A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is a downloadable online-only multiplayer shooter for Windows PCs (there's also a mobile version). Up to 100 players compete in a last-man-standing, kill-or-be-killed battle royale. Violence is a core mechanic of the gameplay, as competitors hunt other players using a variety of realistic weapons such as rifles, machine guns, and crowbars. While the controls are relatively easy to pick up, the game's difficulty lies in trying to survive while scavenging items from the map to use in battle. Although the game doesn't feature any profanity in the dialogue, the in-game chat is generally filled with obscenities and offensive conversations from other players, unless the feature is turned off in the settings.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS pits up to 100 players against one another in a winner-take-all, kill-or-be-killed battle royale where your main goal is to simply outlive the competition. After being airdropped onto an isolated island, you'll have to rely on skill and luck as you scavenge what tools and equipment you can from the surrounding area in order to survive. Of course, you're not the only one in this game. Other players are also searching for the right tools to take you out as well. It's not just the other competitors you'll have to contend with, either. The border of the play area sporadically shrinks, forcing players to occasionally sprint to a new section of the map or get trapped out of bounds. And in this game, the only penalty box is a coffin.
Is it any good?
Somehow, even with technical issues and immature players, this game manages to package a lot of addictive fun into its constantly shrinking borders. Think about some of your favorite, cheesy cinematic guilty pleasures. Not those deep dramatic Best Picture nominees, but those explosion-fueled nonsensical action flicks with acting and effects that no one can take seriously, yet everyone still has a blast watching. Take that experience, turn it into a video game, and you've got PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds in a nutshell. The reality is that the game isn't exactly the best-looking game out there by a long shot, with stiff character movements and environments that feel like they've just been thrown together on a whim. It's also a game with more than a few glitches. Weapons will occasionally act in completely uncharacteristic and unrealistic ways, sometimes launching players through the air instead of killing them. It's not uncommon to see someone unload a shotgun into another player at point-blank range and miss completely, only to be killed in return with a punch to the face. And yet, like a cheesy B-movie, somehow it all still works. In spite of its quirks, and sometimes because of them, it's just a lot of fun to play.
That's not to say there aren't some real problems with PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds that can hurt the overall experience. For starters, the game doesn't have the most stable network play. More than a few times, the game has frozen, only to immediately disconnect from the match completely. There are also some issues with collision detection, such as falling through stairs or getting stuck behind an open door, both of which can sometimes cause the player to be fused with the environment, stuck and forced to restart. Finally, though not a technical issue but still something that needs to be addressed, there's a huge issue dealing with troublemakers in the game. Right off the bat, you'll need to shut off the in-game chat due to the surprisingly high number of toxic players. Without fail, every match seems to start with a string of profanities, racist or homophobic comments, and other offensive commentary. Things tend to mellow out as the matches go on, but it's virtually impossible to ignore.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. What are some of the ways that violence in games can impact real-life behavior? Does it make a difference when the violence is against real-life competitors versus computer-controlled bots?
Talk about toxic behavior online. What are some examples of toxic behavior that kids may face online? What are some good ways to deal with that behavior when confronted with it?
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