A Rephrased, Paranoid Version of PUBG Mobile

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Battlegrounds Mobile India is here, amid all the scepticism and belief that the game actually might not launch any time soon. In a fairly surprise move, Krafton gave a limited number of users, who had signed up to be beta testers, early access to the game. A little more than 24 hours later, Battlegrounds Mobile India is now available for most to download and play. While it is a bit of an open secret that the game really is PUBG Mobile underneath its facade, Krafton has claimed to have made a number of changes, and that the game is essentially new – or so it would hope. After a day of playing Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI), one thing’s fairly certain – the fan base that PUBG Mobile had has remained largely consistent, and just because its loyal players may have shifted to Call of Duty: Mobile or Garena: Free Fire in its nine months of absence, may not necessarily mean that it may have lost its followers.

New warnings and a dollop of paranoia

The moment you start setting up the game, you’ll realise that in all likelihood, nothing much has changed. However, what has happened are very specific ways in which Krafton is looking to shore up against any potential future injunctions that any authority or regulatory body may impose on the game, in India. Clearly, the Indian market matters a fair bit to Krafton. At the heart of the major changes lies new ways in which the game defines its privacy policy and terms of service – including a very specific indemnity clause, and underage and parental restrictions to begin with.

You’ll be served multiple reminders that the game is set in a ‘virtual world’. (Image: BGMI/News18.com)

Once you’re beyond all of this, you’ll realise that BGMI takes practically every opportunity to remind you that it is a simulated game that takes place in the virtual world. The specifically worded reminder says, “Battlegrounds Mobile India is not a real-world based game, but a survival simulation game set in a virtual world.” Similar reminders are served time and again in the game as you play, as do two other prompts – one that asks you to verify your age, and another that asks you to take a break from playing BGMI. I’ve received each of the two latter notifications at least three times in the past 24 hours, and I haven’t exactly overplayed it either.

Krafton has specified a number of regulatory and operational prompts, such as its data storage policy. (Image: BGMI/News18.com)

All of this somewhat suggests that Krafton is, for good measure, being overly cautious about covering all bases in terms of what could get the new, renewed PUB – er, Battlegrounds Mobile India banned again. In its original stint, hundreds of reports cited instances of addiction among players of the game below the age of 18. This had led to a number of bodies labelling the game as a propagator of violence, and stating that allowing kids to have access to such a game may have a detrimental impact on their mental health. While we’ve already reported on the new parental control clauses in the game’s usage policy, Battlegrounds Mobile India surely seems to be a touch paranoid about these things.

Gameplay is as good as ever

Thankfully, the new prompts do not get too repetitive to get annoying. In terms of the one other major gameplay change, lies the fact that you no longer die in a puddle of blood when you are eventually shot in the game. Instead, you explode into smithereens that resemble green feathers – which you can change to yellow in settings. The change appears to be in line with what Krafton has done in China by changing the process and depiction of death in the country-specific Peacekeeper Elite. There’s also no mention of the word ‘kill’ or any version of it – instead, now when you shoot down an opponent in one of the maps, you ‘finish’ them instead.

The game essentially remains the same as what PUBG Mobile used to be. (Image: BGMI/News18.com)

Whether these cosmetic overhauls would help BGMI survive in India or not remains to be seen, but in terms of gameplay, it is as good as what PUBG Mobile always was. You get five maps – Erangel, Livik, Sanhok, Miramar and Karakin, in which there are three arcade game modes including a Sniper Training mode and an all-out War mode, a Payload 2.0 mode for battle royale on wheels (based on the Erangel map), and a total of eight arena game modes. From team deathmatches to the classic battle royale, all things combined make sure that BGMI, in terms of being a game, is pretty much the exact thing that you were used to with PUBG Mobile.

First reactions: Is it good enough?

All things combined, Battlegrounds Mobile India is exactly what PUBG Mobile was. The repeated reminders that this is a virtual world, coupled with reminders asking you to take a break, aren’t exactly detractors should you want to go on marathon gaming sessions. Does this still leave room for regulatory debacles around the game? Possibly, but at the moment, BGMI marks the official return of PUBG Mobile that so many in India have been clamouring for.

The game has attracted the kind of attention that it was expected to, all along. (Image: BGMI/News18.com)

On overall terms, even with all the changes, it is pretty much the same as PUBG Mobile. This means that Battlegrounds Mobile India is also as good as what PUBG Mobile was. If you liked the game before, there’s no reason for you to not like it now – even with the green feather animations.

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