DMZ is just Spec Ops on a bigger map
Hold up! Don’t like reading? Watch instead…
If you haven’t seen Infinity Ward’s DMZ presentation yet, here’s your warning:
Thank god it’s free and not part of the rumored seventy-dollar Modern Warfare 2 expansion pack dropping next year.
And as I expected, Infinity Ward can’t nail the one thing that the Tarkov-inspired hardcore mode requires…
Let’s be real, Call of Duty is the MCU of first-person shooters — it’s mainstream, it gets the job done, and it’s always there when you need it.
But like late-stage Marvel, Infinity Ward is struggling to pull off, ‘atmosphere’ — everything in DMZ just feels phoned-in, bland, and by the numbers.
What makes Tarkov’s famous mode so attractive that a multi-billion dollar franchise wants to copy it, is more than looting and shooting. It’s a weird sense of claustrophobia and slight dread created by:
- Desolate, abandoned environments
- Game systems that don’t hold your hand
- Weighty movement speed
- Detailed item and equipment representations
- Competent A.I.
And if you’re reading this post, you’re a Call of Duty fan so you know that this series struggles with all of the above.
If I had to sum up DMZ so far it would be, “Looting and scavenging are two completely different vibes.“
Tarkov nails the desperate feeling of scavenging. DMZ fumbles the ball.
The atmosphere is too bright, fast, and unserious. It would be like Fortnite attempting a Tarkov mode without changing its cartoony nature — can you imagine Goku player models in Tarkov?
During the shooting and mission sections of the gameplay loop, DMZ reminded me of Spec Ops mode but on a Warzone map — very boring stuff. The braindead AI feel like inconvenient bullet bags.
And during the looting sections — which is the bulk of the gameplay loop — I was getting Call of Duty Zombies vibes, but not in a good way. In Zombies, you interact with a lot of loot and environmental puzzles and objectives but there is a density of rewards that make it addicting. Looting in DMZ feels lifeless.
Where DMZ does look like it shines is in the most intense moments of its loop. In narrow corridors and rooms with multiple doors and angles with enemies lurking everywhere. Not outside shooting tanks and boats.
Overall, DMZ looks like nothing special.
There’s nothing innovative or creative about it and the only reason for a lot of people to play it is probably to get all the unique weapon skins and blueprints that Infinity Ward is undoubtedly going to tie in.
If you want the authentic, uncut stuff, stick with Tarkov, and as always, stay cool, gentlemen.