Why is PUBG Lite so easy

"PUBG Lite" in the test: This is how the free version of the Battle Royale hit plays

Who in the struggles for survival in Playerunknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) wants to get involved, currently has to invest 30 euros in the game on Steam. And you should have a relatively powerful computer. Because the game is extremely resource-hungry and is not necessarily a prime example of successful optimization.

Two circumstances that have meant that demand in Asian countries, but also in North Africa and Turkey, remained subdued. There, powerful gaming PCs are the exception in private households and are more likely to be found in internet and gaming caf├ęs. So the developers at PUBG Corporation teamed up with their owner Tencent and earlier this year PUBGLite (Windows - Steam or separate client) brought to the start.

Also for Potato PCs

The "light version", which is officially still in the beta phase, not only promises to run on laptops with an integrated graphics unit that are several years old, but is also free of charge. But you have to accept compromises - and if so, which ones? The STANDARD has the Free2PlayPUBG tested.

For European players was PUBG Lite Hardly playable for a long time, as it was only available in Southeast Asian countries. In the meantime, however, the "catchment area" has been expanded several times. The game is not yet officially available in Europe, but in Turkey. The servers, at least that's what the latency times when playing and those of Turkish streamers suggest, are likely to be in Central Europe. Presumably in Frankfurt, where Tencent operates a data center.

Access via VPN

In order to play in our latitudes, VPN access is still required due to region locks. Depending on the provider, latency times of 70 to 150 milliseconds can be achieved in the game. This means that the shooter is basically solidly playable, albeit with a slight disadvantage compared to others in terms of reaction.

Access was tested with Okay Freedom, Pure VPN and Vypr VPN, with the latter provider enabling the lowest ping. According to a YouTube guide, it should be possible to cut the VPN connection after the start of a match and then play with a direct connection and a significantly better ping. This did not succeed in the test, however, here switching off the VPN reliably also resulted in being thrown out of the running party.

Free2Play, but not Pay2Win

Once this hurdle has been overcome, it presents itself PUBG Lite in a lobby like you know from the main game. There are some differences in the offer in the shop. Here you can either buy with the well-known in-game reward points "BP" or with the premium currency L-Coin, which you rarely earn by playing but can be purchased for real money. In addition, there is a season pass with experience-based rewards, which are available in both a free and a paid version.

The game follows the classic Free2Play principle. On the positive side, however, it can be reported that you cannot purchase any items relevant to gameplay, but only cosmetic items - primarily clothing and weapon skins.

Not a vikendi

The gameplay is largely identical to the original. Only all the maps have not yet made it into the game. The snowy landscape of Vikendi is currently missing and Erangel can still be found in its original version instead of in the revised version.

There is a moderately spectacular 4-on-4 mode, which is suitable for warming up and weapon training, in which Team Deathmatch is played on a small map. "Ledge Grab" is also missing, ie the possibility of holding onto an edge during a jump and climbing it. However, there is normal vaulting, climbing half-height obstacles or climbing over small walls.

Significant graphics downgrade

If you start a new game, one thing quickly becomes apparent. Looks despite maximized graphics settings PUBG Lite much worse than the original. Many landscape details are left out, the flora is less diverse, the textures are less resolved. The complexity of 3D models has been significantly reduced in some places. For example, the missiles stationed in the Erangel Military Base are octagonal and not round in shape. In some buildings, some decorative items have also been removed and the layout simplified by merging several rooms into one. Something that, by the way, in the revision of Erangel in the originalPUBG also happened.

However, the level of loss of detail can vary greatly, depending on which map you are playing and where you are exactly. Subjectively, Miramar has suffered the most, while the differences are least noticeable on Sanhok. Once you are immersed in a game, the graphic devaluation is no longer so noticeable.

Mindless AI opponents

With up to 99 other participants you end up on the respective island, you have to look for weapons, ammunition, healing items and protective equipment and finally try to survive as the last participant, while a periodically shrinking circle increasingly shrinks the play area. While the classic PUBG can be a tough experience for newcomers because the level of experience is not really taken into account by matchmaking, you are in PUBG Lite quickly successful at the start.

