Comparing the Best Battle Royale Games: PUBG vs. H1Z1 vs. ARK
The battle royale, or “battle royal-like” genre has really exploded in popularity in recent months. Gone are the days when MMO gaming mostly meant multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games, or base management games. Right now, the multiplayer space is seeing a number of games pop up, where the goal is to outlast everyone else in a match, effectively becoming the “last player standing” with everyone else’s characters killed off in one way or another.
Arguably, the most popular games in this genre are PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), H1Z1: King of the Kill, and ARK: Survival of the Fittest. Today, we’ll look at all three of these games, as we give you a brief overview for the benefit of those who aren’t too familiar with them. More importantly, we’ll compare and contrast the Best Battle Royale Games out in the market these days, and which one is the best.
For the past few months, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) has been a huge hit among fans of battle royale titles. It has been about seven months since PUBG’s early-access version was released. What makes it such a hot game, why are players drawn to it, and how does the game compare to the rivals we will be mentioning later, namely H1Z1 and ARK?
With a maximum match size of 100 players, PUBG tries to stay right in the middle of ARK and H1Z1 in terms of the highest number of people that could fight it out to become the last player standing. That might be too much for battle royale newcomers, but the good thing about PUBG is that its mechanics are easy to learn — even beginners won’t need too many play-through or too much observation to pick up on things. Players drop from a plane, scrounge for equipment, look for the safe zone, and try to use the safe zone to their advantage while trying to take out opponents.
A fair amount of strategy is required to enjoy success in PUBG, and it’s also good that the game’s makers want players to focus on core strategy and not have to worry about tinier details. That makes the pacing very even and the learning curve not at all steep. But you also have to remember that this game is not 100 percent perfect. As it remains in early access, there are still some bugs to iron out, including glitches that could get your character killed through no fault of yours, and PUBG can crash when things get too intense. Still, such things can always be expected from early access titles, so the best thing to do at this point is to be patient.
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H1Z1: King of the Kill
H1Z1: King of the Kill has been out on early access for Windows PC gamers since February 2016, and PS4 and Xbox One players are still waiting for the console version to drop as of this writing. As you may surmise from the title, the action in this game is more of the shoot-em-up variety. If you’re looking for a battle royale game where you’ve got lots of competition, this is the game for you — compared to PUBG and ARK, there are far more players allowed in the matches, with a maximum of 200 dropping down to a landing spot in each match.
Once all of you drop to the ground, you will then battle for different items that will help you in your goal to become the last man (or woman) standing — we’re talking about weapons, vehicles, and helmets. Consider yourself lucky if you’ve got good items in all three categories, but expect to settle for a lot of common stuff in some cases. Additionally, there’s a good chance you’ll end up driving a vehicle in H1Z1; with so many opponents, you might as well use a car to gain some sort of advantage against most of them.
Driving a car is great fun in H1Z1: King of the Kill, and that also makes it easier to spot significant amounts of loot. But such moments are few and far in between, as the game’s makers have made H1Z1 all about near-nonstop action, with so little downtime to strategize. Also, it’s good for gamers who like arcade fun, but not for those who favor tactical strategy.
ARK: Survival of the Fittest
Although it’s only been a month or so since the release of ARK: Survival Evolved, the game’s (originally) standalone multiplayer mode, Survival of the Fittest, has been around for much longer, having launched in March 2016. That mode has become quite popular in the world of esports, and now that Survival of the Fittest has been baked back into the main ARK game, it remains a well-liked option in the “battle royale-like” category, if not as popular as PUBG and H1Z1.
Of course, the most obvious distinguishing feature of ARK is the fact that it’s got a prehistoric/fantasy setting, where you interact with a mix of dinosaurs and fantasy-based creatures. When it comes to mechanics, Survival of the Fittest should appeal more to those who don’t believe in the old “the more, the merrier” adage. Multiplayer matches involve only 24 players, with each of you heading to the jungle to scrounge for resources. The comparatively small player count also means that the competition could get tense at times, but at the end of the day, the things you need to do in the matches are pretty much clear-cut, and those who play PUBG and H1Z1 might find ARK: Survival of the Fittest lacking in the challenge factor.
Compared to H1Z1 and PUBG, crafting is where ARK excels the most, so you could also take advantage of that time combining materials to create new items to think of what strategies you can employ going forward. But some will argue that ARK is too crafting-intensive; sure, crafting is important in these games, but the real meat of these titles comes in the actual “every player for themselves” battles to become the last player standing.
Our Final Thoughts
We would say that PUBG offers the most well-rounded experience among the different battle royal games out there, as there are too many key drawbacks in H1Z1 and ARK to make them serious threats. Its battle royale gaming at its finest, and it’s hugely popular and easy to learn, with no nebulous mechanics that could throw new players in a loop. But that’s not to say that H1Z1 and ARK don’t have any strong points, or that they’re not recommended. Furthermore, your mileage may vary when choosing the best battle royale game; one player might enjoy PUBG more than anything else, while others may be fans of ARK and/or H1Z1 due to one reason or another.