During Gamescom 2017, we got some hands-on time with the Xbox One version of the smash hit Early Access battle royale game PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, playing a full match for more than 30 minutes. The version of the game we played was on a PC but, according to a Microsoft representative, was "running" the Xbox One version of the game. We also played with the Xbox One Elite controller. With that in mind, here are a few details we noticed during that time.
PUBG Plays Well With A Controller Instead Of A Mouse & Keyboard
The Xbox One controller managed to make all the integral functions of PUBG (going prone, switching views, the item screen) surprisingly easy to handle. Changing your perspective between first-person and third are tied to your shoulder buttons, while action buttons like jumping/reloading are tied to the X/Y/B/A buttons. As someone who's balked at the idea of playing this game with anything other than a mouse and controller, I didn't find myself missing them during this match.
This Version Is Slightly Uglier Than The PC Version
While character models and buildings looked great up close, things get a bit dodgy when you're looking out across the horizon. The draw distance in this version of the game isn't great, fields and entire towns muddy from a distance as well as from the air when you're dropping in look like muddy blobs. It's not a substantial downgrade but the difference is noticeable if you've spent any time creeping around the Battlegrounds on a decent PC.
The Performance Is Strong
While you might be disheartened to hear this version isn't as pretty as the original PC one, the Xbox One version we played managed to get one of the most important aspects of PUBG correct: the technical performance. There were no hitches, crashes, or chopiness during our match. The FPS was consistently in the 30-40 range even when multiple players were onscreen and in close quarters combat.
Vehicle Handling Could Use Some Work
Driving a car on the Battleground is already a risk, as it makes you a target while you speed across roads and plains. However, commandeering them in this version of the game is even riskier, as the handling feels choppier and sluggish thanks to how it responds to the thumbsticks on the Xbox One controller.
It Feels Like A Proper Port (So Far)
While we've only played one match of the game, we walked away feeling pretty satisfied with this work-in-progress port. The jury is still out until the Xbox One version of the game has been released into the wild, of course. However, this port looks to retain everything that makes PUBG so enticing (the ambitious scope, the Battle Royale hook, the technical performance needed to make the game consistently compelling) at the cost of a minor visual downgrade.
For more on PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, be sure to check out our Virtual Life column on the game here.