Wot I Think: Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds

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I had done what I always do. That’s how I ended up on the southern coast of Erangel, as far as it was possible to be from the randomly placed circular safe area. My only hope of reaching safety was to find a vehicle. I’d just spotted one 20 yards ahead of me by the side of a road when another player, one of the hundred people fighting to be the sole survivor on this island, sprinted past me in that same moment, heading straight for the car.

I did something I rarely do in Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds. I opened fire.

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Most multiplayer shooters make conflict inevitable and frequent, offering satisfaction to players solely through combat. Battlegrounds, better known as Plunkbat, stretches time and space in a way that makes combat almost optional. The game’s two maps are 8x8km, rounds take about 25 minutes, and your goal is to survive. Killing is just one possible means to that end. I have come third many times without firing a single shot. It is technically possible to win without attacking anyone, if you get absurdly lucky.

This is not to say that Plunkbat encourages non-violence. Your existence in its world happens primarily through two stages: the first in which you scavenge for weapons; the second in which you use those weapons. Both of those stages, you’ll notice, involve weapons. But by giving players space, Plunkbat creates gaps between action that you can fill with two possible alternatives.

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If you mostly play solo, as I do, it’s tension that fills the void. This tension is familiar to anyone who has ever played the military sims that are Plunkbat’s forebears, such as Arma and its zombie spin-off DayZ. When will you meet another player? Will that other player see you? Where Battlegrounds differs is that it gives you greater control over the answers to those questions. You can choose to head straight to popular areas and fight, live or die from the game’s opening seconds, or you can parachute into the wilderness, lock yourself in a bathroom, and enjoy the thought that something could happen at any moment.

The alternative is to play in groups of two, three or four and fill that space with friendly banter. For a couple of weeks last year, Adam and I conducted most of our editorial meetings while playing Battlegrounds, alternating conversation between where to go and what articles we needed to commission that week. That the game supports all these experiences – quick deathmatches, tense stealth, lonely hikes and battle-bus bants – seems the key to its runaway popularity throughout its early access development.

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I fired once, twice, three times, and in a panic started to spray my shots. I would learn later while watching the replay that I had shot this person successfully twice, injuring them severely, but it wasn’t enough. They got in the car and raced away, crashing through fences in their rush to reach the safe zone.

This left me stranded. My best hope of survival was still to follow the road, even though it took me even closer to the shimmering painwall that was already closing in. I ran as fast as I could, sloping downhill towards the bridge that connected the main island to a smaller one to the south. I knew this area well. I’d taken gunfire while driving at speed across that bridge; I’d lain prone atop the nearby hill, scoped rifle aiming down at the people below; I’d hidden and died here a dozen times. Erangel is huge, but it’s come to feel like home.

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Plunkbat is a systemically simple game and it’s through level design that it most shapes player behaviour. Its first (and for a long time only) map is the island of Erangel. While its fields, hills and crumbling buildings make it similar to every other survival game, it’s unusual for how many memorable locations it holds.

Some of the locations are memorable for thematic and pragmatic reasons: the military base, the school and the power station hold some of the better loot and are easily recognisable. Others, however, are memorable for architectural features that give a distinct flow and feel to any conflict that happens around and within them. There is a town with a church on a small hill at its outskirts, and this higher ground feels like the focal point found in a self-contained multiplayer level. The same is true of another small town which is partly submerged in water, forcing you to reconsider the noise of your footsteps and your movement between and through its houses. I can’t remember the real names of these places – or of the maze-like underground bunker, the old ruins or of the umpteen surprisingly beautiful peaks and forests – but I know them all intimately.

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Just as I know this bridge. There was a car at the end of the bridge, as I was sure there would be. It was a buggy, one of the game’s fastest vehicles. I’d need to drive flat out in a straight line to reach the safe zone in time, but driving in a straight line meant driving off road, across bumpy hills and valleys that would flip my vehicle, rendering it unusuable, if I was careless. I was dead for sure if I drove slow and dead for sure if I crashed.

I steered the buggy up the hill, through fences, across fields, over roads, and into the mountains. I was miles from most other players, though the replay would later show that there were a few lost souls like me. In the replay, I saw them see me, but none of them opened fire. They peered out of the windows of factories or continued their search for their own life-saving vehicle. I love these missed connections.

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Even as an unreformable coward, its the vehicles and weapons I find that most often define the peaks and troughs of my experience in Plunkbat. Finding a buggy or a bike early on is a wonderful rush of misguided power in most instances – power, because you’re able to speed from safe zone to safe zone, and misguided because the engine noises attract everyone to look in your direction. Sometimes you find an old beat-up Dacia or, in the desert map Miramar, a camper van. These vehicles turn your survivalist adventure from fast and furious towards doddering British comedy.

The equipment can be similarly defining. Once while playing I reached a weapons cache – dropped intermittently by passing planes – and secured a powerful rifle and an 8x scope. I was overjoyed at finally being able to live out my sniper empowerment fantasies, and had a wonderful time shooting at a man who was very far away and missing seven times in a row before someone else shot me in the back of the head. Other times I’ve found a house loaded with weapons, ammo, bandages and gear, but no backpack in which to carry more than a handful of it. Or I’ve visited four buildings in a row and found nothing but the ineffective bow and arrow. These are some of my favourite rounds.

