Free Fire vs PUBG Mobile - What’s the difference?

Posted by George Wong on November 27, 2020
The calm before the storm - Free Fire

If you’re a mobile gamer, you would have heard of Free Fire, the Battle Royale-style shooter from Garena. The game has been all the rage recently, especially with the Free Fire Continental Series tournament which will take place this weekend. Since we’re newbies to the game, we decided to give it a go to see how it stacks up against the most popular game in the genre - PUBG Mobile. Here are some of the differences we’ve noticed, and just to make sure our article was comprehensive enough, we spoke to some popular Facebook Gamers - D Entertainment and JanuaryAKG for their thoughts and input about the two games. While both games have similarities, they also feature significant differences that give them distinct experiences.

Free Fire is faster-paced

Free Fire Bermuda map

Games are shorter due to a number of factors, but it’s mostly due to the smaller maps and a maximum of 50 players. If you’re used to a long period of lull before the action starts, Free Fire will throw you for a loop. Most of the time the action will start when you hit the ground. Quickly scramble for weapons and ammo because it won’t be long before you encounter an enemy. Shorter games mean you can spend less time playing it, or you can play more matches in the same amount of time you spend gaming - this will be for you to decide! If you don’t enjoy the process of collecting weapons and traversing the map for many minutes only to be taken out by the first enemy you encounter, this shorter match duration is probably a bonus.

Free Fire has a lower barrier to entry

From the fact that the game can run on low-end phones to its difficulty, Free Fire is catered to a wider audience than PUBG Mobile. This means that some sacrifices had to be made - while Free Fire’s animation and graphics are acceptable, they aren’t as fluid or realistic as PUBG Mobile’s. Free Fire’s controls and level of customizability aren’t as deep as PUBG Mobile’s, but it shouldn’t be a factor for most people. However, you’ll have to get used to different controls and animations for actions such as sprinting or vaulting.

D Entertainment said, “for movement control, I think PUBG Mobile is much better because we can shoot enemies while jumping or falling, whereas you can’t in Free Fire. PUBG Mobile has better reflex movement controls like gyroscope controls and stunning animation that makes it look smoother. But, for Free Fire we also got some other tricks, like shooting then switching weapons or pressing two buttons at the same time, to straightly bypass default settings.”

He added, “if we talk about the main differences, it’ll be the game’s graphics. Both games are vastly successful in their own right and vary in both graphics and specialised gameplay techniques, like auto-aim and recoil control. Regardless, PUBG Mobile offers more realistic graphics, with better detailing in-game while Free Fire offers better physical behaviour with respect to characters. Thus, PUBG Mobile is more popular for high-end devices, while Free Fire is popular for low-end devices.”

Free Fire is also very easy to pick up but difficult to master. One of the first things we noticed is that moving your crosshair over enemies or shootable objects will turn your crosshair red. This makes it easier to identify targets to fire at - great for picking off enemies from a distance, or figuring out who to shoot in a messy skirmish. However, this means your enemies have access to the same crosshair. In PUBG Mobile, you have to rely on your own observation. 

Free Fire's crosshair turns red over enemies

Aim assist in Free Fire is also more effective than in PUBG Mobile. It also takes longer to down a target in Free Fire, which means you’ll gain the advantage during a gunfight if you shoot first since accuracy is highly compensated. “Taking down one target in Free Fire is harder than in PUBG Mobile. Personally, there have been a lot of moments when I wiped out a whole team in PUBG Mobile, but I can’t do the same thing in Free Fire,” admitted JanuaryAKG.

Characters and skins aren’t cosmetic-only

One of the biggest differences between the two games is that Free Fire’s characters and cosmetics aren’t just visual upgrades. Different characters you use will give you access to different abilities, and gun skins can actually boost the stats of a gun. While this might give the impression that the game is pay-to-win, your skills in the game are more important. Also, despite how powerful some weapons are, nothing beats slicing up your opponents with a Katana that can be easily found within the game!

JanuaryAKG puts this down as the biggest difference between the two games. “There’s even one overpowered character that activates an aura for 5 seconds where you’ll heal yourself and movement speed is boosted - very useful in combat. Skins can also be used in ranked mode, and even though some skins give a bigger advantage, it’s still possible for people without buffs to beat those with skins equipped. You can get Free Fire skins without paying but you’ll need to grind a lot and be patient.”

Free Fire plays differently

Free Fire has unique mechanics and items that require thought to use. “The Gloo Wall and Landmines are very advantageous to players and they support aggressive gameplay - compared to PUBG Mobile where players depend on smoke, trees or terrain to start a war,” says D Entertainment. “I enjoy playing both of them, both games have their own unique points. If you enjoy fast-paced and aggressive gameplay, you can try Free Fire. If you enjoy a more relaxed game with real-life strategy, you can try PUBG Mobile. As gamers we should not compare the games, as long as both games can give you happiness or help you to kill your free time, why not enjoy both of them?”

The playstyle between the two games also varies a lot. “PUBG Mobile emphasises on gun skills, whereas in Free Fire your reflex and strategies are more important. For example, you need to be fast when using Gloo Walls. Because they can provide protection immediately, Gloo Wall positioning is very important,” said JanuaryAKG. He added, “These are two totally different games, I actually like both - I don’t compare - I treat PUBG Mobile as a shooting game, I treat Free Fire as a strategy game.”

As you can see - both games are different in their own right and in the end, there is no better or “correct” game to play. As gamers, all we should do is enjoy whatever game we choose! Depending on your hardware and preferences, both games are viable options when it comes to Battle Royales on your mobile device. Since Free Fire and PUBG Mobile are free-to-play, there’s no reason to not give either one a shot. Sound off below about your favourite features in either game and tell us why.


Rocketfuel Entertainment Sdn Bhd
 (Tel: +603 9543 3838)