Gaming

Call of Duty: Warzone 2 (Impressions)

With the new Warzone out in the wild a few of us have been taking our time in the new region of Al Mazrah to get a feel for it and it’s off to an impressive start thanks to a great map, gameplay tweaks and a new mode that opens up the game to a larger audience.

Parts of the map will be familiar to anyone that’s already played Modern Warfare II with a few of the locations within Al Mazrah being used as maps in regular multiplayer as well as the larger scale modes in Ground War and Invasion. Much like it was with Verdansk in the original Warzone you don’t often recognise them at first glance when they are part of a wider world but here it’s easy to see that the impressive detail adds a lot of strategic opportunities compared to maps from the previous game.

While Battle Royale may be the bread and butter for Warzone, the new DMZ mode may be what brings in even more fans. Taking ideas from games such as Hunt: Showdown, The Division‘s Dark Zone and other PvPvE game modes, players are dropped onto the map with objectives to complete while facing off against both other players (much fewer than BR) and bots too. Success requires players to complete their assigned tasks, collect loot and exfil before their time is up and a radioactive cloud consumes the map. Failure means losing all the loot that you’ve collected and having to start again with whatever you’ve collected in previous exfiltrations.

The strength of the mode is that players don’t necessarily face off against each other, you can happily complete missions without running into another team, however if you decide to chase the big rewards you can be certain other players will be there to take it away from you. A number of times my team have chased down others to snatch loot at the last moment and the game encourages it with alerts to lure players into facing off for the big rewards. It works really well and combined with the bots you run into regularly you can’t always tell if who you’re facing is real or not.

Pros

  • The new DMZ mode is a blast – it’s a brilliant addition to Warzone that’s already become the “go to” mode for my friends.
  • The updated battle pass system gives players “some” freedom to choose the order in what they unlock.
  • Al Mazrah is a great map with some impressive variety – can see more Ground War and Invasion maps coming. It will take some time to fully explore the map.
  • The inventory system adds an element of strategy giving players options to stock on gear or collect loot to purchase upgrades. That you can also lose all of this adds to the risk/reward choices – do you buy upgrades and exfil right away or do you take advantage of the better guns in fighting for bigger and better loot?

Cons

  • DMZ needs to allow for four player squads – people you play both Battle Royale and DMZ can’t simply switch a full BR squad into the new mode without dropping a player.
  • There are areas on Al Mazrah that players avoid because they are too open or not interesting enough to warrant investigation – hoping those get filled in.
  • Lobbies are still broken. This seems to be a running issue with Call of Duty games in general.
  • XP boosts can’t be used in DMZ.
  • The battle pass system isn’t really that much different – you will likely need to go through the whole pass regardless to get the unlocks you want.

Overall, it’s good to see that Warzone 2.0 has been willing to take the initiative right from launch with tweaks to gameplay that make it help it stand apart from the existing multiplayer modes of Modern Warfare II. I could also see that Warzone 2.0, like its predecessor, will have some limited time modes for smaller players counts that work like Ground War and Invasion so that players get something different. While both games do share weapon and gear unlocks, they have their own loadouts and it’s a fair design choice as the gameplay demands are different enough to have players wanting to use different weapon strategies. And that describes Warzone 2.0 as a whole too – it takes a lot of the elements of it’s sibling game but innovates enough to stand on its own feet. Worth a look if you enjoyed the original game.

Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 is out now on PC, Xbox and PlayStation platforms. Played on an Xbox Series X.

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