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More often – too often – I’ll find some manner of assault rifle and some manner of shotgun and that’s that. This is often true even when I head immediately towards certain high-percentage loot spots in search of the game’s best weaponry. Plunkbat is best when one round you’re a Ghillie-suited assassin and the next you’re a struggling nobody with a gun you’ve never seen before. When you aren’t at either extreme, the highs and lows of play can begin to even out and round after round can begin to blend together.

Thankfully a recent addition changes that and gives me hope for the long-term future of the game: shortly before release, a second map was added, Miramar. This is a desert map that from above looks superficially similar to its grassy sibling, but once you’re in among it you start to see how different it plays. For starters, there’s a lot less cover when you’re outside of the cities – no trees, fewer rocks, and smoother terrain. For another, those cities themselves contain taller buildings and the map overall provide more frequent vantage points for sniping down on the unfortunate souls below.

The result is that the aforementioned common pairing of an assault rifle and a shotgun goes from “I have most bases covered” to “I am hopelessly unprepared.” It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to get sniped to bits the second you pop your head out from cover, but it does create the odd situation of seeing other players constantly that you have no meaningful way to engage with because they’re so far away.

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Back on Erangel, my buggy was chewing up the dirt until I was forced to hit the brakes as the terrain grew more rugged and dangerous. The painwall was gaining on me, visible now as a thin blue line on the game’s minimap. My heart was pounding. Would I make it? I’d come so far. I had to make it.

The safe zone came within sight and I realised it was just on the other side of a final steep hill in front of me. I had visions of speeding up the hill, becoming airborne at its peak and flying triumphantly into safety on the other side. But the hill was steeper than I realised. I put my foot down but struggled to even reach the hill’s peak, the buggy slowing to a glacial crawl near its top, the wheels threatening to lose purchase. As I was twenty feet from safety, the wall approached… and overtook me.

My health started to tick down, but then a few seconds later I reached the safezone. I was fine, relatively speaking.

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This might not be obvious if you haven’t played: the painwall is not a deathwall. It’ll take your health and kill you eventually, but slowly. Plunkbat carries many of the hallmarks of other survival shooters, but it’s surprisingly forgiving and accommodating. Sometimes that’s just because its inventory system is easy to use, so you never die while trying to work out how to apply a bandage. Sometimes it’s that you can connect so quickly to a new game after each failure that it’s as close to an instant reset button as multiplayer gaming has ever come.

Sometimes it’s that you can parachute into a dumb place, fail to kill anyone, but still come out on top. Sat in my buggy atop that mountain, I was better than fine. My earlier scavenging at the edge of the world had left me with a good loadout, and now I was at the edge of a moderately sized play area with almost full health, a fast vehicle, and a couple of minutes before the circle began to shrink again. A few minutes earlier I had been facing an ignoble death, alone and unseen, and now I was in a strong position from which to advance into the match’s later stages.

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This is a simple story and the kind you’ll live regularly when playing, but it was also wholly thrilling. It was the kind of white knuckle escape I’ve played in countless scripted singleplayer games, but here it was more exciting for the way in which it developed out of the interplay between my choices and Plunkbat’s systems.

Four minutes later, I was driving that buggy through a small village when I was shot and killed by an unseen enemy. In the replay, I watched this person take aim and kill me in a single shot from a powerful rifle. It was impressive.

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Plunkbat’s systems read as simplistic when compared to other modern multiplayer games. There aren’t dozens of character classes with hundreds of interlocking skills. There is no AI director monitoring players to dole out excitement in set portions. Safe zones and bombing zones are randomly placed. But its loose grip upon player’s experiences means you’re more free to decide the kind of excitement you get from it.

Back on the menu, I immediately hit the button to join another game.

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds is out now on Windows via Steam for £27/$30/€30.

115 Comments

  1. chrisol says:

    Is this the PUBG that everyone is talking about ?

    • Nauallis says:

      Probably not, as nobody is consistently pronouncing PUBG in any meaningful way. Is it Pee-You-Bee-Gee, the acronym? Is it Pub-gee, phonetic with a g? Is it Pub-guh, phonetic? Is it the full game name, which is a shitty mouthful at best? What ifth youth hath a speeth impedimenth? (or giant dentures)

      I’ve heard all of these. Plunkbat is at least immediately recognizable and hilarious…

      • Smaug says:

        Pub-G sounds alright to me.

        No need for that bat-punk nonsense.

  2. latedave says:

    I do rather wish that Plunkbat would stop being a thing RPS does. The Eurogamer team has plenty of ‘in’ jokes but they somehow feel different.

    Anyway otherwise I enjoyed the review, it’s certainly an interesting phenomenon but I hope it’s one too many games don’t copy, it works well but I don’t think we need too many clones.

    • WombatDeath says:

      I couldn’t disagree more! I don’t know how anyone can read “Plunkbat” without immediately loving it. I think that perhaps RPS (and a large chunk of its readers) has a more active whimsy gland than most of the internet.

      • theRealComptroller says:

        It really feels like a case of ‘trying to make fetch happen’.

        • WombatDeath says:

          I had to look up “fetch” in that context, so may have misunderstood your meaning, but I think it’s just an in-joke between the writers and readers.

          • poliovaccine says:

            I donno man, I get where you’re coming from, but I remember them pontificating aloud about how to refer to this cumbersome game properly back when its star was pretty much freshly rising, and plunkbat is not only what they came up with, it’s what I’d have gone with in the same dilemma. I think it came about pretty organically from not wanting to type “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” fourteen times an article and trying to work that into a sentence.

