Battle royale games are still hot these days to the point that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, one of the most enduring franchises in video games, has jumped on the bandwagon. While the mobile version has been around for a while now, the more mainstream PC and console version has finally joined the fray with Modern Warfare Warzone.
Warzone is the more or less the same Modern Warfare you know and love, but tweaked a little to work with the battle royale genre. The weapons are the same, though the manner of how you get them is a little different, and there are still perks and killstreaks available. There is also an additional game mode that pits teams against each other in the same map, but with the goal of amassing the greatest amount of cash, instead of being the last team standing.
Call of Duty has always been about the fast-paced gameplay, and part of the reason for that is the weapon selection you have at your disposal. It’s slightly different in Warzone. Instead of picking up a base weapon and then looking for accessories, you find weapons of different rarity while you walk around the map. Weapons that are more rare have more attachments and better functionality than those with fewer accessories, and give you an edge. That edge will allow you to better take out enemies, and complete contracts—basically side missions—scattered throughout the map. These side missions give you money which can be used for items at designated buy locations.
For those who would rather have their own weapon, one of the things that can be purchased is a loadout drop. This is a crate that drops on a spot you marked, the contents of which are loadouts that you put together outside of the match, including perks and weapons. These weapons have the accessories of your choosing, and the accessories available for said choosing are those that you have unlocked by continually leveling up each weapon though gameplay. For example: everyone has access to the basic M4 with iron sights and a 30-round magazine. But if you want, say, a 50-round magazine, you’ll have to use an M4 enough to get it to the level where the 50-rounder is unlocked. It doesn’t matter where you get the M4, whether off a loot box, the ground, or some other player, using AN M4 will give it XP.
If you are a gun nut, you’ll be happy to know that there are a lot of weapons in the game. You have pistols, SMGs, shotguns, DMRs, sniper rifles, and machine guns, all with their own accessories to unlock through grinding. Plunder, the money-focused game mode, is a great way to get the XP you need, since when you die, you will respawn and you’ll always re-drop with your whole loadout.
Gameplay if mostly slow with intense bursts of frantic shootouts if you’re lucky. If you aren’t, it still sort of suffers from the main BR problem where you get sniped, and that’s the end of it. Players are also bullet sponges, and can take a LOT of damage before getting dropped. This is made even more apparent since nobody really walks around without armor plates that are common on the ground. Once you do die, the game does a weird thing where it allows you to re-insert if you win a 1v1 duel against another recently downed player, in the gulag. If you lose that fight, you have yet another chance to re-insert if your team scratched together enough cash to buy your redeployment.
To be honest, I’m not a fan of the redeploy shenanigans. The balance of spongy enemies, multiple chances for redeployment, and general “spray-and-pray” gunfights have their appeal particularly with more casual players, or perhaps where aiming is generally more difficult such as on consoles, but it just doesn’t seem very rewarding, and makes it stressful in a different way. More than BR, I have found myself playing the money-based Plunder game mode, so at least I can keep dropping in to enjoy the kind of gunplay the franchise is good at.
So, is COD: Modern Warfare Warzone a bad game? No, not objectively. It has a great selection of gear, fun 3-person squad action, and gunfights that make MW uniquely fun. There’s just something about putting the MW style of gunfights in a Battle Royale shooter that keeps me from picking it up for hours on end like other titles I have tried. It’s free though, so if you’re ok with the massive download, you might as well give it a shot.
Developer: Infinity Ward, Raven Software
Platform: PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Words by Ren Alcantara
Also published in GADGETS MAGAZINE April-May 2020 Issue