We’ve been fighting to be the last person standing for years now, so new battle royale games have to bring something fresh to the war table. After largely bouncing off Blackout, I didn’t think I’d find that in Call Of Duty: Warzone. Then me and my friends found a helicopter and a Bounty Contract, and I was delighted to discover I was wrong.
Missions aren’t Warzone’s only new idea, but they might be its best. They’re dotted around the vast, meticulously detailed map, and come in three flavours. Scavenger Contracts send you off in search of juicy, loot-containing crates, while Recon Contracts have your squad go and capture a point. These are good and useful ways to earn money, which you can spend on huge advantages like self-reviving syringes or respawning a dead friend. They provide focus and structure, giving you something to aim for beyond listless roaming.
I wouldn’t be going on about them if it weren’t for Bounty Contracts, though. These give you an enemy player to hunt, and tells you roughly where they are. The other squad will know you’re coming, and get alerted when you’re close. As me and my pals found out, this matters little when you attack from the skies.
I’ve watched that clip, taken by my friend Ben Barber, far too many times. It’s such a snappy, self-contained adventure, heightened by the way it’s plucked from a broader context. I can’t remember how well we did overall in that game, but that hardly matters. This little snippet gets to stand independently. It’s an island of success within a format that almost invariably ends in failure.
Bounty Contracts are also an elegant way to push players towards each other, while simultaneously cranking up tension. They make things personal. I’ve found jointly crying “oh no” when one of us becomes hunted can be almost as much fun as offing someone ourselves.
Not every contract goes so gloriously. My friend’s trepidation about me piloting was because I’d just got us both killed by flying a different helicopter beneath a bridge. I’m afraid that footage has been erased.