Dropping onto an island, armed only with your wits and underwear (honestly!), you need to find weapons, armour and medical supplies in order to survive a 100 player Battle Royale style death match. Coming from the mind of Player Unknown, a man who has extensive experience in crafting these types of games from his work on both ARMA 2 and ARMA 3 Battle Royale mods and his involvement on King of the Kill for H1Z1, this is by far the most polished and true experience of a Battle Royale/Hunger Games type video game.
With the ability to enter solo, duo or in a squad of four, to say this game is an adrenaline pumping and downright terrifying game would be an understatement. Knowing your demise could be around every corner or just over the top of every hill just gives you a buzz that not many other games do…
Starting off sitting in a plane with your fellow contestants, you quickly arrive over the map that for the next twenty or thirty minutes will be your home and more than likely your grave. You are dropped out of the plane and have the choice of venturing to any place of the map you want. With a range of different locations which offer a variety of different weapons and items, you may find the absolute gold mine or you may find an absolute dead spot. Hopefully, it’ll be the first so that you can begin to build your arsenal of items.
Jumping into a church, a quarry, a water village, the military base or a whole host of different locations, you need to find items and find them fast. This is where the adrenaline starts pumping as these first items you find could either save you, or make you face an early grave and exit out of the game. With 100 player matches, danger is situated everywhere and the first five to ten minutes of a match usually sees about half the players killed, with the remainder slowly dying off throughout the rest of the match.
With the ability to arm yourself with two primary weapons, a secondary weapon and a grenade, you’re best to scope up a rifle of some sort and have a back-up close range sub machine gun or shotgun for close combat fire fights. Many a time has a shotgun saved me from certain death as I’ve been taken by surprise by a guy looting the same building I’m in. Finding armour, a back pack and medical supplies are also key in surviving until the later stages of the game.
Come mid game, you may have found yourself a vehicle to escape the blue force field which slowly encloses the map to progressively smaller and smaller play zones in order to force you to fight other players. This in itself is terrifying as when the map starts to shrink, it makes people move to new locations which usually forces you to expose yourself either on open roads or open fields until you find a new hidey hole.
Surviving to the top ten players is an achievement in itself, so if you make it this far then give yourself a pat on the back. What you want to be seeing though is that end screen with “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner” sprawled across it and a big “#1” and to do this, you are going to have to put all of those items you’ve found through the game to good use. Trying to stay back and snipe or rush forward and hope for the best as you spray a barrage of bullets, these are your final two choices when it gets to this point in the game.
For an Early Access game, the graphics are simply stunning. Setting graphics to the ultra-setting is a necessity (if your rig can manage it) as this brings out the full beauty of the game. Light shimmering off of the river and sea, and the detail on the blades of grass throughout the map, both distract you from the carnage and the fear of death of the Battlegrounds.
Character models are varied and highly detailed, with a range of clothing customization options which are found in crates which you unlock using points. Points are earned by playing through matches and these crates seem to reset every week so that players have a chance of purchasing them.
Houses are nicely detailed, with a wide variety and range of buildings, each littered with rubbish, broken drawers and tables and a host of other details making you feel you are in houses that were once lived in but that people have rushed to escape.
Some rounds, you’ll be playing (and surviving) in the clearest of days with the sun beaming down upon you and the corpses littering the map. In other rounds, the skies are thundery, angry and stormy, just adding to the terrifying atmosphere of being hunted down by the other players.
Sounds of guns reloading around you are usually a bad sign, and the quality of the audio the developers have worked on makes it just that little more terrifying. The developers have obviously spent a lot of time on the audio, to make the crack of gunshots out in the distance alert you to be on the lookout is an amazing thing.
Guns all sound different in terms of reloading and firing and each have a distinctive noise attached to them. As you’re running around, you can also hear all of your items clattering around in your backpack and this makes you want to stop when you hear a vehicle approaching just so you don’t alert the enemy to your presence.
Every round is different, and for that to be the case with a game like this just showcases the experience, knowledge and amazing foresight of its developers. Every game you land somewhere different and have a completely different experience. My first game I landed, found myself a bolt action rifle and went Private Jackson style on top of a church where I managed to take out a guy who was attempting to hide from me behind a rock. Damn, did I feel badass, and that’s a feeling I don’t get from many games at all these days.
Not knowing what to expect in the round coming up just makes you want to continually play no matter how good or bad you did last round. The lure of just finding a gun before the guy next to you so you can blow him away to the next dimension is just an amazing feeling which is hard to describe, amazing because of the adrenaline and tension which is also involved.
The game is priced far less than a typical triple A title and trust me, this has far, far more replay ability to it than most triple A’s these days. Once you get through your first few rounds and find your feet a bit, you will constantly want to just play ‘one more’ round. Take this as a warning though, that ‘one more’ round is never just one more…
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds will not disappoint and for that reason, it has shot its way to a Gold Thumb Culture Award and it will be interesting to see what the full release of it brings.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.