PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is gaming’s latest phenomenon, and like anything that’s super hot in the industry, it’s already being cloned by other game developers. Fortnite Battle Royale is the most popular clone so far. How well does it stack up as a console alternative?
With over 13 million units sold and a Steam record of almost two million concurrent players at its peak as of this article’s writing, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (also known as PUBG) is 2017’s biggest game. No surprise then that copycats have sprung up since PUBG went viral. Fortnite Battle Royale comes closest to the former’s success, having over one million players when it launched on September 26.
So what exactly is it about these games that has gamers flocking to them?
As mentioned in our quick play games list, PUBG is an online competitive multiplayer shooter heavily inspired by the film adaptation of the Japanese novel Battle Royale. 100 players parachute from a cargo plane onto an island where they have to fight over limited resources and stay within a safe space that gets increasingly smaller over time. Last person or team standing wins.
Fortnite Battle Royale copies that concept wholesale, with very minor cosmetic differences such as the “party bus” replacing the cargo plane and the “storm” signified by a transparent pink wall replacing the contracting blue wall of death.
Well, there is also the one major difference, which is the entire crafting mechanic from the original version of Fortnite.
A short background on Fortnite
Fortnite is a cooperative survival game where players have to gather materials to build structures and weapons to fight off a zombie horde. It’s still in beta with a full free-to-play release planned for next year, but it’s available now on PS4, XB1, and PC for US$ 30. Epic Games, the company that created Fortnite, saw the popularity of PUBG and decided to make their own free-to-play version of it. This stirred up a whole controversy with Bluehole, the makers of PUBG.
Setting aside this spat between two extremely profitable companies, does Fortnite Battle Royale actually compare to PUBG as a good alternative, especially since the former is available on consoles while the latter isn’t?
While not being terribly original visually, Fortnite Battle Royale at the very least pops with its bright DreamWorks-like design, unlike PUBG’s drab late-2000s action shooter aesthetic. Overwatch might be the king of cool cartoony 3D graphics, but there isn’t a whole lot of competition in that market that Fortnite Battle Royale can’t still be nice to look at.
The verdant hills and small living spaces evoking suburban and countryside Americana of Fortnite Battle Royale stand out next to the barren, brown, and bombed-out quasi-Eastern Europe of PUBG. The former’s one map is significantly smaller than the latter’s, but it shows more character.
The kiddy CGI scenery isn’t just a backdrop for mayhem. Because of the crafting mechanic from vanilla Fortnite in place, almost every object and structure in Fortnite Battle Royale can be harvested for resources. That also means just about anything can be destroyed, whether it’s a pre-made house or a custom-built room that a player is hiding in.
In PUBG, environmental destruction is limited to tiny wooden shacks, glass windows, and doors. Safety can still be guaranteed behind a concrete wall or boulder. Not so in Fortnite Battle Royale, which adds a whole new level of anxiety, as no place is truly secure.
It also works the other way, since you can build yourself a makeshift fort complete with stairs and traps in the middle of an open field if you have the resources. This obviously makes you a target, but it can spell the difference between a rousing win or a crushing defeat when it’s down to a handful of players and the safe zone is limited to a small spot of land.
Switching to the building mode also leaves you vulnerable. Anyone can just shoot you when you’re busy buttoning through the types of structure you can build and the materials to build them with. It’s a risk-reward dimension that just isn’t present in PUBG.
Slow and floaty
It might not be such a dangerous proposition to switch to building mode, though, if the game were more responsive and the controls more intuitive. The button layout for the combat controls maps closely to standard shooting games on consoles, but there is no immediate example that comes to mind for the crafting controls. It’s not the easiest thing to wrap your head around, so going back and forth between the different layouts when you’re in a heated situation can lead to fumbling through your building options.
The shooting as well as general character control aren’t perfect either. The guns don’t have much of a kick when you’re firing them, nor do they give much force feedback when you’re the one getting fired on. Your avatar doesn’t have much weight to its movement, too. There’s a distinct delay when picking up items from the ground and when tabbing through your inventory.
Fortnite: Battle Royale has a very light, dare I say, cheap feel to it. It’s all the more apparent after playing Overwatch and Destiny 2, both games that provide a very tight and tactile sensation with every push of a button and pull of a trigger.
Emulating the core thrills
Despite bungling the controls, Fortnite Battle Royale still captures the excitement that’s core to PUBG’s success. That is, trying to survive against overwhelming odds in a massive map that slowly but surely forces confrontation in wildly different ways.
Whether it’s going in guns blazing and wiping out numerous opponents or avoiding fights and getting the one crucial kill at the very end, it gets the blood pumping either way. Being able to jump right into a new game when you do fail is also retained from PUBG’s formula, so it’s easy to keep on playing after dying.
