Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 finally launched this past week, two years after the original Warzone and almost three weeks after the launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. First impressions have been pretty positive overall. As long as the predictable amount of connection issues are able to be ignored the future of Warzone 2.0 looks remarkably bright.
Let’s just get the negative stuff out of the way first. My squad and I spent around three hours in Warzone 2.0 immediately after it launched. Of that three hours, we got to play around twenty minutes of Warzone and ten minutes of the new Warzone DMZ mode (which is a cool new survival mode akin to DAY-Z.) The rest of the time was unfortunately spent watching loading screens and resetting the game multiple times.
It should be stressed that this was my experience on launch night in one of the most popular online battle royale games in the world. Millions upon millions of players were likely trying to access the game at around the same time. I am not excusing the frustrating infrastructural connection issues, I am simply trying to keep in mind the vast scale of this shared experience.
Thankfully, things seemed to stabilize pretty quickly. When we hopped back on around four hours after the launch time, we were able to get into multiple game modes almost instantaneously. Once we got the voice chat settings figured out that is. Three of us were playing on PS5 and one of us on PC, but after some messing around in settings screens we were finally ready to go.
The immediate thing which original Warzone players will notice when playing Warzone 2.0, is just how different the moment-to-moment gameplay feels compared to its predecessor. Everything from collecting loot, to opponent time-to-kill, to the overall pace of the game feels vastly removed from the days of Verdansk and Caldera.
Battle Royale Quads is an explosive, aggressive environment where quick thinking and clear communication is key. Trying to get to grips with the various nuances of Warzone 2.0 will take a good few matches in this mode due to its near constant gunfights. And there is a lot of new aspects to the game for players to get to grips with.
Loot is scattered in a much more realistic fashion, with ammo and gear placed on shelves or office desks, rather than randomly floating around the environment. Looting other players’ corpses is also a different experience, with the introduction of loot-able packs.
The way that the gas operates is also different, with there now being three circles to keep an eye on as the match goes on. The gulag has also been updated to be a 2v2 fight to the death, thus causing the player counts to drop quicker and make it harder for players to make it out of the gulag alive.
Battle Royale Trios is a slightly less dense experience, with a few more moments of respite between the action. It is not advisable for players to take their foot off the gas in this mode either though, as things can go from eerily quiet to violently loud at a moment’s notice. Duos however is a much more tense experience, where teams will actively hunt each other using pincer tactics.
Solos mode is incredibly tense and due to the faster TTK, is also a more brutally punishing mode in comparison to any previous solo mode. Solos in Warzone 2.0 delivers the sort of intensity expected in a horror game, with players having to listen out for enemy footsteps and expect death to be waiting around any corner.
On PS5, I did not encounter any visual or gameplay bugs. Other than the various connection issues, I can report that I did not encounter any technical problems in Warzone 2.0. The addition of an FOV slider on consoles is a welcome one and levels the playing field for all players. The graphics in Warzone 2.0 are also extremely impressive, with none of the visual fidelity being lost from Modern Warfare 2’s campaign.
Warzone 2.0 was never going to be a seamless experience, especially in this early post launch period. However if the game’s connection flaws can be overlooked, there is a beautiful, engaging experience to be had here. It will likely take Warzone veterans a while to settle into Warzone 2.0, but once they do, there is a lot of fun to be had in this well-made online experience.