Hello there my good friends and welcome to Quillstreak’s GOTY Christmas countdown. We asked our Twitter followers and our staff to list their top games of 2017. Each day we’re dropping one of the final five with the GOTY being revealed on Christmas Day. Each one could have been Game of the Year in its own right if the competition didn’t exist. Basically, 2017 has been great for games. Here goes.

PLAYERUNKNOWN’s Battlegrounds is a mess of a video game. But what a magnificent mess it is.

PUBG, as it is affectionately known, is a glitchy and unpolished game. It has unstable servers and an obvious lag problem. It can be overly baffling for new players, with its complicated and unintuitive mechanics. And it’s not even that good-looking.

But despite all the problems listed above – despite all the entirely valid criticisms that can be thrown at this game – PUBG is still the best thing I’ve played all year.

PUBG isn’t an original idea, but it is one that hasn’t been done well until now. The ‘Battle Royale’ style of video game is a breath of fresh air in the increasingly stale shooter genre. And PLAYERUNKNOWN – real name Brendan Greene – understands how to make it work.

In each match, PUBG concentrates the thrill of a modern-day gladiatorial-arena-with-guns into a tension-filled 30-minute session. As the blue circle of death closes in, the shrinking map organically forces players into an always climatic final shootout.

The dynamic nature PUBG offers is immense. In any one game, there are a tonne of different possibilities. Where do you want to land? How many others have landed close to you? What loot might there be there? This means that each adventure is strikingly different to the one before it.

PUBG wasn’t the first to build an entire title around the idea, games like DayZ and even Minecraft have done it first. It is the first to truly understand the essence of the concept, however. As such, PUBG makes sure its underlying mechanics contribute specifically to the game mode itself.

‘PUBG is the King of the Battle Royale.’

The unforgivable time-to-kill helps exacerbate the fear and trepidation when sneaking around its two locations. Each map strategically groups together various buildings in order to offer players the high-risk-high-return opportunity of heading ‘School’ for example, as opposed to more remote, but less rewarding outskirts.

Everything in PUBG contributes to the Battle Royale concept, and as such, it brings it to life. There are so many stories I can tell you about my own experience with it, but I’m not sure they’re needed. If you’ve played it yourself, you will inevitably have stories of your own.

Expect this game to have a huge impact on the shooter-genre over the next few years. Many games are already attempting to incorporate a Battle Royale mode into their games. Fortnite, ARK: Survival Evolved and H1Z1 are all prominent examples, however even Call of Duty Online in China currently has its own mode of testing too.

And despite Greene’s protests for stronger IP restrictions on stealing ‘his’ game idea, this trend probably won’t stop soon.

But he shouldn’t be worried. Because despite the many pretenders to the crown, PUBG is still the King of the Battle Royale.

Conor Clarke
Writer, researcher and performer based in Leeds, UK. Enjoys videogames almost as much as he does Live Art. Overthinks.

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