Don't Spend Money on 'PUBG' for Xbox One Yet


#1

When Microsoft announced PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was coming to Xbox, I’d sunk dozens of hours into the game on PC. My first thought? “What delicious prey.” For many players, the Xbox One version was likely to be their first encounter with Battlegrounds, a game that takes a while to wrap your head around. Maybe, just maybe, I’d have an opportunity to leverage my experience from the PC and win a few chicken dinners early, before people with more time and skill took over and pushed me out.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/ywn3zx/dont-spend-money-on-pubg-for-xbox-one-yet

#2

I played a couple of matches today on my One S, and it felt fine enough to me, frame rate-wise. Texture pop-in was worse than the frame rate for me, though I’m guessing it’s fixable in time.

The controls take a little getting used to (movement and shooting seems good, though. Except for “hold X to reload,” of course), but…it’s PUBG on my couch. It’s PUBG I can play with my wife on the other Xbox. That’s pretty dang cool, even if it isn’t “finished” yet. I no longer have any sort of gaming PC and no real desire to go back, so it’s perfect for me.


#3

I don’t know… I played the game early in it’s development on PC and loved it despite it’s flaws. It has only gotten better over time - as will the Xbox version - and I’ve had a ton of fun along the way.

If you’ve been eagerly waiting to play this game, get it. You’ll definitely get your $30 worth even if you have to wait a couple months before they hit a solid 30fps.


#5

So this is Zelda bad except they clearly labelled this as unfinished to consumers who can go in knowing that and expecting improvements?


#6

I’m the sort of asshole who thinks playing a shooter that requires any degree of aiming precision with a controller is a bad experience, so I’m not going to like PUBG on console no matter what they do. Leaving aside my personal issues, however, I do wonder about the marketing of this release.

Pushing early access/“preview” games at people who follow video games closely and understand what to expect is one thing. Pushing them at the mass market is another thing entirely. I was in a Gamestop this morning in line behind a woman who bought 6 copies for her family to play over Christmas. Do they understand they’re getting a fundamentally unfinished product? Unlikely.


#7

Patrick spent less time talking about the controls than the performance issues in his article but I’d argue the controls are the bigger issue. They’re a hot mess, and fighting against the controls made the game frustrating to play instead of fun.

You can find the whole control scheme here: https://news.xbox.com/en-us/2017/12/10/xbox-control-scheme-playerunknowns-battlegrounds/

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Tap LT to aim down sights, not hold. Holding LT only does a partial 3rd person zoom.
  • Pressing Y cycles through your three guns, so if you want to switch from your secondary gun to your primary, you need to switch twice in order to cycle through your pistol.
  • Free look is bound to holding RB and moving the left stick, so you can only do it while stationary.
  • The D-pad buttons cycle through grenades, fire modes, healing items, and there is a dedicated button for switching to the melee weapon.
  • Despite having a number of functions bound to holding a button rather than pressing one, nothing seems to be bound to LB or clicking in the right stick.

Beyond these small, but fixable issues, I found navigating the inventory screen incredibly cumbersome - I spent a ton of time in a game repeatedly going in and dropping excess ammo because I couldn’t find a backpack, something that wouldn’t have been a big deal in the PC version. There wasn’t enough contrast to see where the cursor was and it would often move in unexpected ways as I was trying to configure attachments.

Then, possibly the worst thing about the controls was that the aiming didn’t feel good at all. I don’t expect aiming with a controller to feel as precise as using a mouse but I found it awfully hard to hit someone with a 4x scope - and funnily enough, it seemed they were having just as hard of a time hitting me. (We traded shots for a good 20-30 seconds before simultaneously giving up and running in opposite directions.) It’s hard to describe but the motion on the right stick didn’t feel right, like instead of having an acceleration curve in order to help with aiming precision as you push the stick more or less in a direction, it felt like the motion was fairly linear after you pushed past the dead zone. I didn’t spend much time aiming at other players though so I couldn’t test this enough to pinpoint exactly how it felt wrong. It also seems that there’s no aim assist whatsoever, which is to be expected with PUBG’s (and Arma’s) focus on simulation, and would probably be hard to do factoring in bullet drop and flight time, but gosh it sure does feel difficult to land a shot on anyone with a controller as-is.

It honestly feels like this game could benefit from reconsidering the design a bit to make it more friendly for a console environment, in order to simplify the controls, make the aiming feel better, and appeal to players who have become accustomed to how CoD, Destiny, and other traditionally popular console shooters feel. For instance, I’d be willing to see the inventory system reworked to have a limited capacity on each type of item rather than a single pool of inventory that every item contributes a certain amount of “weight” to. Each gun might allow you to carry one spare clip worth of ammo, and a level 1 backpack could increase this capacity to three spare clips, with more for higher level backpacks. You’d still want to have a way to drop specific items for your squadmates, but could spend less time messing around in such a screen as you couldn’t end up in a situation where having too much ammo meant that you couldn’t pick up a first aid kit. I also feel like having weapon/item wheels bound to LB or D-pad buttons would make switching weapons or using items in the heat of combat much more intuitive and conducive to muscle memory, rather than cycling through options with multiple button presses and reacting to what icon appears above your health bar. As for systems like switching firing modes or zeroing distance, I’d ask - are they really critical to the PUBG experience? I think anything should be on the table if cutting it would lead to a better experience for what is arguably a very different audience with different expectations.

