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.
[irp posts=”21299″ name=”Best Video Games of 2017 (Q3 Edition)”]
4 simple ways to improve battery life on your smartphone
You don’t need a power bank for this one
Owning a smartphone has been a need for a lot of people over the past few years — not just for calling and texting your family and friends, but also helping you book a ride or take pictures. It’s essential that your phone is up and running at all times.
But, let’s say the night is still young and your phone’s battery is close to empty, say, around 25 percent left. You or your friends don’t have an available power bank, and there are no charging outlets in sight. You still need your phone to book an Uber or call your parents to tell them how you’re holding up. Say no more, because here are some tips on how you can make your phone last longer.
Force-close your apps
Let’s say you opened a ton of apps over the course of the day, and you kept them idle while using other apps in the process. Having a ton of idle apps open drains your battery despite just being in the background. Your phone is still using power from the battery to refresh your apps in the background, apart from delivering notifications from these apps.
While smartphones have been getting better at managing battery drain from these apps, what you can do is to simply force-close your unused apps. Android smartphones have a built-in feature wherein you can see all the recently accessed apps and regulate their usage. For iPhone users, simply access the Multitasking feature and close your unused apps and turn off the “Background App Refresh” setting.
Turn down your phone’s brightness and screen timeout
Another feature that eats up your phone’s battery is your screen’s brightness. By default, your phone would have the brightness set to automatic, but if you want to see all the colors in full bloom, you would turn the brightness up.
But, for cases wherein your battery is already low, it is advisable to turn it down to conserve energy. Also, you can turn down the screen timeout settings on your phone to the quickest time. The shorter time your phone’s screen is on, paired with low brightness settings, the more your battery conserves energy.
Turn off some phone features when not in use
Apart from idle apps open in the background, your phone also has main processes and features running. Functions such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, cellular data, location services, and auto-sync are normally on by default. You would want to keep these running at all times to stay connected, and obviously in case of emergencies.
However, it’s best to turn some of these features off, especially if you’re not actively using them. Of course, the easiest way of turning off your Wi-Fi and cellular services is by turning on Airplane Mode. For the rest, you have to turn them off manually through your phone’s action center. Doing so stops the background processes for the time being, saving your battery life for a while longer.
Use ultra power saving mode
Let’s say your phone is now bordering on the 10 to 15 percent mark, and you are desperate to keep your phone alive. You’ve tried all the things above but your phone’s battery is still depleting by the minute. Luckily, your phone also comes with different battery saving options accessible through its settings.
When you go to your Settings menu, enter Battery options and you’ll likely notice that your phone has both a power saving mode and an ultra power saving mode. If you want to keep your phone on for as long as possible, turn ultra power saving mode on for good measure. While on ultra power saving mode, you only have access to your calls, texts, and other necessary apps you prefer.
There are other ways to improve battery life, but these are the easiest, most accessible ways to do so. Let’s hope your phone had enough power left to scroll through this article!
Mate 20 series offers a solid lineup: Weekend Rewind
There’s a Mate 20 for everyone!
Here are this week’s top stories on GadgetMatch.
1. Huawei offers plenty of things with their Mate 20 Series
Huawei could very well fill up this week’s entire rewind with the whole Mate 20 series. In total, they released four new smartphones along with two wearables during their event in London. Here’s all of them.
These were the devices most of us expected to see. The Mate 20 Pro is probably the most feature-packed phone of 2018. They brought in everything that was good with the P20 Pro and added a few wait-hold-up-did-it-really-do-that features like reverse wireless charging.
Watch the Mate 20 Pro Hands-on…
And our Mate 20 Unboxing while you’re here.
Porsche Design Mate 20 RS
If you have an excessive amount of money to spend (please give us some), you can opt for the more luxurious Mate 20 RS. It has all the bells and whistles of the Mate 20 Pro but with the leatherback Porsche Design. It’ll come in two colors: Black in select markets and in a limited edition Red in China.
Mate 20 X
This was announced as Huawei’s one more big thing. Big, it truly is. Coming with a massive 7.2-inch display, the Mate 20 X is being marketed as a gaming smartphone. It even pairs with a gamepad for that ultimate gaming experience.
Huawei Watch GT and Band Pro 3
These two wearables mostly flew under the radar but they are still worth taking note of. The Huawei Watch GT, while waterproof and equipped with fitness features, is the more lifestyle model thanks to its design. The Huawei Band Pro 3 is the more straightforward health tracker and something you probably shouldn’t wear at formal gatherings.
I could do this all day.😎 pic.twitter.com/GRAF4jPMZt
— Mi (@xiaomi) October 18, 2018
2. Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 getting hype ahead of launch
In case you haven’t been keeping up, there’s already a handful of smartphones released in October and there’s a handful more coming. One of them is Xiaomi’s Mi Mix 3 which is slated for an October 25 launch and is rumored to have a whopping 10GB of RAM and 5G connectivity.
Xiaomi also released a teaser showcasing the device’s sliding camera feature.
3. Palm breaking trend of bigger phones
Tired of phones getting bigger and bigger? Palm came back this week and offered a different approach with the Palm phone. It’s not exactly a standalone smartphone and is really meant to be more of a Robin to the Batman which is your daily driver. At this point, we’re not sure how useful it’ll be but if you’re curious, it’s priced at US$ 349.
4. OnePlus 6T moves launch date
Speaking of more phones coming, the OnePlus 6T, which was reported to come with a smaller notch, an in-display fingerprint scanner along with the usual performance we’ve come to expect from the company, was forced to move its launch to October 29 with OnePlus CEO and founder Pete Lau saying they want “to make sure it gets the time and attention it deserves.”
Why wouldn’t it get the attention during its initial launch date? Well, it’s because of this next news item.
5. Apple wants to end October with a bang
Whether intentional or not, looks like Apple isn’t done announcing things and they want to be the one to cap off October with their own launch event. After announcing the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR, the company is expected to unveil a new iPad Pro with Face ID, and possibly a low-cost MacBook or MacBook Air as reported by Bloomberg.
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.
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