For all the hype around PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds in 2017, I've found myself reluctant to wholeheartedly commit myself to this year's newest shooting phenomenon.
PUBG has been sitting on my PC for ages, but I've mostly been content to watch Caty and Mike stream their games over on Twitch, or to read about all the crazy stories that emerge from the battle for the chicken dinner. I prefer console shooters for the most part, and I was fine with waiting on this unique and intimidating tactical shooter until it finally launched on Xbox One (technical problems aside).
But with Game of the Year season upon us, I was ready to finally sit down and play PUBG for myself today. Teaming with Nadia, Caty, and Mike, I figured I was in good hands. Instead, my first match ended with me getting run over a car and shot in the head.
By my own teammates.
Who were my employees.
It began when we all parachuted down to the island, only for Mike to get separated and ambushed in relatively short order, leaving just the three of us. It was an inauspicious start, and I could almost hear Caty's thought process as we started looting houses.
This match is a wash.
Still, things were okay. We weren't ambushed by anyone else, and we were able to find some nice gear. Nadia was even able to find a car, which was a nice addition to our burgeoning war effort. With an automobile we could move quickly to stay ahead of the death bubble forcing all of the island's combatants together.
Then Nadia accidentally hit me with it.
I barely saw it coming. I was running behind Caty around the edge of a house when Nadia barreling toward me. Watching the video over again, it's apparent that she was trying to avoid me, but the car's hitbox was so big that she clipped me anyway. I was left to bleed out on the ground as everyone on the stream lost it. I could hear Caty yelling, "You literally killed Kat!"
As it turned out, I wasn't dead. Caty was able to resuscitate me, and I was ready to move out again. My health was low, but I was fine. Given a medical kit, I'd be right as rain.
Except that was when Caty decided to kill us.
It came as such a shock when Caty abruptly opened fire on Nadia that I didn't know how to react. Caty simply turned and executed her with two blasts of her shotgun. I lurched forward to try and resuscitate her, only to catch two shotgun shells myself. I had been murdered by my own teammate. My own features editor even!
Caty, of course, had privately decided the match was already lost, and simply wanted to go out in style. With Mike dead and me crippled, she had decided to take matters into her own hands and end things quickly. Afterward she hopped into a car and drove toward civilization looking for someone to kill her quickly. Unable to find anyone, she eventually drove into the ocean and drowned herself. And that was how my first PUBG game ended.
Happily, the next game was more successful. Mike, Caty, and I were able to survive for a long while in the next match, only dying when I hesitated to sprint into the middle of a firefight and wound up getting swallowed up by the killer forcefield closing in around the island.
For all of its technical problems—our woes began because of a horrible hitbox—PUBG is a fascinating shooter. It exchanges pure skill for fear and tension as you move slowly across its vast terrain, terrified that you'll get ambused and killed at any moment. It's the only shooter I can think of where I've gone literally 30 minutes without encountering another player and been just fine with that.
I'll be playing PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds again soon. We've been streaming PUBG pretty regularly on Twitch, and I'd like to join the regular group on Thursday. But I think next time I'll be watching my back when Caty is around. You never know when she's gonna turn on you.