There are a lot of games on the market right now that are based upon survival. An offshoot of those games has emerged, with several mods and titles focusing on “last-man-standing” gameplay elements. Games like The Culling and popular mods for H1ZI and DayZ. With that said, between the gameplay elements and frequent updates that are driven by an understanding of the community and what it wants – PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS is a cut above the rest.
BATTLEGROUNDS drops you into a 100-player arena on a massive island, in which you must parachute from a cargo plane wherever upon the map you choose – all you have to do is press “F” to jump out and make your way from there. Once you get your feet on the ground, a combination of luck, smart movement, and good aim are what you’ll need to survive.
What makes BATTLEGROUNDS so enjoyable is the simplicity of the game. One hundred people on an island, fighting to find buildings housing weaponry and armor in an effort to get a better position and more equipment than the opposition. If you’re lucky (that’s where that luck I mentioned before comes in) you’ll pick a great drop zone that will net you an AR and put you right in the “play zone”, which will keep you safe once the play area shrinks and give you a great spot to pick off any players that come running by. It’s just that simple – find guns, shoot people, and survive on the island. There’s no crafting, it can be hard for people to camp too long, and there’s a pervasive sense of urgency and paranoia around every corner.
At times, the game might as well be called Running For Your Life Simulator 2017, as you’ll find yourself sprinting towards the play zone to survive instead of having to defend or attack opponents. This adds to the suspense, as you constantly watch your back – moving from cover to cover as you move towards your next (hopeful) place of refuge. I had numerous experiences where my drop zone was far outside the Play Zone, and this mechanic really added to the urgency, as being caught outside the Play Zone will make you lose health in increasing amounts whenever the area shrunk. This is a brilliant way to both force players out of position and make them strategically consider every movement they make. After all, you never know if an enemy combatant is already holed up where you’re headed.
There are essentially three “modes” in the game, all centered around how people queue into the game for matchmaking. Solo consists of 100 people on their own, in 99v1 survival matches, whereas Duo is games in which teams of two compete for victory, leaving Squad for teams of 3-4 players. Each one CAN be queued for alone, you just won’t know the people you’re playing with. When playing with a team, you can die and still have the opportunity to win as long as one of your partners is still fighting.
Having played in all three game modes with friends, it’s easy to say why the game has sold over one million copies and is one of the more popular games on Twitch recently. What it comes down to is that the game is simple to play yet complex to win and excel at. There’s a factor here that will have you queuing up for match after match whether you’re alone or with friends. You’ll learn something new or develop some new tactic as you move from cover to cover in each match, and that makes you want to try again after each defeat. Especially when you throw friends together on a voice server, the amount of teamwork and coordination that can go into a Duo, and especially Squad game, cannot be explained enough.
In Solo queues, it’s a constant sense of paranoia as you enter each house, and scale each hill. You never know what you’ll encounter next because you’re relying on yourself to stay alive. The strategies that can be employed in the Solo mode are both similar and different to what you’ll utilize in team modes. You’ll keep your head on a swivel (thank you Alt+Look), hope that you pick the perfect drop zone, and employ a strategy with how you move deeper into the Playzone. Survival is hard, but victory is incredibly sweet.
It’s the constant communication in Duo and Squad mode which is an absolute blast with friends. With the introduction of the latest update, players can see their team’s map markers, which has really upped the efficiency of teamwork. Once you’re in the plane and deciding where to drop, the game becomes immensely fun as you work together to find a solid drop zone and protect each other as you hunt for weapons and supplies. Stick close together to win, and when you see one person – be ready for their teammates too.
Honestly, I can’t say I’ve enjoyed a team game this much in a long while. With over fifty hours in the last two weeks, PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS is a game that my friends and I just can’t put down. While we’re still hopping into Overwatch, Rainbow Six: Siege, and other – there’s something about BATTLEGROUNDS that keeps you coming back for more. With each game being completely unique with 100 new people, be ready for a whole new experience once you drop out of that plane.
PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS was previewed on PC via Steam Early Access with a code purchased by the previewer.