Whic are the best battle royale games on PC? Be it Fortnite, PUBG, or Apex Legends, these are the genre’s best offerings
It may have started out as a joke, but the game formally known as Cuisine Royale is still pulling in steady player counts more than a year after its initial launch. The secret to their success? PUBG-like gameplay, steady updates that bring fresh content to the game, and a cosmetics-only free-to-play model.
CRSED also offers its own tweaks to the established battle royale games formula. The most obvious one is that instead of military armour and equipment, every player has to use pots, pans, and various other pieces of kitchenware to keep themselves safe from bullets. Other neat tweaks like a severely reduced player count and simple WW2 games-inspired weaponry keep fights simple and competitive. If you’re looking for a semi-realistic, free-to-play BR game, then CRSED: F.O.A.D. is one of the best currently around.
CALL OF DUTY: WARZONE
Warzone deviates from the standard battle royale games formula in pretty much every area… save for the fact that there’s still an ever-shrinking circle of death forcing all 150 players into conflict until only one team remains. There are respawns in the form of a bizarre 1v1 duel in the Gulag, you can collect cash and spend it on respawning teammates or killstreaks at Buy Stations, and you can even set up your best Warzone loadout before a match and call it in as a reward. All of this helps make Warzone a BR game where losing one teammate really isn’t a big deal, meaning you’re free to play as aggressively as you want.
Pretty much any common assault rifle is good enough to net you a kill – looting is mostly useful for earning cash and ammo – so you can focus on getting into and out of as many scraps as possible. Other tweaks aid to the simplicity: the zone is incredibly lethal so there’s no camping in the gas meta, armour plates cover your whole body so you don’t need to worry about helmets, and health regenerates just as it does in multiplayer. So if you’re looking for a free battle royale game that’s fast-paced and accessible then Warzone is one of the best options out there.
Ubisoft has finally entered the battle royale genre with a Tron-inspired world, some exciting Twitch integration, and ridiculously fast-paced gameplay. The most noticeable difference is the pace of Hyper Scape. It’s the fastest battle royale around, with a map that’s entirely urban, you can expect very little downtime as you battle in city streets and apartment buildings. The movement is also faster than in any other battle royale, with double-jumping and auto-mantling encouraging plenty of vertical play. Hyper Scape hacks only accelerate the action, letting players pick up abilities like a blink-style teleport or a devastating gravity slam attack that would make Thor blush. Of course if you want to be a little more stealthy you can also pick up hacks that make you invisible, lay traps, or transform into an armoured bouncing orb.
It feels like everything in Hyper Scape has been tuned to ensure you’re always occupied, which makes it a great battle royale if you don’t like spectating your friends after being eliminated. Instead, you’ll get to run around in ghost form, scouting out enemies and looking for a revive station, which conveniently, are spawned on any eliminated enemies.
With the dystopian charm of Titanfall’s mech-ravaged world and the intense gunfights that make PUBG so gripping, it’s no wonder that Apex Legends’ player count reached over 25 million players in its first week. Respawn’s battle royale game came out of nowhere and surpassed genre stalwart Fortnite on Twitch in viewership figures in its first seven days.
Apex Legends zips along at an astonishing pace. Sure, it may not be the parkour and wall-running we’ve come to expect from Respawn’s famous robot game, but this battle royale moves in its own way. Sprinting is swifter than you’d expect and sliding takes you a greater distance – especially with the mountainous terrain considered. Movement sets the tone of the gunplay, too: if your team successfully flanks another in a well-timed push, you earn their bounty.
Apex Legends weapons themselves are finely-tuned, showing Respawn’s confidence in launching Apex Legends as a full game rather than in early access. Shotguns fire off with a fearsome crunch that can punish a poorly-timed push as much as a well-placed headshot will aid anyone who is a dab hand with a sniper rifle.
