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Video game reviews

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Video game reviews

Images courtesy of their corresponding press kits found at www.igdb.com

Images courtesy of their corresponding press kits found at www.igdb.com

Images courtesy of their corresponding press kits found at www.igdb.com

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“PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds”

by Jonah Austin

As the best-selling video game for the Xbox One and finding similar success on other platforms, “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” (“PUBG”) is a widely popular game released on Dec. 20, 2017. Everything from the stunning graphics to the intriguing gameplay mechanics serves to captivate players, old and new.

Immediately after being dropped onto one of the four maps along with 99 other players, one can not fail to admire how nice the game looks. The realistic landscapes and the immersive sound design serve well to act as background noise for players as they focus on survival.

The developers took realism a step further when they looked past the laser-accurate guns from “Call of Duty” for weapons that instead exhibit convincing recoil and bullet drop. While this would normally be dismissed in other games for adding a level of randomness to enemy encounters, in “PUBG,” it instead contributes toward the idea that the game’s world the same as the one we live in.

Unlike the fast-paced gameplay found in “Fortnite” where players are forced to master the building mechanics of the game in order to win, “PUBG” takes a slower approach that instead places more emphasis on outsmarting and out-shooting one’s opponent. This vastly reduces the learning curve of the game and decreases the skill gap between experienced and rookie players.

There are a few aspects of the game, however, that make the game difficult for casual players. Having voice chat as the sole method of communication immediately creates a divide between those players with microphones and those without them. The controls do not do people any favors, either. At least on the computer, they are not very intuitive and the expansive controls menu can be overwhelming for players who are not used to playing shooters online.

Even with the difficulties new players face with the game, “PUBG” does well to hook players in and excite them to learn past the problems. It is a game that provides an immersive and fun experience for players each time they play and keeps them striving for that sweet “winner winner chicken dinner.”

“Fortnite”

by Ryan Brownell

Epic Game’s “Fortnite” is a resource-gathering, battle arena, base-building video game where the objective is to be the last player still alive in an arena that gets increasingly small. Fortnite’s building mechanic was critically praised, giving it the advantage over its long-running rival “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.” The ability to build cover to hide from the enemy’s spread of bullets, or finding creative ways to engage and flank other players is extremely fun and offers a lot of replayability. The cartoony aesthetics of the game provides a fun, light-hearted feeling to the often fast-paced and chaotic skirmishes.

The difficulty curve is steep, but that doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of the game. Casual players can enjoy the game for its basic mechanics while advanced players can find enjoyment in perfecting their skills in the metagame and trying advanced techniques. The game is very skill based, but that doesn’t mean that newer players have no chance against veterans. Unlike other games, “Fortnite” doesn’t have a predetermined spread of bullets where they follow a set pattern. In “Fortnite,” the bullet spray is random, which gives newcomers a higher chance of winning in a fight. While some may complain about this feature, this little bit of randomization helps equal the playing ground.

The player vs. enemy content in the game leaves a lot to be desired, especially when compared to the battle arena mode. In the player vs. enemy mode, a single player or a group of players work together to run around the map collecting materials, completing quests and fighting off monsters. The game isn’t terrible on its own, but when compared to other games dedicated to the zombie survival genre, “Fortnite: Save the World” falls flat. The main issue with this game mode is the repetitiveness and the lack of survival features.

“Fortnite” was released on July 25, 2017, and has already amassed over 200 million active players. This comes as no surprise since the fun, arena-based shooter offers something for the casual player and the veteran alike.

“Apex Legends”

by Sam Goetze

The newest battle royale game, “Apex Legends,” was released on Feb. 4, 2019. Developed by Respawn Entertainment, this newest installment has many improvements from its predecessor, “Fortnite.” With the new communication system, realistic graphics, accessibility to newcomers and emphasis on teamwork, it’s no wonder “Apex Legends” reached 25 million players in just one week after its release according to ea.com.

The new Ping System allows players to send messages to teammates easily, providing an alternative to vocal communication as used in previous battle royale games. Players can now advise teammates and declare intentions with one button.

This addition is especially beneficial to “Apex Legends” because (unlike other battle royale games) players’ only option is to compete on teams of three. This puts the focus on teamwork rather than individual skill, making “Apex” stand out from other games of its kind.

Another new feature is that in each round, players choose between eight different characters to play, each with three special abilities. Every character serves a different role that complements the other squad members, adding to the spirit of teamwork. The roster of characters is diverse with three women, a non-binary person, a gay man, a robot and four people of color.

Compared to “Fortnite” and “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds,” “Apex Legends” is more welcoming to less experienced players. The more organized interface allows players to find items faster and easier. The game also solves the problem of players dying quickly and getting easily frustrated by giving characters more life, a shield when knocked down and no fall damage. Furthermore, if players die, they can be brought back to life by teammates with the respawn system.

While “Apex Legends” outdoes most battle royale games in these aspects, it falls behind in other ways. When it comes to combat, the guns often feel weak, taking too many bullets to kill enemy players because they have more health. This issue makes combat feel repetitive and unengaging.

Although “Apex Legends” is not yet perfected, its upgrades prove to be a step in the right direction and have raised the bar for future battle royale games

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About the Writers
Jonah Austin, Webmaster

Senior Jonah Austin is the Webmaster of Nordic News for the 2018-2019 school year. In doing Nordic again his senior year, Jonah is hoping to continue the...

Ryan Brownell, Reporter

Senior Ryan Brownell is a reporter for Nordic News for the 2018-2019 school year. His goal is to create a more informed and connected student body through...

Sam Goetze, Photo Editor

Senior Sam Goetze is the Photo Editor of Nordic News for the 2018-2019 school year. Her goal is to improve the quality and creativity of the photos that...

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