Snowboarding is pretty damn fun in Tencent's free battle royale game

There are four empty seats on the rescue chopper, and four players left alive. But this is battle royale, so the fighting doesn't stop. Even though four players can safely win the round and all get out alive, the killing continues until there's only one left. I guess old habits die hard.

Tencent's battle royale game Ring of Elysium is now available on Steam (in certain parts of the world). Being as it's both free and puts a couple twists on the standard battle royale experience, you should definitely give it a try. There's snowboards in it. You can snowboard and shoot people. It's SSX Tricky meets PUBG.

Battle Stations

Ring of Elysium is only the latest entry in the massively popular battle royale genre. See what else is out there with our list of the battle royale games of 2018.

There are a few differences in RoE from what we see as boilerplate BR at this point. Beginning a match, you're presented with a map of the area, and you simply click on the grid you'd like to start in, while also seeing which spot everyone else in the match has chosen. There's no pointless running around in a lobby punching people first, and no plane ride to sit through: you just spawn in the area you picked. You also choose from one of three loadouts, which all begin with a weapon (pistol or shotgun), some ammo, first-aid, and the special movement ability you want.

There are three of those movement abilities, including a snowboard (you toggle it with T), a hang glider (toggled with F when you've jumped off something tall), or climbing gear, which allows you to scale certain cliffs (they'll be marked on your minimap).

I didn't find climbing to be particularly useful, but snowboarding is fun and even a bit strategic, since it's a nice quiet option to get somewhere quickly (if it's downhill from you). A good alternative to a noisy vehicle that people can hear coming. Hang gliding is fun and silent as well, though you'll need to find something to fling yourself off.

A winter storm acts like a circle of death without being an actual circle, herding players together into a final safe zone. At that point a rescue chopper flies in to a designated zone marked on the map, and after a couple more minutes the storm will completely fill the final zone, causing damage to anyone left. There are four seats on the chopper, so even in solo play four strangers can make it out, though after a few matches I've discovered that players will still try to become the only player remaining. If you climb that ladder to the chopper, anyone left on the ground will still absolutely try to kill you, even if there are enough seats available for them to climb up after you.

I did the same. Look, we're battle royale players. We just don't like to share.

Ring of Elysium is a smooth and fun experience that makes enough changes to what I expect from battle royale to feel a bit fresh. It had over 45,000 concurrent players on Steam today, so matches fill up almost instantly. The best reason to give it a shot is that it's free, so what are you waiting for? Hop on your snowboard and give it a try.

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.