Warzone 2 review: DMZ steals the show in Battle Royale revamp

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Warzone 2 is here, but can lightning strike twice for Call of Duty’s Battle Royale megahit? Here is our opinion on Warzone 2.

Warzone may have been Call of Duty’s second stab at the Battle Royale formula, but there’s a reason so many players jumped to Verdansk. On the one hand, the game was free to play, unlike its predecessor Blackout, and on the other hand, it launched around the time that much of the world was forced into lockdown.

As a result, Warzone has become the de facto way to play with friends in tough times. It wasn’t all perfect, however, with Activision Blizzard playing the mole game with cheats, and a few technical issues (and huge storage requirements) make it a frustrating exercise at times.

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Activision Blizzard saw enough to give it another shot and built Warzone 2.0 from the ground up. While many may have wondered how the game would earn that big number in the title, Warzone 2 actually seems more easily justifiable as a sequel than Overwatch 2 right now thanks to a slew of new features and a electrifying new DMZ mode.

Call of Duty Warzone 2: Key Details

  • Price: free to play
  • Developer: Infinity Ward/Raven Software
  • Release date: November 16, 2022
  • Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC

Warzone 2 trailer

That’s Al on the map

The most immediate change to Warzone 2 from its predecessor is its sprawling new map of Al Mazrah. This sand city is huge, but each area seems more neatly organized than the Verdansk or Caldera regions.

Rather than a hodgepodge of identical buildings, Al Mazrah is a town that seems plausible – as if all the inhabitants had been hastily dispatched (although in the DMZ it’s clear not everybody leak). That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of buildings with the same layout, but they do at least feel a little more carefully laid out.

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Activision

Classic Modern Warfare maps can be found throughout Al Mazrah.

Between confined streets, wide open spaces, and everything in between, Al Mazrah is a great place to hone your skills, whether you’re playing solo or in a team, because its rules of engagement are so varied. There’s a sense of danger around every corner that you’ll find in the best Battle Royale titles, as players crouch behind parked vehicles with their ears listening for the footsteps of a victim or other. a potential killer.

On that note, I found Warzone 2’s sound design to be much more cohesive than its predecessor, with more directionality of footsteps and gunfire rather than the mindless panic of trying to figure out if another team is at it. above, below or on the other side of a wall. The way bullets detach from surfaces sounds like the best audio representation of being under fire since Battlefield 3 in 2011. It doesn’t hurt that the guns are more raucous than their Warzone 1 counterparts, which makes them more easy to distinguish from a distance.

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Back to the Gulag

Warzone 2 Gulag gameplayActivision

Warzone 2’s Gulag has been completely redesigned.

One of Warzone’s biggest innovations was the Gulag’s second chance mechanic which saw players fight for a chance to redeploy. Honestly, I would have been happy to see it back in bulk, but Infinity Ward and Raven Software changed it significantly.

The Gulag, at least at launch, is now a 2v2 mode that features an array of weapons to collect around the room. Adding yet another wrinkle is the new Jailer, a hardened enemy that spawns after a certain amount of time. If players team up to defeat him, they can all earn a redeploy. The feature builds on the proximity chat feature that was added this time around, and it can be exhilarating to turn the tables on your captor with a quick “enemy of my enemy is my friend” speech in the fire of action.

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This proximity chat facilitates hushed tones when opening doors, and as you’d imagine given Modern Warfare 2’s maps, there’s a plot of doors. The good news is that it makes Warzone 2 more tactical than ever, as players pile up against a wall, flash a flashbang through the opening, then burst in to clear a room.

There are also new ways to earn Loadout Drops, but each is fraught with danger. Drops will arrive via airdrop, but they’re more limited than Warzone 1. This means players are best served clearing a Fortress, an AI-controlled area of ​​the map. Hit the stronghold first and you’ll be able to access a black site, so it pays to be aggressive. The whole process is much more nuanced than in Warzone 1 and places an extra emphasis on setting goals for your team and creating even more subplots within a match.

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Loading drop falling from the skyActivision

Loadouts can be earned through Loadout drops or by completing a Stronghold.

What Warzone 2 does that its predecessor didn’t is that it layers a host of new layers on top of itself, piling on a complex array of weapons, gear, perks and mechanics like the Gulag, Fortresses or new vehicles that require repairs and supplies.

This is all backed up by some of the best FPS combat in the franchise, and while the short TTK makes things quite tense, armor plates are plentiful and can help turn a fight around, even if you’re ambushed.

This commitment to additional tactical options permeates every aspect of Warzone 2, with vehicles more important than ever but needing to be refueled and repaired, looting being overhauled to make better use of limited space, and the star show surprise – DMZ.

DMZ is a blast

I enjoyed a brief banter with Escape from Tarkov a few years ago, but the hardcore nature of the game meant my nerves were shredded with every run. Loading the wrong bullets into a gun, jamming it on me, then losing it anyway was a tough set of lessons to learn, and I’ve been looking for a more accessible alternative ever since.

Thankfully, Warzone 2’s DMZ mode does for extraction shooters what Warzone 1 (and Apex Legends) did for the slow and laborious nature of Battle Royale. The mode, even in its beta form, is a triumph and kept me coming back for more than just the Battle Royale main course.

DMZ gameActivision

DMZ offers an array of missions to complete across multiple courses.

The concept is simple: drop down to Al Mazrah and complete a series of persistent objectives, all while aiming to extract at the end of a run. Complicating matters are your limited weapons which will be lost if you die (although insurance allows you to keep them, for a cost), and the fact that everything you find in a mission must be mined for take it with you.

This makes DMZ antithetical to Call of Duty DNA, as you won’t necessarily want to grab your best and most awesome custom weapon to take to the map. This means you’re always managing your economy, whether it’s keys you’ve accumulated to unlock new doors, figuring out when to save your money, or making on-the-fly decisions about what goals to achieve for the three factions. Game. .

Along the way, you will be tempted at regular intervals. In a single run, I surprised a group of AI enemies and mercilessly took them out before breaking into a safe with loot inside. This sparked a few waves of enemies while the drill was in progress, but another crafty player rounded the corner as I left with my ill-gotten gains and felled me in a hail of gunfire. In another, I was ready to extract without firing a shot, before taking out two players waiting for the helicopter and extracting with a much more impressive sniper rifle.

Luckily, early goals make you feel like you’ve accomplished Something even if you complete a level with nothing but bruised pride and an empty weapon slot, while harder objectives add an extra rush to the rush to extract. As for progression, DMZ races can also be quite lucrative when it comes to leveling up your weapons in Modern Warfare 2.

The Verdict – 4/5

It looks like Warzone 2 is off to a very strong start. It’s worth mentioning that there are a few technical issues, with Al Mazrah’s massive map taking a little while to load and the occasional stutter (mostly on PC), but overall it seems more stable than Warzone 1 during its tougher times. .

Al Mazrah might just be the hottest destination of 2023 if this early taste is any indication.

Tested on PS5 with time spent on PC

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