            Tbh, I had the same sort of bristle seeing people abbreviate Binding of Isaac as BOI, cus I thought it was a direct reference to Isaac being a little boy and for some reason that bothered me, it felt I guess like STALKER or FEAR – trying too hard to make an acronym, yknow? Then I found out literally nobody intended it that way, and in fact, it is just the acronym for the actual name. I kinda think you have a similar thing going on with Plunkbat, one of these presumed daydream minidramas – there should be a word for those. It’d be frankly less useful here than it would be in discussing interpersonal relationships haha.

        • Rituro says:

          Hey, it worked on me. “Plunkbatting” is now the verb my brother and I use to describe a session.

          • Viral Frog says:

            I’ve spread Plunkbat between about 30 people now. And they continue to spread it amongst their other friends and gaming circles. Makes me jolly as a lamb when I log into Discord and hear, “IAN!!! PLUNKBAAAAAAAT!!!!” When I IM people to play, I generally open it with, “wanna plunk some bats?”

        • mruuh says:

          As far as I’m concerned, ‘fetch’ has already happened, and is still in the process of happening vigorously. Even though I do not like the game and know that I will never play it, I like reading about it every now and then, and loved the whimsical, non-generic name RPS gave it, the minute I first saw it. :)

          • skyturnedred says:

            “Stop trying to make ‘fetch’ happen!” made fetch happen big time.

      • josborn says:

        I’m with you. ‘Plunkbat’ makes me smile every time I read it. ‘PUBG’ sounds like a new strain of venereal disease in an ad for prescription ointment. “Are PUBG flare-ups keeping you from finding love? Ask your doctor if Herpeflexin DM is right for you! Side effects include spontaneous defenestration.”

        • MrUnimport says:

          It very mildly irritates me every time I read it, so I suppose on utilitarian grounds you and I cancel out.

    • Grizzly says:

      PLayer UNKnown BATtlegrounds is a far better acronym then PUBG ever was though. Plunkbat just rolls off the tongue.

    • kwyjibo says:

      “Plunkbat” feels a bit forced.

      Unlike Foot-to-ball Commander. I don’t know why they dropped it.

    • int says:

      Plunkbat makes me think of a plump bat and that makes me giggle and squeak like a dough baby.

    • SaraSays says:

      Plunkbat is not even something rps came up with. It was used in twitch chat during the closed alpha that was in 2016.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      I instinctively disdain any person who says “Pub gee” when they could say “Plunkbat” instead.

  3. StevieW says:

    What’s this replay that’s mentioned a few times? I’ve never seen this… is it something new for the release as I’ve not played since it came out of early access?

    • Moraven says:

      PUBG got kill cam a couple months and recently got a full replay function in its v1.0 release in December. The replay records up to 1km around you. You have free look and option to jump to players in range.

      Jackfrags latest PUBG video incorporated clips from the 3D replay.

    • Rituro says:

      Yup, the full release contains replays and a spiffy new HUD, among other things. Worth another session if you haven’t seen them yet.

  4. BigPapaCrank says:

    You people calling pubg “plunkbat” makes it so I can’t read anything about the game on this website. It just sounds awful. I don’t understand how you can read that name without hating it.

    • Premium User Badge

      Earl-Grey says:

      I completely understand how you feel.
      I, for instance, can not for the life of me read a single “PLUNKBAT IS A STUPID NAME” comment without immediately labeling the author a humourless sod.

    • Viral Frog says:

      PUBG sounds like a disease when it’s pronounced as “Pub-Gee”. PUBG sounds like the person saying it is suffering from brain damage when pronounced as “Pub-Guh”. (Pl)ayer(Unk)nown’s (Bat)tlegrounds, AKA Plunkbat, not only does not sound like a disease or that you’re suffering from brain damage, but it also rolls off the tongue.

      • grimdanfango says:

        If I could change anything about it, it would be to go back in time and suggest that RPS amend it to:
        (Pl)ayer(Unk)nown’s (Ba)ttle(g)rounds, AKA Plunkbag

        …as I feel that would have carried just the barest hint of scrotal undertones, which Plunkbat sadly lacks.

        But still, Plunkbat is what it’s called, so we might as well embrace it :-)

    • Harlander says:

      I’m always a little mystified by people getting so bent out of shape by that silly nickname, but on the other hand I get unaccountably narked when people call their character in an MMO their “toon”, so I guess it takes all sorts.

      • KevinLew says:

        I also hate the term “toon” for an MMO character. Somebody borrowed lingo from Who Framed Roger Rabbit and then applied it to video game characters. The term implies that the characters are cartoon characters–that is, they aren’t really alive in that realm and you’re just in some kind of TV show or simulation–which is pretty insulting. I get that it’s a fictional world, but they are certainly alive in the context of the game.

        • poliovaccine says:

          Oh wow, I’d heard that slang but I don’t really do MMOs at all (except that I just downloaded Warframe, so let’s see), so I hadn’t known what the hell that meant. Makes sense I guess. I think it’d bother me slightly too, but for a different reason than the implied sleight to the realness of the gameworld (eh, well maybe it’s more just a variant on that reason).

          Incidentally, I was replaying Mafia II lately and stumbled on something I’d either missed or forgotten – when Vito is breaking into the OPA to steal gas rations, you can hear some guards have an ambient Thief-style chit chat about the one buying a television, which at that time was a big, risky purchase. One of the guards is ribbing him for blowing as much as a car on this unproven invention, he says, “So whaddya been watching on that TV of yours?” and his buddy tells him, “Eh, mostly cartoons.” First guy is incredulous: “All that money, just to watch cartoons??”

