In the corona pandemic, the first-person shooter “Call of Duty: Warzone” is the computer game of the hour for millions of people. The gameplay is similar to “Fortnite”, but much else is different.

No blue school bus, no horns, no teddy bear masks. Instead, a massive military plane, explosions, soldiers plunging out of the plane’s cargo hold towards the battlefield. In the first few seconds the developers of “Call of Duty: Warzone” want to make it clear to the player: This is war and not a children’s playground. This is not Fortnite.

Both computer games are about the same thing. Players (up to 150 in Warzone, up to 100 in Fortnite) are parachuted over a large area. Various weapons can be found on the ground. Shotguns, machine guns, grenades. The only one who leaves the virtual battlefield alive wins.

Battle Royale has been the name of the genre that gamers have enjoyed for years. According to “PUBG”, “Apex Legends” and Fortnite, Warzone is the game of the hour for millions of gamers within this genre. His Publisher Activision-Blizzard reported 30 million active players a few days ago – that was ten days after its release. Warzone has had the most viewers on average since March 10 on the Twitch live streaming platform, which is a good indicator of the popularity of computer games.

Already on the day of its appearance, Warzone ensured a lot of circulation in the European internet lines. The Internet node De-Cix in Frankfurt reported 9.1 terabits per second for all data traffic on March 10. A new record to which the expansion of the first-person shooter “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” contributed. On the one hand, this is due to the corona crisis. Because more people stay at home, more of them play on the computer. Warzone is also free and can be played independently of the basic game Modern Warfare. The increase in data traffic is also due to the download size of the game. If you haven’t already installed Modern Warfare, you have to download more than 85 gigabytes.

Second chance in the gulag

The amount of data can be explained, among other things, by the size of the map. The theater of war is the fictional Russian city of Verdansk, which extends over several virtual square kilometers. At the airport in the west, players can climb into a huge wreck and search through aircraft hangars, in the east there are small farms and fields. Verdansk has a huge stadium, a port, many bridges and a dam. The city districts and landscapes in Warzone appear more spacious and varied than in Fortnite or PUBG.

The American developers of Infinity Ward have copied many things from the two games. In the course of each round, the playable area of ​​the map becomes smaller and smaller until there is only a few square meters left at the end. A ring of poison gas contracts to match the atmosphere in Warzone. Players compete against each other alone or in teams of three. If you believe the rumors, teams of two and four will also be possible with the next update, as in PUBG and Fortnite.

call of duty warzone

The area where players are dropped in “Call of Duty: Warzone” is huge.

(Photo: PR / Blizzard Activision)

The previous game “Call of Duty: Black Ops 4” (2018) already had a Battle Royale mode. However, the mode called “blackout” could not really prevail. Blackout is a solid shooter, but the game lacks something that sets it apart from the other games in the genre. Infinity Ward tries to do this differently in Warzone – with success. Whoever dies in the game for the first time does not lose immediately, but is dragged into a gulag. There is a small arena in the center of the prison in Warzone. In this, the player, usually armed only with a pistol, competes against another player who was hit outside on the battlefield. The winner of the duel gets a second chance.

Microtransactions cloud overall impression

In team mode, colleagues can also buy a player. You can find the necessary money for this in boxes, alongside weapons and equipment. The player does not have to be satisfied with the rifles found. With the money, he can also buy parts of his favorite equipment. There is also a variant of Warzone called “prey hunting”. It’s not about survival, it’s about which team has the most dollar bills at the end of a round. An entertaining change when you’ve had enough of the Battle Royale.

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Because Warzone is free, the game is bursting with potential micro purchases. A virtual sticker with which the player can decorate his rifle costs eight euros, a new operator (i.e. a changed appearance of his own character) costs more than 20 euros and a rare assault rifle more than 25 euros. Players who invest real money have no direct advantage in Warzone. Most of the items that can be bought are cosmetic. However, new players have to laboriously unlock the weapons that can be bought on the battlefield with play money.

Even if that dims the overall impression, Call of Duty: Warzone is still an entertaining computer game for adults and a new interpretation of the genre. Especially in times of prescribed social distance, the shooter is a possible way out of isolation. Many use the opportunity to meet online and play together. Provided that your own computer meets the high system requirements. It is unclear whether the initial hype will survive the crisis. Competitor Apex Legend at least failed to prevail against the pink teddy bears from Fortnite last year.

Call of Duty: Warzone is available for PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One.

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