Call of Duty: Warzone review (2020)

The new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Battle Royale mode, Warzone, borrows quite a bit from successful past games in the genre. But, it mixes it well with its own style, making it feel more like Call of Duty.

After many weeks of speculation and the game mode itself being shrouded in mystery hints by the developer itself, Call of Duty: Warzone is officially here and it’s a welcome addition to the game, considering I’ve grown pretty tired of Modern Warfare in its current state. Is the new Battle Royale mode good, though. Well, yes, I think it’s a great addition to the genre and superior to its former effort, Blackout.

Let’s start with the pros of Warzone. I believe one of the most important aspects of a Battle Royale game is the map you play on. If the map is poorly designed and sort of cluttered with random objects and structures, then it doesn’t translate into good strategies and map control. Although most of the other games in the genre don’t necessarily have this problem, I believe Fortnite, at least in prior seasons, has suffered from map changes that received negative feedback from the players and fans.

Warzone’s map, Verdansk, is a great map to play on. It’s competently designed, it doesn’t feel overly cluttered or stacked with randomness, and there are some familiar locations, which callback time previous games in the Call of Duty series. It’s also pretty big in size, which is expected, especially when the max number of players is 150.

The other pro is the gameplay, including the combat, movement, the non-stop chaos and action, and the in-game features. I believe the gunplay is extremely smooth and fluid, providing a variety of different weapons. The movement feels pretty great too. As for the features, it’s something a bit different, that’s for sure. For one, you actually collect in-game cash and use it to upgrade your weapons, buy kill streaks, and other useful items, such as loadout markers and self-revive’s. There’s also more incentive to play if you die since the game gives you a chance to respawn if you win a 1v1 in the Gulag, which is a prison of sorts. Even if you do lose though, another important feature is using the cash to redeploy your fallen teammates. This feature was obviously borrowed from Apex Legends, but it works pretty well and differently here.

There are some cons I think the developers should think about when taking steps to improve the overall experience. The chaos is a fun, but sometimes, it’s a bit too chaotic and random. You can be with your team moving forward and out of nowhere, another team redeploys and somehow ends behind you. In Apex, there’s a sound which alerts you when a respawn station/beacon has been used, so now you’re aware. Maybe I haven’t played enough, but I haven’t noticed any of that in Warzone. I may be ignorant in that aspect, but if I’m right, it can be annoying and frustrating. Then again, it can also be a sign that I need to get better at the game and have better map awareness.

The landing sequence at the beginning can use some work. Of course, it’s still something I need to master, but I think it can be improved and more fluid rather than feeling clunky and a bit slow at times. As for the game modes, the lack of quads is sort of a question mark. I don’t mind trios, but I was really looking forward to playing with three of my friends and it seems one is always left out. There’s also no solos or duos. I can see why it may not work since this game mode, much like Apex, is very teamwork reliant. But, I still think it could work properly for those who want to run some matches on their own or with a duo partner.

All in all, the good far outweighs the bad here. Some minor tweaks and this could reach the top of the ladder in terms of Battle Royale greatness. I think it helps that it feels more like Call of Duty compared to Blackout. Blackout is a great Battle Royale game, but it feels distinctly different from the main game, Black Ops 4. The gameplay mechanics and the feel of Warzone and Modern Warfare are virtually identical. It may be a bit hard to explain, but frequent players will understand where I’m coming from.

Warzone is a ton of fun and a worthy addition to the Battle Royale genre. It may even be one of the best yet and something this entry in the series really needed.

Score: B+

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