          Then buddy proceeds to explain how the cartoons he’s been watching gave him an idea: what if you could *control the cartoon?* Like control the little guy on the screen, make him run, jump, maybe even shoot a gun..? Of course the first guy tells him how dumb the idea is, and how it’s impossible anyway. Second fella swears up and down that it’s a good idea, and that one day *someone* will figure it out! First guy tells him to keep dreaming.

          I really loved that bit – the dramatic irony of eavesdropping on people unawares is multiplied by the whole dramatic irony of knowing how television and later those “controllable cartoons” panned out. Nice little touch that was easy to miss. Also has a bit to say about the optimist and the pessimist haha – as in, the optimist may be right in the long run, but right now his TV cost him a fortune, has only three channels, and it sounds as if his wife is so incensed at how he’s spent the money (which you overhear early on is part of the wife’s dead brother’s inheritance) that she’s left him alone in the house to stay with her mother – in other words, that TV might just have ended his marriage. So who’s more correct here? I don’t know how much of that nuance was intentional but considering the rest of that game’s writing I like to think it all was.

    • Shadow says:

      Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds itself, as a name, is stupid and reeks of self-importance. And ironically funny in that Playerunknown is effectively unknown to most people. Had to do some light digging to actually find out who he’s supposed to be, and still, it’s just lame to affix your name to your game. Yes, even “Sid Meier’s X” is controversial, from my point of view.

      Anyway, I find Plunkbat has a lot more character than PUBG, and it’s more inventive and agreeable than the actual name of the game.

      • goodpoints says:

        Tim Clinceroy’s AnonymousContestant’s Field of Combat

  5. Simbosan says:

    Game reviews can be interesting, otherwise why would we come here. Reading yet another interminable description of ‘what i did in PUBG’ isn’t.

    Don’t confuse a critique of a game with just rambling on about what you did, especially at such length

    • Stellar Duck says:

      “New Games Journalism rejects this, and argues that the worth of a videogame lies not in the game, but in the gamer. What a gamer feels and thinks as this alien construct takes over all their sensory inputs is what’s interesting here, not just the mechanics of how it got there. Games have always been digital hallucinogens — but games journalism has been like chemistry, discussing the binding reactions to brain sites. What I’m suggesting says what it feels like as the chemical kicks in and reality is remixed around you.

      […]

      This makes us Travel Journalists to Imaginary places. Our job is to describe what it’s like to visit a place that doesn’t exist outside of the gamer’s head — the gamer, not the game, remember. Go to a place, report on its cultures, foibles, distractions and bring it back to entertain your readers.”

      While I’m sure any number of people (including Karen Gillen himself if memory serves) have issues with that essay, I think it’s well worth remembering when going to RPS.

      • Neurotic says:

        I think you had a delightful moment of Amy Pondness just there; the writer you’re thinking of is Kieron Gillen.:D

      • satan says:

        Just dawned on me that that’s what I miss so much about ye olde games journalism, the nuts and bolts (about the game engine and the technology the game runs on).

    • Viral Frog says:

      I actually prefer this type of review. I can tell more if I will enjoy a game by hearing how other people with similar tastes to my own (exactly why I read RPS above any other games journalism website) speak about it through their own experiences. I’d rather hear someone ramble about their time with it than read a full blown technical breakdown of the systems which does nothing to explain how they work together. I went back and reread some of the review and I think that there was just enough balance of Graham’s experiences along with how the systems led him to those experiences.

      Besides that, Plunkbat is a game in which you’re better going in with less knowledge. It adds to the experience. All you need to really know is that it’s a battle royale game with a lot more depth than your typical shooter. This is one of those games where the fun comes first from learning the ins and outs, and then comes from refining your abilities. To spoil too much before someone’s tried it would be doing them a great disservice.

    • HeavyStorm says:

      Was scrolling down to write something close to what you said, so I’ll hitchhike. I say close because this isn’t rambling – it is yet another piece describing how it feels like to play plunkbat (Pubg).

      Oh, before I go on, of course this is a review! The author say it is, it’s hosted on a website about games, and it talks about a game. Sure, it’s a review.

      Also, it’s not a review! It’s “what I (you) think”, which is great.

      So, indeed, everything is subjective and there are no rules to creation, since creativity freedom is a fundamental principle on a website that is mostly about art and entertainment.

      Is that out of the way? Ok. Graham, I could understand that you like plunkbat. In fact, from the article, I can even give some (albeit probably not all) reasons WHY you like it.

      What it lacks? Insight. Even more considering it’s a game that has been talked, and talked, and talked about a lot. All that you said about the game one can divine from a few minutes playing. Or from the dozens of articles in this very website.

      So, if you are not adding anything else to the discussion, why even bother?

      I’m pretty sure (from many other pieces right here) that you may have extremely profound opinions about the game, things that haven’t occurred me. Sure, some of them might even spoil the game for me, but what of it? If by reading a piece somewhere I _realize_ the game stinks somehow, it probably wasn’t that good anyway.

      • cakeisalie says:

        Pretty much my thoughts. I love RPS, it’s my go to site for gaming. I generally enjoy the writing style and find the articles useful, witty and entertaining. But I do sometimes find the reviews focus too much on trying to create a story or narrative with the author’s experience, while failing to provide much insight or analysis into the mechanics, design, features and issues.

        For me, this Plunkbat review tells me little I couldn’t discern from watching a video or stream for a few minutes. I feel I haven’t really learnt anything new or informative about the game and still remain undecided as whether to purchase.