Fortnite Battle Royale, like PUBG, doesn’t have an official “1.0” version release, so here’s hoping for more polish on the product in the future. Right now, it’s a decent facsimile to PUBG, and being the only option on consoles that provides a PUBG-like experience, it’s worth checking out. It’ll only cost you about 16GB of hard drive space and US$ 0.
OPPO drops the F9, Motorola copy-pastes: Weekend Rewind
Why innovate when you can recreate, right?
Here are this week’s top stories on GadgetMatch.
1. OPPO F9 (water)drops!
We were getting teasers of this phone two weeks ago and now it’s finally here! The OPPO F9 is official and it comes with a notch that the company is essentially calling a “waterdrop.” That aside, it’s looking like a lean, mean, midrange machine with its 6GB RAM and 64GB of storage, an AI-enhanced 16MP main shooter with a secondary 2MP depth sensor for portraits, and a 3500 mAh battery.
Our hands-on and unboxing is up on YouTube so make sure you watch it!
Notches and gradients are all the rage in 2019, so we guess it makes sense that Motorola opted to fuse both the iPhone X and the Huawei P20 Pro. The result is the Motorola P30 because Moto probably couldn’t be bothered to think of another name. It’s powered by a Snapdragon 636 chip with 6GB memory. It will come in both a 64GB and a 128GB variant. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery they say. Moto must really want to butter up Apple and Huawei.
Xiaomi’s been cooking something but since this is the Internet and tech leaks are totally a thing, we already know what it is. Coming our way officially next week is the Pocophone F1. A leaked video pretty much already told us a lot of what we want to know: 5.99-inch display, Snapdragon 845, and 6GB of memory.
We’ll have our own video on this soon so definitely stay tuned for it.
Google is being generous in handing out pies. Android Go, a less data-hungry version of the mobile operating system, will also get Android Pie. The Go edition of the newest Android OS only needs half the storage space and can run fluidly, even with just a gigabyte of memory.
Not ready for the responsibility of raising a child? There’s an app for that! The US Food and Drug Administration recently approved Natural Cycles. It’s the very first app to be marketed as a method of contraception. It determines whether a woman is fertile or not then advises which days you should “abstain” or “use protection.”
However, the FDA warns that “no form of contraception works perfectly, so an unplanned pregnancy could still result from correct usage of this device.”
Weekend Rewind is our roundup of top news and features you might have missed for the week. We know the world of technology can be overwhelming and not everyone has the time to get up to speed with everything — and that includes us. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the rewind.
7 best affordable flagship smartphones of 2018
Best specs, lower prices
Putting the words “affordable” and “flagship” seems like an oxymoron at first, but manufacturers have reached a point wherein this magical combination is actually possible.
Yes, affordable flagships are a thing now, and they’re taking away some of the premium segment’s long-standing thunder. Why wouldn’t you want the best specs and features in a cheaper package?
This year has been kind to us with all the affordable flagships launched thus far. Here are the best ones to date:
Let’s begin with the brand that started it all. Originally called the “flagship killer,” the OnePlus line is synonymous with high-end power without the extravagant pricing. The OnePlus 6 is the latest entry, and it’s an absolute stunner from its gorgeous display to the fluid Android interface.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S
This is the one time Xiaomi likes to go a little more premium, and we support it a hundred percent. The Mi Mix 2S combines a ceramic body with a massive, notch-free display and incredible hardware for the price. Each generation improves on the predecessor — this is no exception.
Fortnite on Android, Meteor Garden: Now Playing
OPPO and Vivo phones contribute to class divide on Meteor Garden
This month has been nothing short of crazy for us at GadgetMatch, what with leaks and teasers of upcoming devices, back-to-back smartphone launches, and Android Pie’s release. Here are some of the things that have kept us sane the last few weeks!
Games to play
Fortnite on Android
Chay: You read that right. The highly successful battle royale game is finally coming to Android. At Samsung Unpacked, Epic Games announced that Galaxy devices will get exclusive early access to the game through the Game Launcher app. It’s only a matter of time before it becomes available in even more devices, and if we’re being honest, we can’t wait to see more memes (and dances!) as more people get to play it.
Amazing Spider-Man 2 on Android
Rodneil: If you’re itching for a Spider-Man game to help tide you over until the release of Marvel’s Spider-Man for the PS4, then this mobile game released back in 2014 should tide you over. It looks good, the controls are simple, and the game also gives you the satisfaction of swinging around New York City as you please.
Movies to see
Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Marvin: It’s tough to believe, but Mission: Impossible is on its sixth installment, and the latest may be the most death-defying one yet. Tom Cruise is once again Ethan Hunt, an agent who needs to track down a terrorist group before they blow the world up. His stunts are jaw-dropping to say the least, and the twists are surprising enough to keep your eyes glued to the screen. My advice: Watch this in a cinema with great seats — it’s a long ride!
TV shows to binge watch
Kevin: Having been released back in 2016 and now waiting on its third season, Kim’s Convenience is a Canadian TV sitcom that focuses on a Korean family that runs a convenience store in Toronto. The show centers on everyday happenings and mishaps of the family. It presents characters who fit, and at the same time, break certain stereotypes while injecting a hint of moral in different (mostly funny) ways.
