Two years after the original Call of Duty: Warzone hit the battle royale arena, the sequel, Warzone 2.0, has arrived with a new map and some enticing new game modes. Or at least, it would offer those things if network and server issues didn’t stop me from playing a single full clean game since its launch on Wednesday. Those could just be the typical issues in the release window and I’ll wait with my fully scored review until things have had a chance to settle down and I’ve played more but anyone looking to dive in this weekend should be prepared for a bumpy landing.
Warzone 2.0 is still a battle royale at its heart, bringing back many of the first game’s mechanics and basic features while introducing a few tweaks of its own, such as having two or three smaller circles that eventually merge into one. It’s not all known, though, as the brand new Al Mazrah map nicely features some of the multiplayer stages from Modern Warfare 2, and the new DMZ mode that takes place on it makes for a welcome change from the pace of Warzone’s usual last person. standing structure.
But while these additions are intriguing to me, I’ve only been able to play a handful of matches on PC where performance has been what I’d describe as “near decent” – and even then I’d run into plenty of microstutters and latency. issues that prevented Warzone 2.0 from feeling smooth. Some people reportedly have fewer problems than others, but my game randomly peaked at 999 milliseconds of latency and glued my feet to the ground for a minute so I was unable to move, making survival in combat nearly impossible at times.
Somewhat surprisingly, DMZ was the only game mode I could play consistently without connection 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 actually really fun and refreshing to play between battle royale matches. It was exciting to be able to fight large groups of NPCs and infiltrate strongholds with my teammate, while also keeping an eye out for potential enemy players running towards us. It kept me on my toes in a different way than the usual battle royale mode, and made me want to jump back to the Al Mazrah map to get more loot and keys to unlock strongholds over and over again.
That appeal could be in part because the battle royale mode itself is currently the most frustrating to try and play. Matches feature the same whopping 150 total players in each mode: solos, duos, trios or quads. But often my lobbies weren’t full enough to launch, causing people to get impatient and leave early. That meant that most of my time playing a Battle Royale match became a never-ending cycle of queuing and queuing again to find a server that would fire.
When I could entering a match, I could at least get a sense of how the mode plays. It’s mostly the same as the original, but that was already a really fun battle royale with solid looting and shooting mechanics that only improved over time. An interesting new addition here is that you can actually recruit enemy players to your team in team-based lobbies if you lose a teammate at any point. This is a smart 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 making friends in a battle royale, which is a bit unexpected in such a cutthroat format. The Unhinged Trios mode even allows you to invite up to six people to join your team midway through the match, living up to the “unhinged” descriptor in the chaos that ensues.
I’m still early on it, but so far Warzone 2.0 seems like a nice evolution of its predecessor when I’m able to get onto a fairly stable server and actually play something close to a full game. I’m especially feeling the pull of the new DMZ mode, but I haven’t been able to play enough to find out if that feeling will last. I’ve had more disconnects and latency issues than any real playtime, with release instability still lingering as we head into the weekend. Hopefully Warzone 2.0’s servers and desynchronization issues can be resolved soon so I can, you know, play more of it, and I’ll be back with my final review in the next two weeks.