The game that took Steam by storm earlier in 2017 is now available for Xbox One, allowing console players to finally get a taste of what’s so appealing about being dropped on an island with 99 other players and fighting to the death. Seeing as this was a launch under Microsoft’s “Game Preview” program, there was no doubt the release would have some issues during its launch (Hell, I wouldn’t call the PC version anywhere near perfect either). Some people may be wondering just how buggy the game currently is before dropping $30, especially since there currently isn’t an option to try an hour trial like with other Game Preview games. Well, let me give my experiences and a few outside sources to assist with that.
The main source of ire from myself and thousands of others is the framerate that the game is functioning at. Very wishful thinkers were expecting 60 fps for the Xbox One version, but we’re instead capped at 30 fps. That said, you shouldn’t expect the game to ever stay at 30 fps at all as there are cases it can dip down to as far as 10 fps, mostly during the opening of a match, but more annoyingly during moments where you’re in large cities with several other players near you. In a moment where you are among people intent to kill you and there’s absolutely no aim assist, frame dropping makes it hard to survive in a firefight. Driving at high speeds in vehicles also can impact the framerate, so don’t be surprised for sudden crashes into objects at times.
Textures are another plainly apparent issue right from the get-go. The “match starting” island has easily the worst textures in the game, but I give it a pass as nothing really matters there and it serves simply as a hub before the real match begins. But from the moment you drop out of the plane and head to the main island, you can see that it takes some time for the map to fully load-in, sometimes making it difficult to make out which house or area you actually are trying to go to as it’s just a mesh of unfinished textures. I’ve seen footage from Xbox One X where the load-in happens faster, so there’s that at least for people who’ve purchased the superior version of the console. Even after this starting phase, however, you’ll see plenty of rocks, trees, and houses that don’t look so great. Granted, I wouldn’t call the PC version quite a looker and I’m sure the console version is running on the lowest settings possible, so your mileage may vary on how much this actually affects you. Personally, I’m more interested in the gameplay than the looks.
Now, for most PC-to-console games, it’s hard to fully adapt the keyboard controls to a gamepad, so it’s common for developers to simplify certain aspects and even remove functions to make it more appealing to console players. PUBG instead went with the opposite option and basically crammed every system possible on the keyboard into a controller, so you’ll see that many buttons have multiple uses to accommodate for this. This typically comes in the form of how long you hold the button or the degree of pressing. A tap of “X” will open doors, pickup items, enter cars, and is basically the standard “interact” button, while holding the button will function as reload. Tapping left on the d-pad will change your fire rate, tapping right on the d-pad will change your grenade (Holding will equip the grenade), tapping down on the d-pad will change your healing item (Holding will use it). The hardest to adapt to so far personally is ADS for guns. Pressing the “LT” button will just do a zoom-in on your character to better concentrate your shot, but tapping the “LT” button is what will put you in a toggle ADS mode.
Below is the Digital Foundry section of eurogamer doing their tried-and-true method of testing games for framerates, textures, and more if you want to see a good visual before making your purchase. They also compare the Xbox One and Xbox One X versions so you can see how much of a difference the upgraded console makes.
As for my opinion, I’ve been enjoying the game despite the glaring flaws in its current state. I didn’t expect it to be perfect seeing as this wasn’t an official launch and I’m sure further updates will fix the issues over time. There are a few annoying cases of game crashes and being dropped from matches, but you are allowed to rejoin and either continue playing or spectate if you’re dead, though you won’t get Battle Points for that match. Honestly, after Friday the 13th: The Game and it’s extremely botched launch, this is nothing. That game eventually got better and so will this. So if you don’t mind some technical hiccups in the current shape of the game, you should get in now while everyone is relatively fresh to the game…or prepare to get smoked in the future.