Orange is the New Black (Season 6)
Chay: Is there hope for the inmates of Litchfield? Will there ever be justice? These are always the questions you have after watching an entire season of Orange is the New Black. The longer the series goes on, the more invested you become in these women’s stories. This season, the spotlight is even brighter on my all-time favorite OINTB character: Taystee goes on trial to clear her name and fight the injustice she and fellow inmates have been suffering behind bars.
Kevin: If you’re into Rick and Morty’s tandem and outer space adventures, Final Space might be something you’d want to check out. The story follows a smart-mouthed prisoner who works on a space station, meets a cute alien life form, and immediately becomes friends with it, not knowing that it’s a valuable entity to the menacing Lord Commander. I’m just a few episodes in but it’s been entertaining and funny — something I would expect from Conan O’Brien producing the show.
Meteor Garden (2018)
Rodneil: If you loved the Taiwanese version that first aired in the early 2000s, then I suggest you give the 2018 version a chance. It’s great to see how the setting has been updated to modern times with some of the bullying part of the story happening in social media. There are cool tidbits too about how transactions are mostly made through QR codes and how the phones of the less privileged are OPPO while the elite F4 carry Vivo phones. It’s a nice glimpse to the current state of technology in China. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the cast actually looks like they’re still students versus the already adult-looking cast of the original adaptation.
Mob Psycho 100
Rodneil: I held out for quite a bit before watching this anime but when I found out that season two is already arriving at the start of 2019, I knew I had to binge the 12-episode first season. From the same creator as One-Punch Man, Mob Psycho 100 features Shigeo Kageyama — a young, overpowered psychic who’s trying his best to live life without taking advantage of his psychic ability. If you loved the over-the-top action and the ridiculously overpowered lead in One-Punch Man, there’s plenty for you to enjoy in Mob Psycho 100.
Terrace House: Opening New Doors (Part 3)
Marvin: It’s been a grueling couple of months, but Part 3 of Terrace House: Opening New Doors is finally available on Netflix outside Japan, and it’s certainly worth the wait. The cast gets a near overhaul, and with the new members come much more drama and the awkward first dates we’ve grown to love. But the real highlight of Part 3 are the commentators, who are able to turn any sad moment into a laughing fit for both the viewers and themselves. Part 4 can’t come soon enough!
Music and podcasts to listen to
Honey by Scandal
Rodneil: My fascination for Asian girl groups continues. Scandal has had plenty of their songs appear on several animé, and this album gives you plenty of those types of tracks. My favorites are “platformsyndrome,” “OVER,” “Koisuru Universe,” and “Short Short.”
“Long Gone” and “Lover Boy” by Phum Viphurit
Kevin: Thai-born, but New Zealand-raised, indie artist Phum Viphurit’s “Long Gone” is a mellow tune with just the right soul to make you groove and nod your head to the rhythm. “Lover Boy,” on the other hand, has more funk to its bass lines which is then overlayed with Viphurit’s smooth vocals — almost reminiscent of how John Legend made “P.D.A.” a chill, sexy track.
“Sana” by I Belong To The Zoo
Rodneil: “Sana” is a gut-wrenching Filipino track that tells the story of a romance that has gone stale. While that sounds like a run-of-the-mill heartbreak song, singer Argee Guerrero delivers each line with so much conviction that it’s hard not to imagine yourself in the shoes of the aggrieved party.
Psychobabble with Tyler Oakley and Korey Kuhl
Chay: In their first episode back after an eight-month hiatus, #TeamTylerandKorey discusses the top trends of the year, Bernie Mac, and how hotels are homophobic. Korey also reveals he had a vocal box replacement and was on vocal rest during the hiatus. It’s not clear whether that’s the only reason the podcast was MIA for a while, but it’s possible the Fullscreen shut down, which picked up Psychobabble for a video version in early 2017, is also a culprit. That’s bad news for anyone who paid for a subscription on the streaming service, but good news is all episodes are now available on Spotify, as well.
Cities to visit
Rodneil: Madrid is a beautiful city filled with mid-rise buildings that feature stunning European architecture. For some street entertainment, check out Plaza del Sol at night. If you’re looking for a place to eat, the cochinillo (suckling pig) in Las Cuevas De Luis Candelas, located just right outside Plaza Mayor is to die for. There’s also the restaurant Mr. Frank which seems like a nice date place. Definitely order the Provoleta con chorizo and Presa Ibérica con frutos rojos. The restaurant is located near the Congreso de los Diputados which is a great backdrop for your touristy photo.
Now Playing is the GadgetMatch team’s favorite games, movies, TV shows, and more each month. If you’re curious to know what we’re into at the moment, this is what you should check out. So grab your popcorn, get some drinks, and enjoy what’s now playing!
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