Battle Royale is a novel written by the Japanese Koushun Takami, and published there in 1999. In addition to his entire storyline, he introduced the following concept: a class of students is locked up on an island. Each of them is given a backpack with food, a flashlight, a pen, a map, a compass, and a random weapon. They are released on the island with a single objective, to survive. Only one can remain standing.
This concept is not alien to the world of video games, and we have already had clear examples such as H1Z1 or ARK. But none of them has had the tremendous success that PlayerUnknown’s BattleGround is reaping.
PUBG, as it is best known due to its long and uncomfortable name, proposes a game alone, with a friend, or in a group (3 or 4 players maximum) whose goal is to be the only survivor. It will join us with a total of 100 players and we will be thrown on an island from a noisy plane, without any type of weapon or object.
We will choose the place where we want to parachute, and from that moment, we are alone. Our goal will be to get weapons as soon as possible, bandages, painkillers and first aid kits to heal, helmets and bulletproof vests to protect us, a vehicle to move … everything that can help us in victory.
The approach itself seems simple, although it does not stop being interesting. But … what is it that makes PUBG such a successful game ?, why has been able to sell a whopping 5 million copies in just 4 months, when the game has not even left and is in an Advance access status? Let’s try to give an explanation.
The first time we fall on the island, the feeling is total confusion. We do not know where we are. We open our first door, enter the first house and take our first weapon. We spent about 15 minutes walking, wandering, to suddenly and in the middle of the field, begin to hear shots of nothing, not knowing where they come from, and die between terrible sufferings. The shooting system is not too friendly either, and unless you are very used to playing ‘shooters’, it will cost you to kill your first victim. The understanding of “the zone”, and how it is closing and delimiting the space to increase the rhythm of the game will also be very important.
When this barrier is overcome is when you discover what is really PUBG: exciting displays in “school”, “Pochinki” or “military base” with action in abundance from the start. That feeling of urgency when it comes to finding a weapon, the satisfaction of doing it and going out “on the hunt”, or not doing so and fleeing from the hunters. The tension when entering a house where you know there is someone, the thrill of driving and surprise and laughter when you dump your first car, the shoot-outs between vehicles with your companions. Those last moments of the game in which you have 5 players, the area is closing, and only one can remain standing … I think not wrong to say that, after playing a lot of games in my life, few manage to generate that tension and emotion as PUBG does. And there it is, neither more nor less, the secret of its success.
Being an early access, the game itself is not finished. This is clear and at all times, since our character can become quite orthopedic, especially when jumping, something that will improve in the next patches. We are also going to find certain bugs that can hinder us, but in the global calculation of our gaming experience, all this will not stop being anecdotal.
There are three main aspects that define the gameplay of PUBG:
Movement by the map: both in the middle of the field, where we will have to play with the ground to hide ourselves, up to the movement by interiors, in general, houses. The first will have you more attentive, especially in the final stages of the game. The interior movement ends up becoming something mechanical and fluid.
Collection of objects: there are currently two ways to do it. The first and most common for the new player is pressing the “F” to see the object on the ground. Although they improved it a lot and now you can move a bit while collecting things, it is still the most inefficient way. Opening the menu and dragging the objects to your own will save you the crouching animation of the character, and it will be much faster. Either way, both forms are satisfactory and very simple for the player.
Combat: the aiming system, although somewhat difficult if you’re not used to it, is quite successful. From close rewards much to the one that better aims (unless they are waiting for you with a shotgun inside a bathroom in Pochinki), and from a distance you have to calculate movement speed and parabolas, giving it some complexity. At first it will cost you, but once you take the trick you will not stop killing, and it is even too satisfying. The combat melee works, if it is quite more orthopedic, although it has its tricks.
Everything is better with friends
It is possible that the game experience, in the long run, may end up tiring if you play alone. The game is very different in this case, sometimes you will even feel a little Solid Snake, saving the distances. Going through a totally deserted city, guided only by the sound, as important in this game as it is in Counter Strike, hoping to find an enemy behind every corner, behind every door … it may end up exhausting, and more than one has taken a good fright before an unexpected shotgun.
If playing alone, when you download the entire life bar of an enemy, it falls to the ground, dying in the act, with friends the thing changes. If you lose your whole life, you will be lying on the ground, being able to crawl, and while your new life bar does not go down to zero, a companion will be able to approach and revive you. This makes you go from being Solid Snake to Sylvester Stallone in Rambo, and from being careful through a city to experiencing intense shootings against other groups of players for supremacy and survival. PUBG manages to create absurd and funny situations with your friends that end up hooking.
YouTubers and Streamers
The basis of the game is already good, but another thing that has made it so famous has been the influencers. Virtually everyone has created content of the new PUBG: famous YouTubers, streamers very close, professional players from all areas in their spare time … no one wanted to miss it, and the community itself has been fed with it. Social networks were also collapsed at the first moment, and it is not uncommon to see thousands of screenshots every day with the famous “Winner, winner, chicken dinner” that appears when you win in a game.
Few games had managed to beat in Twitch to giants like League of Legends, Counter Strike, Dota 2 or Overwatch, but PUBG gets it in a usual way, always being in first or second position of the most watched games.