The unanswerable question: what are the best battle royale games? There are quite a few to choose from – Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Blackout, Fortnite, H1Z1 (Z1), PUBG and many more. Ranking these games is guaranteed to cause disagreement, though.
Best battle royale games
In gaming circles, few topics will spark more debate than listing, and more importantly ranking, the best battle royale games.
Each of these games has a loyal fan base who will absolutely refute their game not being at the top. As a result, this list is purely based on my opinion and may well (probably will) differ from your own.
The list will be based on the aforementioned games (Fortnite, Apex Legends, H1Z1, PUBG, Blackout) as these are the biggest and most well known. Furthermore, the list will also be based on the best for their time – i.e. in their “prime”. By that logic H1Z1 will be looked at differently than, for example, Apex Legends.
To be clear this is an opinion piece and the rankings may differ wildly from the mainstream.
5. Apex Legends
At the start of 2019 very few even knew what Apex Legends was. Fast forward nearly four months and it is one of the most popular games available.
After releasing at the beginning of February, Apex Legends has catapulted to be one of the biggest players in battle royale. The fact it is free to play, unlike other battle royale games on this list, has only increased its player base.
Behind Firestorm, Apex Legends brings arguably the best graphics seen so far in battle royale. This doesn’t come at the expense of performance either, with the game generally playing silky smooth, even on console.
The game also brings new intricacies including respawns and specific characters who have their own abilities. Apex Legends has a Halo-esque feel to the it whereby the game’s setting is futuristic and the time to kill is high. While isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, it strongly appeals to a particular fan base.
Its current appeal expands beyond this which is evidenced by the 50 million unique players that have played the game.
It will be interesting to see if Apex Legends has a place at the top of battle royale in the months to come and where it will go in 2020.
Fortnite – you either love it or hate it. Either way it isn’t fair to have a top battle royale games list and not include Fortnite.
The popularity of Fortnite is undeniable. It holds the record for the most watched and streamed game on Twitch. Additionally, and perhaps more impressively, it boasts the record for the most concurrent players across any game with 10.8 million. Over 250 million players have played Fortnite.
The game itself divides opinion due to its cartoon-like graphics and unrealistic gameplay. Some love the game because of this, while others despise it. If there was a list for the most loved and hated battle royale game it would top both.
What can’t be argued however, is how well the game is made and how well it is supported. The game runs as well as the best of them and is subject to frequent updates. It is the latter that keeps the game fresh and able to retain its player count.
With that said, it is the purists that don’t like Fortnite. This is the reason that games like PUBG, despite being inferior in terms of build, are able to keep a significant chunk of the battle royale market.
While PUBG brought battle royale to the mainstream, it was arguably H1Z1 (formerly known as Z1: King of the Kill) that started off the battle royale genre.
H1Z1 was initially released in January 2015 which shows what a pioneer it was, and is, for the genre. In August 2018 it was released on PS4 also. It has since been rebranded to Z1 Battle Royale.
By today’s standards the game is rather basic. Despite a recent remaster of the map, the graphics pail in comparison to the likes of Blackout and more impressively Battlefield Firestorm. Additionally, movement and shooting, while there is nothing wrong with it, also feels dated.
Even so, H1Z1 should be given the credit it deserves for kicking off what could be the biggest genre in gaming history. This is why it features 3rd on the list, ahead of the likes of Apex Legends and Fortnite.
Even today, the game is fun to play. It feels like a stripped down, arcade version of battle royale, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Despite the recent re-brand it seems unlikely H1Z1 lobbies will remain plentiful for much longer. Here’s hoping the developers release a more modern version of the game down the line.
2. Call of Duty: Blackout
This may be a controversial pick for some people at number two. However, when looked at objectively, Blackout is arguably the best battle royale game available.
The game ticks all the boxes: exciting, fast-paced, a great map, new content updates and above all excellent shooting mechanics. This is a list that few, if any, games can compete with.
It is the signature Call of Duty gun play intertwined with battle royale that makes this game nearly untouchable. Responsiveness in FPS games is of the utmost importance and there is nobody that does it better than Call of Duty. A down side to this is that it often comes with a significant price tag.
The already excellent core battle royale experience was added upon with the introduction of the even faster-paced Hot Pursuit mode. The newest map Alcatraz, albeit at the expense of Hot Pursuit, has also introduced a more close quarters combat version of Blackout.
It isn’t as realistic as PUBG in terms of movement and shooting (other than its bugs), but it is certainly made a lot better.
Let the rage ensue. PUBG is ranked as the number one battle royale game. This is the game that brought the battle royale genre to the forefront of the industry.
While many will remain critical of the game because of its questionable mechanics and numerous bugs, the amount of hours players have spent on the game is evidence of its quality. A game doesn’t get played that much and for such a long period of time if it isn’t great.
The game itself brings a somewhat realistic element to battle royale, at least in comparison to games such as Apex Legends and Fortnite. Consequently, the rush of being in the top 10 is unrivalled.
PUBG has its quirks and a pretty minimalist map design. It is these quirks that make the game so iconic though. Even more than two years after release, PUBG still retains a core, and very large, following.
Let’s hope PUBG 2 is released in the future.