and strong protection, one pulls in late duels but quickly the shorter.

 

Simply ingenious?

That’s what makes PUBG an exciting tug-of-war: you have to be constantly on the move and you should always look out for opponents – for safety and to shoot yourself. If you are patient, you will achieve clever kills. Or you can sit down in a jeep and simply knock off a competitor.

 

In fact, a strong attraction comes from the manageably short games, because as fast as you get in, as versatile the matches can be. The overall quite monotonous course with the constant race in the direction of equipment and changing target areas becomes bland for me much faster than a Rainbow Six victory, which runs from minute one on continuous high tension. Nevertheless, PUBG is not only surprisingly simple, but also fascinatingly ingenious!

 

But I had trouble with the implementation; PUBG hasn’t really gripped me to this day. Because as a shooter PUBG is at best mediocre, sometimes even below average. As great as the numerous weapons with their very own peculiarities are, they feel so bad.

 

There are two reasons for this: On the one hand, the alter ego performs all movements relatively sluggishly. On the other hand, every shot feels like a kind of gamble. At least thanks to relatively stiff animations and occasional weaknesses in the network code, you just can’t see well enough where you should aim. Above all, all shots are fired from weapons, not from the face. Sure, sounds logical! However, there is a reason why fast shooters don’t care about this logic for a very simple reason: The precise control over the character is more important to them. And this is simply missing if the crosshairs point directly at an opponent, but all projectiles end up in a wall behind which you are.

 

PUBG is the further development of Battle Royale, a modification of the military simulation Arma 2, whose movement model and weapon handling PlayerUnknown alias Brendan Greene has largely taken over for Battlegrounds. His first completely unique game would feel a lot more grippy and thus better if it had moved further away from these spiritual roots.

 

Third man or moment?

 

Especially when looking over the shoulder of the character, in connection with additional camera movements, inertia and inaccuracy are noticeable. You can then better look around corners, but you “fight” more strongly with the alter ego. It’s a good thing that before every match you choose to play on servers that only allow the view from the better playable ego perspective.

 

Greene has added a very practical trick in terms of control for both perspectives: You can move your head freely at any time when jumping off with a parachute or sprinting. So you look around without losing speed – after all, the former is indispensable, while the latter would be more annoying in the long run than beneficial to the feel of the game.

 

CONCLUSION

 

PUBG is a phenomenon, if not only for the most quoted reasons. Above all, I find it remarkable how captivating this Battle Royale is, even though it suffers from noticeable playful deficiencies. In any case, I didn’t like the spongy controls as much as I didn’t like the lack of precision and overview in many shootings. In addition there are the monotonous sprints through woods and meadows as well as the searching of the same buildings – that’s just not the big multiplayer experience for me. However, there is a fascination about PUBG that I can hardly escape despite these weaknesses.

Because basically it bundles a complete survival adventure into half an hour of crackling excitement, during which every false step can mean death. Through successful observation and tactics you bring yourself strong moments of happiness, risk is often rewarded and at the latest at the showdown of the last ten dances the heartbeat Polka. It’s not the playful class – it’s these strong highlights that make 100 crazy people jump over the Black Sea or Mexico again and again.

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