Player Known Battlegrounds review — Live and die in Dixie

Behold this equestrian statue.

Have you ever dreamed of becoming a tour guide? Informing others about the relevance of historical monuments and the circumstances that led to their erection? Reciting memorized lines about long-gone events? No? Well, Player Known Battlegrounds, an edutainment tour-guide simulator developed and published by StevenHarmonGames, has you covered anyway.

Based on its name, one would expect Player Known Battlegrounds to be a parody of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is of course the highly popular multiplayer game that, while it did not invent the battle royale genre, made it so popular that it dethroned itself to make space for a competitor with higher production value.

Player Known Battlegrounds
Your colourful tour group is patiently waiting.

But Player Known Battlegrounds is not about Fortnite either. Nevertheless, it does start with your character being kicked out of a plane and parachuting down to the ground. Just before that, your instructor gives you a brief tutorial explaining the game’s controls and its goal. You also receive some words of encouragement, as morale appears to be low.

Once on solid ground, you do not start shooting enthusiastic player from all parts of the world. You will not loot the next shed for a flak vest. What awaits you instead is a group of tourists waiting for their tour guide, because you just landed in the Gettysburg National Cemetery.

The Gettysburg National Cemetery was established after the Battle of Gettysburg, one of the most well-known battles of the American Civil War. Today it is home to many a monument. Your job is to guide your tour group to a number of said monuments and provide them with some interesting historical details.

Player Known Battlegrounds
The sun is shining.

Player Known Battlegrounds puts you into a first-person perspective. Standard WASD controls get your plucky tour guide going. The two mouse buttons are mapped to your primary and secondary weapons: your arm, pointing professionally at sites of historical value; and your voice, explaining the relevance of said sites with moderate enthusiasm.

There are about a dozen things to see, among them the Soldier’s Monument and the Gettysburg Address Memorial. While you stroll from one equestrian statue to the next, your tour group dutifully follows you. Some of them, like a smartphone-distracted millennial, are a bit tricky to keep track of.

At the end of the tour, they have to be dropped off at their bus — unlike you, the tourists did not violate air traffic regulations to get to the cemetery. And that is Player Known Battlegrounds. You walk around, listen to clips about the Civil War, and enjoy the ride.

Player Known Battlegrounds
At the end of the tour, it’s back to the bus.

As an interactive experience made on a budget, Player Known Battlegrounds has nothing groundbreaking to offer. It holds no surprises except for not actually being a full PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds parody. However, it is quite charming and while the graphics are brought to you by Paint.net, it still appears to have more custom assets than the game its spoofs.

The developers, Steven Harmon and Atsina Corrington, intended it to be a homage to their history teachers and a way to experience the Gettysburg National Cemetery virtually. Give Player Known Battlegrounds a go. The model of Spangler’s Spring looks pretty decent.

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