        But this seems to be the current trend of journalism in general – it’s becoming more about entertaining than informing.

  6. Viral Frog says:

    “The result is that the aforementioned common pairing of an assault rifle and a shotgun goes from “I have most bases covered” to “I am hopelessly unprepared.””

    I found this line extremely odd. Assault rifles are the kings of Plunkbat. I’ve never gotten a chicken dinner when I wasn’t using an assault rifle.

    My personal favorites are:
    M416 > SCAR-L > M16A4 > AK > All other ARs.

    Generally I try to swap my shotgun out for a DMR or another AR by mid to end-game, though. But even then, going into the end-game with a shotgun is far from being woefully unprepared. In fact, games with circles that fancy buildings as their final resting spots (very common in Miramar as far as I’ve seen) make keeping a shotgun optimal.

    • Nauallis says:

      While I continue to carry a torch, I am assuming after reading your comment that Plunkbat does not feature a gun that shoots flaming chainsaws. Oh well.

      • Viral Frog says:

        If only! I think the closest game we have to that is Killing Floor 2. The berserker has a “gun” that shoots spinning sawblades. Alas, they be not flaming sawblades nor chainsaws.

    • Synesthesia says:

      Give the m16 a few more tries. The burst mode is an absolute beast in mid and short range. Add a compensator to that and you have a squad wiper.

      • Viral Frog says:

        Don’t get me wrong, I love the M16! After 90~ hours of play however, I’ve found the ones I perform best with and prefer. I like the M416 because it allows for more attachments, has comparable accuracy, and I prefer the full auto in bursts compared to the actual burst mode of the M16. The delay between bursts in the M16 bothers me. The M416 can be fired in bursts with nearly equal accuracy, but no delay because you’re in full control of the bursts.

        The SCAR-L is a close second to me. So close that I often have a really difficult time deciding between the M416 or the SCAR when I’m given an opportunity to pick up both. The SCAR is nearly laser accurate, is a bullet hose, allows for a ton of attachments, and it looks pretty darn cool.

        • vahnn says:

          Yeah, the M416 and the SCAR are basically identical. In their fully unmodded states, the SCAR is more controllable than the M416, but a fully-modded M416 will edge out the SCAR. The downside to the SCAR is the horrible iron sights.

          For long-rage, I 100% prefer the M16.

          Of course I always prefer a Mini, Kar 98k, or other sniper rifle for long range over any AR.

          Except the Steyr Aug. Have you ever used that thing? It’s a god damn beast!

    • Rituro says:

      ARs? Shotguns? Piffle. The UMP9 is my baby and I will brook no dissent on the matter.

  7. grimdanfango says:

    At this point, I’m not sure what’s more amusing… “Plunkbat”, or scrolling down to the bottom of every single RPS Plunkbat-related article to read the unending wail of a hundred different people diligently trying to inform them how lame it is to call Plunkbat Plunkbat.

    Congrats to you all, you’re only making the joke funnier :-P

    • Viral Frog says:

      I was a bit bummed out that the review didn’t end with, “PLUNKBAT PLUNKBAT PLUNKBAT PLUNKBAT.” :(

      • DeepSleeper says:

        PLUNKFACE!

      • Massenstein says:

        If only Alice made reviews, then there would have been 500% more mentions of Plunkbat and every sentence would contain on average 1,2 puns.

        Let’s hope RPS’s mysterious and shifting power dynamics (after all, most of the staff gets fired every week) will result in Alice gaining reviewing powers.

    • Thants says:

      It’s truly bizarre. Why would you go to a website whose house style is “using silly nicknames” and complain about the silly nickname?

      I can only assume since Plunkbat is so popular we’re getting humorless weirdos who take the game too seriously wandering in from Steam.

      • Phasma Felis says:

        I’ve actually got a theory that it’s one dude sockpuppeting. I don’t believe that there are that many people who are that angry about the word but still read RPS on a daily basis.

        • Seyda Neen says:

          I believe most of the people who show up here angry about the term Plunkbat are folks from Steam who read articles that pop up on community pages there.

          • dontnormally says:

            Hi there! Long time RPS every-article reader and non-PUBG player here – I just think it’s incredibly annoying and not very clever. It’d be fine if it was either not annoying or yes clever (or both!)

        • MajorLag says:

          You place entirely too much faith in humanity I’m afraid.

      • aepervius says:

        Well you gotta admit, this joke has become stale and is more by now a tired poke at the game. We have an expression in my home country “the least used joke are the best”, once you reuse and keep reusing, it lose its fun in itself. Personally I dislike the joke because I find it stale… And that’s about it.

        Keep in mind also that plunkbat has a negative connotation of sounding like clunk and junk… So it may not 100% unwarranted that some people dislike the name.

        • DarkFenix says:

          Tired poke at the game? It’s a nickname, congratulations on being one of the humourless weirdos. That and trying really hard to find something to be upset about.

          If anything I think they should carry on calling it Plunkbat specifically because it rubs up the wrong way exactly the kind of person I think ought to be rubbed up the wrong way.

        • Dewal says:

          The point is, it isn’t even a joke. They called it that way when PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUND came out and nobody ever knew how to call this game with a such terrible name. So it’s just consistency to continue to call it that way, even more when the most popular nominations aren’t that great.

          The fact that it pisses humorless people off is just a bonus.

