BENGALURU: Life has not been the same since I swore off PUBG Mobile. It has been a long hiatus from competitive Battle Royale, but I am back this time, with my thoughts on Free Fire.
Reader, you may not have played it. But you’ve definitely heard of it. Time for a quick history lesson on the game. Back in 2018, PUBG mobile was in it’s heyday.
Millions with access to a smartphone and Internet took to the game, all in pursuit of the elusive Chicken Dinner. However, on the sidelines emerged an alternate.
It was another Battle Royale game intended to suit lower-end mobile devices, endorsing quicker game times. Little did we know that Free Fire would ultimately scavenge on the ghost of PUBG Mobile warriors.
In almost all aspects, Garena Free Fire mimicked PUBG Mobile. The first thing I noticed was the font on the menu screen. They are the same.
The “Bermuda” map is a mini-Erangel. After exploring the buildings in Pochinok (Free Fire), I am quite certain that the architects took inspiration from the lovely residences back in Pochinki (PUBG). Only, this time they didn’t add the openable doors.
Aiming is easier with the helpful assist provided by Free Fire. But it still makes you feel like you put in the effort to find the player scurrying across the map.
I don’t mean to sound critical of Free Fire: but they’ve done their best in copying PUBG’s homework, without making it too obvious. There are some key upgrades over PUBG which make the experience more confrontational.
There’s the UAV option, which reveals enemy locations. It keeps campers on their toes. There’s the mildly fortnite-ish “Gloo Wall”, which extends the duration of the end game circle. The Gloo Wall is a bit of genius.
Proning in open areas in Free Fire is not an option, given low resolution and easy aim options. Gloo Walls provide a tactical advantage of a protective wall maze, to help sneak up on the enemy.
My real contention with Free Fire is this the confusing main menu. A battle-scarred sharpshooter in Free Fire may find the excess of options exciting.
There’s more for them to discover and push for in the game. But a novice, or even a user experience designer, may blink furiously at the sheer number of buttons on the main menu. You hardly know which click would cost you money (but perhaps that was the point, really).
Free Fire has learnt immensely from the monopoly of the Indian mobile royale network, and is consistently improving and changing things around.
However, I still do miss the relatively low-stunt, non-gimmicky PUBG versions. Wonder what the new Battlegrounds Mobile India holds for us. Till then, Booyah, I guess?
(This economics graduate spends her leisure time preparing for the zombie apocalypse)