Better still, there are lots here for casual players. Apex Legends uses a ping system to ease the burden of mic-free communication. Clicking the scroll wheel highlights places of interest, valuable loot, and charging hostiles. What’s more, from a time-hopping assassin to a zip line quip-happy robot, the cast of Apex Legends characters is wonderfully diverse, quirky, and cool to inhabit. With the launch of Apex Legends Season 4 and new Legend Revenant, there’s never been a better time to join the Apex Games.
There’s a reason PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds regularly boasts hundreds of thousands of concurrent players and has sold millions of copies: it’s the basic battle royale premise done right. With frequent PUBG updates and new PUBG maps, the chart-conquering sensation is replete with features and is addictive beyond belief.
PlayerUnknown isn’t just a cool-sounding title either, it’s the pseudonym of Brendan Greene: the creator of PUBG, and the man responsible for the incredibly popular Arma 3 Battle Royale mod. That experience shows in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, which forgoes complications like crafting and a complex melee fighting system, and instead focuses on razor-sharp firefights, tactical play, and scavenging.
More so than any other battle royale game on this list, PUBG feels and controls realistically, resulting in reactive gameplay that never grows old.
Want some poppy, comic book visuals with your 100-man massacres? Fortnite Battle Royale takes the perfectly poised match structure of PUBG and ditches all the gritty realism for colours and soft edges. On top of that, Epic Games continue to outdo themselves with each new Fortnite season, changing the map, adding heaps of new Fortnite skins, and overhauling gameplay mechanics. It’s no wonder Fortnite player numbers continue to swell: this is the current king of battle royales.
You’re also able to harvest resources and build structures like houses to camp in, walls for cover, and ramps to help you climb up mountains. This is a battle royale game for those who like to get creative.
That changes the rhythm of the game considerably, increasing the emphasis on resource-gathering throughout the match so that you’ve got plenty of materials to build cover and fortify as the player count dwindles. Being able to build also means a lot of scope for unconventional tactics. Pinned down behind a tree? Pull out your pickaxe, gather a few logs, and build yourself a wall that will give you a bit more protection. Need a sneaky way of getting to an opponent? Try building a series of ramps to flank them from an unexpected angle.
And if you tire of the BR aspect then you can hop into Fortnite Creative mode and play some of the incredible player-made maps, creations, and game modes using Fortnite Island codes.
The Fortnite vs. PUBG debate isn’t going to be settled any time soon, so just be grateful we have two spectacular survival shooters to revel in.
Battlefield 5’s take on the battle royale genre took a while to come to fruition and conjured up very little buzz on release, but boasts plenty of smart revisions to the formula. For example, there are capture points dotted around the huge Scandinavian map, helping draw all 64 players into the fray as they vie for high tier loot.
Then there are the vehicles, which offer a similar risk/reward mechanic – hop in a tank and you’ll have an instant advantage over other players, but you won’t be able to escape without players noticing.
Best of all, Firestorm maintains Battlefield’s signature destruction mechanics, ensuring there’s no safe refuge. You may have to do a little waiting for a full match, but it’s worth it as Battlefield 5’s solid shooting and impressive audio-visual fidelity make this one of the most convincing battle royale experiences out there.
DYING LIGHT: BAD BLOOD
If you’re looking for a fresh take on the battle royale genre, then what about trying a brutal royale? That’s what the Techland is calling Dying Light: Bad Blood. Blending together PvE and PvP elements, Bad Blood sees 12 players battle it out with rudimentary weapons to collect blood samples and escape the map. Oh, and did we mention there are zombies? Lots of them, in fact.
Dying Light: Bad Blood is currently in Steam Early Access, but is already proving to be a fun and chaotic twist on the last man standing genre. A crucial element to winning this battle royale game is to harvest blood samples from various zombie hives. Collecting these samples increases your health and damage output, and most importantly, spawns the helicopter, which is your ticket to winning.
