Drop everything and download: Call of Duty: Warzone

Free fire

If the only dancing you like to see in your first-person shooters is that of your enemies as they try to evade your bursts of gunfire, it’s time to aim your iron sights at Call of Duty: Warzone.

This free-to-play, battle royale-style shooter has just launched for PS4, Xbox One and PC and it makes Fortnite look like child’s play.

What’s it all about, then?

If you’re unfamiliar with the rules of battle royale, it goes something like this: last man standing.

Warzone’s differs slightly from most in that it’s team-based, but the idea is broadly the same. Up to 150 players parachute into Verdansk at the start of each game – a sprawling city with various zones and vehicles to help you get around. The latter will likely come in handy, because as the clock ticks down a cloud of poison gas closes in.

There’s also a second mode called Plunder, which is a bit like a large-scale, ultraviolent version of the token-collecting finale to each episode of The Crystal Maze. There are more guns and less Richard O’Brien but the aim is to fill your team’s coffers with cash by looting it from around the map and completing specific tasks. The first team to £1 million wins. When you die in Plunder mode you respawn – but it’ll cost you.

Is it any good?

If you’re looking for solid foundations to build a multiplayer first-person shooter on, Call of Duty’s are like reinforced granite. Warzone’s bigger map gives games more nuance and offers more variation in the way you play, but the same high-octane rules of engagement are present and correct.

For those who don’t have hours a day to commit to getting really good, Warzone’s Battle Royale mode also offers a crucial lifeline to stop early casualties sitting around getting bored. The first time you get taken out you’ll be ‘captured’ and taken to the Gulag, where you’re pitted against a similarly hapless fighter from the other team in a one-v-one gunfight. Win that and you’re back in the game.

Any downsides?

The download is an absolute whopper, particularly if you don’t already own the latest Call of Duty game. Depending on the platform you’re playing on you’ll need up to 101GB of free hard drive space to download it, otherwise it’s an update of around 20GB. Either way, make sure you’ve got something else to do while you wait.

Players have been experiencing a few glitches so far too, but that’s almost inevitable when you let so many soldiers into a new online playground all at once. Chances are they’ll be ironed out in good time. Just prepare for another update...

Where can I get it?

Call of Duty: Warzone is free to download (and play) on PS4, Xbox One and PC now.