As the term ‘Battle Royal’ continues to appear in gaming industry headlines, thanks to juggernauts like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite, a new challenger has entered the fray in the form of Activision’s Call of Duty: Warzone. The latest entry in the genre comes equipped with the refined first-person shooting mechanics of a core Call of Duty release that has kept players coming back every year. However, this time the experience has been wrapped up and delivered in a free-to-play package that makes it hard to pass up.

While Call of Duty entering the Battle Royale genre is simple enough in premise, Warzone is very much its own beast. This is made especially clear when stacked up to the other aforementioned blockbusters in the genre. Fortunately, there’s enough new content here to help the game stand out amongst a sea of competitors. Of course, this also means that there are a few elements you’ll need to know before jumping in.

How Can You Play It Right Now?

If you’ve been out of the loop with Call of Duty titles for a while then you may be jonesing to jump into a round of Call of Duty: Warzone to scratch that all too familiar itch. This is especially true given that it’s free to do so. Fortunately, you’ll be happy to know that you can boot it up (maybe even on a low-latency 5-Series TCL TV featuring Auto Game Mode) across both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles – as well as PC. To begin downloading the game, all you’ll need to do is hop onto the corresponding digital storefronts on either platform ( for PC users) and download it. Or, if you own Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, then it’s as simple as downloading a 15GB to 22GB update for that game and then opening it up to access the new mode. As a note, Xbox players will require an Xbox Gold membership to play Warzone, while PlayStation owners can begin playing the game sans PS Plus subscription.

Of course, a higher-end shooter like this has a few requirements that need to be met prior to this. Namely, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve set aside the right amount of memory on your platform of choice. For those downloading Warzone outside of Modern Warfare, the game will take up 80GB to 100GB depending on platform. Yes, it’s a doozy of a download. Once it’s installed though, you’ll be able to load up and roll out into a game unlike any other.

What’s Different About This Battle Royale?

Call of Duty: Warzone utilizes a three-person squad layout similar to the one that can be found in Apex Legends. Players will drop out of a cargo plane and into a massive map filled with a few familiar multiplayer vistas from the Call of Duty series, armed only with a handgun and their wits. Upon landing, the immediate goal then becomes surviving long enough to find upgraded weapons within crates that are scattered across the land. All the while, time will progress and a poisonous gas will hone in on players that find themselves outside of the ever-shifting circle present on their map.

All of the above is pretty par for the course for Battle Royale games, but Warzone mixes it up by featuring a whopping 150 players across all platforms. Yes, this means that Xbox, PS4 and PC users will all play against one another! Another major swerve comes from the fact that players can save themselves from death by winning a duel in an area known as the Gulag. Players will find themselves here after initially being eliminated, where they’ll then be “captured” and thrown into a jail where they can earn the opportunity to respawn if they can win a one-on-one battle. This can be done by either capturing a territory or winning a good ol’ fashioned pistol shootout. If you win, you’ll return to the battlefield. If you lose then you’ll be stuck waiting for a teammate to buy your ticket back into the fight at an available “shop”.

And before you ask, no, this isn’t real money. Instead, it’s in-game cash that can be found lying around the map as players ransack buildings. They also allow players to pick up killstreaks, weapons, and all kinds of other goodies and tools. Suffice it to say, it’s well worth checking out if you find yourself with a little extra cash.

Finally, there are vehicles. While not anything new in the genre, the ability to traverse the war-torn landscape on ATVs, SUVs, and helicopters provides a unique way of playing Call of Duty that hasn’t been all that common in the franchise’s longstanding multiplayer options. Save maybe the tank in World at War, these are a lot more common for fans of vehicular combat. Heck, I even managed to down another player by clipping him with my helicopter.

Yes, getting out and finishing the job with a no-scope assault rifle round did make for a satisfying kill.

What’s Call of Duty: Warzones Plunder Mode?

If you’ve got your mind on money and money on your mind then Plunder likely grabbed your attention upon opening the game’s menu. Accompanying the mainline Battle Royale experience, Plunder that keeps the themes of Warzone intact but places an emphasis on teams of three gathering the most cash they can. Players can earn some of the green stuff by taking out rival players or wandering across it on the battlefield. But one of the most effective ways to secure it is by taking on contracts.

These are missions that appear in both Plunder and Warzone, and they range from cracking open a few crates filled with goodies to racking up a pair of in-game kills. Upon completion, you’ll be awarded with cash which you can then spend to get better weapons to take on even more players. You’ve gotta spend money to make money, right? Unless you just want to hoard it all, which is an option, I suppose.