Love It Or Hate It, Warzone Is The Game Of 2020
One battle royale to rule them all… love it or hate it, Call of Duty: Warzone is the game of 2020.
Once upon a time, Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, Fortnite and Apex Legends sat comfortably on the podium of large-scale FPS titles. Each offered something a little different: punishing gunplay, mind-boggling crafting, futuristic sliding.
Then, on March 10, the granddaddy entered the party. Conceived as a free-to-play add-on to the Modern Warfare reboot, Warzone‘s popularity defied all expectations, evolving into one of the franchise’s biggest successes across its 17-year lifespan.
At the time of writing, Warzone is home to 75 million players worldwide who regularly drop into the perilous, vast battlefield of Verdansk – some alone, others in their loyal squads.
I dived in on a whim back in March. After a few games of solos, when everyone was still a novice, I was rather impressed. Quickly, I reeled in my best friend for some duos. While nowhere near securing that sacred dub, we became hooked extraordinarily quickly. Then, we brought in another close friend. Our trio was formed, and our fights were only just beginning.
I’d be remiss not to acknowledge the context of the game’s ubiquity; it dropped right as lockdown was kicking off in the UK and all around the world. With an abundance of extra time indoors, twiddling my thumbs, it was easy to put them to use on sniping fools on the cranes at Port.
Five or six nights a week, the boys and I would log on for a few scraps. I still remember our first win, with me facing down an enemy with a riot shield one-on-one as the gas was closing in. He let his guard down to throw a grenade, I sprayed his body chest-to-head with my Grau. ‘Warzone Victory.’
Others will have many, many stories like this. Even now, as the end of the pandemic sits in sight, social media is littered with Warzone clips and memes. Tonight, I still plan to jump on and play with my mates, despite life having slightly readjusted.
The game is a phenomenon, clearest-seen in the rather muted release of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. Sure, it has its players, but as the PS5 and Xbox Series X launched, headlines regarding the series honed in on one thing: how does Warzone perform on next-gen? It’s clear the battle royale is here to stay, and expansion with other maps, areas and secrets has to be coming.
This isn’t to say that Warzone is the biggest technical achievement of the year, or even the ‘best’ game. The bugs have been plentiful, the patch sizes caused constant controversy earlier in the year, and the addition of crossplay has brought PC cheaters into the world of console gamers, much to our anger.
There’s also been The Last of Us Part II, Ghost of Tsushima, DOOM Eternal, Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Dreams, to name a few. With the next-gen launch, we’ve also had Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla and Cyberpunk 2077.
But this article isn’t arguing the merits of the greatest title. Warzone is the game of the year because it captured the zeitgeist, adding structure to people’s lives when it all seemed a mess, bringing friends together streets or countries apart, giving gamers something to be excited about, no matter how innocuous – remember the stadium opening and hype around getting into the bunkers?
Pandemic be damned, Warzone defined my 2020. Where we dropping?
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