          • aepervius says:

            Contrary to what both of you think, I am not pissed. I dislike pubg -the game-, so I have nothing here to win or lose. I just find it a tired joke, and if you think that makes me humourless… Well maybe you should mature up and recognize that humour is like taste : what may be bad comedy for some, maybe be incredibly funny for others, and vice versa. On the other hand that you are so *quick* on judgement to throw “you are humourless” at others… That does tell something about you, doesn’t it ?

      • dontnormally says:

        Because it (and no other silly nicknames used here) legitimately gives me a bad taste in my mouth. They could’ve chosen something more clever and less annoying.

    • Clarksworth says:

      Seriously. I may never play Plunkbat, but I read every article on RPS about it, just to laugh at the inevitable outpouring of salt about that wonderful nickname.

      PLUNKBAT

  8. noom says:

    PLANKBUTT

  9. Vasily R says:

    “better known as Plunkbat”

    This part had me laughing. Seemed like a jab at all those people who flip out about RPS calling it that. It’s clearly not better known as that, since this is the only site that uses that nickname, so it can only be an attempt to poke those who hate the term. And it has obviously worked, almost every comment is about the damn acronym. Personally, I don’t care which acronym is used. I think Plunkbat is a bit odd and I prefer PUBG, however I must admit that Plunkbat is easier to say and everyone will agree on how to say it.

    • grimdanfango says:

      Correction… it’s clearly not *more commonly* known as that.
      It certainly *is* better :-P

    • Seyda Neen says:

      I also lost it at that sentence.

    • DarkFenix says:

      “Plunkbat” is a bit odd, which is among the reasons it’s so fitting for RPS. RPS is supposed to be a bit odd, a bit quirky, a bit less boring and ordinary than your average game review site. So I welcome the nickname, and I welcome RPS taking pokes at people desperately trying to be miserable over it.

    • vahnn says:

      Half the reason I read Plunkbat articles on RPS is to have myself a laugh at the tightwads in the comments flipping out over Plunkbat.

      I mean.. I think it’s stupid, too. But come on, all these guys getting up in arms over it. Hilarious!

  10. OmNomNom says:

    I find PUBG a bit dull personally, the long repetitive loot hunt at the start followed by the inevitable camping at some point along the way… but I’m excited for the new games it will help create because of the popularity it is showing.

  11. cpt_freakout says:

    I’ve been eyeing this game for a while now as a possible time waster for my friends and I, and while this WIT definitely pushes me towards buying it, I’ve read some terrible reports about hackers and whatnot.

    Graham and everyone else that’s played it regularly for a while now, what’s your experience been regarding cheaters/hackers?

    • sege says:

      same here. People’s experiences?

    • rondertaker says:

      i have 54 hours played (not a lot compared to many, admittedly) and i mostly play solo. i have encountered obvious hacking in only 2 games, questionable in a handful. i can understand the frustation for people who play “competitively” and care about leaderboards, but as a casual player (who almost never sees it in the wild) its never been an issue for me.

      • dagnamit says:

        Seconded. I believe I’ve only seen one or two. Get in now and play it. Hacks and cheats only get worse as time goes on.

    • Seyda Neen says:

      140 hours here, I’ve never noticed any hackers or cheaters.

    • M0dusPwnens says:

      58 hours, haven’t encountered any obvious hackers.

      I think plunkbat is the sort of game that is very, very prone to people calling “hacker” when they die. Smart opponents can come at you from very unexpected angles. Back when only a few people were routinely crouch-jumping through windows (no longer a thing), before vaulting made it easy for anyone to go through windows, you’d get people killing you in ways that seemed impossible if you didn’t know about crouch-jumping or didn’t think about how they could have gotten to you. Likewise, some people are very, very good at very long range shots, and I’ve heard people cry “hacker” at that (even though it’d actually be quite hard to do it with an aimbot since there’s quite a delay when firing long-range).

      Once you start making it up into the single digits and such you also tend to get invested enough that it’s hard to accept a sudden defeat, which probably contributes to the “cheater” excuses.

      Either way, if you do run into hackers it’ll be a lot more obvious now that they added the killcam.

    • dragonfliet says:

      a bit over a hundred hours and I’ve only come across a handful of hackers. The deathcam provides an easy way for reporting. I’m sad to say that 99.999% of my deaths are due to bad playing/choices (on my end), or superior skills (on the other person’s end)

    • Nelyeth says:

      100 hours, one hacker, whom I’m sure has been banned swiftly after killing half of the players in a few minutes. While Plunkbat has its flaws, and at times (read often) feels like it’s still an Early Access game, cheaters are not one of them.

    • CMaster says:

      I saw a speed hacker once.
      It’s possible I’ve been sniffed out by a wallhacker, but honestly that’s probably not as unfair as half the other deaths I’ve had from people who weren’t cheating.

      I gather it’s a lot worse on US servers than EU, or mabe Americans are just saltier.

    • cpt_freakout says:

      Thanks everyone for your responses. Sounds like it’s time for me to jump in!

    • vahnn says:

      I have over 350 hours played, hundreds, if not 1000+ rounds played, and dozens, if not 100+ wins. I currently stand at top 2%-5% in all categories (Overall, Win, and Kill rating) in all modes (Solo, Duo, and Squad) in FPP mode (first-person), if that information helps you at all.

      And I can count 2 times where I knew with 100% certainty that I faced a hacker: Once a squad was in a UAZ (jeep) moving at extreme speed and able to turn on a dime and drive through all buildings. The did this at Pochinki for several minutes. They weren’t able to shoot through walls, but they were trying, so I’m guess they could also see through walls. Finally we (all the dozen+ players in Pochinki) managed to blow up their UAZ and they all died.