Just like in the original Dying Light, you can use parkour skills to creatively traverse the map, jumping across rooftops and sprinting past zombies in a mad dash to the evac helicopter. With bloodthirsty zombies to kill and harvest, not to mention other players looking to steal your blood samples, Dying Light: Bad Blood isn’t for players who like to bide their time and camp somewhere safe.
You’ll likely already be familiar with ZombsRoyale.io if you’ve played some of the best idle games or online games as it borrows plenty of mechanics from Zombs.io and Surviv.io. This is a free-to-play browser-based battle royale game that you can play on practically anything with an internet connection, and it’s superb at showing just how versatile the BR genre really is.
All the staples are here: you drop into a random part of the map, loot weapons from chests, and slowly converge on one point of the map until there’s one player left standing. However, the switch to a top-down view changes how every battle plays out, as both players always know where one another is. This makes large-scale battles between three or more players feel a little more controllable as you can always see what’s unfolding around you. Matches are fast, too, allowing you to squeeze in all the tension of a 30-minute PUBG match into, say, a bathroom break.
RING OF ELYSIUM
As the battle royale revolution rumbles on and more titles of that ilk launch, it becomes increasingly tough for developers to find that USP special sauce that catapulted games like PUBG and Fortnite to glory. But, while Ring of Elysium certainly looks like a brazen F2P clone of Brendan Greene’s MilSim trailblazer, it is in the traversal of its large maps that this free Steam game really shines.
Ring of Elysium’s maps have been ravaged by natural disasters that must be avoided if you want to outlast the other players on your way to the evac helicopter. Avalanches, active volcanoes, and BMX riders all make your attempts at survival a misery. But with ski lifts, snowboards, and mountain climbing gear, finding creative ways to reach your objective is a thrill; this is the Steep battle royale game you never knew you needed.
As with many other battle royale games, Ring of Elysium’s player count suffered in the wake of Apex Legends, but fans remain wedded to Ring of Elysium’s slower, more realistic experience. Whether you’re lucky enough to be one of the four players evacuated from the map or setting up camp in the Elysian Fields, this remarkably polished title will always have a home with those looking for a strong apres-ski scene.
Take a look at the Steam user reviews for Realm Royale and you’ll get an immediate sense of why it’s so popular: no building. While Fortnite can’t be beaten in terms of its skill ceiling and scope for creativity, a lot of players simply don’t enjoy how powerful the mechanic is. But Realm Royale isn’t just another free-to-play battle royale game. It finds breathing space in this increasingly crowded genre with a few neat additions, like magical abilities and summonable mounts. There are also Forges, which address the mid-game lull that so many battle royale games suffer from by promising high-level gear at marked locations around the map.
Abilities ensure there are always a variety of builds in play, which leads to skirmishes that rival Fortnite’s in terms of complexity, with everything from turrets and fireballs, to ghost walks and proximity mines. The key difference is that these abilities are bound to your number keys like they are in hero shooters and MMOs, so Realm Royale isn’t too demanding of your mechanical skills. That said, here are some Realm Royale tips for good measure.
There’s also the comical downed phase, which turns injured players into giant chickens who hop and cluck incessantly until executed. However, if you manage to keep your chicken alive for 20 seconds you can respawn as if revived by a teammate – seeing 2v1s turned on their head by some cunning chicken play never gets old.
TOTALLY ACCURATE BATTLEGROUNDS
What started development as an April Fool’s Day joke turned into one of the most inventive battle royale games of 2018, and developer Landfall can claim three million Totally Accurate Battlegrounds downloads in four days as proof. Totally Accurate Battlegrounds (TABG) boasts countless melee and ranged weapons, attachments, and gear to ensure every gun battle is as unpredictable and messy as the ragdolling character models.
TABG’s coup de grâce is its exaggerated physics, which sees your character flopping up staircases and tumbling over obstacles, not to mention the recoil from high-calibre weapons, which punts you backwards with every shot. Developer Landfall embrace the goofy nature of their battle royale with a ridiculous character customiser and a dedicated key for holding your weapon sideways and beatboxing. Unsurprisingly, the default binding for this is G.
