PUBG vs. H1Z1 vs. Fortnite – A Battle Royale Review

Fortnite Battle Royale
Fortnite Battle Royale

PUBG: 7/10
Fortnite Battle Royale: 7/10
H1Z1: King of the Kill: 5/10

The Battle Royale genre has gone a long way since the early days of DayZ, the famous ARMA 3 zombie mod. Countless developers have jumped into the Battle Royale bandwagon, building upon the foundations laid by modders who basically gave birth to a whole new game genre.

The two giants of Battle Royale gaming, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and H1Z1: King of the Kill, follow a pretty similar path, although PUBG does take a more realistic approach in an already chaotic style of gaming. But there is a new contender that has surely come to stay. Epic Games developed a new BR game mode to their already popular title Fortnite, but it has a couple of key twists: it allows players to build structures, and it’s free to play on Xbox One, PS4 and PC.

Fortnite Battle Royale broke tons of records as an early access game, reaching 20 million players in just over a month after its release, which earned it a spot amongst the Game of the Year candidates of 2017. Incredibly, the game is also the fourth most watched title on Twitch, overtaking some of the gaming community’s sweethearts like World of Warcraft, Overwatch and DOTA.

There is one question that arises every time one of these BR games is mentioned… Which one stands out as the best title?

The gameplay

This is surely the main talking point and the definitional aspect when judging which game comes out on top as the best one. Even though all three titles fall under the same category, they are still miles apart from each other when looking at the way each one is played.

H1Z1 King of the Kill
H1Z1 King of the Kill

H1Z1: KotK, DayZ’s natural successor, offers clunky gameplay and silly fights which make it the videogame definition of utter chaos. Even though the game has managed to amass a huge playerbase two years after its launch, it still remains in beta and suffers from numerous bugs that some players could consider game-breaking.

King of the Kill was born as a different mode for the already existing H1Z1 zombie survival base game, and the flaws of the transition remain on the surface after almost two years of its release. The game is certainly fun, but having to deal with people walking through walls, awkward animations and ill-mannered character movement is certainly a huge turn off for a game with huge untapped potential.

The way driving works in KotK is incredibly arcady, and although that’s the game’s main goal, it still feels like it falls short and doesn’t live up to what it could’ve really become.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds - PUBG
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds – PUBG

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was developed by the same guy that brought H1Z1’s Battle Royale into life, but he was given more creative freedom as he aimed to forge a title that would revolutionize the gaming community. Safe to say, PUBG managed to do just that.

The game doesn’t emphasize killing as much as it gives importance to decision-making. Thinking tactically is the way to go in PUBG and taking a shot doesn’t always feel like the right call, which is the main difference between PlayerUnknown’s and KotK.

Battlegrounds has definitely become the most popular BR title less than a year after its release, and although still buggy and in beta, it offers that Battle Royale feel that the online community has been craving for since the rise and fall of DayZ.

Fortnite’s Battle Royale game mode, on the other hand, appeared out of nowhere like a bolt of lightning; brushing aside H1Z1 and competing with PUBG for the BR crown. The game offers incredibly dynamic and fun gameplay, adding a unique factor to the equation: building.

Unlike the simple weapon-crafting recipes offered by KotK, Fortnite’s building mechanics turn the game into a unique Battle Royale that offers different styles of play that suit any gamer’s needs. It is viable to approach the game carefully and stealthy or extremely aggressively, building structures towards rivals to make hell rain from above.

The map size is also very different in Fortnite – it’s several times smaller than PUBG’s, which disregards the use of vehicles in favor of quick building.

Although each game offers a unique set of weapons, vehicles and skills, there is no doubt that PUBG and Fortnite come out on top. H1Z1’s gameplay might be fun and addicting, but it lacks the polished aspects of both its competitors – even though none of them have reached full release.

The visuals

Graphics bring a different vibe to each type of game, and there is no exception to that rule when talking about the three Battle Royale giants. Fortnite boasts cartoony, colorful graphics which give life to its dynamic gameplay. H1Z1 takes a different approach, aiming for semi-realistic yet widely unworked graphics (even for an early access title). PUBG, on the other hand, stays as realistic as possible, offering the most lifelike visuals out of the three games.

It is safe to say, though, that each game’s graphic style goes hand in hand with their gameplay. H1Z1’s visuals do feel like they fall a tad short, but Fortnite and PUBG have it absolutely spot on.

The audio

Battle Royale games require top quality sounds and ambient noises – especially those like PUBG and Fortnite that permit slow-paced gameplay. It is safe to say, each respective studio worked wonders with both of those games’ sound effects. Playing BattleRoyale with headphones is crucial to get oneself immersed into the game and get a good grasp of where the enemies are shooting from.

H1Z1 doesn’t come short on this department, though. Gunfire, explosions and other noises might not sound as good when comparing them to those of its two competitors, but they definitely suit King of the Kill perfectly.

Our thoughts on each game

Each game offers unique gameplay, so choosing which one to play depends entirely on specific preferences of each gamer. It is also important to keep in mind that none of these games are masterpieces, but none are on full release either. They can be bought cheaply and still have plenty of room to improve. Although the decision does befall on each gamer, it is without a speck of doubt that both PUBG and Fortnite are miles ahead than H1Z1 in every department.

KotK is still a fun game, but it still remains afloat thanks to an active and loyal player base that has embraced the buggy gameplay – which is exactly what you’d get with your purchase. It is recommended to try out KotK before entirely ruling it out, though – it is incredibly fun in its own way.

It’s tougher to decide which game is better between PUBG and Fortnite, as each one offer different things yet both maintain high levels of quality gameplay. Epic Games updates Fortnite on a weekly basis, adding new features and tweaking existing mechanics to improve the experience as a whole, while PlayerUnknown’s realism allows for higher levels of immersion and gives a new meaning to that rush of adrenaline the gamer feels when shooting down an enemy.