When a game gets ported to console, concessions are to be expected. Textures typically aren’t as crisp, framerates are capped, and everything just isn’t anywhere as polished as its PC counterpart. If the game at its core is still great, however, a lot of its drawbacks can be overlooked.
That is absolutely not the case with the Xbox One version of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, which is out today. I can, with total honesty, say that it is one of the shoddiest and underwhelming ports I’ve ever played and only serves to make the glaring errors with the game itself that much more obvious.
Things immediately got off on the wrong foot for me, thanks to Bluehole somehow not understanding that this is the biggest Xbox release of the year and the first console version of Steam’s biggest ever hit. Servers were seriously overstuffed; the cables connected to the potato server clearly fizzling and crackling away, threatening to burst into flames at any second. After a while, I managed to connect to the potato, but I almost wished I could never have been able to play PUBG once I was in a match.
PUBG on an Xbox One S looks fundamentally horrific, as if someone has rushed through the upscaling of an Xbox 360 game. Textures are consistently flat with frequent pop-in and an atrocious draw distance making everything look like it was rendered in Paint. There’s quite a fun little game to be had whenever you wander into a building, namely “guess which assets will eventually render” as you stand in an empty room before the environment suddenly appears.
Indoor firefights are pure attrition, the ugliness of everything going on on-screen combined with the almost impressive levels of slowdown making it difficult to feel involved, let alone excited. Worse still, the framerate frequently struggles to even hit its cap of thirty, making all gameplay feel as if it’s in slow motion. Apparently it isn’t much better on an Xbox One X, either.
Here are just a few of the game’s most stunning scenes.
Through about two hours of frustration, I kept giving PUBG constant chances, shrugging off its issues as Early Access issues. But then I kept remembering Fortnite: a battle royale game also in Early Access that runs smooth as butter on console. PUBG on PC is no perfect venture, but it’s nowhere near as bad as this – it all smacks of rushing something out for the Christmas boom.
I kept persevering, even after a hard crash just before I was about to land, but the final straw was when I came up against man’s worst enemy: invisible gravity.
It’s still really early for PUBG on Xbox One and its problems will no doubt get patched, but it gives off just about the worst impression imaginable, even to someone who was beyond excited to play PlayerUnknown’s brand of murder from the comfort of his couch. But now instead all I want to do is build increasingly more ridiculous bases with my friends in a game that hasn’t been quite as cynically pushed to market.
PUBG on Xbox One is certainly no chicken dinner, more like microwave dinner for one while your cat plots to kill you in your sleep. If you can find the jewel of a game at its core –the same one that has enchanted millions upon millions of players on PC– you’re a more forgiving person than I am and all the power to you. For me, however, the damage has been done and the hype train has one less passenger.
Update 13/12/17: Digital Foundry video added.
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