Although Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 reached a whopping 25 million players within five days of its launch, the shooter launched in a troubled state. It’s full of bugs and controversial design choices that have pushed its community away. Since the game’s release on November 16, players have expressed their disappointment with Warzone 2.0, with some community members feeling pessimistic about its future.
Fast-forward to the beginning of December 2022, and Warzone 2.0’s issues seem amplified when placed next to the extraordinary Fortnite Chapter 4.
This all-new Fortnite chapter is one of the — if not the — best in the game’s history, offering plenty of exciting gameplay features, a visual overhaul, enticing cosmetics, and new mechanics that just work. It’s baffling that a Call of Duty entry could launch in such poor shape, considering it’s one of the top-selling franchises of all time. Meanwhile, Fortnite, a game often criticized for being “for kids,” is crushing it, update after update. But what exactly does Warzone 2.0 need to change to keep up with its competition? Perhaps it could look to Fortnite for inspiration.
Lack of meaningful content
Right out of the gate, Fortnite Chapter 4 came packed to the brim with content. It included a major change to the island (that truly feels like a brand-new map in many ways), new features such as dirt bikes, a fresh set of weapons, and the new Reality Augments system. In fact, Fortnite has a rich history of implementing a hefty amount of new features with each major update, while smaller patches frequently keep the game stable in-between.
Warzone 2.0, on the other hand, hasn’t received much since its launch, and based on what we know about the upcoming Season 1 Reloaded, there isn’t a ton in the pipeline. Even what was available on day one was disappointing, as it lacked features we’ve grown to expect, such as leaderboards, combat records, and a Resurgence map like Rebirth Island. Quantity doesn’t equal quality, sure, but it’s tough to deny just how impressive Fortnite’s recent efforts have been in terms of the amount of content implemented.
Another strength of Fortnite Chapter 4 is the degree of engaging new cosmetics and mechanics. As part of the battle pass, players can earn incredibly detailed versions of Geralt of Rivia from The Witcher series, along with the Doom Slayer from Doom. These two characters have accompanying cosmetics that flesh out each outfit, such as back bling, weapon charms, and emotes. The Incredible Hulk will join the roster later this season, further bolstering the list of beloved characters.
This season also includes motorcycles for the first time, along with Reality Augments, which serve as perks that enhance the gameplay experience. When combined with the major map change, and other minor additions like hurdling, Fortnite has never looked — or played — better.
All of these things make the game appealing to a wide variety of players, especially after the Zero Build update that features a dedicated playlist without the controversial building mechanics.
Preferences aside, Warzone 2.0 is unbelievably clunky at present; you wouldn’t know it’s funded by one of the biggest video game publishers out there. It’s full of bugs, sluggish menus, one of the worst inventory systems in recent memory, and an abysmal UI. When compared to Fortnite, there’s a gulf in quality between these live-service titles. Sure, it isn’t perfect, but almost everything in Fortnite is streamlined, easy to understand, and has a high degree of polish that makes it seem finished.
Epic Games is incredibly fast when it comes to addressing issues within Fortnite — typically bugs are squashed within days. Warzone 2.0, on the other hand, still crashes frequently, and feels like it’s held together with duct tape, just like its predecessor.
That’s the thing: The original Warzone also felt unpolished too. It’s incredibly frustrating that Activision has repeated many of the same mistakes with the sequel, while other successful live-service games have a much firmer handle on their ongoing operations.
Fortnite Chapter 4 is made possible by Unreal Engine 5.1, giving the game an enhanced look. Everything including its lighting, shadows, and performance have gotten an upgrade with this update, making the already gorgeous game look even better. Oddly enough, many of these new visual features give Fortnite a sense of realism, despite its art direction being anything but realistic. Still, its overall presentation looks expensive and appealing.
Warzone 2.0 looks inoffensive, but certainly doesn’t hold a candle to Fortnite, especially after the Chapter 4 update. The Call of Duty battle royale appears like a PS4 game, with washed-out visuals that sometimes make it hard to see enemies. It’s a night-and-day comparison that really makes me wonder what Activision was thinking with Warzone 2.0.
With all of these critiques, I’m not just comparing Fortnite to some indie game with no budget. Activision and Epic Games are two of the largest behemoths in the video game space, with seemingly endless resources compared to other publishers. It doesn’t add up that one is currently in shambles while another is consistently innovating in the right direction. Warzone, as it stands, is in need of a change and I hope its developers can draw some inspiration from Fortnite to make it happen, as it continues to set the bar for multiplayer games like it.