In a previous article I talked about the current state of Early Access Survival games. While the quality and frequency of these games is a topic many like to argue, you can’t deny they have topped the steam charts over the years. In fact they have transformed into a new Battle Royale genre.
A trip onto the stats page shows H1Z1: King of the Kill and PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS in the top 5.The daily player base is about equal with a difference of around 10,000 whenever I go to investigate. Now if the survival genre is so distasteful to certain people, then how can it be topping the likes of GTA V. I’ve been playing both games for a few weeks now and want to give my take on what makes each one so appealing to a wide audience.
H1Z1: King of the Hill
H1Z1 came two years before Battlegrounds hit the store page. Back then it was known as “Just Survive”. It was a contender in the days of DayZ, trying to make zombies the current trend on the market. While it was fairly popular it wouldn’t hit the top 5 charts until a new game called H1Z1: King of the Kill released a year later in 2016. If anyone remembers The Culling around this time then its fair to say that the “Survival genre” transformed into the new Battle Royale genre. A test of individual and group strength against a large numbers of other players. While the culling died out due to a lack of support from the development, H1Z1 took the lead and has stayed relevant thanks to the coverage Twitch provides.
Twitch support is also built into the game itself, allowing certain settings to be changed as well as displaying a twitch badge onto your name. I feel that H1Z1 is the better game out of the two to have twitch support. King of the Kill feels like an arcade roller-coaster of fun with hilarious moments happening on your own or in a group of friends. It suits that kind of video content role for people who don’t mind losing and want to kick back with the pals. However KotK carries a microtrasnsaction system that might scare some people. But fear not, I’m talking cosmetic items with little to no impact on how the game plays.
Is it worth a buy?
King of the Hill is still alive through development support and a fun atmosphere that keeps people coming back to it, unlike those Battle Royale projects that died pretty early. Being able to queue for a game solo or in a group feels like a variety of experiences and you’ll have some fun game types to choose from. Performance wise it runs smoothly on my PC and I have yet to have server/performance issues. If you like that have fun then this is the game for you.
The newest and biggest entry to the Battle Royale scene is Battlegrounds, created by PlayerUnknown. What started as a modification for ArmA 3 spawned to create a contender to King of the Kill. The premise is still similar, you start in a plane looking at up to 100 other people who will be hunting you down for the next half an hour. Then you eject when you feel ready, into a bloodbath of weapons and vehicles. There’s something very haunting and intense about this game compared to h1z1. While the concept is the same, it feels like you are in it to win rather than for the giggles.
Battlegrounds carries on the Arma tradition of having some mighty realistic weapons and gear. Each gun controls and plays differently, meaning you need to learn how to shoot before charging head first into danger. The types of armour and attachments you find around the environment will aid you in your quest to be last man/squad standing. Battlegrounds also boasts solo and team play which can alter your experience. While it is possible to have fun in a team, you still feel very focused on the goal of winning, coordinating correctly is key to success. Some of the most intense multiplayer moments I have had come from this game and will stay in my memory for a long time to come.
Is it worth a buy?
Being a very new game, battlegrounds carries some shocking performance and does not carry much content outside of the one map currently available. The game tends to run around 30-40 fps most of the time and some players are likely to report crashes and drops to single digits. You’d think that this would keep players away, yet it still carries on to have 100,000+ players a day. It offers a unique experience while being similar to others and I have to recommend it despite its major performance issues. The game is set to be finished asap and if it can get out of early access hell then you can expect a polished experience.
Which game should I buy?
We have a situation where one game doesn’t get recommended over the other. Instead they are recommended to certain players and play styles. Both games have some great visuals but have differentiating performance. King of the Kill is a much more established game and has a variety of experiences each time you play. It is possible to have fun every time you play the game, and losing feels like just another game allowing you to just move onto the next bit of fun. Battlegrounds is a learning experience, when you die, it’s your fault and a loss feels like another lesson. Things will be happening a lot slower and patience is a key tool for victory. You might not have fun, but you will feel intense every game. Every decision matters in both of these games, yet the outcome differs because you are dealing with different types of people.
I personally enjoy the intense nature of Battlegrounds, but you have to be that type of person. King of the Kill is fun and will be a lot better for a majority of players, especially if you struggle with game performance as it is. If your sceptical about the genre, then try King of the Kill. However if you want to test your abilities in a hardcore environment then there’s no fear in buying Battlegrounds.