In just a few shorts months, Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds has taken the PC gaming world by storm. It has sold millions of copies in Early Access, beaten out massive titles like League of Legends for concurrent streamers on Twitch, and briefly had more players in-game than Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. It offers constantly intense gameplay, and an engaging “last man standing” loop that keeps the action going over and over. With that in mind, we fired up our test rig, plugged it into a 4K monitor, and cranked the settings to show how attractive a modern game can be, even while still in Steam Early Access.
Our test rig was powered by an Intel Core i7-6950X with 16GB of RAM, and we paired it up with a Zotac GTX 1080 Ti Amp! Edition card with 11GB of memory. That card is well suited for running Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds at 4K, even in its under-developed phase.
The game certainly looks sharp at high resolution, particularly as you get close to buildings and cars. There’s a level of detail that’s surprising, considering Erangel Island’s massive scale. The downside, of course, is that a lot of these objects and houses are duplicated across the landscape, so you’re likely to see the same tree or car a number of times during a match.
As we tested and took screenshots of the game, it also inspired a conversation among our writers about Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds and its graphical style. Or more accurately, the lack thereof. The game isn’t built to look fancy, or fit any specific art direction. Instead, it’s meant to be gameplay-oriented and mechanically functional, with the repetition allowing experienced players to easily see opponents, or know where to hide to avoid detection.
For better or worse, the game’s simple look has certainly caught on, and draws inspiration from Arma 3, where the previous version of the game by Brendan Greene (AKA Playerunknown) existed as a mod. Straightforward, clean, and detailed, the world stays out of the way to ensure you can spot enemy movement, or tell when someone is looking out of a distant window.
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