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FAU-G: A homegrown replacement for PUBG? Hmm...

FAU-G: A homegrown replacement for PUBG? Hmm...
Battleground: PUBG versus FAU-G  |  Photo Credit: PUBG website, screenshot
27 Jan, 2021

There are two kinds of people in this world. Those that have been waiting for Fearless and United Guards aka FAU-G to soldier in and fill the void that the PUBG ban created in their lives, and those who are wondering why people are discussing the 1989 Shah Rukh Khan TV show now. 

If you’re among the latter, we’re here to rid you of the FOMO and get Twitter clout with no effort. Of course, if you’re among the millions of people in the former category, who pre-registered for the game and waited for months to play, read on, because you know you want to.  

FAU-G -- which incidentally rhymes with PUBG -- was purported to be India’s homegrown, safer answer to the Chinese game. Its launch was announced by popular actor Akshay Kumar.

But does the game, developed by Bengaluru-based nCore Games, live up to the hype? Is it a replacement for the widely-loved PUBG? 

A TechCircle journalist spent several salaried hours to find out and here’s the verdict.

1. Galwan Valley storyline instead of battle royale

While PUBG offers various (hypothetical) shooter modes to play, the title is primarily known for battle royale, where 100 different players jump off a plane at fictional locations and fight it out against each until there’s a last man/team standing. 

FAU-G has no battle royale. In fact, the game can currently be played in just the one single-player campaign mode, called Tales from the Galwan Valley. Here, the user plays as Captain Dhillon, a Sikh soldier who has the time-bound task of tracking down his team that has gone missing after enemies from the border crossed and attacked them. 

If you’ve been paying attention to the news, you’ll know that Galwan Valley is where the actual Indo-China clash took place in June last year, resulting in the martyrdom of 20 Indian soldiers. It was the deadliest clash between the two countries in decades, which drove a wave of nationalism in India and ignited the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative and a ban on several Chinese apps.

2. No guns

In addition to the basic mode, there are major in-game differences between the two titles. For instance, unlike PUBG, which offers a variety of guns to shoot with, FAU-G solely relies on hand-to-hand combat and a few basic weapons such as axes, pipes and bats. There is no shooting in the game and the limited stock of weapons can be accessed only when the player takes down an enemy holding them or buys them from an in-game store using coins, which have to be purchased with real money. That’s how nCore is monetizing the title. 

“There will be some ads in the title moving ahead, but in-game purchases will continue to be the primary form of monetization,” Vishal Gondal, founder of GOQii and nCore’s primary investor, told TechCircle.

Further, the main character keeps repeating dramatic Hindi dialogues throughout the game and there is no bloodshed anywhere, which was one of the reasons that got PUBG into trouble in India.

3. Little effort to defeat enemies  

Also notable is how easily the main character can defeat AI (artificial intelligence) enemies during fist fights in FAU-G. They just offer no competition, and you can even continue running on your path, without engaging with them. If you move ahead or back, they will just go back to their original post -- a loophole that is likely to be plugged moving ahead. 

In PUBG’s hypothetical zombie mode, on the other hand, it is much more difficult to take down the enemies.

4. Multiple bugs

As you proceed with the game, you notice multiple bugs. For example, AI enemies get stuck after being defeated or are unable to get inside a tent to fight, giving the player the option to hit them while being hidden. The graphics of the game are good enough, but issues like these, which were not common in PUBG, need to be fixed. 

With no offensive elements and a nationalistic storyline, FAU-G makes for a decent action game for first-time players, including children. However, the lack of competition and unnecessary dialogues, like “Bhag ke kahan jaoge ghuspatiyon?”, could make things boring after a while. 

Plus, the company needs to fix the bugs to make the experience more stable. 

In a nutshell, this game is not competition for PUBG, at least not until there are shooter modes, including a battle royale. The main menu of FAU-G shows that the company plans to bring a 5V5 Team Deathmatch and Free for All modes, although there is no word on whether they will have guns and when they might become available. Once these multiplayer modes are released, we may see FAU-G esports tournaments moving ahead, Gondal said, adding that the company has a complete roadmap in place. 

On Android, FAU-G has already crossed a million downloads and is trending as the top free game on the Google Play Store. There is no word on the iOS release of the new title.

PUBG, on the other hand, continues to remain banned by India. The developer of the title, Krafton-owned PUBG Corporation, had said that it plans to bring an India-specific version, but there have been no developments on that end so far.

That’s all, folks! Do enjoy these choice FAU-G memes for staying on till the very end. Happy gaming!

Edited by Rashmi Ramesh