Call of Duty: Warzone

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Call of Duty: Warzone Game Poster Image
Free battle royale mode with fast-paced military combat.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 19 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 10 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

This game entertains through gritty, glamorized military violence. Players are rewarded for being skilled and efficient killers. But it also encourages cooperation, communication, and teamwork as players come together in squads serving a single purpose.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Avatar soldiers are mostly without personality, save for their uniformly serious, battle-focused disposition, eagerness to kill, and occasional scripted line to communicate with squad members.

Ease of Play

There's no option to adjust difficulty, and the level of challenge depends directly on each player's skill and experience with first-person shooters and battle royale games. But tutorial and practice modes provide players the necessary information and tips to be able to jump into a live match without feeling lost, and the controls should be fairly intuitive to anyone who's played this sort of game in the past.

Violence

Players take on the role of soldiers to fight each other using guns, rockets, grenades, mines, and other military weapons from a first-person perspective. Action is frenetic and fast-paced, with blood spattering from hits and characters grunting in pain. A secondary mode puts players in close contact, hitting each other with fists and pelting one another with rocks until it's their turn to fight one-on-one with another player in an arena.

Sex

Unlockable stickers and emblems show scantily clad women.

Language

Occasional profanity, including the word "s--t."

Consumerism

This is a free-to-play game, but players are encouraged to spend money on a Battle Pass to unlock quicker progression and gain access to original cosmetic items (these do not affect play). Additional cosmetic packs are also available to purchase. This is also an extension of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some characters can be seen smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Call of Duty: Warzone is a free-to-play, standalone expansion for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019). Like the base game, action is focused on fast and frenetic first-person military combat with guns, rockets, grenades, and other modern weapons that wound, kill, and cause characters to bleed and grunt. Players work in squads, cooperating with each other to achieve objectives, including eliminating other players and searching for money. Players need not own the base game, and they don't need to spend money on the expansion. But the game frequently encourages players to purchase a Battle Pass in order to progress more quickly and unlock cosmetic upgrades that do not affect a character's strength or abilities. "S--t" can be heard during some matches, and some players can be seen smoking. You can also unlock stickers of scantily clad women.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byhonest opinion 234 March 18, 2020

Good game for younger kids

If you play this game without any custom settings it is not appropriate at all for tweens and young teens. I found out that you can turn the blood, gore, and sw... Continue reading
Adult Written byLucy Migher March 14, 2020

My child shuts up now?!?!?!?

This game has changed my household for the rest of its days. My kids are quiet and contempt. They sit and play this all day and im fine with that.
Kid, 12 years old March 14, 2020

Battle Royale meets call of duty

It is okay for teens to play. And yes it still has lots of violence and blood just like other call of duty games. And it surprisingly has disturbing images and... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byLazar March 12, 2020

If you can handle it its good

yall gotta chill my nephew played this he loves it smh

What's it about?

CALL OF DUTY: WARZONE is a free-to-play and standalone addition to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019), meaning anyone with a PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or Windows PC can begin playing without spending a penny. It's a battle royale-style game, meaning the primary mode sees up to 150 players dropped into an enormous map where they work in squads to systematically kill all enemies while gradually being pushed into closer quarters via an approaching poison gas cloud. As with other such games, players begin with little in the way of gear, and must forage for better weapons and armor as they go. But Warzone's take on battle royale adds a few twists, including the ability to take on side contracts that encourage movement and exploration, money stashes that can be used to purchase powerful battlefield abilities normally earned through skilled play, and a one-on-one Gulag match that players enter upon being defeated, with the winner being sent back to the battlefield for one last chance to help his or her squad. A secondary mode called Plunder switches the focus from killing other teams (avatars simply respawn) to quickly collecting and banking cash, with the squad that grabs the most money declared victors. Rookies to battle royale-style games can get their bearings in a mandatory training mode, followed by an optional practice mode that pits humans against bots.

Is it any good?

Players looking for a polished and distinctive alternative to current battle royale heavyweights like Fortnite and Player Unknown's Battlegrounds may find it in this gritty standalone expansion. Call of Duty: Warzone has the advantage of being based on a popular game with which many are already familiar -- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) -- and which has some of the tightest and most refined first-person shooter mechanics around. In many ways, Warzone plays very similarly to the game it expands upon, allowing players to do things like mount weapons for increased stability and create easily accessible gear loadouts. Many players will find it both familiar and empowering. But it also welcomes new players -- not just because it's standalone and free, but also through features such as the ability to purchase killstreak bonuses such as drones and heavy weapon strikes normally earned through skilled play. This keeps Call of Duty rookies from getting unfairly clobbered by more experienced players.

Warzone also has some fun quirks that help keep players in the action, most notably contracts that provide secondary objectives that to keep players on the move and help discourage camping, and the Gulag into which defeated players are dropped. If you're itching for just one more chance to join the battle, you'll get a chance -- assuming you can defeat another player in the same boat as you while others watch. It's a clever way to keep more people involved in a battle royale event for a longer period of time. That said, newbies should be ready to face a steep challenge. Call of Duty has generated legions of extremely skilled players who have mastered strategies such as long-distance sniping and luring enemies into bottlenecks. Plus, playing with voice communication is bound to result in some unpleasant encounters with the franchise's famously intolerant and profane community. But there's no denying Call of Duty: Warzone is a strong contender in the battle royale arena. From its beautifully rendered and detailed map to its proven combat mechanics and practical innovations, it's definitely worth a look for genre fans.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in the media. Is the impact of the violence in Call of Duty: Warzone affected by the realistic focus on modern warfare, including the blood and gore attached to conflicts. Is your view of the military affected while playing games like this? Would the game have the same impact if it wasn't as realistic?

  • What's the appeal of spending real money on virtual items that change your character's appearance but don't provide an in-game advantage? How do you judge whether it is worth the money?

Game details

  • Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Activision
  • Release date: March 11, 2020
  • Genre: First-Person Shooter
  • ESRB rating: M for Intense Violence, Suggestive Themes, Strong Language, Use of Drugs, Blood and Gore
  • Last updated: March 27, 2020

For kids who love action

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