Since 2017, action-shooter games have gone more mainstream than ever before. With the popularity of PUBG and Fortnite hitting the most viewed games on Twitch and one of the most talked-about games on Twitter and YouTube, a lot of game developers wanted a piece of the pie.
Battle Royale became the “it” game for action shooter fans everywhere. The trend may have died in late 2019, but there are still millions of players spending their time in this shooter sub-genre.
Currently, there are 3 major battle royale games with the most population, each of which with vast gameplay elements: PUBG, Fortnite, and Apex Legends. PUBG is more of a “realistic” type of shooter, borrowing almost the same aspects from the ARMA mod.
On the other hand, Fortnite focuses more on a cartoony type of gameplay with Minecraft-like building mechanics which may or may not be the biggest selling point for many mainstream players. Lastly, Apex Legends is a hero-based battle royale set in the same universe and pacing of the Titanfall universe.
However, for this topic, we will be focusing on 3 very similar battle royale games: PUBG Mobile, Rules of Survival, and Garena Free Fire.
PUBG vs Rules of Survival, RoS vs PUBG, PUBG Mobile vs Rules of Survival, or Free Fire vs PUBG, it doesn’t matter how you want to address this topic. We will be briefly breaking down each of them.
Why PUBG vs Rules of Survival vs Free Fire?
Why not Fortnite and Apex Legends or even CoD Warzone, right? That’s because PUBG Mobile, Rules of Survival, and Garena Free Fire are the most similar games that have a sort of identity crisis towards each other. Fortunately, I – and many others in this team – have played enough of these 3 games to distinguish which is which. We shall discuss the major aspects of every game title.
The Developers and Publishers of PUBG Mobile, Rules of Survival and Free Fire
On PC, Xbox One, and PS4, PUBG (PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds) is developed and published by PUBG Corp, under the direction of PlayerUnknown. However, when it gave the rights of the game to megacorp Tencent Gaming, the game has gotten bigger – especially on mobile.
Tencent Gaming used the same resources of the PC version and compressed the major files to make it accessible and playable on mobile. Hence, PUBG Mobile was created. To this day, it is one of the most downloaded mobile games ever.
Garena Free Fire
Another top F2P game that is highly popular in South East Asia (SEA) is a game called Free Fire – developed by 1111 Dots Studio. It was released globally, yet Garena holds the distribution and publishing rights – the same studio that hosts League of Legends, AOV Arena of Valor, Heroes of Newerth, CrossFire, and FIFA 3 in South East Asia.
Again, the game is also similar to PUBG, yet there are millions of active players monthly, especially in the SEA region. According to various review sites, Free Fire’s rating is one of the highest scores in terms of accessibility for F2P players.
Rules of Survival
Rules of Survival is from a different yet similar developer and publisher – a Chinese studio called NetEase Games; known for their titles such as Onmyoji, Onmyoji Arena, and Knives Out. Almost everything about RoS was pretty much the same if you already played PUBG – yet it is still one of the biggest free-to-play online games in South East Asia.
To nobody’s surprise, all 3 games are classified as a battle royale. If you have watched or read the cult classic, Battle Royale, or the more mainstream young adult action flick, The Hunger Games, the rules are the same: various players are stuck on an island and they must kill each other. The lone survivor is declared the winner of the game.
As it turns out, this gameplay became a hit among Twitch streamers and common players alike. Not only is it intense in many ways, but it is also fun to watch too. Alas, the wave of battle royale games came rushing down the gaming community, each being a carbon copy of Minecraft Hunger Games – the original battle royale.
2. Primary Game Modes
Each game has its Ranked Mode but PUBG Mobile and Free Fire have an additional Classic or Unranked mode. These modes are created in case you want to “chill” instead of playing in a very competitive atmosphere. On the other hand, RoS only has Ranked Mode.
3. Other Game Modes
PUBG Mobile likes to keep things simple with a few yet memorable game modes: Zombies, War, Death Match, and Event Mode. Zombies and Death Match are quite self-explanatory.
Zombies is a survival game mode where a few players start as zombies, with the goal to infect other players on the map as soon as possible. As a zombie player, you can soak up more damage and you can also run faster. But in this mode, human players have more ammo and have more access to weapons compared in Classic or Ranked Mode.
Deathmatch has spawning. The first team to get more kill points wins! On the other hand, War is a faction type game mode where it’s 50 vs 50 without spawning. And lastly, Event Mode depends on what the publisher wants to host. Sometimes it’s a Valentine’s Day special with double XP, or you get to fight werewolves and vampires on Halloween.
Garena Free Fire
Free Fire also has a few game modes: Rampage and Rush Hour are quick matches that can be finished within 5 to 10 minutes.
Rampage is more of a Domination mode where a team must hold A, B, and C points. The attacking team should clear out the enemy team that is holding these points so they can capture it. The first team to get the most points wins!
Another game mode is Rush Hour where the Ring is smaller and has a maximum of 20 players. The last one to survive is the winner.
• Rush Hour
Rules of Survival
Rules of Survival has the most number of game modes compared to the other two games. I don’t need to explain every game mode or else the article will just be about RoS instead.
In brief, these modes include Train, Krazy Mode PLUS, Hero Clash, Score Royale, Ranked Ultra, Blitzkrieg, Epic Clash 2.0, Death Race Mode, Dog Fight, Zombie Trial and Firefight. To be frank, not every game mode is full of players so you might have to choose only the most popular ones like Hero Clash, Train, and Blitzkrieg.
