After seeing a Quick Look on everyone’s favourite videogame entertainment site GiantBomb, I knew PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (henceforth referred to affectionately as PUBG) was a game I would like very much. I struggled to justify the expense on an early access game, but succumbed one lonely evening. And I did not regret it.
The streams of PUBG fail to express the sheer intensity of the experience, especially when playing solo and especially when you’re new to the game. Every sound spawns terrified jamming of keys while trying to go prone. I am a particularly jumpy person and this can be embarrasing when dead team-mates (more on squad play later) are spectating my play and see my view leap up and down again when a gunshot rings out. Despite being in early access it’s clear that PUBG neatly walks the fine line between the thrill of looting, the fear of being shot, and the sadism of ending another player’s round in a bloody haze.
I was fortunate to notice friends also playing on Steam (not surprising since everyone is playing at the moment) and was quickly able to form a regular squad. The game takes on a slightly different tone when playing as a group of up to four, the abject fear of a lonely death replaced with considerations of strategy, positioning, resource management and not humiliating yourself in a more public way. The best way to describe squad play in PUBG is to say it is the best game that I have ever experienced at replicating children playing soldiers. You get to shout “Moving to cover!”, “Reloading!”, “Check my six!” and other such pseudo-militaristic jargon in a non-ironic way that actually means something in the game. It’s cool.
Frustrations are definitely present, however, particularly for those of us who are not very good at shooting. I find myself regularly able to get into the top 15 or 10 living players, only to be deftly outgunned by more skilled opponents. This is not unfair, but it’s vexing that the only practice I get at PUBG’s shooting is in a live fire situation. One cannot help but feel that you’re in the ever-closing circle with 12-hour-a-day streamers, but I’ve got a day job. Some kind of training or deathmatch mode would definitely be appreciated.
Despite this, I have definitely spent a lot of time thinking about PUBG recently and am keen to see its development in the coming months. More on this to follow, probably.