There’s been quite a few games over the last year that have kept me away from playing PUBG regularly – both Ghost Recon Wildlands and The Division 2 succeeded in that quite well but after completing them (the former) or being disappointed with updates (the latter) I’ve begun bringing my one time gaming obsession back into regular rotation along with Apex Legends. One thing is for sure: the moment you start up PUBG you can tell a lot has changed since it’s release on both PC and (later) console.
The game’s main menu (I’m playing on Xbox) is the biggest sign of the times with season passes and XP grinding now taking a greater role in what’s being presented to players. It’s still quick to select “Play” and queue up for a game but that UI simplicity is starting to drown in all of the other features vying for a player’s attention (and money). With the game previously dabbling with season passes it seems they’ve gone all-in now and are offering something that feels a little too much like Fortnite and Apex Legends. Not that I have any issues with those games (I’m a big fan of Apex) but the dress up aspect of monetization in these games just seems out of place in PUBG which was aiming for that “semi-realistic” experience. I still have BP from the game that I earned before G-Coins and Coupons became the new “thing” to spend. I kind of miss the earlier days when it wasn’t much more than a big PLAY button and some settings to change the colour of your shirt.
That could explain why jumping into a new spin on the genre in Outworld Battlegrounds has been a really nice change of pace for me. The game is appealing with its straightforward menu getting you into right into the game quickly (big deal for me) with little to distract you on the periphery. There are cosmetics in there too but it’s far less distracting than in similar games. All of this makes for something that gives a player EXACTLY what they want and that’s to play against others. Why PUBG had to stray from that I don’t know but I really hope they consider cleaning up that menu and fix the lobby – the number of times I had trouble getting a squad to join up in the game makes me wonder if they’ve spent too much on the marketplace side and not enough on fixes for the actual game. That’s a little disappointing because the game still has the atmosphere and gameplay I like and will keep on playing but I just can’t stand the window dressing that’s been added.
Meanwhile Apex Legends continues to move along at its own pace with a new season that moves the XP grind closer to Fortnite which is appreciated as the game’s first season made progress quite difficult for casual players. The daily and weekly challenges are a good incentive to mix up gameplay and test out the different characters instead of having to simply play and play again. With me often sticking to Lifeline in a support role when jumping into a game with friends and randoms this is at least convincing me to step out of my comfort zone and having a lot of fun in the process.
The only game I can think of that may draw me away again from these is Ghost Recon Breakpoint if it has similar levels of content to its predecessor… time will tell. Gears 5 is just around the corner so I’ve been back to playing the Horde mode from the last game in anticipation for that and it might surprise me too. At least for me it’s a good time to be a fan of these kinds of shooters! 🙂