Last year I described Call of Duty: Warzone’s newest Tarkov-inspired mode, DMZ, as capable of “emergent moments of thrilling FPS gameplay—the kind I’d expect from a […] single-player campaign, but without any of the narrative wrapping.” Now a TikTok video doing the rounds is demonstrating this very feeling: DMZ and the framework of extraction shooters are inspirational foundations for engaging gameplay where you and your team are in charge of what happens and when. Classic gameplay scenarios simply emerge, guided and influenced by your decisions.
DMZ is one of the newest editions to Call of Duty. Arriving with Warzone 2.0 last year and currently in beta, the mode asks various teams of three to scour the game’s battle royale map to accomplish missions, gather loot, and above all: get out alive. As a PvPvE mode, you will encounter ruthless AI and sweaty players equally, but how you engage with them is entirely up to you. Your encounters with other players can range from straightforward gunfights to the death to zombie movie-esque standoffs where trust needs to be established before anyone can move a digital muscle. AI can also be fought head on, but as one duo on TikTok has revealed, you can literally deploy tactics that are otherwise reserved for highly scripted scenarios in a single-player campaign. Check it out here:
The TikTok video shows two players tightly coordinating their infiltration of an AI enemy base. One player sits high above, at a distance with a sniper’s scope to spot and tag enemies, calling out when and where they are to guide their comrade around corners and walls to stay hidden and get the jump on the opposition. It almost feels like one of those clearly-scripted E3 demos where actors mimic gamer chatter and behavior. The only difference? It’s real.
As observed by Dexerto and commenters, this mirrors a single-player mission from the better moments in Modern Warfare II’s campaign, where the player must guide special forces operator Ghost through a stealth encounter in a hostile area, calling out enemy locations and giving the all-clear for movement or a lethal strike. But unlike a single-player campaign, in DMZ this isn’t a pre-written scenario with clear success and fail conditions. There’s no way to totally predict what tactics will get you through a tough spot; it’s all on the fly, up to your planning and reactions. You have to create this moment, and you are at the receiving end of however it pans out; it’s what makes this such an exciting and creatively fulfilling game mode.
Having spent countless hours in DMZ over the last couple of months, I can tell you that playing out scenes like this is simply electrifying, and because it’s so random, it rarely feels stale or tiring. While DMZ could use several tweaks to AI difficulty and weapon balances, as well as missions that feel more substantial, the core sandbox gameplay is enough to essentially be a generative FPS machine that never ends and rewards creative solutions to difficult problems.