GameU.R. – Playerunknown’s Battleground (English)

Version Française

LudoTIC presents « GameU.R. »

Regularly, we present a game’s review using our tools and expertise: our Game Usability Review (Game U.R. for short). The goal of these reviews is to find out what is good or bad, to uncover problems and discuss some solutions.
Game development is an art, here are some pieces of advice to turn your work into a masterpiece.

We use an internally developed method which sees a game from 3 points of view:

  • Usability: as a Human Machine Interface
  • Playability: as an object with playing potential
  • Gameplay: as a video game

For more details, see our related article!
You can see here our last review of The Elder Scrolls: Legends

Today: Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds is a « battle royal » game developed by BlueHole. You are dropped on an island with 100 other players and you have to find weapons and stuff to battle the others and be the last survivor. « Battle Royale » was originally a novel written by Koushun Takami which inspired a lot of media and among other things: Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds.
In this kind of game, the player must know what to do and which item to use while being able to stay alert for the opponents.

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds is currently in early access, it means that it still may change and maybe some of the topics we will talk about will be fixed afterward or won’t exist anymore.
We reviewed it in early June 2017 on the Early Access v2.3.30 build.

Usability

Information Understanding

The inventory can be accessed with the push of a button, the player can then pick up, equip or drop items by clicking on them or with a simple drag’n’drop to the adequate zone.

The inventory is organized by zones from left to right

Allways from left to right, unless you want to throw away your shoes.

ApprovalGood The inventory is easy to understand, it is organized in the same direction of which we read (in western cultures), first the ground, then the bag, then what is equipped. When hovered, an weapon will display its characteristics, but also its differences with the one already equipped to allow easy comparison.
The weapons and accessories featured in the game are also all based on real items, to help the players to know what they do.
When hovered, the weapons display their characteristics and their differences with the equiped one.

I think mine is better …

CarefulWarning When interacting by click or with the « interaction button », the character makes a « pick up » movement that takes a little time (roughly 0,5s) and during which they can’t do anything else, but when using drag’n’drop in the inventory, no animation triggers. While the animation isn’t really long, it is still faster to interact with the drag’n’drop and makes it mandatory if the players want to be the most efficient.
AdviceAdvice When allowing multiple means for an interaction, it is vital that they still have the same outcome, or else players will notice the most efficient mean and ignore the others even if they would have preferred it.
You can either add the animation when the player drag’n’drops or remove it when he clicks.

 

Flexibility and Adaptation

ApprovalGood The game is made for PC and to be played in matches of maximum 35 minutes thanks to a system that reduce the play area to push the players to fight. At the end of each match, the player has an incentive to begin another to win more « BPs » (The game currency) and by the « intensity peak » that happens most of the time.
The game’s intensity fosters adrenaline peaks, mostly at the matche’s beginnig and end: At the beginning, the player must find good stuff quickly and survive the potential opponents nearby. After that, the intensity will vary depending on the encounters but will peak at eatch one. Most of the time, the match ends on an encounter, wether the player wins or not. Thus, the player will end the match on an adrenaline peak witch will incite him to restart a new one.

When losing we can imagine another peak : « Noooo ! I can’t stop after a ridiculous death like that ! »

 

Playability

Experimentation Space

CarefulWarning The game presents very few opportunities for experimentation. The few ways to learn how to play and the disposition of the only map are to reach the official wiki or simply play against other people and learn on the go. The island is vast, with some luck and good planning it is possible to drop in a location alone and take some time to learn the basics before encountering any other player. Before each match, players gather in a 60 seconds « lobby » that allow them to try a few weapons and wander on a little island but this is too short to learn the basics before being dropped on the real island and being slaughtered by cruel players.
AdviceAdvice A « training mode » where players would be alone on the map, maybe with target dummies to practice, could help them familiarize with the weapons and the possible actions without the risk of dying at each crossroad. We assume this could be achieved with the custom match feature, not yet available to everyone, by creating a match and launching it alone. For now, at least an unlimited access to the « lobby » could help familiarize with the game.

Wait! How do I crouch again ?

Contingency

ApprovalGood Each decision seems vital, wether or not to pick a weapon, where to go, hide or fight, etc.
The game is multiplayer only, the player will always face other players, and therefore each encounter could easily mean losing. However, it can also strengthen the incentive that each player has his chance.
The 60 seconds before the match also serves as confirmation that every other player begins with nothing else than cosmetic clothes.

Where do I go to avoid getting killed ?

 

Gameplay

Justice

CarefulWarning The game offers no mean to know what went good or bad. When the character dies or when he is the last survivor, a screen appears to explain only how many kills were made and how many « BPs » were earned. The player has currently no way to know who won the match after he died, or who he killed, or even who killed him. There also is no killcam to understand how he was killed.
AdviceAdvice The « no killcam » choice is understandable in duo or squad mode where players can keep communicating after their death, so they could see information on their killcam and share it with their team, but in solo,if the game doesn’t pair friends together, it could help a lot and avoid the frustrating feeling of being killed without seeing the killer.
An interesting feature could also be for the player who just died to be able to see the rest of the match through the eyes of his killer(or even after, through the eyes of his killer’s killer and so on …), without being able to communicate but to still be able to see the ending of the match.
This problem could be solved with the announced feature of replays, allowing players to replay their matches and understand what happened.
The recap screen is almost empty.

Okay, I just died in the woods, how did this happen ?

 

Conclusion

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds is very intense. When playing, you will struggle for survival while shooting at things, run for your life basically all the time and yell at people because « I just emptied my gun on his face and he still kills me! Come on ! »
This game still needs some technical adjustements but is already very fun to play, even more with friends.

A picture is worth a thousand words

This review was but only a peek of our Playerunknown’s Battleground’s assessment (It isn’t even its final form !!). We can do a lot more thanks to our tools and expertise, contact us if you want to know more.
If you have questions or opinions, please tell us In the comments. See you next timeThat was GameU.R. the review ergo of jeux vidéo.

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Eloi Duclercq
Eloi est spécialisé dans l'ergonomie des jeux et media interactifs. Il apporte son expertise au pôle recherche Jeux Vidéos et s'intéresse particulièrement aux problématiques liées à la réalité virtuelle.
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