Gaming

India’s PUBG alternative FAU-G is a national embarrassment

It practically feels like an interactive video

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FAU-G is a new game that intends to take on battle royale games like PUBG Mobile, Mobile Legends, and even Fortnite. But, the game is loosely based on the India-China border clashes of 2020, in which 20 Indian soldiers were martyred.

Following the conflict, India banned many Chinese apps and vowed to become more self-reliant. The clashes were met with massive outrage in India because the anti-China sentiment was consistently rising ever since the origin of Coronavirus was traced back to the Chinese city of Wuhan.

For the general public, the virus’s origin and China’s border aggression created a deadly combination. India’s Narendra Modi-led government has a soft corner for nationalism, and it wasted no time to hit back in its own way. Within a few days, India started its campaign to reduce dependence on China and become Atmanirbhar or self-sufficient.

India bans or restricts Chinese companies

TikTok was the first one to get crushed. Followed by hundreds of others. And then, it was time for PUBG Mobile. Indians love the game and were caught in a strange predicament — play a Tencent (Chinese) distributed game or stand with your country? The answer was clear. PUBG Mobile went off the app stores, and a few die-hard folks who couldn’t part ways with the game found turnarounds like VPNs and external installations.

This where a new game comes into the picture. An Indian developer based out of Bengaluru saw an opportunity, just like Instagram spotted an opening with Reels when the TikTok ban was announced in the US. Indian developers tried to grab the TikTok moment with indigenous apps, but Reels rained over their party and sealed their fate once and for all.

PUBG Mobile craze gets replaced by FAU-G

But nobody could bridge the PUBG Mobile gap quickly because making a game isn’t child’s play. However, Indian studio nCore Games has bigger ambitions and announced it’ll be launching a PUBG Mobile alternative called FAU-G (Fearless and United Guards) soon. In Hindi (one of India’s official languages), fawji literally means a solider, and the developer smartly ripped off the name from PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and added a nationalist twist to it.

FAU-G was supposed to launch in November but got delayed to December and then January. Finally, the developers chose the auspicious day of January 26 for launch, a national holiday because it celebrates its 75th Republic Day. The game had more than four million pre-registrations, Bollywood celebrities like Akshay Kumar endorse the game, and it was supposed to land a mighty punch to our violent neighbor, a message that we don’t need them.

The game has finally arrived, and I’ve played for an hour. Yup, I’m writing an in-depth review based on one hour of experience. Hold on, though, don’t judge me yet!

Gameplay

The game is straightforward. It only has a single-player story mode right now, and there are no guns, grenades, or vehicles. According to the campaign mode, you’re a soldier in the Galwan Valley, where Ind0-China clashes took place in 2020. You’re separated from your unit and are supposed to make your way through enemy camps and find your comrades.

This is where it gets more interesting because you’re expected to fight just with fists or a melee weapon. As soon as you’re near an enemy, just keep smashing the hit button, and you’ll be fine. There’s no strategy or aim required to win because the game’s difficulty level is close to zero. AI bots just stand close to you and wait for you to crush them like flies.

The soldier needs to rest near a fireplace to warm up every minute or so. Galwan Valley is one of the harshest battlefields globally due to altitude and ultracold climate, so they incorporated this challenge as a gameplay feature. It’ll help you regenerate your health.

The melee weapon is currently restricted to a wooden club that has nails attached to it. Similar stop-gap weapons were used in the real Indo-China clashes because the two countries want to avoid an escalation and restrict their armies from firing live bullets. To make things as realistic as possible, the developers decided to start with a melee weapon.

A lot of bugs are yet to be squashed, and FAU-G stopped responding a couple of times. The graphics are underwhelming, and the map is too small. You’ll most probably never open it more than once.

But, how does it fill PUBG’s void?

Well, it doesn’t. The game was clearly conceptualized to cash on the immediate PUBG: Mobile ban. They announced the game first and then thought of brainstorming how they’ll accomplish a PUBG killer. Right now, the game only has a single-player mode that’s called “Tales from the Galwan Valley.” The game mentions a 5×5 team deathmatch mode and free for all (possibly the battle royale), but they’re not available as of now.

Thankfully, the developers thought of earning some revenue from the game and added a store. It has skins for the character and melee weapons, and they can be bought using gold or silver coins. The gold coins have to be purchased, while the silver coins are earned as you progress in the game. There’s also an “Honour Road” battle pass that’ll let you make some free in-game cosmetic goodies.

As it stands, the game is far from being called a game as it lacks minimum gameplay. nCore Games says it’ll be releasing more features, maps, weapons, and game-modes in the future, obviously. But it’s safe to assume that the game failed to capitalize the PUBG Mobile vacuum.

Nobody expected FAU-G to be as perfect as the incumbents, but we did expect a slightly enjoyable game that can challenge international studios. In turn, we’ve received a hyper-national interactive video that gives little joy and maximum cringe.

Even if the developer adds a ton of features in the next few weeks, the initial damage is done. The game has a rating of just 3.0 out of 5.0 on the Google Play Store, and it isn’t available for iOS yet. The launch euphoria is now gone, and users realize there’s no use in wasting storage after a game that barely works.

What does the future hold?

FAU-G isn’t the first Indian alternative to disappoint. As soon as the TikTok ban was announced, many local developers tried to seize the moment by creating clones. But none of them are close to bridging the gap, and Instagram Reels has successfully taken over the mantle.

