Call of Duty Warzone Pacific Caldera Map Is the Second Wind This Game Needed
It is time for the next chapter in the story of Call of Duty Warzone to begin with Warzone Pacific. This new era of the popular battle royale game, which just so happens to be one of the best games in the entire genre, is a welcome one as you will see with our Warzone Caldera impressions.
Warzone Pacific Has Arrived
Our Call of Duty Warzone Caldera impressions begin with the fact that this is the latest season 1 in the battle royale game to arrive. This season is restarting the progression for the battle royale game since it is now connecting with. Call of Duty Vanguard, the latest mainline game.
Like with Black Ops Cold War and Modern Warfare before it, Warzone is intertwined with Vanguard to offer content, progression, battle passes, and even weapons that are shared with that latest World War II-themed game from Sledgehammer.
With the arrival of the first season, the battle royale game is also now known as Warzone Pacific. This is due to the fact that it is taking place in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, focusing in on an island that is the new setting for the Call of Duty battle royale game moving forward.
Warzone Pacific features the new Caldera island map in the Pacific for players to explore and play on for the foreseeable future. This also means, though, that the original Verdansk has left the game, which is the first time that this has ever happened since the title launched in spring 2020.
In addition to that, there is a ton of new Vanguard content that has arrived in Warzone Pacific besides the themed island of Caldera. There are fan favorite World War II weapons like the MP-40, STG, and Automaton that are now available for players to use in the Vanguard-themed battle royale matches.
There are various World War II operators, too, like Polina and Arthur Kingsley that players are able to play as in battle. There are the vehicles from the time period, too, and a massive map to explore. And if I’m being clear, my Warzone Caldera impressions so far for the new Warzone Pacific are more positive than it ever was for the original version of the game.
Our Warzone Caldera Impressions: The Great Return of This Game
My Warzone Caldera impressions begin with the fact that the start of Warzone Pacific is also the return of the greatness of this battle royale game back to where it once was when it first launched. It is hard to remember it now, even though it has only been a year and a half, but this game shook the world at one point.
Sure, Fortnite came through and did its thing to make battle royale games shine, but Warzone took advantage of the falling interest in that game to dominate and become the favorite for millions everywhere. However, that has since dropped off and become a more mixed experience for some.
Thankfully, in my opinion, the onset of Warzone Pacific means the grand return to back where the game once was and, honestly, surpasses it for me. I liked Warzone a lot when it first came out for being a no-frills battle royale experience without building or even the character-based abilities of Apex Legends.
That said, I was not a huge fan of the Verdansk map and the gameplay systems were not the ones that I liked about the Call of Duty series, choosing to focus on the Modern Warfare 2019 engine. As such, I dropped off a lot faster than most and the addition of Verdansk’s 1980s version did not help much.
Thankfully, the connection with Vanguard finally brings Warzone back to the place of its launch and in a way that will likely have more longevity for someone like me. I do think that if Raven Software can truly keep it up with what is shown in the game at this point in time, Warzone Pacific will continue to be much better than the original version and return to being the king of battle royale like it was last year.
Caldera Is a Much Better Map Than Verdansk
In the end, much of my positive Warzone Caldera impressions about the game comes from the fact of the map itself. Caldera is one of my favorite battle royale maps of all time and a location that far exceeds that of any of the battle royale locales that we have seen in Call of Duty thus far.
Yes, even with the recency bias of having only played this map lately, I still think that Caldera is a much better map than Verdansk, including both its versions, the Rebirth Island (which I never really loved), and even Blackout, which was my favorite of the original three and the best part about Black Ops 4.
I think I would even put it above Isolated from Call of Duty Mobile, which was my favorite overall battle royale map in the franchise thus far. Caldera is just that good and it comes down to a number of factors, including the balance of the location, the look of it, and the different areas you can visit.
For starters, the Caldera map is absolutely stunning; an island locale that is surprisingly varied and interesting given the setting for it and the sheer size of it. When Sledgehammer said that it learned from the mistakes in the past and feedback from players over the last almost two years, it is clear here.
Verdansk seemed so one-note at times and the 1980s version only compounded this issue, in my opinion, with the browns and grays of the visuals. Caldera, on the other hand, is a colorful place with a beautiful ocean surrounding the island, the nice sandy beaches, the verdant jungles, expansive farming fields, and more.