      The other time was a guy who had some kind of hack that allowed him to move super quickly in a crouched position.

      Besides those, I don’t think I or any of my squadmates have ever died and suspected hacks or cheats. And now they’ve added Replays and Death Cams, so you can go back and see what happened after the fact and report them if you really suspect foul play.

  12. Jaykera says:

    Reviews of PUBG are helpful so you know if you were right buying it.

  13. DodoSandvich says:

    So I just want to give my input here. I played Plunkbat for 5 hours and put it down after not liking it.
    Why?
    Comming from a class-based shooter where characters have relatively huge portions of hp (BlockNLoad), the fights were short and felt really one-sided in most cases. In other words, after someone got the jump on you, there was rarely any counterplay that could be done before you died.
    And you can argue I was being stupid and was running around rather than being sneaky, but I came to fight a fair and tactical battle, and didn’t find one.

    So if you are looking for a good, tactical fight. Or if you hate stealth and those frigging stupid fun and interactive snipers, then you should look elsewhere.

    • dragonfliet says:

      I mean, obviously different strokes for different folks, and your not liking the game is a legit point of view, but how the hell is this unfair or not tactical? Body position, map position, weapons, scopes, and gear all play a VERY important part of each battle. You need to be paying attention visually and auditorially, using frag and flash grenades to kill/flush/blind opponents, mount retreats with smoke, lean from corners, reposition yourself, etc. I’ve had a number of tense as hell, drawn out gun battles, which feel very fair, and very-very tactical.

      Or are you just running down the middle of the street and getting lit-up by someone who saw/heard you coming and made the best tactical use of their positioning/your-ignorance? It’s not even about being sneaky (some people go very slow, others keep moving to a degree it’s almost like Counterstrike), it’s about being aware of your surroundings and player clues.

      If you aren’t okay with a game that requires both strategy AND tactics for the shooting, and you would instead jump and dance while shooting each other up, obviously, not a game for you, but to say there aren’t tactics in the game is pretty hilarious.

      • DodoSandvich says:

        Okay I was indicating that there were few tactics more than I should have. And perhaps the problem isn’t that there is a lack of viable options when getting suprised, but how much the game resolves around awareness and getting the jump on the enemy.
        Because I don’t really find that fun or engaging. I want a straight fight, not some sort of gurilla warfare.

        • dragonfliet says:

          That’s fair. I’ve always disliked games like UT, Quake, etc., and gone for things like Rainbow Six and Arma, so Plunkbat hits the spot for me, and it seems for the very reasons you pointed out.

    • Dewal says:

      What exactly do you call tactical ?

      The avatar being low in HP actually mean that the tactical part of the fights is what’s most important. Having the higher ground, the element of surprise, being able to encircle or ambush…
      But even then, if you are able to find a cover rapidly, you can counter attack. I’ve killed people that ambushed me and been killed by people that I ambushed.

      There’s no foolproof grand strategy that will garanty a win in the long run, but each small fight is a small tactical and psychological game.

    • vahnn says:

      >fair

      Wrong game.

      >tactical

      Right game. I don’t know why you think fights in PUBG aren’t tactical. I’d say they’re more tactical than 99% of games out there.

      If you were playing in TPP (third-person perspective), then yes, you’ll encounter a lot of shitshow fights. Someone could be 100% concealed behind a wall with 0% chance of being seen, but wiggle the camera around and watch your every move for minutes. My recommendation is to try playing FPP. If someone is looking at you, you can see them if you’re looking in the right place. No camera cheesing here!

  14. MeFirst says:

    The game came out of “early access” way to early. It technically still is a early access game and it was not really ready for a traditional release. The game still has a lot of issues and most are on the technical side. Memory Leaks, Cheaters and a horrible Netcode. This game has still a long way to go in my book.

    • Dewal says:

      True, there are a lot of problems.
      Lag, crashes, very slow loading… But even with all these troubles it’s the most fun I’ve had with a multiplayer game since a few years. So it’s still worth recommanding, I think.

      And for cheaters I dunno, maybe I’m blind or maybe I accept all my random deathes to me not being careful enough but I never felt like my opponent was cheating. So they must be few enough.

      • Unclepauly says:

        I’ve recommanding something for years yet it still doesn’t listen

  15. aldo_14 says:

    So, wrt

    Four minutes later, I was driving that buggy through a small village when I was shot and killed by an unseen enemy.

    Having not played the game… what happened to the buggy?

    Because normally in these things vehicles just sort of slow down in a straight line until they stop or hit something, but I think there should be some sort of random-chance thing where the vehicle (if at speed) actually tumbles and rolls as if the dead driver had yanked the steering wheel to the side.

    Methinks that’d be neat (and more definitive feedback for the shooter).

    • vahnn says:

      The buggy just slows in a straight line.

      As far as feedback for the shooter, the moment someone is killed (or put into a “downed” state in duos/squads) in a vehicle, they fall out of the vehicle, the shooter will see that the vehicle is now empty and slowing, and will see the body tumble out, and their corpse box on the ground. Oh, and the giant red message at the bottom-middle of the screen announcing their kill!

      I’d like what you described to be a thing, though.

  16. SaintAn says:

    No.

  17. cairbre says:

    Definitely game of year for me had lots of fun playing this both solo and in squads.

  18. zv_odd says:

    I’ll “Plunkbat” you! Trying to force this name. The first mention of “Plunkbat” is July 2017. So damn late to the party, since then its come up on this site 4 other times.

