The View of PUBG from Lagland

By Peter Fowler at 14 Dec 2017

(Newsroom America) -- The trouble with a lot of video game reviewers is they have all the latest most powerful computers and Internet connections and their expectations are very high. So it was with the Xbox release of “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” on Xbox One this week. Some critics are panning it.

For the uninitiated, PUBG is a game where 100 players parachute onto an island, where they gather weapons and ammo and try to kill everyone else. Last person standing wins. Think “Hunger Games”.

At Forbes.com, Eric Kain’s headline declares “‘PUBG’ Is An Inexcusable, Embarrassing Mess On Xbox One” arguing “games released on a major console should be held to a certain standard.” But which standard?

Here’s a view from the ends of the earth, on my farm in a remote part of New Zealand. Let’s just call it “Lagland” as it could be anywhere across similar places across the globe.

I have been playing PUBG for about six months on my low end laptop on a 2 Mbps wireless connection. The graphics were mediocre and it was near impossible to shoot anyone when combined with my lack of PC gaming skills, but not since my first game of Space Invaders have I had such an adrenaline rush. So I learned to play with the lag and started regularly finishing in the top ten.

New Zealand is at the beginning of time, and so when the Xbox One version of PUBG was released at midnight on Tuesday it was still only 3am on Monday in California. I’ve been playing it at every opportunity since and have reached 29 on the leaderboard (which now appears to be broken and not updating) in a game that reportedly already has half a million players.

Out here in Lagland going from the PC version of PUBG to Xbox One is like going to a completely new universe. The graphics are crisp and clear and the game-play is mostly very smooth. Head shots, running people over, accurately landing the parachute — all things I couldn’t do on the PC — were suddenly a reality on Xbox One. And the adrenaline rush is even bigger.

Sure there are issues. Like when there’s suddenly a loud buzzing noise, the screen freezes and it tosses you back to the Xbox menu. But I rejoined the game and managed to finish second. Out here in Lagland we just go with what we’ve got. And there is some lagging. I cant figure out whether its them or me but its so infrequent its not noticeable to me or a nuisance. The leaderboards have also stopped updating and the controls take some getting used to. But for a game so new and complex it is brilliant.

What excites me is the potential of where this game concept can go.

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