Gaming, Hands-On

Call of Duty: Warzone Is an Accessible, Beginner-Friendly Battle Royale

Over the past few years, many battle royale (BR) games have flooded the market. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds really started the whole craze, followed by arguably even more successful titles like Fortnite and Apex Legends. The latest entry in this genre to take on these big titles is from an equally big franchise – Call of Duty: Warzone.

Not only is it free to play, Warzone is also a very accessible BR game in the sense that even the most casual of gamers can thoroughly enjoy it. On top of that, it also has a number of unique elements not found in other games of its kind, which adds a breath of fresh air to the BR genre.

If BR games were never quite your thing, give Warzone a chance – it might surprise you.

What makes Call of Duty: Warzone particularly different from other BR games is what happens after you’ve been eliminated. In PUBG, for example, you’re done the moment you kicked the bucket. It’s a punishing mechanic, and to address this, Apex Legends – followed by Fortnite – introduced a way for teammates to revive you after you’ve been eliminated.

Warzone, on the other hand, takes this a step further. There’s still the same mechanic of reviving your fallen teammates with in-game cash earned in every match, but that’s not the only way to get back into the game. After your first death in Warzone, you’ll be taken to a gulag to duke it out with another eliminated player.

From here, all you need to do is to win the one on one match to be redeployed back to the field to join your teammates. Pretty cool, right?

Beyond that, you can even purchase a self-revive kit from buy stations scattered throughout the map. This, along with the gulag and ability to revive teammates with cash you’ve collected in every new match, give players plenty of second chances. So even if you’re not particularly great at BR games, all of these mechanics ensure that not all deaths are frustrating.

Besides that, the inventory system is Warzone is very simplified too. In fact, there’s actually…no inventory system to speak of. Instead, you can carry two primary weapons, a couple of bombs, and armor plates. Ammo, on the other hand, are picked up automatically when you walk over them, so you don’t need to juggle various types of ammo in your inventory at all.

Speaking of armor plates, that’s the only kind of protection Warzone offers. In the beginning of the game, you’re equipped with two armor plates, and you can put on another one if you manage to find any in the battlefield. In essence, you can equip up to three armor plates, and you can carry another five in your reserve.

It’s a very simple armor system, and I absolutely love it. I don’t have to worry about getting helmets or armors of a specific level for the best protection, and it’s easy to equip more armor plates as and when necessary with the single tap of a button. This, complemented by the regenerating health bar, is very beginner-friendly.

That’s right, in Warzone, your health bar will regenerate back to full when you haven’t received any damage in a fixed period of time. In other BR games, if you’re low on health and out of med kits, you would have to resort to more defensive plays. Let’s be honest here: that’s not a very fun thing to do.

Thanks to the regenerating health bar, Warzone encourages a more active, dynamic approach to battle. You won’t have to hide and patch yourself up for the next skirmish anymore, and taking damage – so long as it’s not lethal – is a lot more forgiving than other games of this genre.

I’m also a big fan of the combat system in Warzone, which is attuned to those who are not particularly keen to their environment, like myself. See, whenever someone drives a vehicle or fires a weapon in your vicinity, a red dot will appear in the mini-map. The game will even show you the direction of the enemy in the compass above you.

Instead of trying to determine the direction of enemies based on audio cues in games like PUBG, these red dots make it incredibly easy to spot enemies in Warzone. On top of that, opposing players using scopes aiming at your direction will also give out lens flare, so you won’t be caught off-guard (too much) by sneaky sniper shots.

Graphically, Warzone looks good too, and you don’t need a particularly powerful GPU to get more than 60fps on PC. I played the game with a modest Radeon RX 580 GPU paired with an AMD Ryzen 5 2600 processor, and I was getting more than 60fps consistently at 1080p with the graphics settings maxed out.

As far as battle royale games go, Call of Duty: Warzone is by far one of the most accessible, beginner-friendly games of its kind. The combat system is easy to grasp, spotting enemies isn’t super difficult, and there are plenty of ways to get back into the battlefield even after you’ve been eliminated. Permadeath is one of the most punishing and frustrating aspects of BR games, and Warzone implemented a very smart mechanic to address it.

Beyond that, Warzone is simply a blast to play, especially with friends to form a three-man squad. Unfortunately, that’s the only mode available at the moment, and I’m personally hoping for a solo mode in the near future. Until then, I’ll still be having a lot of fun in Warzone, even if I’m paired with two other strangers.