    Shit name, forced, and not even a decent attempt.
    Pathetic.

  19. Sgt_Big_Bubbaloola says:

    Dear lord there are some humourless souls in the comments section recently.

    • kuertee says:

      Maybe it’s because there’s been a “…we’re right and if we’re not, we don’t care and we’ll find the complaints funny so we’ll keep doing what we do…” exclusive tone in some articles recently?

      • Stellar Duck says:

        I mean, the angry comments *are* funny.

        It’s funny to see the po faced, weird people show up and throw fits at a silly nick name for a game whose actual name is really stupid.

      • MrUnimport says:

        YOU HAVE TO LAUGH AT THE SILLY WORD OR YOU’RE NOT A REAL RPS READER

      • vahnn says:

        Well, it is a gaming blog, isn’t it? This isn’t The People’s Gaming Reviews, We Post What You Want Dot Com.

      • kuertee says:

        I actually have no problem with the names “plunkbat” or “pubg”. I even thought that complaints about the variations give license for silly pronunciations of them: pee-youb-gee, pub-bug as examples.

        As for RPS, I’m actually still unhappy with: (1) their title of “Best games EVER” article. Then (2) with the quick dismissal of a game with a “…far too derivative…while taking away what’s best from the genres…” reply to a comment asking about the game has shown some writers to be up-nosed to their readers.

        E.g. have you read articles from Ars Technica. None of their authors have snark – especially none to their readers. They just do journalism right. RPS used to be the same.

        echo (RPS==Kotaku?’oh crap!’:’whew!’);

  20. Plunkbat Oranges says:

    I love the smell of citrus in the morning!

  21. Mikemcn says:

    The people who freak out about calling it Plunkbat frighten me. If they can get that upset about a name, what happens when they experience actual frustration in life? They must spontaneously explode into a million furious particles.

  22. vahnn says:

    Here are a couple stories:

    First, I’m playing with 2 friends on Erangel, 1 brand new to the game, the other played for 20 hours. …over 4 months. We drop into the military base. Brand New dies within 20 seconds. I scramble for a gun, but an enemy gets it first, so I start running. He gets me down to 2% hp when someone with a bigger gun chases him off, while I’m able to hide in a bush against a concrete barrier. Old-New manages to hide a while, too. After a couple minutes, the fighting dies down. Old-New and I grab what we can (a couple pistols and nothing else, including healing of any kind). The next circle is focused on Georgopol, meaning we have about 4 km of travel to get into the safe zone. There are no vehicles, and we need to avoid the bridges, so we run straight north from the central barracks. Still no cars, and no boats, so we start to swim.

    So now the circle has started to close, I still have 2% hp. Halfway across the channel, Old-New declares it’s hopeless and quits the game, leaving me alone! I continue along, end up finding a corpse box with bandages, then more heals and energy drinks in a nearby house, and a truck out front, and quickly trade that for a motorcycle. I zoom around to all the secluded buildings on the map to scrounge up more ammo and gear.

    I ended up making it to #9 (top 10!) with 4 kills. Not an amazing accomplishment on its own, but it just goes to show that even in the direst of starting conditions, things can go your way, and with some smart maneuvering and picking your fights, you can still get to the top.

    Story #2, later that same day, Brand New and I play with a couple friends of mine, guys with lots of experience under their belt, on Miramar. We land in Impala. The two experienced friends get locked into a shootout and swarmed by a team. Brand New gets downed while I’m rushing to back him up with my silenced 9mm pistol, and kill his attack seconds before he executes Brand New. I revive Brand New and we run like bitches to a truck and escape Impala.

    We have none of the essentials, he has a SCAR with a dozen rounds and I have a 9mm pistol. We hear fighting all around us, and everywhere we go, we encounter players with full auto guns and scopes, so we fall back and disengage. We worm our way around the map for 20 minutes, looting just tiny shacks that most players ignore and finally acquiring the basics. Before we know it, it’s down to 12 players. We maneuver to a good spot that’s high up but has cover from all sides, the only way up to us (without going into the late-game blue) is up the hill toward us. Meanwhile there’s furious gunfire being exchanged between the remaining players. Within seconds, half a dozen players are downed. I hear footsteps and gunshots close below us, so Brand New and I stand up and fire a few rounds. 1 kill! WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER!

    The last 2 squads of 3 each had 2 players down, 1 play standing. Brand New and I each killed the last remaining player of those squads, killing all 6 of the remaining 8 players, leaving us with a win!

    That was another situation where patience, planning, and navigating the terrain played a MUCH bigger role than quick reflexes and dead-eye accuracy. I fired probably less than 10 shots that entire game and got 2 kills, Brand New about 10 shots and 1 kill, and that’s all it took to win.

    If you’re afraid to play PUBG because you don’t think you have the reflexes or shooting skills for it, keep in mind that patience, observation, and positioning can be all you need to turn the odds in your favor and ensure a kill. There ARE circumstances where reflexes and accuracy are vital, but the nature of the game allows you to avoid those situations if you wish.

    If you don’t want to play PUBG because It’s Popular, well, just keep being super cool.

    And if you don’t want to play PUBG because it’s a buggy, wonky mess… Well, yeah.

  23. ChipDipson says:

    Alternatively
    Brendan Greene’s BattleGrounds (BG’s BGs (The BeeGees))
    La Pubage
    Public G – A Justin Mcelroy Joint

  24. idiotssaywot says:

    “Wot” is not a word and makes your site look like it’s run by dumb ass monkeys.