Looter shooters are one of my favorite genres of all time. I absolutely adore being able to sift through a massive pile of loot after making my way through a mission or PvP area, and just min-maxing the hell out of things. If it has a loot pinata, I’m probably going to play it. I was one of the first people to hit 1,000 hours in the Division 1, and I spent a whole lot of time on the Division 2 as well. I’m no stranger to Destiny 2, and Escape from Tarkov, while I don’t have as much time in it, is still a game I enjoy from time to time. You’d bet that DMZ was hot on my radar.

Last week, we finally saw a preview of what Call of Duty’s extraction mode, DMZ, will contain. Firstly, we’ll cover the confirmations:

In direct comparison to Escape from Tarkov, we will see things like backpacks, specific tasks, and your typical insertion/extraction style gameplay. You’ll go into the map, and your primary goal, above all else, will be to survive. Anything else is just gravy.

You’ll have missions inside as you play as well, which is a nice deviation, and enables more non-stop action. The enemy AI spawns everywhere, and will make sure you’re always on your toes. The more important the Point of Interest, the more intense the AI gets. We saw everything from absolute training dummies to huge Juggernauts that reminded me of The Division. If you’re out in the open against a sniper and don’t find cover, you will get destroyed.

If you’re in a heavily guarded area, clearing out the outside isn’t enough. Tripwires, traps, and heavily shielded enemies will be all over the place. You won’t last long if you face down a shotgun in close quarters, and if you wind up succeeding and getting whatever it was you were trying to get? Good luck making it out, because the fun doesn’t just end there. Helicopters, boats, armored vehicles. You name it, it might happen. Health and healing isn’t as dynamic as Tarkov, but I don’t think it has to be, given the pacing of it all. It’s all about action, and the AI alone makes sure you’re always in on it.

After one session, it’s very clear that this game is certainly not trying to be Escape from Tarkov. It borrows elements from the pioneer of extraction shooters, sure, but it definitely feels akin to The Division Dark Zone more than anything. This isn’t a bad thing, however, and I don’t think I really expected it to be anywhere close to the feel of Tarkov.

It’s kind of a Catch 22, though. If it tried to be as close to Tarkov as possible, people would say that it’s a clone or whatever. If it tried to be more of a CoD game with elements from extraction shooters, then people would say it isn’t as good as Tarkov. My question is: Why does it have to be as good as Tarkov? Why can’t it be its own thing? There is plenty of room for many extraction shooters, and not every one needs to be hyper-hardcore like Tarkov is.

And let’s be honest, Tarkov barely works as it is, and I’m quite tired of seeing people die from around the corner due to desync. At least we won’t really have that here.

Continuing with one of the biggest departures from other games of this type, the map. The map is not only available at all times, but almost everything is labeled and easily findable. This is probably my biggest complaint of it all, as I typically like the notion that we don’t have access to seeing every single thing at all times. I wouldn’t mind a map in general, but having everything labeled kind of takes me out of it a bit.

It still shouldn’t be a big deal, since if their plan is to promote action as much as possible, then having this would be a good idea. When an important event happens in the game, everyone knows. Example: When you loot a big weapon crate from a boss, or when someone is about to extract. They seem to really want people to get in and move quickly, from point to point, blasting their way through the whole time, and honestly, I’m here for it. Keys can unlock strongholds and places chock full of loot, and the AI will not give you an easy time.

It’s hard to say how much pvp action will actually happen, as the sample shown to us was only two hours worth, but a game is slated to have up to 64 players, in groups of no more than three, with matches lasting about 25 minutes, with an 8 minute circle-closing timer afterwards. I expect the pacing to be much faster than Tarkov, but my main concern is the sense of urgency. The gear fear, the immersion, and the intensity are all what makes Tarkov so great to play and experience. We know the gunplay is going to be great, and we know the connection is going to be way better than Tarkov ever was. If they can line things up a little bit more in the immersion department, I’ll go from “on board” to “locked in.”

Either way, I’m excited to play an extraction shooter that actually works. I don’t need DMZ to be a carbon copy of Escape from Tarkov, but I do need it to be a functioning product, and I have no doubt it will be.

Anthony Lowry (they/he) is a seasoned TCG, MMORPG, and FPS veteran. They are extensively knowledgeable on the intricacies of many competitive outlets, and are always looking for a new challenge in the gaming sphere.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.