Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 – Test, Shooter
Call of Battle Royale
Parallel to Modern Warfare, Activision released the first free-to-play offshoot Warzone in 2020, which really brought the battle royale formula to the world of Call of Duty. Before the first comments hail: Yes, Black Ops 4 already had a corresponding mode, but it was Warzone that brought great success to the popular survival format.
Five seconds to jump. You don’t even have to thank the bus driver when you jump out of the B-17 Globemaster.
Warzone, with its distinctive Verdansk map, was a correspondingly great success, which was gradually expanded over the CoD years. What still worked to some extent with Black Ops Cold War became difficult with Vanguard: The new Pacific map Caldera never quite made it into the heart of the Battle Royale community, not least because in 2021 there will be no next-gen consoles and PC provided new technology. In addition, between modern shooting irons, cold warrior equipment and World War II guns, it was getting a bit cramped in the gun cabinet. So it was high time to finally make the Warzone fit for the future.
A new war zone
Activision understood that too: With Modern Warfare 2, the second edition of the war zone was launched on October 16, which, like its predecessor, relies on a free-to-play model. Although the well-known connection to the core CoD is still there – Battlepass, weapons and operator levels can be leveled and unlocked together – Warzone 2.0 can be played completely free of charge. At the same time, Raven Software and Infinity Ward didn’t do things by halves: The new Battle Royale Shooter is not just an update of the old Warzone, which will continue to run in parallel under “Warzone Caldera” in the future, instead the technical framework has been renewed and brought closer to Modern Warfare 2 , which is especially good for the backdrop.
But briefly for all those who have spent the last six years of gaming under a multiplayer brick: In the classic Battle Royale in Warzone 2.0, up to 150 players, alone or in teams, fall from an airplane onto a large, open map. While a gas fog gradually reduces the accessible areas of the map, the fighters first have to pick up equipment, equip weapons, grenades and tactical equipment. Then it’s a matter of taking the fight to the last team, because only a squad – or even just a single player in solo mode – can win.
What was “Battle Royale” again?
Where genre representatives like Fortnite, Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds or Apex Legends would end here, Warzone 2.0, like its predecessor, gives a second chance. In the so-called Gulag, you have to win a two-on-two match with and against other fallen fighters in a mini arena. If you survive this brutal test, you go back to the map once. In addition, an AI boss will enter the arena after a short time. If you eliminate the jailer, all players go back to the map.
The adjustments in the Gulag are part of the most obvious changes in Warzone 2.0: In the past you could only rely on yourself in one-on-one, you now have to act in a team, which, thanks to hair-raising clutch situations, can either be more exciting or means frustration. There is also collectible equipment in the Gulag Arena, which adds even more spice to the probation battles. All in all, the new Gulag works really well, the idea of a hard-fought re-entry was already a really good one in 2020.
New card, new luck
The new desert map Al Mazrah convinces in the game with good foresight and distinctive structures such as the airport, container terminals, a village with a mosque or an observatory. Although everything is somehow sandy-colored and dusty and many buildings are strikingly similar, the scenery is well thought out and allows exciting and really varied battles in its sub-areas, ranging from sniper duels at long distances to tough house-to-house combat. On PS5 and Xbox Series X there is now finally a native variant of Warzone, which almost reaches the quality of Modern Warfare 2 with higher resolution, optional 120FPS and a generally upgraded backdrop, even if there is still room for improvement, especially when it comes to distance drawing is.
In the actual battle, only details have changed, so Warzone veterans will find their way around the matches fairly quickly. Although the loot menus look a bit different, basically nothing has changed in terms of how armor plates, ammunition, etc. work – only that there are now better plate carriers that can hold another armor plate is noticeably different. As usual, you have to shoot down the opponent’s armor before you can eliminate the enemies. The time to kill is a bit longer than in Modern Warfare 2’s multiplayer, but an M4 magazine is still enough to send an enemy into the eternal hunting grounds.