The player count is small, so you’ll need to get to know the community if you want to catch a game, but a free version of TABG is on the horizon that should boost the player count back up to healthy numbers.
Fed up of running across a seemingly empty map for half an hour only to be instantly dispatched by a single sniper shot? Games like PUBG can be a gargantuan slog for very little reward or action. Darwin Project shows that battle royale games don’t have to be all about scale, and with just a few players, a tiny map, and no guns, you can be sure that you’ll at least see the player that kills you.
Darwin Project is clearly inspired by The Hunger Games with its emphasis on traps and melee combat, its forbidden map zones, and its player-controlled Show Director, who can trigger buffs and arena-wide effects like lowering the gravity. You can also use voice chat to quiz certain players and reward or punish them based on their answer, which is a social aspect you will not find in many other games. Darwin Project is free-to-play on Steam.
Z1 BATTLE ROYALE
Before Brendan Greene helmed his own battle royale game, he was drafted in to help Daybreak Games perfect H1Z1 – or, as it’s now known, Z1 Battle Royale. Compared to PUBG, Z1 is a much lighter and more accessible battle royale – there are fewer weapons, no attachments, and you don’t get to choose where you parachute in from. That last point is particularly important as it means you’re always dropping into the map with several other players, leading to a manic scramble for guns and gear, and a hefty amount of bloodshed in the match’s opening few seconds.
Z1’s gunplay is more akin to that of an arcade shooter than the military sim-influenced heft of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ weapons. Shooting feels basic, but there’s still plenty of nuance to landing shots and engaging targets at range that you can only learn through hours of trial and error. The fact that you get nearly 200 potential targets to hone your shooting skills on certainly helps.
If games like PUBG involve a little too much hiding around in bushes and strategic play for your liking, then the faster pace on display here might be more to your taste. And if you find yourself struggling, our H1Z1 guide should improve your odds of survival.
UNTURNED: ARENA MODE
One of the most surprising things about the free-to-play Unturned is that it boasts some particularly polished and realistic gunplay. Where that really shines is in Arena Mode, an official game mode that borrows the core mechanics of PUBG, cuts the player count to 16, and takes place on one of four small maps.
Don’t let Unturned: Arena Mode fool you with its blocky art style – it is a hardcore shooter deep down, and that shows in its breadth of weapons and attachments. The fact that there are four distinct maps to fight through also adds an extra level of skill, as different tactics and map knowledge come into play. If you’re after a less gritty battle royale game, but still crave the high skill cap and realistic gunplay, then seek out Unturned: Arena Mode. It may not quite be one of the best zombie games on PC, but shooting Unturned’s cutesy undead hordes is still a blast. And it’s free, which is always welcome.
MINECRAFT SURVIVAL GAMES
Owing to the total freedom afforded to players by Minecraft, particularly on PC, it was only a matter of time before somebody made a version of The Hunger Games in Mojang’s family-oriented sandbox. That creative freedom means there are hundreds upon hundreds of maps, arena styles, weapon and armour setups, and rules to keep the experience varied depending on which Minecraft server you decide to play on.
Rather than players spawning or dropping into the map at random points, and unlike some of the best Minecraft maps in its parent game, most Minecraft Survival servers pay tribute to the blockbuster franchise by spawning players in a circle around a huge cache of weapons – when the timer hits zero it’s anyone’s game. Rush to the weapons and risk dying in the immediate fray, or hope to scavenge one from a corpse later on? Minecraft Survival Games is a solid battle royale experience, and the sheer number of custom variants ensures every niche is served.
That’s the lot. The best battle royale games on PC that are like PUBG… um, including PUBG. If you’re impatiently waiting for Minecraft 2’s release date to be announced, or need to kill some time while the best upcoming PC games finish baking, you really should fire up the brutal battle royales above. Granted, Fortnite and PUBG may have conquered
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