Two years after the fall of the original Call of Duty: Warzone into the battle royale arena, the game’s sequel, Warzone 2.0, has arrived with a new map and some enticing new game modes. Or at the very least, it would deliver those things if network and server issues didn’t keep me from playing one full, clean game since it launched on Wednesday. This could just be the typical release window issues, and I’ll hold off my full review on record until things have a chance to settle down and play some more, but anyone looking to dive in for the weekend should be prepared for this. Bumpy landing.
Warzone 2.0 remains a battle royale at its center, bringing back a lot of the first game’s mechanics and core features while introducing some tweaks of its own, such as having two or three smaller circles that eventually converge into one. It’s not quite as familiar, however, as the new farm map nicely incorporates some of the multiplayer phases from Modern Warfare 2, and the new DMZ mode you’re in offers a welcome change of pace from Warzone’s usual permanent structure.
But while these add-ons are interesting to me, I’ve only been able to play a handful of games on PC where the performance was what I’d describe as “almost decent” – and even then I’d run into a lot of crunchy thumbnails and latency Issues that prevented Warzone 2.0 from feeling smooth. That being said, some people have less problems than others, but my game would randomly spike to 999ms latency and my feet would be stuck to the ground for a minute so I couldn’t move, making it nearly impossible to stay put during fights.
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 sandbox mode, no doubt inspired by the success of games like Escape from Tarkov, and is really fun and refreshing to play between battle royale matches. Being able to fight off large groups of NPCs and infiltrate strongholds with my teammates 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 go back to the farm map for more loot and keys to unlocking forts over and over again.
This appeal may be in part because the battle royale mode itself is currently the most frustrating to try and play. Matches have the same huge cap of up to 150 players total in each mode: Solos, Duos, Trios or Quads. However, a lot of the time my lobbies won’t fill up enough to go, so people get impatient and leave before they do. This meant that most of my time trying to play a battle royale match became an endless loop of queuing and rearranging to find a server to launch.
When could Enter the match, I was able to at least get a sense of how the mode plays. It’s very similar to the original, but it was already a very fun battle royale with solid looting and shooting mechanics that only got better with time. One of the interesting new additions here is that you can actually recruit enemy players to your team into team-based lobbies if you end up losing a teammate at any time. This is a smart way to give weak teams or individual stragglers a fighting chance and keep more people invested in the match for longer. It’s also fun to make friends in Battle Royale, which is somewhat unexpected in such an intense format. Unhinged Trios mode lets you invite up to six people to be on your team in the middle of a match, and live up to the description “unhinged” in the chaos you create.
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 get access to a decent stable server and play something close to a full match. I’m already feeling the pull of the new DMZ mode in particular, but I haven’t been able to play enough yet to see if that feeling will last. I experienced more disconnection and latency issues than any real game time, with the release still unstable heading into the weekend. Hopefully the Warzone 2.0 server issues and desync will be resolved soon so I can, you know, play more of it, and I’ll be back with my final review in the next week or two.
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