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Hands-on with the Xbox One X version of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG)
Thu, 14th Dec 2017
FYI, this story is more than a year old

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (also known as PUBG) has taken the PC world by storm as millions of players like playing the Battle Royale format. After much fanfare, the game has finally released (as an early access title) on Xbox One X and Xbox One this month.

As a console exclusive gamer, I never had the chance to play PUBG on the PC so this is my first time to see why people like this game so much. My only previous foray with this genre was with Fortnite's Battle Royale mode, but PUBG came out first and offers a slightly different experience.

It's worth mentioning PUBG is still in early access which means the game is far from complete. That said, this hasn't stopped millions of players pouring hours and hours of gameplay into it all inside of the same map.

Since this is still in early access, I won't be giving out a full review of the game yet. This is just a post to let people know what the Xbox One X (system tested on) version of the game looks and plays like.

Anyway, let's start talking about the game itself for those that have yet to play it. PUBG is an online multiplayer shooter but it takes place in a huge open-world environment. A maximum of 100 players are dropped onto an island with the goal being the last person to survive.

There are three main modes available that include Solo, Duo and Squad. In Solo mode, you have no friends and anyone that you see is an enemy. Duo allows you to partner up with one other person, while Squad allows you to team up with up to three other players.  All of the modes have the same goal and that's to never get killed by the enemy. Matches don't end unless mostly everyone is dead apart from yourself or any surviving teammates you may have in the Duo and Squad modes.

I played over 24 hours on Fortnite's Battle Royale mode collectively on both the PS4 and Xbox One X. Even though Fortnite borrows a lot of elements from PUBG, from my experience both games are entirely different.

In Fortnite, the map is smaller and matches are faster paced. You will often see 30 people die within the first three to five minutes in every game. Not to mention the map size shrinks at a very fast rate so you will run into enemy players quite often.

In PUBG, the pace is much slower than I was expecting it be and it adopts a more methodical stealth approach. The map is also much larger so you may need to take a jeep or car in order to get into the action quickly. You can also swim in this game too to try and avoid your enemies.

I was quite surprised to notice how sparely populated the game map is. I tried running to several houses and getting weapons in hopes of seeing anybody, but I rarely see people around until the very end.

However, that's not to say PUBG is boring because I like the slower pace and emphasis on stealth and survival tactics. I'm usually useless at fast paced shooters like Call of Duty as I get killed a lot of times... In PUBG, I'm able to pick my spots or crawl on the grass so nobody can see me. I even just chilled inside of a parked car for several minutes and only moved once the map started getting smaller.

In my first match ever in the game, I surprisingly came 15th overall. I eventually bettered my position by playing more matches increasing my rank to fifth, third and even second place! I've yet to win a Solo match, but that second place position made me want to play the game even more so I can actually win for once.

The game is pretty cool because there are a myriad of different ways you can kill enemy players. You can shoot them outright with a shotgun, punch them to death, shoot from afar using a scope or even just run over people with a car/dune buggy/jeep.

Running over people with my dune buggy was fun as I'm not usually good at shooting other people. It's a tactic I managed to use pretty well which is how I got second place. However, the last person was skilled and killed me by setting the dune buggy on fire!

Even though the early access version of the game only has one map, PUBG is still very addictive. I'm usually not a competitive person in real life, but for some reason I wanted to keep playing this game to see if I can finally become a winner so I can eat some chicken dinner.

I had a lot of fun playing PUBG, although it's sad for me to say that the game doesn't run really well on the Xbox One X console. I understand the game is still in early access, but the technical performance of the game is less than adequate right now.   The Xbox One X can easily run a pretty looking game like Forza 7 at 4K and 60fps, yet PUBG sometimes cannot even lock in a stable 30fps for some reason. The graphics are also far from pretty looking.

The visuals are muddy and sometimes the in-game textures don't even load up properly. Things get even worse when you use a sniper rifle to look at enemies afar because they will look like a blurry mess. Hopefully developer Bluehole is able to make some huge visual refinements next year when the full game actually comes out

Outside of graphics, PUBG currently has not a lot of content thanks to its early access status. For PC players, they can get to play on the new desert map later this month. However, Xbox One owners will have to wait until early 2018 to play on the new map.    Even though PUBG is rough around the edges on Xbox One X at the moment, I still had a lot of fun playing the game. It offers something different compared to the fast paced twitch shooters that mimic Call of Duty.

That being said, some players may want to wait until the full release of the game before they throw money at it. The early access status of the game makes it feel like you are paying to play a beta at the moment.