• Krazy Mode PLUS
• Hero Clash
• Score Royale
• Ranked Ultra
• Epic Clash 2.0
• Death Race Mode
• Dog Fight
• Zombie Trial
All 3 games also include custom game modes that you can host.
If you played modern combat action games, you’ve already seen all the weapons. PUBG, Free Fire, and RoS all have similar weapons such as M4, AK47, MP5, Desert Eagle, pump shotguns, and bolt-action rifles.
Every weapon has its recoil, rate of fire, ammo types, and suitable attachments that you can mix and match throughout the game.
However, the most distinct weapons among them are the melee weapons. PUBG has a pan, sickle, machete, and a crowbar. Free Fire includes a parang, katana, a bat, and also a pan. RoS has a crowbar, Damascus knife, and the infamous rubber chicken.
PUBG takes a more realistic take on the battle royale. You deploy from a cargo plane, land down to the map, grab very familiar guns, and shoot anything that moves.
The weapons are based on bullet drop – which means it takes some time before your shots hit the target, thanks to velocities based on the weapons you carry. If you are sniping from long range, you will need to fiddle with the scope and the travel distance of the bullet. This actually provides a more authentic feel per weapon.
• Realistic gunplay
• Authentic shooting
• Can be FPS mode or TPS mode
• Victory motto: “WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER!”
Free Fire has more simplified gameplay with an aim assist. It uses a hit scan system: where bullets hit as soon as you pull the trigger. This makes Free Fire more casual than the other two games.
The biggest difference here is the inclusion of classes. It has a bit of a similarity to Apex Legends where players can choose from a roster of characters, each with their buffs and power-ups that they can use to their advantage in the game.
• Casual shooting
• Has aim assist
• Includes heroes with unique skills
• Can be FPS mode or TPS mode
• Victory motto: “BOOYAH! SHOWTIME.”
Rules of Survival
Rules of Survival is a bit like a mix of both PUBG and FF. However, it carries some traits from the likes of Counter-Strike 1.6 and CrossFire: allowing you to kill enemies while bunny-hopping. It may not have the same aiming system as CS1.6 and CF, but it shares the same hit-scan system with that of Free Fire.
• Fast-paced shooting
• Includes heroes in some game modes
• Semi-futuristic design
• Can be FPS mode or TPS mode
• Victory motto: “SAVAGE!”
6. Number of Players
In contrast to what everyone says about each game being similar to each other, the main difference between PUBG Mobile, Rules of Survival, and Free Fire comes down to player count per match.
For PUBG total players, you have a maximum of 100 players. For Rules of Survival, 120 players. And for Free Fire, just 50 players.
You might think more players means better, right? Well, yes and no. More players mean more bot fluff in a game yet lesser players also mean closer encounters. I’ll help you understand those better in the next portions.
Max Players Per Team
PUBG and Free Fire let you play up to 4 players per team while RoS allows up to 5 players. Before you start a match, you have 3 choices: solo, duo, or squad/quad. These are self-explanatory.
PUBG has Erangel, Miramar, Vikendi, and Sandhok. Erangel is the largest and most standard map of the 4. Miramar is a desert, Vikendi is a snow-filled battlefield and Sandhok is a small-scale jungle. Ring shrinking depends on the size of the map.
Free Fire has Bermuda, Purgatory, and Kalahari. Bermuda is the equivalent to PUBG’s Erangel, except the Ring movement is faster. Purgatory and Kalahari are much smaller and more ideal for 50 players. Each map happens to have more player encounters compared to PUBG and RoS.
On the other hand, RoS only has two maps: Ghillie Island and Fearless Fiord. Ghillie Island is exactly like Erangel, except for the addition of futuristic buildings and vehicles. Also, this map has weather and day/night cycles, which is great for dynamic gameplay! Fearless Fiord is more arcade-like, which makes it ideal for very fast player encounters.
8. Visuals and Presentation
Among the 3 games, PUBG Mobile is the most visually impressive. It may not look as grand as PUBG on PC, but it still looks really good for mobile and low-end PCs. The maps also look spectacular and the guns are highly-detailed.
Free Fire comes next with a few hiccups here and there. It has some impressive shading and hero designs, plus great ADS details too.
RoS is alright. It’s not exactly impressive, but it’s not terrible either. However, the semi-futuristic design of its characters, sceneries, weapons, and vehicles gives it a unique identity.
Among the 3, PUBG has the most authentic gun sounds. It’s not just impressive as a battle royale, but it can rival action games like CoD Modern Warfare 2019 and Insurgency: Sandstorm. Even the music is good. FF and RoS share a similar sound design that you can commonly find in basic F2P shooters in South East Asia.
10. Player Activity
All 3 games have millions of players joining every month, which results in very fast matchmaking. An average matchmaking time only takes 5 to 30 seconds, depending on the game mode you are playing.
Summary: Which is the Best?
I can’t tell you which of the 3 suits you better. That depends on you. However, I will give you an insight for each so you know what to pick. If you like semi-realistic shooting with great sound design, play PUBG. If you prefer casual matches with games that only last 10 to 15 minutes tops, play Free Fire. And if you like crazy content and lots of player encounters, play RoS.
How to Download and Play
All 3 games are available to play on your PC – for free. Just hop into Games.lol or directly download PUBG Mobile, Rules of Survival, or Garena Free Fire from there. Click the download button and it will directly lead you to a Chrome Extension installation. Let the set-up finish and you should have a Playstore launcher on your desktop. Once it is there, your game should be automatically downloaded. Double-click the game icon on your desktop or play it through the launcher. Enjoy!