Are you bored of PubG
PUBG Mobile Review: The Best in Battle Royale
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds - or PUBG as it is better known - started life on PC before drifting sideways onto consoles and mobile devices. It's not often that we choose mobile games for review, but in the case of PUBG Mobile, there's a serious reason for that: it's an exceptional experience.
The defining game of Battle Royale
You can't turn around without hearing about “battle royale” (BR), the idea is that many players will be thrown into a survival arena at the same time and, as you suspected, must survive.
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is widely considered to be the classic BR game, although many others are jumping on the bandwagon. Key among the rivals is Fortnite - which also went mobile at the same time - but there is increased activity in BR games from other established franchises, including Call of Duty. However, PUBG is all about Battle Royale and while there are different game types, it's all about this scavenger survival concept which is incredibly simple.
Most impressive is the launch of PUBG Mobile: there are 20 million daily active users (according to Tencent); It's # 1 on iTunes for strategy games (with a 4.5-star average). and sits in the top action games on Google Play (again with almost perfect user scores).
Fortnite has attracted a lot of younger players for its stylized graphics, storyline, and defensive elements. PUBG Mobile attracted those who were looking for a more realistic fighting game. That is also reflected in the ratings: PUBG is 16 or 17 while Fortnite is 12.
PUBG Mobile doesn't need a powerful phone
One of the things that make games like PUBG Mobile work on mobile devices is the increased performance and screen size that mobile devices now offer. On the other hand, smartphones are becoming better gaming devices. In the case of PUBG, we'd pick the phone over the Xbox because we think it plays better (and the Xbox version has a number of issues).
While the gaming experience is better on larger devices - we mainly played it on the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and 9 - it also plays well on lower-powered devices. We played it on the Nokia 6 with midrange hardware and lower screen resolutions, so a good experience won't be found among those with the most powerful or expensive phones.
PUBG Mobile addresses a number of graphical elements for the game offering in order to automatically determine the best settings for you - and to give you control over the resolution, the coloring and other settings. The important thing is that you can edit the frame rate even if you find that you are not having a smooth experience.
In reality, the biggest barrier we've found is connectivity. If you don't have a good connection, you will likely experience delays and find that your player is unresponsive and cannot be controlled properly. That means you are likely dead. And when you're dead, you can't win.
In general, the graphics are very good and the game runs smoothly - but it is important that you turn up your brightness and turn off any night mode as it degrades the visual experience.
Gameplay and controls
The core of PUBG Mobile is to survive. There is no act. It collects, kills, and avoids being killed. That requires several different modes - which have slowly changed with updates to the game - but revolves around Classic and Arcade modes.
The classic consists of 100 players who fall on one of three cards at the time of writing. The arcade modes are different versions of it - changing the length of the game, size of the map or restricting the choice of weapons.
The game also offers third and first person perspective so you can choose how to play.
But the great thing about mobile gameplay is controls and information: There's a lot on the display, from motion controls to the minimap to voice and text communication and gun controls. You can customize the display if you want so that you can reposition some elements to make things more playable.
If we have one criticism, it's that Screen Clutter can darken the game: you could crouch in a building and move to the window to attack an opponent and then something show up to tell you there are some in that place Supplies to collect there. You will then find that your vision is obscured as you try to fight. Ultimately, that's a disadvantage of mobile gaming.
There have been reports of gaming with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse on a tablet. That may well be the case (both work fine on Android), but we never found a limit to how the game could win or progress. Generally, you die because of a tactical limitation - you are in exposed earth, running to get into the play zone and someone with a rifle and scope is high up and ready to shoot you.
Fraud is also talked about, but the same goes for the above too. We haven't come across something that is obviously cheating and never really struggled to take a good place in games.
Team game and friends
There is teams and voice chat for co-op play. You can invite friends over to the game and play as a real team, or just be paired with strangers. Voice chat is fully controllable, although the speaker is enabled by default for team games. You will then often hear someone stumbling around (hand movements on the microphones of the mobile devices really get in the way here).
We usually turn off voice chat when playing with strangers. It could be anti-social for the team, but there is an opening for abuse of open language systems - and who can be bothered with it? There is a text system for team communication with some stock phrases (“Help”, “Enemy Ahead”, “I've found an area”, etc.), and there is also a custom field for text entry.
While this is little used, we've seen some players who have written extensively - obviously on a keyboard - and generally the rest of the team for some reason, which is tedious to say the least. This is online gaming, isn't it?
Teams are generally a good experience, although often they dive straight into the bitterest fight and die of naivety leaving you without teammates. The camaraderie can be pretty good, and after 25 minutes (an average game time) playing with a considerate teammate you will feel the community spirit. Make friends and play together again because good players thrive in PUBG.
Every game is different and beginners are good
One of PUBG's successes is that you don't respawn, it's a life (except in arcade war mode). That means that everyone comes in with nothing but their clothes.
This also means that the game is immediately accessible to beginners as everyone starts on a level playing field. Sure, experience helps and knowing that a shotgun decimates someone up close but doesn't touch anyone further makes a huge difference - but you won't be instantly slaughtered in a small arena, which in many cases was the downside of previous online multiplayer -Games.
This is a great thing because you can essentially choose to avoid the conflict and rally or dive straight into the places where the battle is going to be the fiercest when you are bloodthirsty. Veteran or not.
PUBG Mobile tries to tailor players to a certain level of skills and often fills in gaps with bots in the process. You can spot the bots when they show erratic behavior, like running wildly in the open air and stopping when you shoot them, pausing for a long time (if you usually kill them), and then sprinting in a different direction (if not).
You might think that PUBG Mobile is going to be a little one-dimensional as it only offers one thing. We haven't found this to be the case, however, as every game is different and you can roam the map as you wish until the diminishing game zone limits your movement as the game progresses.
The experience has been improved with updates to the mobile game. At the time of writing, there are three maps - temperate, desert, jungle - each with their own character and some small differences in weapons and vehicles. You can choose to have random cards or always play the same card.
Rewards and in-game purchases
To spice things up, there is a juicy reward system where you collect XP / BP for different things - daily games, time survived, killing with certain weapons and so on. These contribute to different levels in the game and give you credits for various other collectibles, such as equipment boxes.
You can get clothes from these boxes. The “free” clothing you will collect is pretty simple and common. The shop in the store has a wider selection of exciting clothes that you can buy with real money.
Here PUBG Mobile tries to monetize. You can jump through clothing and items, like weapon skins, but you really don't have to - although the game Dressed for War is a small perk.
There's also a Royale Pass system that activates rewards and allows you to change things like the skin of the plane you're coming from (a 10-second moment of glory in reality). Do you have to spend money to advance in the game? No you do not.
The success of PUBG Mobile depends very much on its playability on mobile devices. The fact that you can log in to your phone or tablet and play from any device that is largely spec-independent is the reason this free game was successful.
PUBG Mobile sees updates every month that bring extensions and improvements. We've been playing on Android since launch and haven't gotten bored yet which is a rare and great result.
The important thing is that we are not tempted to switch to a larger platform: PUBG Mobile feels and plays like a native mobile game with every AAA feel and we cannot ask for more.
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