My heart beats racing the last helicopter possible to escape the increasingly irradiated map. I know the helicopter is going to sit there for about two minutes and I’m running here alone and vulnerable. I sped halfway across the map with my truck to get through the radiation and now I have to defend my position to escape. I looted a three-plate body armor, a large backpack, a durable gas mask, and at least three or four keys to locked areas.

Racing to attack, I take out a few AIs, go in… and then I see the player with his back to me. I raise my sniper rifle and fire a silenced shot: Their armor cracks, and I realize that I forgot to load a full magazine before firing hastily. For the crime of breaking a cardinal rule of first-person shooters, that player turns, I freeze, and they kill me. All this loot is lost. And yet I’m ready to post again.

It started with the DMZ Call of Dutyupdated king of war, Warzone 2.0. Although it uses the same map as Battle Royale, the objectives are very different. The goal in Battle Royale is to be the last one standing; but the longer you stay on the map in the DMZ, the more trouble you’ll probably have. Teams of three are tasked with exploring the map, battling brutal AI forces, collecting loot, and completing various faction missions, contracts, and more. tasked to perform. It’s a very free-form multiplayer game that modulates between intense competitive PvP showdowns, intense PvE skirmishes, stealth gameplay, and open-world questing—often all at once. COD It may not be the first property to implement such a game, but DMZ is still one of the simplest and most accessible attempts. I hope other games relegate this mod to oblivion, because I can’t get enough of the extraction shooter genre when it’s done well.

DMZ was the first game to break my 20-year commitment to standard, team-based FPS matches. Battle royales, however interesting and sometimes fun, he couldn’t. Hero shooters (in my case, Siege) came close, but the foundation of team-based multiplayer was still there. And I definitely logged a lot of hours Fate 2, I can’t emotionally handle the PvP of that game. I’m tired of having to keep track of RPG stats when I really want to test my reflexes and know-how about weapons and gear.

DMZ maintains the reactivity of a first-person shooter without requiring you to memorize a lot of stats. And it also allows for extraordinary moments of thrilling FPS gameplay – the kind I’d expect from a really well-crafted single-player campaign, but without any story wrapping. It’s all live, in place, in the moment. Here one moment is gone, another moment.

A player looks at Al Mazrah in the Call of Duty DMZ.

Screenshot: Activision / Kotaku

Here is an example. There is a train that runs around the map in the DMZ. It’s easy to get on board and you’re likely to find great loot there. One evening, my friend and I rode and cleaned the cars. While we were looking at the map to plan the best route to the extraction zone, we heard (and saw on the map) an enemy vehicle driving by the train car. There was a shootout between two cars that were driving behind.

I’ve done it before in games, of course. Uncharted 2 has perhaps one of the most memorable train run ‘n’ gun scenarios in recent memory. But in Uncharted, I play Nathan Drake and I know I’m acting scripted. In the DMZ, this sort of thing just happens spontaneously, and I (even though I’m playing an operator with a name and a sketch of a fictitious identity) have to react as best I can from start to finish.

at the end Uncharted 2‘s train sequence, Nathan Drake heroically fires at a propane tank, saving himself and blowing up everything else in the process. The game doesn’t allow you to do that as a player; it’s part of the story and Drake comes out every time. But in the DMZ, it’s up to the player to find these opportunities to save the day. And there is no script to guide you. You are just as likely to fail as you are to succeed.

I’ll be honest: my friend and I were totally blown away by the party of three we got together. I died at the hands of someone who got on the train and stabbed me. There was no way to know this would happen. Nor will this particular sequence of events occur again. Of course, similar situations may occur in another round of the DMZ, but the fleeting, ephemeral nature of these wild emergencies requires you to react in time, make quick decisions, and make the best use of the gear (or) you have included. found) are all spontaneous. No two placements are the same, even if you have the same goal. I think that’s why I keep replaying DMZ – because it’s always something new.

I can go in with the goal of recovering the White Lotus intel (not a spoiler for the HBO series, but one of the game’s faction quests), but at any moment the presence of ruthless AI or other players can deny me that goal. Do I give it up to take a random contract? Am I just getting good loot and bounce? Do I consider myself lucky to find better gear for a future trip? Or do I try to do my best and try to reach my goal?

A player sees another player running through the sand dunes in the Call of Duty DMZ.

You look, you are busy, let them leave? The friend/foe balance in the DMZ is always tricky.
Screenshot: Activision / Kotaku

The constant tug of war around critical decision-making is exhilarating. Unlike a battle royale that is on the downslope of confrontations until the best or luckiest are still around, I have to make a call or keep promising if it’s smarter to take out what I have in the DMZ. maybe even bigger rewards, ie armored vests, bigger backpacks, better weapons and keys to hidden places. And “winning” isn’t just about how well I aim and shoot. Like a game actually Dungeons and Dragons, while there are things you can “win” in the DMZ, the concept of “winning” doesn’t really exist. It’s about an extraordinary story from deployment to production. That’s what I’m here for.

Successful DMZ runs can, in theory, be completed without firing a shot. Unlike kings of war and other common FPS game modes, your gun is as much defensive equipment as it is a tool for murder. Sure, you can go and hunt down the AI ​​and other players – and sometimes I do – but often the thrill of navigating the map and surviving is worth not even firing a shot until I stop aggressively advancing towards it. And the lessons I learn while jumping over and over again, dying triumphantly, or getting out by the skin of my teeth have nothing to do with which weapon is better.

of course loadouts make a difference. But let’s take my first example, I tried to hit an unsuspecting player. I know for a fact that if I had gotten to them and done a few quick combat strikes, I would have gotten out unscathed. Well, I know it now, that is. The fact that DMZ teaches lessons like this makes it all the more compelling, and that lesson is worth more than any loot I could extract. Doing well in DMZ can’t be boiled down to a simple in-game item or button combination. I imagine that makes this kind of play something similar to what other people value in sports.

DMZ features a series of racing scenarios fit for a real-time action movie.
Gif: Activision / Kotaku

But for all the fun DMZ brings me, its reception forces me to practice intense cognitive dissonance. Not surprisingly, I am no fan of the military industrial complex; yet Call of Duty it is a fantasy about something and it gives rise to a great sense of pride anticipating real-world conflicts and oppressions. (not above changing key details but serves his narrative.) He also a indeed terrible company. As much as I enjoy this game, I wish it was completely devoid of the very realistic and horrific real world conflicts. I just want to play shooty video game while having fun with my friends. I think now is a good time to remember that there is no ethical consumption in capitalism.

Critical perspectives on DMZ’s subject matter aside (if we can really put it aside), this game has been a powerful surprise and a refreshing twist on not just shooters, but open-world games and quite a few others. genres I’ve enjoyed over the years. Yes, the bots could be a little fairer. And maybe you need to adjust the spawn points. Finally, DMZ is in beta.

Although there’s room for growth, I can’t remember the last time I was genuinely this excited to sit through a few rounds of a first-person shooter. As an endless story generator that revolves around casual action and survival scenarios, few multiplayer games have come close to fully engaging my time and attention. Warzone 2.0‘s DMZ is there.

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