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The Gulag Is The Only Good Part Of Warzone 2

Warzone 2 is a mess. It takes ages to get into a game, it’s laggy for the first ten minutes once you’re in, and then after another ten minutes trying to get your head around the terrible looting system, before you’re killed in a fraction of a second and have to head all the way back to the lobby to start over again. I’m too old for this incredibly fast time to kill, and too impatient to forgive huge waits for matches that will be buggy when I get in.

I’ve already talked about how Call of Duty has similar problems to Pokemon, or at least similar causes to the series’ respective problems (spoiler: it’s capitalism), but both games also do some things right. Pokemon has a small, human, heartwarming story nestled among the battles with Titans and quest to catch ‘em all, and Warzone has the Gulag.

If you’ve never played Warzone before, the Gulag may sound like a strange positive. A prison? Gruelling manual labour? That’s a good thing? Remember, this is Call of Duty. It’s not particularly realistic, despite the graphics. The Gulag isn’t an interrogation of the prison system or even an accurate portrayal of life in Russia’s dehumanising dungeons, it’s an arena for you to 1v1 other players in. The sequel doubles the players, and arguably doubles the fun.

Putting a misery simulator in the middle of a battle royale game would be a bad choice, but so would putting a 2v2 mode that’s more fun than the main event. Activision wouldn’t, would they? Unfortunately, they might have.

Warzone 2’s Gulag is more complicated than its predecessor. The map is a little larger, and has multiple levels. You always start with a pistol and a couple of ‘nades, at least in my experience, rather than random loadouts, and of course you have a teammate. This presents far more tactical opportunities, and you can pull off some incredible strats despite practically no communication between you.

That’s not the only change. There’s also a pile of juicy loot in the centre, tempting you to push too hard and expose yourself to a counterattack. This is where you’ll also find the Jailer, an AI-controlled enemy who has a minigun. He’s a difficult foe, and one you will almost always need all four fighters to team up on in order to beat, but killing him returns all four to the battlefield. I haven’t managed to do it yet, but it’s another layer to the most exciting part of my Warzone matches.

I’d love to just load up Call of Duty and play Gulag matches, one after another. And no, before you mention it, I’m not looking for regular Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer, because I’m simply not skilled enough to compete there. I need some randomness, some luck, some of the players who died quickest in the battle royale to fight each other for another chance. In that sense, it wouldn’t work as an independent mode. But it doesn’t matter. For as long as I die in Al Mazrah, I’ll find solace in the comforting arms of another Gulag shootout. If you’re my teammate though, I’m sorry. I can’t promise I won’t die on purpose just to get there.

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