As if we didn’t already have enough battle royales available to players, Activision just released Call of Duty: Warzone for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.
Similar to Fortnite’s battle royale mode, Warzone is both a standalone game and an addition to the already existing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare –meaning that even a plebian like me can take it for a spin without feeling obligated to purchase yet another CoD title.
With so many battle royale games currently saturating the market, it’s definitely going to take more than just the Call of Duty name to set Warzone apart. However, after playing a handful of rounds (usually ending up in about 30th place), it’s clear to me that Activision’s latest attempt in the genre isn’t merely resting on the brand’s laurels.
While I’m still an Apex Legends man myself (and I don’t expect to be converted any time soon), there are at least seven features in Warzone that stand out to me as being huge positives for the game. These are aspects that I believe will help Warzone carve out its own spot amongst popular battle royale titles, despite how congested the category has become.
1. Everyone starts with a weapon.
This is probably one of my favorite aspects of the game thus far. If I had a dollar for every time I landed in Apex Legends and didn’t find a weapon within the first 15 seconds, I’d have enough to buy Octane’s heirloom butterfly knife.
Granted the weapon that they give you in Warzone is a pistol, it’s still a whole lot better than nothing. If someone makes it to the ground a bit faster than me and snags a weapon I was aiming for, I still have at least a fighting chance.
This also enables players who land first to attempt to shoot down enemies that are still airborne, potentially killing them before they even touch the ground.
2. Gulag fights.
Okay this is actually my favorite feature in the entire game.
When you die, you don’t immediately cut to a teammate spectating screen. Instead, you watch a short cut scene of your character being dragged into a gulag, after which you regain control and are able to move around the small prison block you’re trapped in.
The gulag mechanic allows players who have been killed (the first time) to try and fight their way back to the battlefield. If you are successful and win the 1v1 cage match gunfight, you are spawned back over your team and parachute in just like when the match began.
Not only is this extremely fun and unique, but it’s also not a make it/break it scenario. Even if you lose your fight, your teammates are still free to revive you at any buy station. It’s an awesome idea that’s perfectly executed.
3. Contract side missions.
I never thought I’d see any kind of quest system in a battle royale game. The closest thing I’ve seen so far are the Fortnite weekly challenges that have players solving riddles and following treasure maps, and I wouldn’t really call that a quest.
Side missions might be a stretch for what you can find in Warzone, but they are definitely optional objectives that reward you with various boons upon their completion – most of which have nothing to do with fighting.
These are great for players who might not necessarily be the best FPS gamer but still want to make a meaningful contribution. Rather than feeling pressured to go out and wipe a squad, these players can secure an area or find caches, thereby benefiting their team regardless of skill level.
4. Money system.
This is the mechanic I was most wary about while waiting for the not-so-surprising surprise release of Warzone. I didn’t like that it required money to revive teammates, since all other battle royales I’ve played allow players to do this for free.
However, as I’ve continued playing I’ve realized just how prevalent the currency is around the map. While you can get money from killing other players, simply running around in buildings, opening supply caches, and completing contracts will have you loaded with cash in seemingly no time at all.
I played a round yesterday where after only seven minutes of looting and maybe two kills, I had accumulated more than $12,000. Again, this is great news for players who might not be so great (which includes me for the time being).
5. Fixed weapon loadouts.
Similar to Fortnite, Warzone weapons are pre-set and change only based on rarity: when you see a green MP7, it will always be the same gun every time. This differs from Apex Legends and Player’s Unknown: Battlegrounds, where you can swap in attachments and mods to vastly change your weapons’ performance and playstyle.
While I love the weapon customization in Apex Legends, there is something to be said for a game that doesn’t have to clog the loot pool with tons of attachments.
When I see a weapon in Warzone, I know exactly what I’m getting and it saves me the time and effort of struggling to find a very specific gun mod that I may very well not come across at all.
6. Regenerating health.
Now here is a feature that not only makes sense for a Call of Duty game but works in a battle royale setting as well. Instead of remaining injured after sustaining damage, your character’s health will automatically regenerate following a brief pause.
Thanks to this mechanic, gone are the days of having to hoard healing supplies so that you may recover after an intense firefight. This then frees up the loot pool to make room for more offensive/defensive gadgets and perks, which are obviously more fun to use than silly health packs or bandages.
Granted, you also die much quicker in Warzone than in probably every other battle royale aside from PUBG, so healing items would be somewhat pointless to include anyway.
7. Progression crossover.
Out of everything I’ve covered so far, this is without a doubt the largest and most distinct advantage Warzone has over existing battle royale titles.
As I mentioned before, Warzone can be played as both a standalone game or as a mode in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, much like how Fortnite’s battle royale mode can be accessed by those players that don’t own the Save the World mode.
Unlike Fortnite though, level progression and unlocks that are earned in Warzone will be carried over into the full game and vice-versa. Therefore, if I ever decide to break down and buy this CoD, I won’t be starting from ground zero and will instead have a nice array of weapon levels, outfits, etc.
I can imagine this feature alone will be enough to sell a few more thousand copies of Modern Warfare (so touché Activision).
While I don’t foresee Warzone ever coming close to my love for Apex, I have been pleasantly surprised with how enjoyable my experience has been up until now.
I think it offers some unique mechanics that can’t be found in any of the other big battle royale games, and if I had to guess, I think PUBG will take the biggest playerbase hit; Warzone has everything PUBG brings to the table and more.
Is Call of Duty: Warzone good? Well, it may not be my favorite battle royale, but it is definitely good enough to deserve at least a try. And if you already own Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, it wouldn’t make any sense not to.
Do you think I missed anything? If so, please leave a comment below!