At the end of the day, putting this out on Xbox in the state that it’s in, in an early access program and charging $30 feels like a weird choice to me. The first PC build was pretty rough around the edges - some would say the game still is - yet it still felt fun to play even with it’s issues. Maybe this is just my experience because I’ve already played it on PC, but this did not feel fun to play at all. I’m worried that a bunch of people will have a terrible first impression and feel like they got burned by their purchase. Going into early access first on Steam made sense at it was relatively unknown at that point, but now that they’ve sold 25 million(!!) copies, and presumably have funding and support from large companies like Microsoft and Tencent, I don’t think they needed to charge for this early build in order to fund additional development. By charging money now, I think they’ll end up pushing a bunch of people toward Fortnite which isn’t as popular, but has the benefit of being free and far more technically sound. Instead I think they would have been better served with a free public beta to establish a playerbase on console, better position themselves against Fortnite, and delay accepting money from people until the game is truly ready.


#8

I would agree that the bigger issue is the controls. I’m running the game on my OG XB1 and I didn’t have many performance issues. It was framey at some times, but the bigger issue for me was textures and assets not appearing. Mostly fine though.

The controls are flibbity fucked. My buddy and I haven’t played on PC but we’ve watched tons of streams and read about PUBG and the whole thing feels like a mess on a controller. The controls are so cumbersome and unintuitive. Even after I read the controller map I spent 10 more minutes on google looking up “how to play PUBG on Xbox One.” After I finally understood how the controls are supposed to work, I ran into another issue - I can’t hit the broadside of a space shuttle. The movement of the right stick feels so… off. I have an elite controller and haven’t gotten to futzing with the dead zone settings and whatnot, but I honestly don’t know if that will even help.

I’m gonna stick around, but I can easily see many players turned off by this experience.


#9

It definitely doesn’t seem like they spent a lot of time tuning the controls and the aiming for console use, what’s nice about software control issues is that it can easily be fixed in a patch.
I like doing design and thought experiments with games so excuse me, but here’s what I would suggest as far as control mapping: (a lot of this is probably how it is already but things can easily be bettered by a more console friendly UI, like adding a radial menu for weapons)

Summary
  • Obviously the first thing that needs to be corrected is the camera controls, there are auto-aim settings, deadzones, smoothing and acceleration properties you can add and tweak to make it playable with a controller, they just need to iron that out.
  • Vaulting / jumping = A (additionally holding A may let you go into an auto-vaulting mode)
  • Interacting / reload = X (this one’s fine, but the hold-to-reload isn’t necessary)
  • Crouch / Prone = B (holding to prone, tapping to crouch, all toggle)
  • Inventory (tab) = Y (pretty self explanatory, same function as tab on pc)
  • Third person aim = LT, (and first person by tapping RB while aiming, metal gear style)
  • Weapon selection = RB w/o aiming (using a half-wheel selection or d-pad to select weapons, it’s slower than number keys, but everyone is evenly matched so you just have to be more deliberate with switching, also there could be a lower half wheel or face buttons for item use)
  • Free look = LB + right stick (pretty hard to justify on consoles, maybe this is one of those things you could do without on consoles)
  • Lean = LB + LT (I feel like leaning is generally done when aiming anyway, I really have no better mapping for this)
  • Sprint (or hold breath while scoped) = L3
  • Zeroing distance = up and down on d-pad while aiming.
  • Fire mode = left d-pad
  • Holster weapon = right d-pad
  • Map = Select (should really just be done like other open world games, moving a cursor around and using RT and LT to zoom and LB/RB to place / remove waypoints.

I have no clue how their engine pairs with the Xbox one consoles, so idk how much they can optimise it without just gutting it for details and lightmaps, but maaan, there’s some rough issues judging from the GB quick look.


#10

I’m getting it anyway. I know it’s a bit broken but it has got Microsofts backing so I trust that it will improve. Plus it is early access so I’m not expecting anything near a polished game.


#11

In the Digital Foundry video that examined the frame-rate ( link here ) they mentioned that the game seems to use 4 cpu threads and therefore is a poor match for the 8-cores that the Xbox One consoles have. Hopefully, a lot of their optimization efforts revolve around optimizing the engine for 8-cores, but who knows how feasible that really is.


#12

Hopefully, I’m not getting an xbox but they deserve better than what this offers thus far.
At least they are very actively working to support it, but I hope they focus less on making fancy animations and lobby screen and more on smoothing out the experience for console (and pc) players.


#13

I’ll just chime in with my two cents, as someone who doesn’t have a gaming PC, so this is my first experience playing PUBG.

Is is pretty rough? Yes, absolutely. But I was expecting that for something coming out of Xbox Game Preview. But I’m willing to give the control scheme a chance. I’ve played about 8-10 rounds over the past day or so, and I’ve had a blast. I’m terrible at shooting, and part of that is definitely the lack of any real aim assist. I’m sure I will eventually adjust, and they may still adjust the aiming to make it more console-friendly. And the menu is a little on the clunky side to navigate. But, I really appreciate that they really have delivered on the full PUBG experience without watering down any of the mechanics. The fact that they were able to map everything in game to an Xbox controller in a way that actually makes some sense is kinda impressive. The only other control scheme that I’ve played with on Xbox that has had to do more is Elite: Dangerous.

So I’ll keep playing this and enjoying it, and hope that it gets better optimized as time goes on, which I’m sure it will. Because now I can play PUBG on the couch, and that’s a pretty cool feeling.