Flaunted at E3 2017 as one of the big titles coming to Xbox only, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has finally arrived under Early Access. Xbox gamers have been waiting for this day and it’s here, and I got a chance to give it a (free) runthrough. As a player of the PC version for a year now, it was definitely an interesting experience. Before we just into things, this Saint will quickly note to our fellow congregamers that my experience is from an Xbox One X.
First let’s run through the graphics and sound. Both are the same as what can be seen on the PC. Same textures, same character models, same play area, and, yes, the same sounds too. Nothing really changed here, aside from the graphical settings; then again, that depends on what one experienced when playing on the PC. Rendering, though, is a bit different, and apparently differs between regular Xbox One and the newer Xbox One X. This is to be expected, of course. I’ve heard and see video clips showing the original Xbox One not fully rendering after people land on the ground, and, as they run around, the scene slowly renders out the buildings, objects, and textures.
On the Xbox One X I didn’t notice this issue on the ground, and I was able to see the rendering slowly complete a few times as I was falling to the ground. Not a big deal on the X, but on the last-gen Xbox that’s definitely not a great situation, as it can add a difficulty in navigating structures and finding loot. For the original Xbox One the game runs at 1080p resolution with a 30fps cap, and the Xbox One X runs at a full 4k resolution with the same 30fps cap. Most of the time running around, you’ll see around 25-30 frames per; but when you encounter another player or are shuffling through a building, the frame rate can dip to 20fps. And according to others, the original Xbox One sees bigger hits in that department. As they work on the game, I’m sure the rendering process will get better and utilize the Xbox hardware properly. So far though.. not off to a great start.
Moving onto the gameplay itself, PUBG runs into further problems. On the first day, the menu system was very laggy and it “took a minute” to get into a match. I chalk this up to first day launch issues like every other game sees these days. Playing a few days later I didn’t have any problems getting into a match. Once there is where you can tell this game was clearly not designed for consoles. The controls are straight forward like most shooters with left stick controlling movement, right stick controlling aim/view, left trigger aiming, right trigger firing weapon, etc. Hopefully they update the settings to include the ability to change the controller layout or offer better presets, as currently the reload is set to holding down the X button. It’s a terrible choice for this function as that led to quite a few instances where I ran out of ammo during a fire fight, and having to hold down the button actually caused my death for taking too long.
Another problem is the iser interface itself. Currently, the UI utilizes the same inventory and map screens as the PC, and the controls are simply mapped to make it work with the controller. The exception would be the inventory screen using the shoulder buttons to switch between ground inventory, your inventory, and currently equiped items/weapons. Easy enough, except that it adds extra time and puts you in a vulnerable state while looting structures. After enough playtime I’m sure people will get better at using it, but I feel like the inventory needs to be simplified for consoles, possibly using a radial menu system. Character movement is another place for some adjustment, as the side-to-side movement seems to be quicker than your forward or backward movement, making structure navigation a bit odd feeling. A few times I missed doorways or entrances, or even stairways because the side movement was quick enough for the short joystick interaction that I sort of slid too far.
It’s nothing new to the community that PUBG isn’t greatly optimized for any hardware, and being Early Access does mean there will be some issues or bugs to work through. So for now this is par for the course, and hopefully they get things ironed out before final release. Overall it wasn’t the worst game experience, and does still have the PUBG gameplay feeling; providing Xbox One players of the battle royale experience they’ve been itching to try. If you simply can’t wait to play it and do not have access to a PC, then it can be found in the Xbox Store for $29.99. Otherwise I recommend waiting until more of the bugs and performance issues are fixed. 2/5 Parachutes.