PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, or PUBG as it’s often known, is the hottest ticket in gaming right now. It sold more than 25 million copies on PC last year, and it’s already blazed a trail to over three million sales on Xbox One, despite having only been available since December last year.
So it’s no wonder everybody’s trying to copy PUBG‘s Battle Royale-style gameplay. But just what is a “Battle Royale” and why should you care?
Essentially, it’s a riff on the 2000’s Japanese film Battle Royale or, for a more recent example, The Hunger Games. A hundred players drop into the world with nothing but the clothes on their back and a parachute, and once they’ve successfully landed, they scavenge for weapons and gear and fight to be the last one standing.
It may sound intimidating, but don’t fear. Here are our tips on how to survive in this kill-or-be-killed game.
1. Should you buy PUBG on PC or Xbox One?
If you have a gaming PC and play most of your games on it, the answer is clear as the PC version of PUBG reached version 1 at the end of last year. This milestone means the PC build offers a much better experience than you’ll find on Xbox One. It’s visually superior to that of the Xbox One build; powerful PCs will easily be able to handle 60fps gameplay, and there are even two maps to play on.
For those without gaming PCs, let it be known that the Xbox One version of PUBG has only just entered Game Preview – meaning it’s not very well optimised. This means it has plenty of bugs to discover and lacks many of the features of the full game. Don’t let that put you off, though: it’s still a lot of fun to play, but you have to keep in mind that it’s not finished just yet.
2. Know when to drop
Each PUBG game starts with all 100 players piled into in a transport plane flying a random path across the map. Deciding when and where to drop is your first big decision, and can easily determine whether you’ll last 30 seconds or 30 minutes.
Once you jump, you have two choices: dive as fast as you can for towns, cities and military bases, where the best guns and gear can be found; or try to get as far away from the plane’s flight path as possible and scavenge remote buildings in peace and quiet. Either way, try to be aware of other people parachuting in around you and be prepared for a fight if they’re nearby.
3. Always search for the essentials
As soon as you land, you need to hunt for guns and gear to help you survive. Everything can be found on the floor in buildings, so don’t waste your time looking elsewhere. You’ll want to grab essentials as quickly as possible, but luck always plays a part in what you’ll find. Sometimes you’ll find a building filled with high-end kit, other times you’ll be lucky to find a pistol.
PUBG also features a decent selection of weapons, from sniper and assault rifles to submachine guns, shotguns and pistols. You can carry two main guns and a pistol, so you’re best off picking up two contrasting guns like a sniper rifle and a submachine gun. You’ll also need ammo for each but this is generally found next to the gun. You can also improve most guns with attachments such as red-dot sights, foregrips and expanded magazines.
Aside from guns, you’ll want a backpack so you can carry more gear, and a helmet and protective vest to help absorb damage. Health kits are also vital for healing up after a fight, and there’s a variety of grenades to look out for.
The biggest part of surviving in PUBG is knowing when to fight – that, and being aware of your surroundings. If someone is firing at you from a distance, you’re better off running to cover instead of trying to fight. On the flip side, there’s absolutely no point in sniping someone using a gun without enough range. An SMG is useless at 200m.
It’s also worth remembering that every shot fired can be heard from quite a long way away, revealing your position. If you have surround-sound headphones, or use Windows Sonic and Dolby Atmos for spatial audio, you’ll make the most of them in PUBG as this will help you pinpoint distant gunfire. Of course, the choice of running towards the action or just letting it resolve itself lies ultimately with you.
5. Stay in the Safe Zone (and out of the Red Zone!)
You’ll also want to keep an eye out for the Red Zones that appear on the map. Here artillery fire will bombard the ground, making survival reasonably unlikely. If caught in a Red Zone, sprint or drive your way out as quickly as possible. If that seems impossible, seek shelter in nearby buildings so you can wait until the bombardment passes.
For those fleeing the encroaching Safe Zone border, or Red Zone bombardments, keep in mind that vehicles make a lot of noise – so pick your escape route wisely!
6. Learn PUBG’s weird control system
Regardless of whether you’re playing on Xbox One or PC, PUBG has some slightly odd controls that you need to get used to if you want to succeed. Here are a few of the important ones to remember:
- On PC, clicking the right mouse button aims down the sights. On Xbox One, you quickly pull the left trigger to activate it.
- Holding the right mouse button down on PC activates an over-the-shoulder view. On Xbox One, holding the left trigger activates this view.
- Hold Alt on your keyboard to activate a free-look camera that won’t hamper your movement. On Xbox One, this can be activated by holding the right shoulder button.
- You can change the rate of fire of your gun by pressing the B key on your keyboard, or the left button on your Xbox One D-pad.
Thankfully, PUBG lets you remap controls on PC, and there’s now a “Type B” control system on Xbox One that lets you hold the left trigger to activate iron sights, instead of shifting your view over the shoulder. It’s also worth memorising your inventory, and the inventory navigation controls so you can dive in and reorganise while on the move.
7. Team up with friends
Being a PUBG lone wolf is great, but you can also play as a duo or in a squad of up to four. Partnering up doesn’t water down your experience – far from it. In fact, it changes how PUBG feels significantly as you’ll be trying to jump from a plane together, share resources and call out other groups you’ve spotted on your journey. You can also revive each other after being downed, so you have a higher chance of survival too.
There’s strength in numbers, but the flip side is that your enemies will probably be a bit more organised as well…
8. Always watch your replays
Ever since PUBG hit version 1.0 on PC, a great replay and killcam feature has been included. Sadly, this isn’t on Xbox One yet, but it’s great for learning from your mistakes on PC. From seeing how you were taken out to learning how other players handle certain situations, you’ll gain a lot of insight from watching these replays. Heck, you could use it just to relive the glorious moment you got your first Chicken Dinner!