After years of action movie crossovers with Die Hard, Rambo, and Judge Dredd that haven’t done anything for me (but my dad would probably love), Call of Duty: Warzone finally put on an event I couldn’t resist. Operation Monarch, a new game mode live for the next few weeks, drops both King Kong and Godzilla onto the island of Caldera and asks you to survive their rampage.
Say no more. Update downloaded. Shaders are cached. I wanted… no, I needed to see a full-scale Kong/Zilla showdown from the perspective of a puny CoD solider.
At least, that’s what I was hoping Operation Monarch would be like. I’ve played a few rounds of Monarch to completion now. It is pretty cool, but it’s definitely not a playable recreation of the duo’s fight in the Godzilla vs. Kong movie. In fact, the two monsters don’t fight each other at all. They actually seem to have bonded over their hatred of the 60 tiny Call of Duty soldiers running around the island and would rather attack them instead.
King Kong, in particular, really seems to want me dead. The furry jerk keeps chucking rocks the size of buildings on top of my squad.
Kong will periodically jump across the map and squish the folks he lands on. Then he plants himself in place, tossing rocks and pounding his chest like he’s just sort of playing around.
Godzilla, on the other hand, appears to want nothing to do with Kong. The jumbo lizard just chills in the ocean, occasionally shooting a kamehameha out of its mouth that, unfortunately, doesn’t damage the buildings or nature it rips through. It is an effective anti-human ray, though. The blue death beam can even getcha when it looks like you’re 50 meters away from it.
OK, that was kind of BS. You can see that, according to the minimap, I’m within the danger zone of Godzilla’s nasty breath. That’s not consistent with the actual blue beam that’s still pretty far away, but I digress. I only got so close because it was legitimately rad to see Godzilla’s eyes ignite from miles away and instantly overpower all the silly little guns and loadouts that we care so much about. For a brief moment, I was that guy in a kaiju movie who dies because he watches the cool monster instead of running away from it.
The only shame of Operation Monarch is that, for the majority of the mode’s runtime, Kong and Godzilla don’t feel like the centerpiece of the action. As much as I’d like to focus on fighting the gigantic monsters piercing the skyline, other players are a bigger threat.
The core of Operation Monarch is just a normal round of Resurgence, which is basically battle royale where you can respawn if at least one person in your squad is alive. That sucks. If I wanted to get headshot by rooftop snipers or get pushed into a bad spot by the circle, I’d just play battle royale. I’m surprised Raven Software didn’t use this opportunity to make an epic 2v60 showdown where players work together to save Caldera.
Instead, the monsters are mainly there as background hazards. Occasionally you can shoot at Kong and Godzilla to earn “intel” that gives you stuff like gas masks and loadout drops, though the monsters are never phased by our lead volleys.
I think this is where Call of Duty still lags behind Fortnite’s live events. When Epic sits down to make a chapter-ending live event, you don’t know if you’re going to watch two mechs have an anime fight, pilot a supercharged battle bus to kill Galactus, or fend off an alien invasion in what is essentially a Fortnite campaign mission.
Even if they only last 10 minutes in some cases, Epic’s events are memorable without falling back on battle royale. Obviously projects like these take a lot of time and money, but Warzone has that weight to throw around, and I really think it should.
Maybe next time I can be King Kong, though I’d settle for seeing the two monsters fight each other instead of throwing rocks at me.