Monday, December 11, 2017

"PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds" Xbox One Review

Genius tends to come in the form of head-smacking simplicity, and "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds" -- known as "PUBG" by the cool kids -- exemplifies that maxim. One hundred players drop from the sky onto a sprawling map, scrambling for weapons, vantage points and shelter in a battle royale. The field of play shrinks down periodically as a counter in the upper right corner ticks down the number of remaining players.

With echoes of "The Hunger Games" and, well, "Battle Royale," the stakes increase as you advance through dwindling ranks. A number of strategies will get you to that end. The scoring system encourages aggression, rewarding you for stalking and killing your competitors.But acting rashly and getting your head chopped off will do you no favors. There is much to be said for hiding out in remote corners, waiting for the masses to hack one another to bits, leaving you to keep breathing deep into the late rounds. The mix of strategy, hunting and patience is tantalizing, making no two rounds the same.

I know only by reading that if you end up as the last person standing, you're rewarded with a loot crate dubbed a chicken dinner, filled with upgrades, trophy gear and cosmetic rewards. I am sure that I will never taste the chicken dinner myself, but that will do nothing to prevent me from striving for it.

"PUBG" handles the transition to console with aplomb. Never did I feel the need for the mouse and keyboard setup. The game plays something like a hybrid of "Skyrim" and "Dead Island," mixing melee with projectiles and ranged attacks to craft a maelstrom of carnage.

Since eliminations are followed by bounces to new games, there's never a lull in the action. Console gamers who have been envious of raving "PUBG" players for months will quickly see what the hype is all about. The simplistic but fascinating and engrossingly addictive title feels like a steal for $30. That it's in early access, sure to be improved by a steady stream of updates and additions, only sweetens the pot.

The "PUBG" era is upon the Xbox One, and the multiplayer landscape will never be the same. This is the sort of game you dreamed of when you pulled the console of the rack.
Publisher provided review code.

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