Rejoice! Call of Duty Warzone has arrived. As a firm fan of first-person shooter games, I am always excited to see what exactly the next Call of Duty cooks up. Conversely, through mixed experiences with the franchise, I have come to realize how each entry vastly varies from another. Not just stylistically, but in terms of execution too.
Whether or not they exceed in their mission or fail to meet my expectations is part of the ongoing trauma of gaming in the modern-day. Especially true when playing an Infinity Ward game.
I am sure fans of the franchise can vouch for me on that one. However, when Infinity Ward gets the remedy right, the results are worth their weight in gold.
In the years recently passed, we have witnessed a significant shift from story-based elements, in favour of online matchmaking, as dev-teams look to cash in on the ever-popular trend. The most recent to do this, is Infinity Ward, with Call of Duty Warzone. The latest in a long line of standalone battle-royale games.
Acting as a spin-off to the classic COD game Modern Warfare, Warzone hopes to join the likes Fortnite, Apex Legends and countless other games jostling for supremacy in the ever-expanding genre that is battle-royale.
So how does the game fair, in direct competition with its contemporaries? Join us, as we take a deep dive into Call of Duty Warzone. The big question is, will it come out on top?
Time to lock, stock, and load our way to victory, folks.
Most hardcore FPS players will testify that if map designs are weak, then the player’s overall experience will significantly suffer as a result. Over time, a games player base gradually starts to drop off, in the absence of innovation. Besides, a good battle royale game relies heavily on its map. After all, this forms the basis of all armed conflict.
The arena then, is just as critical, as the arsenal you possess.
Right now, as of writing, there is only one map open to players, and that war zone is Verdansk. Now, one may sound lame or somewhat limited on the surface. But make no mistake, Verdansk is a sprawling battlefield, with tones of variety. One home to a wholesome host of biomes to visit, and varied environments to explore.
From open-ended expanses of fertile land with clusters of trees for cover to urban settings and industrial complexes, adding a sense of verticality into the mix, with many valuable vantage points, and choke areas up for grabs.
On top of that, these narrow passageways, and cleverly contained environments, make for immensely claustrophobic conditions. In turn, this leads to the emergence of intense and crowded firefights. Those of which, often, tend to reward skill and reaction speed over the strength of a player’s armour tier.
In truth, I have pumped many hours into Call of Duty Warzone. And, even now, I am still using the varied environments to find new and improved ways of getting one-up on the enemy.
Call of Duty Warzone: Raw to the Core
One of Call of Duty Warzone’s strengths is in how unlike it is to Fortnite and Apex Legends. On that note, this is much more of a ruthless affair, with an enthesis on realism.
Instead of buffed up characters, or colour coded shields which can endure an entire clip of ammo, everyone in Warzone starts with the same level health. Of course, there are armour plates which offer up an additional health bar. But other than that, the odds are pretty much stacked even for every player.
Armour is not tier-based too. An element that brings a beautiful balance to each battle-royale based skirmish. As a result, the action is much more fast-paced, and fluid, with time-to-kill always consistent. Often each exchange is determined by a headshot, or one or two, well-placed body shots.
So, no matter the nature of the conflict, consistency in execution will determine the victor. It is a matter of practice makes perfect, over item obtainment and level-based progression.
This balance between gun damage and health regeneration is what sets Warzone apart from Apex. Think of it more like Counterstrike-Global Offensive, but a little more forgiving.
In turn, this results in a higher death rate. But you will also heal more rapidly.
Off to The Gulag
To offset quickfire deaths, Infinity Ward has taken steps to employ countermeasures. These revolve around the respawning of squad members at various Buy Stations littered across the war zone.
But unlike other games, there is also the option to come back to life. Yes, you heard me right. Instead of painfully watching on from the side-lines, players can now be revived and called back into action.
To do so, you must first win a one-on-one duel in the Gulag. These tense battles are your sure-fire ticket back to the firefight. As you may imagine, this raises the stakes significantly. So, getting a second chance is richly rewarding.
At times, it will encourage you to take more risks. Just knowing there is a default back-up plan, really does help soothe the pain of an early exit, during play.
Counter to that though is the sheer volume of players left alive at the end of each battle. Granted, this elevates the action. That said, you do not so much feel the anxiety born of a shrinking ring, and a smaller number of players vowing to become the last man standing.
Call of Duty Warzone: Final Verdict
With a series of simplified systems at its core and an enthesis on skill over loadout strength, Call of Duty Warzone takes a refreshing detour from the tier-based Meta of current games. Even so, it remains to be known whether the loot system, which on the surface comes across as somewhat shallow, can sustain the sort of longevity both Apex Legends and Fortnite have enjoyed in recent years.
As it stands, Call of Duty Warzone is a robust standalone, and a spin-off well worth a shout out for fans of the franchise. Or those with love for the battle-royale genre.
Will Warzone give Fortnite a run for its money? Or is it still a steep mountain climb before the game can compete in the big leagues.
Let us know what you think in the comments.
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