This is because in the first game you only play against computer-controlled bots, whose intelligence is only very rudimentary. They land randomly on the map, walk down buildings, pick up weapons and items, and head for noise when they hear it. If a human player or other bot is in their line of sight, they will be targeted. Apparently they use the weapons they find first and don't care much about cover. So it can happen that you are suddenly shot at with a shotgun from 20 meters in a highly ineffective manner. If you target bots from a distance, they randomly change direction after several hits.

Unpleasant surprises

For halfway experienced shooter players, the bots are helpful on the one hand, but also a nuisance on the other. For example, they are useful as a supplier for item replenishment at the beginning and middle phase of a party. On the other hand, even more so than human opponents, they can get in the way of tactical operations. Because they appear in every unthinkable and deserted place on the map and can see through bushes and tall grass.

So it can happen that you suddenly have to fight with computer-controlled cannon fodder while you are about to surprise a human opponent. The distinction between bot and human is pretty easy based on the movement pattern. In direct combat, however, they are very weak opponents - unless they happen to find a full-fledged sniper rifle.

It is noticeable that in PUBG Lite significantly more weapons and objects are distributed than in its template. Towards the end of a game, almost all remaining opponents have powerful weapons and protective equipment at the maximum level of 3.

Bot quota too high

As a kind of interactive tutorial, the computer opponents are generally a good idea, especially in view of the fact that it is in the "big" PUBG So far there is no real introduction to the game. Regardless of whether you generally have little shooting experience or first have to familiarize yourself with the game principle, the bots enable this according to the principle of "learning by doing" without causing too many frustrations.

The "bot quota" decreases from game to game, so you get more and more - especially in the last phase of the game - to deal with human opponents. However, the game only regulates the number of AI opponents down very slowly, even if you get one "chicken dinner" after the other at the beginning. This circumstance is difficult to digest, especially for more experienced players, a victory, which you almost only got bots out of the way to achieve, doesn't feel as fulfilling as a triumph against humans.

Little help

There are few compromises when it comes to playful aspects. The "gunplay" is kept semi-realistic and corresponds to the template. Only the control of the weapon recoil seems to have been simplified minimally. There are also small, mostly practical and sometimes annoying auxiliary functions. If you collect expansions for weapons, such as aiming aids or extended magazines, the game automatically attaches them, provided there are free slots.

The map and the navigation bar also show how far a marker has been set. And whoever "cookt" a grenade before throwing it (waiting after pulling the fuse) also sees a countdown for the time until it detonates. This makes the game more accessible, but it also eliminates part of the challenge.

Bad sound, good netcode

A clear weakness of the game is its sound. The location of shots and steps works just as well or badly as in the original, but many sounds sound quite cheap. In particular, some gun noises differ significantly from the original. It is incomprehensible why these were not simply adopted. Adapting the physics of driving should also not please everyone. Many vehicles are very spongy, but even wild jumps over sloping terrain do not prevent them from tipping over. What is still missing, at least at the moment, is the Death Cam, with which one can check how one has just died and whether the adversary is playing with fair means.

The netcode of the game, on the other hand, feels much better. A source of constant criticism is at PUBGthat perceived hits are not counted by the game, although these calculations are supposedly done on the client side, i.e. on the player's computer. At PUBG Lite this phenomenon occurs much less frequently. This leads to a more satisfied playing feeling and less stressed nerves. In addition, the game is much more stable and did not crash a single time during testing - while on one of the two test systems PUBG crashes occur regularly.

Conclusion

In sum is PUBG Lite a good implementation for everyone who likes it PUBG would play, but have no usable hardware for it. In the test, the game also ran stably and smoothly on a multimedia laptop with Nvidia's MX150 chip and Intel's Core i5 in the highest settings, whereas the "large" output only runs satisfactorily quickly in 720p resolution. Everyone who wants to try out whether they like the game principle without having to buy the regular version should also take a look at this version.

For veterans, however, the light version has little more to offer than the occasional distraction from the technical inconsistencies of the main game or a quick sense of achievement against new players and bots. Hopefully that PUBG Lite it also officially makes it to Europe at some point in order to save the detour via a VPN. (Georg Pichler, September 13, 2019)