It’s been almost one month since Activision released it’s entry into the Battle Royale genre, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare “Warzone.” The new game mode joins the many others before it, but most notably the current titans of BRs (battle royales), Fortnite and Apex Legends. I’ve been having a great time with the game, and in the span of a month it’s been updated at least two, if not three times showing the developers want it to flourish and stay popular for a long time.
It’s paid off. Warzone was the most downloaded and most played game after it’s release and currently still is. I’ve found myself switching back occasionally to Apex, as that game has basically consumed my gaming life for the past year, but Warzone is incredibly refreshing and in some ways more satisfying in certain aspects compared to Apex.
Warzone is incredibly refreshing and in many ways more satisfying in several aspects compared to Apex Legends.
For one, the whole concept of Warzone is more realistic. Scenes, settings and graphics in line with the Modern Warfare series already make you feel like you’re in an actual warzone, excuse the pun. Apex feels arcade-y after playing rounds of Warzone. Some of the pitfalls of the genre can’t be avoided, such as players leaving as soon as they are killed, or even knocked down, but for whatever reason (maybe because the game is new) I’ve experienced it less often in Warzone than in Apex.
The gun play feels fresh and snappy. It’s what you’d expect from a Call of Duty game, albeit a bit slower paced than the regular multiplayer experience. Armor plates (Warzone’s version of shields) ensure you won’t often kill a player in 2 seconds flat, unless they run right in front of you and you destroy them with a string of head-shots, but otherwise this forces you to think of the long-haul. Immediately after injuring a player, do you hunker down on the floor of the building you’re in? Do you jump out the window and run through the entrance of said building to catch your would-be attackers? Do you and your squad rush them? Do you flee the scene entirely? The sheer amount of options that are completely up to you are what captivated me about battle royales in the first place. Comparing to my other favorite, Apex, Warzone feels like it gives you a greater variety of options to choose from and more time to think about what to do.
Warzone feels like it gives you a greater variety of options to choose from in a firefight, and more time to think about what to do.
Verdansk is a freakin’ huge map. Sometimes I don’t feel like it really is, but to fit 150-160 players on one world where most of the time, you won’t even encounter half the other players is a feat unto itself. City areas feel realistic with thirteen-story skyscrapers complete with roofs you can snipe from (after tediously running up thirteen flights of stairs). The Stadium area is one of my favorites, offering decent amounts of loot, and while you can’t enter the actual stadium, it offers long hallway like areas by each of its closed off entrances that are great for close combat fire-fights. If the fact you can’t get inside it really kills you, areas like Superstore and TV Station feel like what Stadium’s inside would probably be like.
One month in, I still feel a rush when I come out on top wiping a squad firing on my team. Or cleaning up stragglers running in from the gas (think Apex’s “ring” or Fortnite’s “storm”). Travelling the map in vehicles with my squad is fun and stores littered around the map called buy stations offer a nice new option by having in-game items you can purchase with money. These let you gain an upper hand in any situation by buying helpful aids ranging from UAVs and gas-masks, to airstrikes and loadout drops, which give you and your squad your own custom guns usually better than any gun you could find on the ground.
One month in, I still feel a rush when I come out on top wiping a squad firing on my team.
COD: Warzone doesn’t really do anything completely new for the genre, to be frank. But it’s twists and novel variants it brings does. Being able to equip a gas mask and actually spend time outside the safe zone offers more potential in attacking and defending or simply re-positioning. It feels weird having a radar in a battle royale, but Warzone makes it work. It isn’t something you can completely rely on and UAVs only highlight your immediate area. If you and your squadmates activate 3 UAVs, the advanced UAV activates letting you see the exact position of everyone on the map, however like the UAV itself, the effect probably lasts around 15 seconds. This keeps the radar as something that helps you and not a crutch you can always count on.
Fans of the Call of Duty series, or fans of first-person shooters in general will likely find something they like in Warzone. It certainly helps it’s taken the current market approach by making the game completely free to play, and also supports cross-play enabled matchmaking letting you play with friends or strangers on PC, Xbox One and Playstation 4.
If you haven’t given it a whirl, be sure to check out Warzone, and if you haven’t played it in awhile the game has received substantial updates since launch, and as of today features Squads mode with teams of four players instead of three.