PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite are not the first battle royale titles, but both have propelled into sky-high popularity within the past year. While each game is acclaimed, Jon Bowman (team Fortnite) and Robbie Key (team PUBG) pull out all stops to convince each other which game is superior. Will one be swayed, or will they stay set in their ways?
Robbie – Before we discuss why PUBG is better than Fortnite, we need to make one thing crystal clear: they are quite similar to one another and are both great.
Jon – Only with the crystal clear disclaimer part. If you’ve played only one of these two before jumping into the other, you’ll pick up the basics with relative ease. You always start by picking a location on the map, jumping out of some airborne vehicle, scrounging for weaponry, then sticking to the circled map areas as you mow down opponents. You can play both of these games solo, but each are at its finest when you’re in a group to call out enemies, coordinate attacks, and share resources.
Robbie – Exactly. It’s overall the same basic concept, but the differences lie in the mechanics of each game. What would you say is the biggest factor that makes you think Fortnite reigns over PUBG?
Jon – The easiest answer is the overall quality. We should mention that neither of us play these games on PC. On Xbox One, Fortnite runs at a smooth clip of 60 frames per second – except in the most chaotic of skirmishes – while the stutter during PUBG’s plane sequence makes it look like an early ’90s flight simulator. I’m sure we’re not getting the best experience with either game on console, but Fortnite looks like it was built with consoles in mind, whereas PUBG’s console version is noticeably inferior. Maybe it’s because I’m coming from Fortnite into PUBG, but for as much fun as we had as a group, I’m struggling to find PUBG’s appeal.
Robbie – The appeal is in PUBG’s consistently intense atmosphere that’s backed by realistic shooting mechanics and how it constantly has you adapt with what’s given to you. For example, a match is far more unnerving when the only thing keeping me going toward that juicy, tender chicken dinner is a small rock in an open field and a 2X scope on my rifle. That attachment doesn’t guarantee I’ll get a kill, but unlike Fortnite it takes much more skill and patience to take down opponents because the shooting is more true to real life. That factor makes each victory – whether it’s a brief battle or being the last one standing – feel infinitely better over ones I’ve had with Fortnite’s casual shooting feel.
A big part of what turned me off from jumping into Fortnite for so long is how players can build defenses at any point, and it’s not hard at all to acquire those materials. I’ll give Epic credit in how it took Fortnite’s unique building feature and applied it to the battle royale concept. However, knowing I can easily set up cover while I’m being shot at, or reviving a downed teammate, feels like a cop out because battle royale games are ultimately about using both with your surroundings and the weapons you gather in the most advantageous ways possible. Building cover on the fly defeats that purpose and erases that rush of surviving behind that small rock out of fear of my (virtual) life.
Jon – I disagree for a few reasons. First, PUBG is not always intense. Most of the time we played together was spent exploring houses and driving around the giant map searching for the intensity, which I’ll admit was fun once found. It would be fun if Fortnite added vehicles, but the action is condensed enough that I don’t think they’re as necessary as they are in PUBG.
Second, while I can agree that PUBG’s realistic gunplay feels good, that doesn’t mean that there’s less skill involved in Fortnite’s shooting. Just ask anyone who has ever sniped someone while riding a rocket. PUGB might put emphasis on the “gun” in gunplay, but Fornite definitely focuses more on the play. The weapons are more consistent in Fortnite so more emphasis can be put into player movement and positioning, with and without structures.
Finally, I think the building mechanic helps level the playing field. Too often in PUBG it comes down to whoever gets the drop on someone else. This is especially prevalent for new players who are still learning the ins-and-outs of a map. I’ve died too many times in PUBG without knowing where the attacks came from or how it could have been avoided.
The building mechanic in Fortnite gives everyone a fighting chance and a strategy in its own right. Say I’m hit with an errant sniper shot from an unknown spot. I can build a wall to get my bearings and regroup, or decide to retreat. If you’re a better builder than me, you can build a mini-fortress and decide to fight back.
Having that element also forces you to choose your attacks wisely. Do you think you can take out enemies quickly before they have time to build a defense? If they do build a defense, do you have all the supplies you’ll need if it turns into a drawn-out firefight? Can you afford a drawn-out firefight based on your position, or will that draw more unwanted attention?
In PUBG, if I get the drop on someone, I’m taking a shot most of the time because if they’re out in the open, I know their best defense is to either run zig zags or go prone. I get that PUBG is more grounded, but it’s much less fun to get killed without knowing where an enemy was and simply because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Robbie – Sure, building walls and structures lend a strategic element, but as a survival game, giving everyone the same fighting chance – like you said – nullifies the point of the game. You’re not always supposed to have the upper hand, and after our time with Fortnite I’m still not keen on the idea of anyone, including me, having an easier time escaping death by quickly propping up a barrier. Cultivating materials also shifts how players approach their quest for loot.
[Up Next: Jon’s love for Fortnite’s loot, why Robbie doesn’t mind paying for PUBG, and their final thoughts.]