PUBG helped define 2017. Not only did it popularize the battle royale genre and become the game to copy, but it also helped foster a community of millions of players on PC and Xbox One. This year hasn’t been nearly as kind to the third-person shooter and has since seen its playerbase decrease. However, the recent PUBG PS4 port may be able to breathe life back into the game as it opens up to a new community of players. While the PS4 version is almost unforgivably buggy, it’s also a decent reminder of why PUBG became such a big name in the first place.
The first thing that players will notice about the PlayStation 4 version of PUBG is that it has some major graphical blemishes. When the game first throws 100 people onto the island, players can sometimes see the framework of objects and some incredibly ugly textures. It’s not that much better once it loads in as it looks like the PC version running on low settings even as it continues to chug. Its jittery nature can even make it seem as though there’s a character moving around in the distance even though it’s just the game engine struggling to keep up. Shoddy performance like this ensures that PUBG will never win any technical or visual awards and is less forgiving in each passing month.
The control scheme makes its first impression even worse. Some of the decisions, such as using the L3 and R3 inputs to be able to lean while aiming, wind up being helpful, but others are just backwards. Even something simple like opening the map is a convoluted process that involves hitting shoulder bumpers in addition to using the analog sticks. Menus are also clunky to navigate and still not suited for consoles.
PUBG PS4 Review – Compromised Vision
It clear that PUBG is meant to be played on PC rather than console. This isn’t a shocking conclusion, as players on Xbox One have had similar complaints, but the graphical performance is one step below on PS4.
However, once players accept the compromised experience that the PlayStation 4 version offers, they actually find themselves having fun. While I was initially annoyed at some of the pop-in, I quickly found myself not caring as I raided houses for equipment and watching as the 100 players dwindled down to a more manageable number.
Despite any issues, the core battle royale gameplay still truly shines here. Each of the three existing maps are a joy to explore and offer up some great landscape variety. There is nothing else quite as tense as watching the number of survivors counter tick down into single digits, and then barely scraping by in a tense shootout. At first, I found some of these firefights more frustrating than fun due to the cumbersome controls, but they became second nature later on.
PUBG is best enjoyed in co-op. Going solo is an option and might be how some prefer to play, but I had the most fun joining up with some friends and trying to outwit other groups. No matter if they end up successful or a failure (and in my case, it was far more of the latter), coordinating attacks and strategies with a few buddies is still an absolute blast. Sure, there will be some grumbling when a good match goes sideways due to human error, but all of the laughs make up for it. Co-op makes almost everything better and PUBG, despite the overwhelming technical issues, is no exception.
PUBG PS4 Review – A Blast With Friends
However, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds still feels incredibly unpolished for a game that debuted nearly two years ago. Sometimes it was by getting stuck while crawling underneath a house, and other times it was just watching some entertaining technical glitches happen, but I rarely went a full match without the game impacting my enjoyment (be it positively or not) due to some buggy coding. It’s a layer of annoyance that shouldn’t be in a game that is out of early access.
That’s why it is easy to be frustrated by the overall state of the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds PlayStation 4 port. The texture pop-in is ridiculous and the gameplay still has so many rough edges. But there is a certain charm to PUBG‘s gameplay that keeps players coming back for more. From the strong map design to the enjoyable gunplay, there is enough different here to make it worthwhile for PS4 players even if they’ve spent hundreds of hours in Fortnite. You just might have to have an abnormally high tolerance for bugs to fully enjoy it.
PUBG was reviewed on PlayStation 4 via a digital code provided by the publisher.