PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) has been off to a strong start on Xbox One, carrying the legacy of the PC version, while better suited for gamepads. Released via "Xbox Game Preview," the platform's dedicated program for in-progress titles, PUBG remains in early stages – though packs the essentials that gave the PC version its worldwide praise.
As a game still in development, PUBG on Xbox One also comes with its fair share of problems. Without the optimization seen on PC, Xbox One players are hindered by substandard performance, gameplay issues, and various other shortcomings. Here are four flaws currently holding back the game at launch, which need to be overcome as soon as possible.
Frame rate drops
After only a few minutes with PUBG on Xbox One, one of the glaring issues plaguing the game in its current state is a lack of optimization. As a game initially built with PC in mind, the game currently fails to deliver a consistent frame rate on the console, with huge variations below its 30 frames per second (FPS) target. Realistically, you'll be seeing regular frame rate drops into the low-20s, with even lower drops in situations where multiple players and complex environments are present.
Ideally, for a first-person shooter with such a competitive nature, PUBG should be aiming for 60 FPS on Xbox One consoles. But due to the limitations of earlier Xbox One models, this isn't a realistic target without heavily sacrificing on the resolution. Surprisingly though, the game outputs native 1080p and native 4K on Xbox One and Xbox One X respectively, consistently maxing out the resolution in exchange for a lower framerate.
As with any title in Xbox Game Preview, PUBG continues to evolve, meaning that performance and stability should improve as development moves forward. Recent patches have delivered supposed performance tweaks that while not revolutionary, at least show commitment to improving the game at a rapid rate. But as a title being sold on store shelves across retailers worldwide, some type of balance between resolution and frame rate stability would be welcome until optimization has improved.
Aiming and controls
One of the biggest challenges during the move to the console was PUBG's control scheme, condensing a complex keyboard and mouse setup over to a compact controller. With help from the studio behind Gears of War, The Coalition, and Microsoft's advanced technical group, the controller layout shows promise, with some established names in the industry contributing toward the effort.
In many ways, the essence of the experience comes through on a controller. With the help of some contextual controls, which are only mapped in certain situations, a majority of core PC actions are available on console too. It's an impressive feat considering the restrictions of a gamepad – though when it comes to aiming, the current solution falls flat.
PUBG on Xbox One offers no form of aim assist, meaning in comparison to other console shooters, landing shots will understandably be a lot more challenging. With the hindrance of poor implementations of aim acceleration and "deadzoning," additional techniques used to aid controller aiming, PUBG's overall aiming is a little... off. And when paired with the awkward aiming down sights (ADS) controls, where two stages are solely mapped to the left trigger, PUBG's gunplay mechanics simply don't feel intuitive on Xbox.
Leading up to launch, in an interview with GameSpot, creative director at Bluehole, Brendan "PlayerUnknown" Greene, referred to Destiny's "solid" gunplay as a goal for PUBG on Xbox One. What we have right now is far from that, and work is needed for gameplay to feel responsive, while still challenging.
Since launch issues subsided and players began to diver deeper into PUBG's gameplay, "rubber-banding" is emerging as a widespread issue. Often caused by delayed synchronization between a client's game and the server, this causes players to stutter while moving around the map, not only making less consistent – it can make an otherwise enjoyable game unplayable.
Though this weight of this issue appears to vary, a significant number of players are reporting issues specifically when playing PUBG. While unstable internet on the player's side can be a cause of issues, many still report problems even on low latency connections. This should hopefully be corrected over time with server-side fixes but for now, can break the flow of gameplay.
One week after PUBG's Xbox One debut, PC users received the game's "1.0" release, marking its departure from Steam's Early Access program. Debuting the new "Miramar" desert map, viewable killcams, vaulting and other features, the update delivered some of the biggest changes since its initial debut.
Over on Xbox One, many of these features are currently absent, with some time until they're scheduled to hit the platform. Greene has previously stressed that this content will come to console, though with a delay, promising a more refined experience after PC testing.
As the primary platform for PUBG, it's understandable that content will be available first for PC. And like all consoles, the Xbox One is a curated platform, so users do generally expect more consistent is experiences. As proven by their vastly different development cycles right now, PUBG between the two platforms bears vital differences – not only in content but also in the update process. But if a multiple-month turnaround separates content releases between platforms, Xbox One will be hurt in the long-term.
In any case, PUBG remains an exhilarating experience despite all of these issues, and at $30, it's well worth checking out.
- PUBG for Xbox One is unique and intense, but rough around the edges
- What's missing from PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds for Xbox One, compared to PC
- PUBG Xbox One ultimate beginner's guide
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