Monday, 21 January 2019

PUBG: PS4/Xbox One Comparison ★★★☆☆

For most gamers, it’s a case of too little, too late. While PUBG didn’t invent the ‘battle royale’ game mode, it definitely helped to popularise it over the past year. Fortnite capitalized with mainstream appeal and ever-increasing monetization, but the alternative was an interesting Xbox exclusive that did a lot of things well. When it worked, gunfights lead to heart-pounding encounters where you dash for cover or hit the deck, hurriedly scanning the area for any assailants hiding in the bushes or surrounding buildings. It’s not realistic, but it’s far removed from the fantasy of Fortnite, or the familiar mechanics of the latest Call of Duty game.

PUBG finally limped out of the ‘early access’ Xbox Game Preview program in September 2018, masquerading as a finished product despite a range of lingering issues. The performance was the most frequent problem, with choppy servers and textures still loading in long after the player first hit the ground. When Microsoft’s deal to keep it on Xbox and PC ran out it was finally time for a PS4 port, so that’s where we are now.  The problem is, timed exclusivity can sometimes be a double-edged sword, and it’s probably true for PUBG on the PS4.

Much of the hype has died down despite the addition of new maps and constantly reworked systems, despite being a clear improvement compared to the buggy mess that was first released on the Xbox One. Even on a shiny Xbox One X, the game was embarrassingly bad at times, but constant improvements have led to a slightly more polished product on the PS4.

With that being said, the PS4 PUBG port is serviceable at best, and it was never going to be as good as the PC version. Digital Foundry has conducted extensive tests, and their reports confirm what you can tell from looks alone. If you have a PS4 Pro, you’ll have a decent experience, but it’ll be terrible if you’re using an older console. 

The optimization has never been a strong point despite numerous patches during the early access phase, and it still judders while you’re waiting to jump off the plane, or while parachuting, and sometimes even while you’re on the ground. Despite the many problems, there’s no denying that there’s fun to be had with friends while playing PUBG. 

It’s unforgiving during the early stages, but there’s nothing better than frantically punching your first opponent to death wearing nothing but a dirty vest and a questionable mullet. You’ll have a more enjoyable experience if you have a PS4 Pro/Xbox One X, but it’s still decent as long as you know what you’re letting yourself in for. It’s slightly lacklustre given the time it’s taken to arrive on Sony consoles in the first place, and the sheer amount of monetization and cosmetic options would make an MLM CEO blush. 

It’s not a problem if you have good impulse control, but it’s embarrassing when you factor in the asking price, as well as the many issues that haven’t been completely fixed since PUBG’s time in Early Access. If you’ve been waiting to see what all the fuss was about, you can do worse than PUBG on the PS4. It’s never going to be the most refined experience, but it’s nowhere near as bad as most critics would have you believe.

James Millin-Ashmore


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