PUBG Mobile Review — does it live up to the original’s legacy?
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) is an online multiplayer battle royale game developed and published by PUBG Corporation, a subsidiary of South Korean video game company Bluehole. The game is based on previous mods that were created by Brendan “PlayerUnknown” Greene for other games using the film Battle Royale for inspiration and expanded into a standalone game under Greene’s creative direction. In the game, up to one hundred players parachute onto an island and scavenge for weapons and equipment to kill others while avoiding getting killed themselves. The available safe area of the game’s map decreases in size over time, directing surviving players into tighter areas to force encounters. The last player or team standing wins the round.
Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) It sold millions before it even left Early Access on Steam, and kicked off the battle royale gaming craze we’re experiencing right now. lit the world on fire last year. Now this FPS juggernaut is on mobile.
It’s a simple concept with tons of room for complexity. You land on an island with 99 other people and only your fists. Find a gun and stay in the circle. Last one standing wins.
In PUBG you play as a mercenary who parachutes, along with up to 99 other players, onto an island. Once they land, players scavenge for weapons, ammo, armor, and other supplies in a last-man-standing deathmatch. The game’s map starts large but quickly shrinks as the electrical storm around the island collapses into progressively smaller circles, forcing players together as the game goes on.
The Mobile version of PUBG has good much all the features of its PC counterpart, with some exceptions. The game only offers PUBG’s original map, Erangel — an abandoned, vaguely Eastern European 8km x 8km island. Everything from the PC version of this map — from the abandoned military base to the burned out nuclear power plant — has made it to the Mobile version of the game.
It’s a little clumsy at first but actually feels pretty fluid after a few games PUBG.
The game offers a few different control options to make everything feel a bit better and get rid of the awkwardness of hunting for buttons you can’t find by feel. A floating shoot button, which moves to wherever your thumb last touched, makes shooting as simple as tapping where your finger already is, rather than having to reorient your hand to reach the spot that fires the gun. Items are automatically picked up, sorted, and equipped in game, which cuts down on some tedious menu management. The game also offers gyroscopic control options, which I’ve never enjoyed, but some swear by.
Even with those options, the game still feels a little clumsy. That clumsiness actually impacts what kinds of tactics and gameplay are effective. In the PC version, snipers can be pretty dominant. Erangel is a pretty wide open map, there are long stretches of relatively even terrain dotted with hills. Finding a good vantage point to pick people off isn’t hard. The precision of a mouse and keyboard makes this even easier.
The mobile version of PUBG has pretty much all the features of its PC counterpart.
All the weapons, gear, and vehicles available when PUBG first exited Early Access are here too. The guns it’s added since are absent, as is the game’s second map, Miramar.
The game is totally free. You can log in as either a guest or with Facebook to play. Gameplay and daily login rewards will earn your account experience and battle points, which can be spent on crates which contain a random piece of clothing for your character. Unlike in the PC version, you don’t start with any available clothing, but getting at least a pair of pants doesn’t take too long.
The game ran pretty steadily on my honor 9i, but it definitely had its fair share of hiccups. I wouldn’t recommend playing on anything much older than that. I tried loading the game on its minimum iOS option, the iPhone 5s, and it crashed before loading the main menu every single time. I’d imagine Android phones of a similar age would struggle just as much.
What makes PUBG a pretty good-looking game on PC is more or less missing in the Mobile version. The lighting and particle effects that really sell the game’s look have all been pretty much stripped out, and probably for good reason. Those kinds of elements can be pretty demanding for hardware. The result is a pretty bland-looking recreation. The terrain, characters, and weapons all look more or less the same as the PC version, just with muddier, lower-resolution textures.
PUBG Mobile is fun, but it’s not very tense
It has gotten numerous updates and improvements since it launched. Mobile will probably get similar treatment. The Miramar map has already made its way to the Chinese version. The game will no doubt improve and maybe one day offer the same tension as the PC version.
If you’re looking for a new mobile shooter, you could do a lot worse than PUBG Mobile. The game is all there, it works, and it’s free. But if you want the same strategic, nail-biting experience of the PC version, you may be a little disappointed.
PUBG Mobile is fun, but it’s not as tense as its PC counterpart. The stakes feel lower, and it misses out on a lot of what makes the PC version of the game so special — In essence, it feels a little hollow.