When is PUBG not a realistic military-style shooter? Simple! When it’s a game about wizards, unicorn motorbikes and picking up energy to upgrade your ring and talisman…..
That sounds like PUBG, right?
Well, no, not even nearly. But a couple of weeks ago that’s what we were presented with. A different take on my favourite battle royale game, and honestly I had a blast. Turning the seriousness and realism on its head and taking it down a different road for a little while was genius.
Making the game take on a fantasy theme might appear from the outside, to be an undertaking that would perhaps require a total re-skin of assets, if not the creation of new models. Not here. I love how PUBG Corporation handled this.
Keeping true to the aesthetic of the game, anything that was changed (motorbikes and the 4×4 car) were re-painted and then had new assets added to look like they had just been taped-on and cut out of cardboard. Nice and shonky, like if you were trying to theme your house for a party, but weren’t really equipped for arts and crafts (like me, that ain’t my bag!).
Unicorn motorcycles, “The Dragon Slayers” car, Paladins, Rangers, Wizards and Barbarians. This is PUBG but not as you know it.
Suddenly, your squad can play roles, offering different approaches to combat. The ranger had a crossbow and flash-bang grenade, the wizard firing flares (my favourite touch here) as a means to cast fire magic. I played barbarian a lot and found that my average kill count was much higher than a normal PUBG match. Equipped with only a melee weapon, I ran to rescue my teammates in close combat.
Honestly, theme is one thing, but allowing for different styles of play, forcing you to tackle encounters differently was something I absolutely loved. It was really refreshing.
Get that loot
PUBG is all about getting the loot to make sure you have the best chances of survival during any encounter with another player. Well, PUBG Fantasy is too, but not in the same way.
Instead, coloured stones (each colour specific to the four classes) were dotted about, and you used these to reinforce your character’s attributes. Done by putting these stones into crafting new levelled versions of a ring, amulet and weapon. It took me a few minutes to latch-on to the idea, but it quickly fell into place, and we were all working to hit at least level 3 as soon as we could.
One thing that I noticed playing with random teammates, was that they were collecting everything and then dropping it so we could all pick up what we needed. Not something you typically see when you’re picking up guns and armour. Maybe I was just fortunate, but being forced into roles and having specific upgrade stones to collect seemed to focus on how everyone looks after themselves and others.
Interesting side-effect? I genuinely sat agog, talking to my brother over the headset, saying “this has all really been thought about” and “I can’t believe this is an actual thing in PUBG”.
PUBG gets a bad rep sometimes because of the state of releases on console and updates causing issues etc. So when Fantasy came out, it seemed like perhaps it was to distract from the issues at hand. But I think it was more than that. A limited-time mode with some real thought and effort has gone into it. Separate “quests” to unlock unique gear and currency. I was made-up to be unlocking some cool bits and pieces.
I, unfortunately, caught PUBG Fantasy at the tail-end of its limited-time run, but I had an absolute blast. The whole game was turned on its head, and it came out changing styles of play and giving us a genuine giggle as we fired flares and arrows at distant paladins.
All being well PUBG Fantasy will return and I’ll be able to play for longer.
If you missed out, you honestly missed something quite special. Keep an eye out for more, and next time I’ll try to actually write about it before it finishes….
Good work to the guys building PUBG. More of this please.
Looking forward to getting stuck into Season 7 now!
This piece was written by Ben from NinjaRefinery.com. Make sure you go give him some love and check him out on Facebook and Twitter. In the meantime, check out more of his, and our other writer’s coverage of the latest games by heading to our games review section HERE.