After making headlines for months as a PC exclusive, even garnering GotY nominations, PlayerUnknown’s Battleground is finally on console, and will release a flood of new people upon the latest gaming craze. Needles to say, however, this version of PUBG, despite sharing the latest updates as the computer version, is very much starting from square one. Regardless of whether you’re a seasoned player or jumping in the first time with Xbox, here is some advice that will help you survive and give you a leg up on the competition.
A large military plane soars over a solitary island, structures of all kinds scattered across the terrain. One by one players jump out of the plane, visualizing in their head where they’re going to land. Snap! Their parachutes burst open, immediately grinding their free fall to a gentle descent. Between then and the moment their boots hit the ground, time seems to stand still. They have ninety nine other players to survive against, no weapons in hand and an ever shrinking playable area. They need to move quickly.
It’s easy to panic in your first few games of PUBG. With the threat of being hunted by other players and the looming electric wall that closes around the island like an ever-shrinking noose, no doubt players lose their patience. This will only lead to a swifter death. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds requires a lot of tactical thinking which is even harder to make under the pressure. Your first instinct will be, if you’re unlucky enough to fall outside the playable zone, to make a dead sprint to the white circle on the map. This is a mistake. You have five minutes before the map starts shrinking, and even when it does it will happen slowly. Beyond that, if you find yourself outside the electric wall, your health will also diminish at a leisurely pace (at least the first couple of times it shrinks). If you focus on being in the safe area as your primary goal, you are going to miss out on some loot that is going to help you down the line.
Even if you do find yourself in the playable area, you’re most likely near someone else also in the safe zone. The idea that someone is ready to kill you should always be in the back of your mind, but don’t let it psych you out that it gives them an advantage. Keep calm, and...
Loot. Loot. Loot. Loot is going to be the main barrier between life and death. The more you stock up on gear not only means that you’re going to be better equipped, but it’s less gear on the map for your opponents to forage. Who can get to the best weapons and equipment first is very likely going to end up closer to overall victory. You can get lucky like I did once and win armed with nothing but a pistol, facing off against an enemy with level three equipment and a SCAR-L assault rifle. But those instances are few and far between.
There will come a time in the game where you feel relatively well decked out and shift focus to hunting other players, but certainly when you start off that should be secondary to item collection. Looting is almost like a rhythm game. You’ll find a pace to pick up and equip gear, and the more you play, the faster you’ll get. The speed at which you can pick something up and optimize your inventory is just as important as what you’re picking up.
One nice thing is that the game moves at an overall slower pace in these early days in comparison to if you were to jump on the PC version. Everyone will be getting used to the controls (a subject we’ll get to next), so it’s unlikely someone is going to catch you with a significant advantage right out of the gate. I was surprised at how slowly the kill count was rising, with around 75 players left at the same time that maybe half or fewer of the players would be alive on the PC. So take advantage of this current learning curve that everyone is undergoing to practice.
Study the controls
Speaking of practice, every game of PUBG opens up on a small land mass off of the coast of the main island. You are on the landmass for 60 seconds, with god mode turned on and every gun available to you. Take this time before every match to study how the game controls. There are a lot of different actions players can perform, and especially because this is an Xbox preview game, the controls are a little finicky. For example, equipping and reloading are the exact same button, X, but the former requires a tap and the latter a press.
The moment I jumped into my first Xbox match, I stumbled my way through the as I was constantly mixing up my inputs. Fortunately enough, a lot of other players seemed to be doing the same, meaning it didn’t mean my immediate demise. But still, this window of everyone being a beginner is going to rapidly disappear. Make sure you’re not caught on the wrong side.
Pay attention to the details
PUBG seems like the perfect game to throw on some music in the background, maybe even a podcast, as it is quite a solitary game if you play in solo mode. Funnily enough, especially when starting out, this would be a big mistake. Sometimes what keeps you alive is complete silence. Hearing a player will most likely happen before seeing them. Are they driving? If so, what vehicle? How close are they and which direction are they headed? If they’re firing, what gun are they shooting with? Are they inside the building with me, or outside? And if they’re inside, which floor and which room? These are questions you’ll be asking yourself as you play, and knowing the answers will help keep you alive.
PUBG has some visual elements, such as debris caught in the wind, that will catch your eye. You’ll constantly be imagining a player in your peripherals. It might sound silly, but learn what seeing another player looks like. The quicker you can discern an opponent and lock on, the more likely you are to win each excursion. I cannot stress enough how quickly showdowns are over. Most times, before you even know it, you’re dead. Whilst that may sound frustrating, it’s balanced out with moments where you’re on the other end of the gun. Those moments will be more frequent if you pay attention to the details.
Learn where you want to land
Where on the island the plane arrives from and which direction it is headed is random with every game. Sometimes you’ll be initially flying over more barren lands, with other other games opening over the military base. There is no right or wrong answer to where you land, but it will dictate your game from then on. For example, the military base to the south of the map is littered with some the best loot, meaning a huge chunk of players are going to be concentrated over a small area very early on. If you want to get into the action fast, this is the route to go. It can be extremely daunting starting out a game like this, especially as sometimes you land literally within feet of other players, a race to the first gun you see ensuing. However, if you learn the maps and locations of loot, you can quickly deck yourself out and get to player hunting faster.
On the flip side, you can land over a more open area, meaning you’ll most likely be further away from other players, leaving a nice chunk of land for you to scout alone. This initially can seem like the best path to choose, but if you strike out and start in a cluster of buildings with low level gear the advantage is greatly tipped against you. As you can see, both approaches have pros and cons. Decide one route to to go and master it.
There are tons of tips and tricks you will pick up whilst you get sucked into PUBG, but these are the most simple ones I have found that have had the greatest impact. Good luck, and I’ll see you on the battlegrounds. Well, you’d be hope I don’t.