Like everyone else, I have been playing a hell of a lot Call of Duty: Warzone. The game is incredibly addictive and has hooked me back into playing battle royales. After PUBG and Fortnite, the slew of new battle royale titles getting released was nauseating, each with their gimmick. Most of these titles have since fallen off, but a few – like late arrival Apex Legends – still have a heavy presence in a genre that has mostly stagnated. Warzone could be the title to revitalize the scene and take the icing.
The first thing that sets this game apart from the other titles, is that the series has a decade of titles with a deep fan base. Call of Duty is a household name when it comes to shooters, and that gives it some market sway. The same could be said of Apex Legends, but it’s hard to argue CoD has a bigger base than Titanfall. More importantly, the gunplay is tight and refined, which is something you can expect from a game that is a well-established esport.
— London Royal Ravens (@RoyalRavens) March 27, 2020
Preparing for war
I, like many of my friends, was hesitant to jump into Call of Duty: Warzone at first. I was worried about the claymore campers and excessive killstreaks ruining the experience. While these are still in the game, there is a happy medium. There is a flow of battle that is unmatched by Fortnite and PUBG – to be specific, Warzone is generally slower than Fortnite, but faster-paced than PUBG.
At first, Warzone can feel slow, long and drawn out given the size of the map. Luckily, the objectives scattered around the map provide their purpose, motivating constant movement. The game can change at a moment’s notice, and team fights can often end with multiple groups of enemies rushing in to pick off the weak leftovers.
Jumping into a match and picking up a scavenger contract begins a hunt for loot boxes and cash. Bounty contracts are a great way to put pressure on enemy teams, and seek out fights for a cash bonus. Recon contracts have teams secure a location for gear and cash, but a flare is shot into the air, marking your location for everyone to join in on the looting party. While none of the contracts are required to win, they keep the matches varied and provide extra cash.
Welcome to Solos. #Warzone
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— Call of Duty Warzone News (@BattleRoyaleCoD) March 26, 2020
Warzone borrows elements from other games in the genre, but uses them better. Getting knocked down doesn’t always mean an immediate loss in Warzone, for example. If you get gunned down before your teammate can revive you, be prepared to fight in the Gulag. For those who are less mechanically skilled, Warzone is forgiving, offering up multiple chances to get back in the fight if you play your cards right.
Building a better battle royale
Too many battle royales focus on a theme or gimmick, that shapes their entire identity. In Fortnite, if building isn’t your thing, good luck trying to get a win. In PUBG, game sense and the ability to snipe from miles away is the dominant skillset. Call of Duty has versatility, and going into each game, how you play could vary greatly without preventing you from getting a win.
Combining all of the qualities above with the proven Call of Duty formula leads to hours of grinding. The tight gunplay and familiar killstreak system are easy enough to get your head around, and certain killstreaks can be bought at store crates along with other tools to help level the playing field. Loadouts are a big part of Warzone, as they can be purchased in match and give you just about any gun you need to fit the situation.
The game is receiving praise from professional players, streamers, and casuals alike, even now, weeks after the mode was released. Sure, not all the attention has been positive.Warzone has been criticized for its overpowered vehicles that often lead to “happy accidents”. It’s also already under scrutiny for its skill-based matchmaking, like Apex Legends and a number of other games have been in recent years.
Still, it’s hard to ignore the fact that his is a truly new and dominant battle royale. Warzone could potentially revitalize the genre, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it make a slow push beyond PUBG, Apex Legends, and potentially even Fortnite.