Two years after the original Call of Duty: Warzone fallen in the battle royale arena, his retinue, war zone 2.0, has arrived with a new map and exciting new game modes. Or at least it would offer those things if network and server issues didn’t prevent me from playing a single full, clean game since its launch on Wednesday. It could just be the typical release window issues, and I’ll wait for my full review until things have had a chance to settle down and I’ve played more, but anyone looking to dive in over the weekend -end should be prepared for a bumpy landing.
Warzone 2.0 is still a battle royale at its core, bringing back many core mechanics and features from the first game while introducing a few tweaks, like having two or three smaller circles that eventually converge into one. It’s not all familiar though, as the all-new Al Mazrah map nicely integrates some of the multiplayer stages of modern warfare 2and the new DMZ mode set there provides a welcome change of pace from Warzone’s usual last-person standing structure.
But while these additions intrigue me, I’ve only been able to play a handful of matches on PC where the performance was what I’d describe as “almost decent” – and even then I’d be facing a lot of microstutters. and latency issues that prevented Warzone 2.0 from feeling smooth. Some people would have less trouble than others, but my game would randomly hit a latency of 999 milliseconds and stuck my feet to the ground for a minute so I couldn’t move, sometimes making surviving during fights nearly impossible .
Somewhat surprisingly, DMZ was the only game mode I could play consistently without having disconnection issues, but even that had latency spikes during matches. DMZ is the new loot and extraction sandbox mode, no doubt inspired by the success of games like Escape from Tarkov, and it’s really fun and refreshing to play between battle royale matches. Being able to fight off large groups of NPCs and infiltrate strongholds with my teammate while keeping an eye out for potential enemy players running towards us was exciting. It kept me on my toes in a different way than the usual Battle Royale mode and made me want to come back to the Al Mazrah map to get more loot and keys to unlock strongholds again and again.
Part of that appeal could be because the battle royale mode itself is currently the most frustrating to try and play. Matches contain the same huge cap of up to 150 total players in each mode: Solos, Duos, Trios or Quads. However, most of the time my lobbies didn’t fill up enough to get started, so people got impatient and left before them. This meant that most of my time trying to play a battle royale match became an endless cycle of queuing and requeuing to find a server that would trigger.
When I could getting into a match, I was at least able to get a feel for how the mode plays. It’s largely the same as the original, but it was already a very fun battle royale with solid looting and shooting mechanics that only got better with time. A nice new addition here is that you can actually recruit enemy players to your squad in squad-based lobbies if you end up losing a teammate at any time. It’s a nifty way to give weakened teams or solo stragglers a fighting chance and keep more people invested in a match for longer. It’s also just fun to make friends in a Battle Royale, which is a bit unexpected in such an unforgiving format. Unhinged Trios mode even lets you invite up to six people to be part of your team mid-match, living up to its “unhinged” descriptor in the resulting chaos.
I’m still early in my time with it, but so far Warzone 2.0 seems like a fun evolution of its predecessor whenever I’m able to get into a decently stable server and play something close to a full game. I’m already feeling the pull of the new DMZ mode in particular, but I just haven’t been able to play enough to know if that feeling will last. I’ve had more disconnects and latency issues than any actual game time, with build instability continuing as we head into the weekend. Hopefully the Warzone 2.0 servers and desync issues can be fixed soon so I can, you know, play more of it, and I’ll be back with my final grade within the next week or two.