With PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Epic Games’ Fortnite duking it out on all fronts, we’ve decided to take a closer look at these battle royale shooters to see which one might best suit you.
PUBG vs Fortnite: Gameplay
If you’re yet to set foot in the worlds presented to players in either PUBG or Fortnite you might not be that familiar with the battle royal formula. In the case of both games, 100 players are airdropped from a random location onto a vast map with nothing but their wits and a need to survive.
Each player has to scavenge weapons, ammunition, medical supplies and armour from the abandoned buildings strewn about the map, all the while trying to avoid coming into contact with any of the other players running about the place.
Tension is a huge part of the battle royale experience and both games employ the same trick to ramp it up as each match progresses. A huge damaging energy field slowly shrinks around the map, pushing any remaining players closer and closer together. Spend too long outside of the ever-reducing safe zone and you’ll take damage whilst in the field; don’t pay enough attention inside the safe zone and you’ll likely run into a better-prepared adversary who won’t hesitate to take you down.
Both games allow for solo play, plus two or four-person teams, with friends or strangers, and depending on the setup you pick it can greatly affect how you play the game.
Partly down to PlayerUnknown’s roots, the game plays more like a conventional FPS (first-person shooter), with the ability to lean around corners whilst aiming and a greater emphasis on combat and gunplay.
You also have the option to play in either first or third-person, with the ability to jump between the two on the fly, whilst Fortnite is locked in a third-person perspective; save for when you’re aiming down the sights of certain guns.
One major aspect of gameplay unique to Fortnite is its crafting mechanic. Aside from the assortment of weapons on offer, every player is also armed with a pickaxe. Nearly all of the game’s structures and trees can be broken down and converted into either wood, brick or metal that can then be used to construct walls, ramps, roofs and to traverse the landscape or to serve as a makeshift defence (or as a means of circumventing an opponent’s defence).
This construction mechanic plays a particularly prominent part in Fortnite’s endgame, adding an additional layer of complexity to the strategy of trying to survive whilst also taking out your opponents in an ever-shrinking arena; an aspect that simply isn’t found in PUBG.
PUBG vs Fortnite: Art style
Both titles may run on the Unreal 4 engine but there’s no confusing the two based on style. PUBG swings towards a more photoreal aesthetic, using player models with true-to-life proportions and accurately modelled vehicles and real-world weapons.
Fortnite meanwhile, sports a far more colourful and cartoon-like appearance across both its character and level design.
PUBG vs Fortnite: Maps and Game Modes
Fortnite’s map is littered with a diverse mix of towns and regions to explore but the overall land mass is significantly smaller than anything available to players in PUBG. In a way, it pushes for shorter, faster, more frenetic gameplay, whilst Battlegrounds maps prioritise patience and stealth based on their sheer size.
Notice we say ‘maps’ as unlike Fortnite, the PUBG team have already rolled out two distinct levels to play on; Erangel and Miramar, with the upcoming Savage, which is closer in scale to that of Fortnite’s singular map, currently in development.
It’s important to know that whilst we’ve been talking about Fortnite as a Battle Royale game this whole time, this was originally a secondary game mode to its ‘Save the World’ co-op experience, however, for the time being, that’s fallen by the wayside whilst players flock to the Battle Royale experience instead.
Both games now offer specialised game modes that run for a limited time, imposing rules on the types of weapons available or enforcing special criteria like a damaging field already consuming the map the moment players drop into it.
PUBG vs Fortnite: Platforms, Price and Availability
PUBG dominated the gaming scene last year, amassing a ton of fans and becoming one of the most popular titles to feature on streaming platform Twitch. Born out of an Arma 2 mod, it initially saw a Windows release on Steam early access in March 2017 and by December the game had formally launched on both PC and Xbox One.
The Windows version has sold over 30 million copies whilst the Xbox version has sold over five million.
Fast forward to February 2018 and Chinese developer Tencent, who’d been tasked with creating a separate mobile adaptation of the game, launched PUBG Mobile in its homeland. The following month the game made it onto both the App Store and Play Store in other markets and is fast becoming one of the most popular mobile shooters you can pick up right now.
After deliberation over the game’s initial launch strategy Epic decided to launch Fortnite: Battle Royale simultaneously across Windows, macOS, PS4, and Xbox One in September 2017. Unlike PUBG, Fortnite isn’t on Steam and on macOS and PC is instead downloaded via the Epic Games Launcher client.
In the same week as PUBG Mobile’s global rollout, Fortnite also made it onto the App Store, with the promise of an Android version sometime later this year. Unlike PUBG Mobile, which is a separate experience to that of its desktop and console counterpart, the same Fortnite experience runs across PC, macOS, PS4 and iOS, with cross-platform play already possible.
You can pick PUBG up on Steam right now for £26.99 and on Xbox One for £24.99. PUBG Mobile, meanwhile, is free-to-play on both Android and iOS. Fortnite: Battle Royale is free-to-play across all platforms and the co-op PvE mode is set to follow suit and drop its price tag sometime later this year.
PUBG vs Fortnite: Mobile versions
As was already mentioned, PUBG Mobile is a completely standalone experience to that of its desktop and console counterpart. It does a solid job of capturing the essence of the full-fat game, despite pushing players to rely on touch controls.
Tencent has implemented some smart UI design to streamline character interaction, with aspects like automatic item pickup and easy access to the auto-run button along with a few other visual tweaks to accommodate the comparatively limited resources of mobile hardware.
One aspect that doesn’t carry across from the standard game is the use of bots. Although not explicitly mentioned, bots appear in early matches for new players, likely as a way to help them grow accustomed to the game’s controls and mechanics. The higher the player level, the smaller the ratio of bots compared to real players.
The mobile version of PUBG also features what is arguably a more refined, generous and rewarding leveling system, with additional experience points awarded for simply logging in and offering players more frequent crates and other cosmetic items.
Fortnite’s transition to mobile appears to have been almost seamless. The game looks and runs on an iPhone just as it does on a PlayStation or PC. Aside from the touch controls, which feel perfectly intuitive (as touch controls go) there are a few extra assistive tools like aim assist and noise indicators for gunfire or item chests but not much else in the way of alterations.
Of the two mobile adaptations, Fortnite certainly feels like the smoother and more intuitive of the two, not to mention it allows for cross-platform play with the PC version of the game.