Knowing that this was an abandoned island, I also was not expecting too much in the way of civilization but Raven once again nailed it right here as well. Not only is the nature on the island beautiful, but the cities and towns are as well. There is a nice mix of the urban and historical areas at the same time.
There are the traditional bamboo huts of the natives who once lived on the island mixed in with the urban cities and facilities that were built by the people who came to invade and take over this island. They are all so fascinating and interesting, making just about every major point of interest worth visiting.
One of my favorites is the Peak, which emphasizes the verticality of this island that is all centering on the dormant (for now) volcano in the middle of the map. The map gradually rises in places from the coastline to the volcano in the center, giving a nice bit of variation and not just mostly flat areas all around.
The forests are dense, too, making it hard to see in certain places and highlighting the few vantage points in areas, balancing the game in a pretty well done way. And when I was not interested in the wilderness on the island, I could head to the southern area and visit the Capital City and more.
There is enough density and interesting stuff that is available in the Capital City for those looking for that urban warfare as well as at the gorgeous Resort that is near it. The sights of the Caldera map are very impressive and the layout matches the visual quality of it, from basically top to bottom. And this is before really digging in and finding the secrets and Easter eggs that are hidden there.
Vanguard Implementation Feels Right
My Warzone Caldera impressions continue with the fact that the gameplay from this connection with Vanguard feels just right. One of the issues I eventually found with Verdansk and Warzone was that I am not a fan of the Modern Warfare gameplay at all; I’m more of a Black Ops fan.
That does not really change with Warzone Pacific since it is still on the Modern Warfare engine, but the great part is that Vanguard was built with that engine, too. The key difference is that Vanguard sold me on the gameplay style, even if I still prefer the non-tactical sprint Call of Duty, and made it work, especially when it comes to the weapons.
This carries over into Warzone Pacific, especially when you play the Vanguard battle royale modes. In this mode, everything is stripped down to only the Vanguard content. You will play as the WWII operators, use only the weapons from Vanguard, and it works well because of this.
This approach is something that makes sense in a game that has far too many weapons available in it at this time. I think having a legacy battle royale mode with all of the old content and then an exclusively new one for Vanguard stuff helps to keep the balance in check.
In fact, if there were to be a ranked mode in the future, a Vanguard-exclusive one would be the best way to do this sort of situation. Playing in the Vanguard mode, it felt like Warzone had focus in terms of its balance and it helped that I already know these weapons quite well.
They play rather similarly to their Vanguard counterparts, except with probably still the boost that Warzone weapons just seem to always have in my opinion, which made me instantly feel like I was not totally lost at what to do in fights with these new weapons.
It helps, too, that the vehicles in Warzone are themed around WWII ones, which is interesting since Vanguard itself does not really have any vehicles in multiplayer to use. With dogfights happening in the air and ground vehicles driving around you, it actually can feel like a real war at times in Warzone Pacific, whereas Vanguard leaves something to be desired in that area.
The Future of Warzone Is Bright Again
Perhaps the most positive part of the Warzone Caldera impressions that I have to share is the fact that the future of the game looks bright again. Sure, the game was still immensely successful, quite literally being the money maker for Activision since its release.
In fact, it has even contributed to games like Vanguard not selling as many copies as past games in the franchise. That said, it has fallen off in some areas, especially when it comes to the opinions of the community surrounding it and for good reason.
As Verdansk has stuck around for so long and the weapons in the game have ballooned to truly unwieldy numbers, the cracks were starting to form in the bright image that many of us had in mind of it. It also did not help, of course, that cheating and hackers have been so rampant these days as well.
But all of these problems and more are being addressed in the Warzone Pacific season. The new map is here, giving us a fresh and interesting new location to visit for battle royale matches. The Vanguard-specific modes make sure to limit the weapons to a much more manageable number.
And then cheating is being addressed with the new Kernel-level drivers and more that are happening as part of the Ricochet initiative. All in all, it looks like Warzone Pacific is the second wind that this battle royale game needed, and here’s hoping that it can continue each year with more new chapters as each new mainline game in the series comes out.
For now, though, I am happy to say that I am a fan of Warzone once again and can come back to it as my main battle royale game once more. This will likely continue, too, for the foreseeable future as later seasons in 2022 will add new areas, weapons, and mechanics to the Caldera map to make me, hopefully, somehow like it even more.