Thirteen Reasons Why: PUBG and Fortnite

A+player+looks+through+the+scope+of+a+rifle%2C+preparing+to+line+up+her+shot.+Among+the+various+weapon+attachments+that+can+be+found+in+Playerunknown%E2%80%99s+Battlegrounds+are+magnified+optics+of+different+magnifications.

Photo taken from From Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds

A player looks through the scope of a rifle, preparing to line up her shot. Among the various weapon attachments that can be found in Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds are magnified optics of different magnifications.

Jake Nipper and Maxwell Yang

There are 100 players and only one spot at the top.

The “battle royale” genre has seen multiple resurgences in popularity throughout the past few decades, meeting critical acclaim every time it is reborn. The eponymous Japanese movie debut in 2000 was relatively successful, earning an 87% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, 7.7/10 on IMDb, and 81% on Metacritic. Fast forward eight years to The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, which was immensely more popular and spawned two more novels in the trilogy as well as an entire movie franchise. The Hunger Games brought the genre of battle royale outside Japan and to the rest of the world.

Photo taken from From Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds
A warning about the shrinking playzone flashes over the inventory interface. The inventory interface allows players to pick up items, drop them, and add attachments to their weapons.

Battle Royale made its third major comeback not too long ago. You probably know it in the form of two games: “PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS” (PUBG) and “Fortnite Battle Royale.” You have probably heard the latter name being tossed around a lot more than the former, especially since the publishing of Justin Storrs’ Fortnite-based articles. There are two main reasons as to why Fortnite Battle Royale is a lot more popular than PUBG: there’s no pay barrier to try the game, and its cartoony, fantasy art style draws in younger players while still being approachable to older communities.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better.

Contrary to our beloved Justin Storrs’ opinion, we believe that PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is the superior battle royale game in nearly all aspects. Here’s why.

Let’s start with arguably the most important part of any battle royale game: gunplay.

PUBG’s gun mechanics are almost ArmA-level realistic; the recoil, bullet velocity, travel time, and ballistic drop all add variables that must be taken into account when trying to eliminate other players. Fortnite, in contrast, doesn’t even have an iron-sights mechanic unless the player is using a scoped weapon. Most weapons are hitscan, with only a handful of weapons using bullet physics. The gunplay is clearly designed to be approachable and understandable for children, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing unless you’re actually good at shooters and desire an outlet for challenging engaging gameplay.

PUBG has also been developed with much more lifelike graphics and lighting effects in mind. It attempts to recreate the look of the real world through texturing and lighting effects, making it not only more visually pleasing to us, but also makes for a much more competitive game arena due to the ability of camouflage. Fortnite, on the other hand, has an oversaturated, cartoony art style that oversimplifies the gameplay and diminishes the competitive nature of the game. Fortnite’s only form of camouflage? A wearable bush.

Any competitive shooter, especially one with permanent death, needs to be in the first person, where the camera is in the place of the character’s eyes. PUBG offers both first and third person and even allows players to change between both views freely in some instances. Fortnite is a third person only, where the camera follows the character from behind. And while this may seem like simply a matter of personal preference, the camera choice in a competitive game makes a quintessential impact on the game for one big reason: peeking around corners.

It’s a simple concept: in a first-person game, one cannot see around a corner without exposing themselves to whatever is around that corner, but in a third person game, they can. This means that someone can sit behind a wall in the third person and see everything over that wall, or at the top of a stairwell peeking down while behind cover, or a multitude of other situations and scenarios where one can see their enemies without their enemies being able to see them. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this is inherently unfair, but Justin Storrs doesn’t seem to care…

All competitive games rely on proper pacing to be enjoyable and fair, and although both games have similar map restriction systems, there are two elements to game pacing that PUBG clearly takes the gold for.

Due to the much larger nature of PUBG’s maps compared to Fortnite’s, getting around can be quite the task, especially when outrunning the blue zone that constantly encroaches on one’s position and inflicts increasing amounts of damage on players the smaller it gets. However, players are given a fighting chance with the multitude of cars, boats, motorcycles, and other vehicles present in the game. These add a whole new layer of gameplay to the game, presenting the player with choices they have to make when they encounter one. They are definitely noisy, easily visible, and large targets, but they also could zip you past enemies before they can kill you and will definitely save your life when trying to outrun the zone.

Fortnite has a mechanic not present in PUBG: building. The player can gather resources to construct their own cover, structures, and anything else desired. So how can PUBG be better than fortnite in a category it has no mechanic for? Because a building mechanic in a competitive battle royale shooter is inherently bad. It allows the player to position themselves poorly and get away with it. Someone plays it smart and sits at the top of the hill looking down on a valley in PUBG? Chances are they’re the ones getting the kills on anyone foolish enough to step into that valley. Someone does the same thing in Fortnite? The idiot that walked into a natural trap crafted by the map geometry just builds himself a tower to not only give himself cover from fire but also to raise his elevation to take away the high ground advantage the man on the hill has. It gives players with a bad game sense a way to get away with it, severely lowering the skill cap of the game, an objectively negative concept in any competitive shooter.

Photo taken from Fortnite Battle Royale
A brave user launches into battle with an overpowered pump shotgun and a fully upgraded BattlePass skin. Every few months Fortnite updates their game with a new season, adding in skins, dances, and updates to the map.

Log onto PUBG and you’re greeted with the matchmaking system, lobby system, and an image of your character. Log onto Fortnite, and you’re bombarded with ads for every microtransaction available in the game. Many Fortnite players argue that Fortnite offers a wide variety of cosmetics for players to enjoy and express their own personal style in-game, but what they often fail to take into account is that PUBG also has its own cosmetics system. In addition, cosmetics in Fortnite are only able to be purchased with “V-bucks,” which can only be obtained by exchanging actual money or by purchasing the original “Save the World” player-versus-environment version of the game, which costs $40. PUBG, on the other hand, allows players to earn “Battle Points” for free. Battle Points are earned every game, and the amount depends on how many people were left when (if) you died, how much damage you dealt, and how many players you eliminated. They are then exchanged for crates that yield random cosmetic items of varying rarity and price. Yes, you can sell PUBG cosmetics on the Steam Marketplace; common items can cost as low as five cents, while an exceedingly rare pair of “hotpants” can go for just under $80. Although some crates do require keys that cost real money in order to be opened, there are still a large number of crates that can be opened for free.

We could go on and on with these reasons as to why PUBG is objectively better than Fortnite in every way, but the fact of the matter is, PUBG is worth it. No other game offers a frying pan melee weapon that will protect one’s buttocks from bullets and gives out free figurative chicken dinners to its winners.

Good luck brothers and sisters, and may each of you become winner winners of chicken dinners.