PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds finally pushed it's latest update to the Public Test Servers, and with it introduced the long-awaited first-person only servers. Battlegrounds was - and still is - playable in first-person on the game's standard servers. But now there are first-person only servers as well, and they make all the difference. This is my experience after a handful of games on those first-person servers.
As soon as I dropped onto the waiting island I noticed the increased Field of Vision (FOV). The previous first-person option felt like tunnel vision - I had to move the screen from side-to-side ust to see a little bit more ahead. There was also the frustration of my unequipped gun creeping into my peripheral vision whenever I ran. This often resulted in me assuming the gun was an enemy and going into a full-blown panic. My mantra is "shoot anything that moves", which means I often give away my position.
Now, there's a FOV slider in the settings menu, which lets you alter your vision between 80 and 103 degrees. I kept mine at the safe default of 90 degrees and immediately felt less anxious. Not needing to constantly keep moving my camera also made the game feel more fluid.
Alongside the constant moving to increase my vision in the original option, I also detested the movement of my character when picking up items. The camera followed the player as they moved down and up and down and up (there's a lot of picking up items in Battlegrounds). If you're picking up five items in a go it can become nauseating. I know you can pick items up directly using your inventory, but who has time for that? So imagine my relief when I discovered this problem was removed for the new servers. It's the little things.
In the plane, I found myself questioning whether I had actually joined a first-person game because the view was in third-person. In my other first-person experience, you could see the inside of the plane and, ultimately, your competition. When you ejected from the plane the perspective remained in first-person. I could just see my legs dangling as I dropped an eternity away from my initial marker. I found it difficult to land where I wanted with first-person ejection, and it didn't help that the movement made me feel nauseous as hell.
It turns out I was in fact in a first-person game, it's just the plane sequence had been altered. Unfortunately, the patch notes reveal this sequence will later be first-person only. I'm going to have to adapt.
As soon as I landed - where I intended, by the way - it was time to loot. Seeing items on the floor is much easier now because you're closer to them. I didn't need to run backward and forwards to ensure I was on the item I wanted, either. It's a welcome change. Movement feels more precise and, in turn, I felt more focused.
I found it easier to see enemies in front of me, but spotting enemies behind me was a different story. If you're unlucky enough to have someone sneaky beaky up behind you then it takes longer to turn around and pinpoint their location. But everyone is faced with this issue. The best thing about the first-person only servers is, perhaps, the fact no-one is at a disadvantage - or everyone is equally disadvantaged. Playing in first-person against those who are not feels like playing with one hand tied behind your back. In first-person you can't peek around a corner, for example. However, the new first-person only servers make it fair for those who prefer first-person. Everyone's in the same boat - a very tense boat. It feels fairer when you die.
At one point I was lucky enough to find a sniper-rifle. As I scoured the hills for hidden enemies, I heard hurried footsteps coming up behind me. By the time I actually turned around I was being beaten, bare-handed, by a player in nothing but his underwear. On a normal server, I would have seen him coming. In first-person mode, he got the jump on me.
I didn't manage to find a vehicle when I played the game in first-person but others have and the perspective shifts accordingly. Whereas, playing in first-person on normal servers, you would see vehicles in third-person. To give you an idea of how this looks, check out the video below (skip to the three minutes 30 seconds mark).
To many players first-person in PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds seems scary or hardcore. I would describe it as a more intense experience - and that's saying something for a game that's about as intense as it gets. I'm glad I tried it and it's likely how I'll play the game from here on.