A prime reason behind their failure is their vision. Their goal is to become India’s PUBG Mobile or TikTok, and in the process, forget those giants are successful because they’re unique. They offer something nobody does, and that’s their forte.

Many Indian start-ups like Razorpay, Ather, Cred, Instamojo, and Khatabook are successful because they focus on the product, the idea, and its vast applications. These companies don’t need a marketing campaign around “being Indian” to attract users.

nCore Games still has a lot of time and should focus on the game as a product, not a PR campaign. We don’t need dialogues that indirectly suggest what’s happening in the game is a real depiction of what happened at Galwan Valley.

When I’m shooting at someone in a game, they’re just another player for me and not a Chinese soldier trying to cross the Indian border. And this is a thin line we must maintain. Younger generations should understand the real harshness and consequences of war. A game is a simulation, and we’re turning it into a toxic dose of unimaginative propaganda.

The bad news for nCore Games is that PUBG Mobile could return to India after severing distribution ties with Tencent. FAU-G can survive if it ramps up development and releases features soon, or PUBG Mobile never makes a comeback.

Gaming

K-pop star turned murderer is new character in Dead by Daylight

Co-developed by BTS collaborator

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Since its meteoric rise into the global pop culture scene, the K-pop industry has infiltrated every facet of our world including smartphones and social media. One industry that K-pop stars and K-pop stans haven’t penetrated yet is the video game world. That’s changing soon, though. Well, somehow. Popular horror multiplayer game Dead by Daylight is adding a K-pop star as its newest killer.

In the asymmetrical horror game, four survivors go up against a powerful killer. Over the year, the game’s developer Behaviour Interactive acquired different horror characters in the years since it launched including Michael Myers and Pyramid Head. Despite already being years into its life cycle, the game still adds in new characters at a regular clip.

Today, the game has announced its latest killer, The Trickster. Much like most characters, The Trickster comes with his own lore.

Ji-woon, a former K-pop star and member of boy band NO SPIN, became jealous of his other group members and killed them all. In the game, Ji-woon (or Trickster) can use ranged daggers and a host of abilities. Along with Ji-woon, the game will also introduce a new survivor, Yun-Jin Lee, the K-pop producer who recruited Ji-woon into the boy band. Yun-Jin’s powers include the ability to sprint right after hitting the killer with a palette.

Behaviour Studios developed the two characters with the help of U-KISS’ Kevin Woo and producer DJ Swivel.

Currently, both characters are not in the game yet. They are still under testing in the game’s Player Test Build. Dead by Daylight is available on Steam, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. It also has mobile ports to Android to iOS.

SEE ALSO: Hundreds of K-Pop songs by KakaoM removed from Spotify

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Gaming

Pokémon Legends: Arceus is the first open-world Pokémon game

Coming to the Switch in early 2022

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Since the launch of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Nintendo fans have continuously clamored for a similar open-world version of the Pokémon franchise. Well, Nintendo apparently heard the overwhelming clamor. Coinciding with the Pokémon Diamon and Pearl remakes, The Nintendo Company announced its first open-world Pokémon game, Pokémon Legends: Arceus.

Unlike the more formulaic entries in the franchise, Pokémon Legends: Arceus differs greatly. For one, the game is set in feudal Japan, a far cry from the main entries’ modern setting. Secondly, it looks like it’s nonlinear at all. It looks like a combination of Pokémon Sword’s and Shield’s Wild Area and Breath of the Wild’s open area. In fact, the teaser trailer even had shots similar to the latter’s trailer. Even the trailer’s music was minimalistic, much like the Zelda game.

Like Diamond and Pearl, Legends: Arceus will take place in the Sinnoh region. But, instead of the usual trio for Sinnoh, the game will offer up three different starter Pokémon: Alola’s Rowlet, Johto’s Cyndaquil, and Unova’s Oshawott. Plus, unlike the usual battle mechanic, players can throw PokéBalls out in the open. (As to how PokéBalls existed back then, we don’t know yet.)

Further, since we’re in the Sinnoh region, the titular legendary Pokémon Arceus is involved in the game’s story. He made a cameo in the trailer’s ending.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus is coming soon to the Nintendo Switch sometime in early 2022.

SEE ALSO: Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl announced for 2021

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Gaming

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl announced for 2021

Remakes of the original games

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It’s Pokémon’s 25th anniversary! As you might expect, a major anniversary isn’t complete without a major game announcement. Fresh from a massive content expansion for the current-generation Pokémon Sword and Shield, The Pokémon Company has announced two upcoming remakes of the past generation: Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.

Much like Let’s Go Eevee and Pikachu, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl will bring the Nintendo DS games to the Switch. Originally released back in 2006, the original duo took players to Sinnoh to fight against Team Galactic while fighting their way to become the Sinnoh Champion.

Instead of a full-on remake, both games will retain the same quirky design of the original games. According to the trailer launched today, the remakes will look a lot cuter than the old DS graphics. It will also have a few feature improvements to make a player’s experience easier.

Other than that, the remake is faithful to the original. Players can still choose between the original three starters: Chimchar, Turtwig, and Piplup. Further, trainers can hunt for the series’ two legendary Pokémon, Dialga for Diamond and Palkia for Pearl.

At the moment, though, the announcement has not revealed how the remake will adopt the Switch’s different system. For one, unlike the DS, the Switch does not have a secondary screen. For sure, The Pokémon Company will release more details in the coming months.

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl is coming to the Switch in the latter half of this year.

SEE ALSO: Pokémon is holding a virtual concert with Post Malone

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