It’s a very bold move, releasing a multiplayer military shooter on mobile in the wake of Call of Duty Mobile, which launched to enormous critical and commercial success mere months ago.

What’s even more bold than that though, is to release an inferior product with far more aggressive monetisation than Activision and Tencent’s genre-leading effort. Except, that’s exactly what Warface has done.

But before we dig into that, here’s what Warface: Global Operations is: it’s a mobile-exclusive multiplayer shooter based on the quietly successful free to play shooter of the same name on PC and console.

It features an intricately customisable loadout, that allows you to equip your characters with various different weapons, equipment like grenades and armour, and more.

Much like with Call of Duty Mobile, the vast majority of your combat options are locked behind a paywall or require you to reach a certain level to unlock them.

However, unlike Call of Duty Mobile, you can actually pay for more power. Here’s how it works: each piece of equipment you place on your character has a power score and the average of all of the pieces of equipment your character has equipped is your character’s power score.

Warface: Global Operations Actually Allows You to Pay For More Power

Whenever you face an opponent, the player with the higher power score has a 50% bonus in statistics versus the player with the lower power score. So from the get go, Warface is pushing you towards increasing your statistics rather than actually getting better at the game.

What makes matters worse though, is that the equipment you unlock by simply playing for free pales in comparison to equipment that you can pay for right away. As an example, the default helmet has a power score of 10, though you can pay a whopping $10 to instantly get a helmet with a power score of 150.

Making matters worse, it’s not until you reach player level 56 that you get a helmet with a power score of 145. To surpass it, you need to reach level 96, though by that point the second premium helmet has already become available at level 77, and is considerably more powerful than even the maximum power free to play helmet, which unlocks at level 144.

This imbalance stretches throughout the entire equipment system, with every piece of armour and every weapon having a premium option that gives you an enormous advantage.

However, it does actually get worse. Grenades and armour – two pieces of equipment that you can bring a limited supply into battle with you – aren’t infinite. You actually have to buy more of them when you run out, and you can only get them using premium currency.

Well, you do get a small number from completing daily challenges and levelling up, but we ran out of armour within hours of playing, which gave the opponents that paid another clear advantage.

Grenades and Other Equipment Are Locked Behind a Paywall

It’s not like the premium items are cheap, either. All pieces of equipment that you can purchase costs 950 gold, the premium currency. That translates to around $10 in real money, so to kit your character out fully when you start playing, you’ll need to spend $60.

Then there are grenades, armour, and health kits on top of that, which cost 10 gold individually. That’s only 100 for a $10 outlay, and you can easily smash through the supply in a matter of hours.

There are further purchases too, like the season pass, which mitigates some of this spending by providing you with a competitive helmet, gloves, and weapon, though you’re still at the mercy of spenders until you unlock them.

We think we’ve made our point: Warface: Global Operations is a greedy game that wears its pay to win on its sleeve. But how does it actually play? Well, to its credit, it actually plays pretty well.

The default controls are excellent, with huge buttons that are evenly spread out. You slide your thumb on the left of the screen to move, and tap buttons on the right to perform actions like look down your iron-sights, use grenades and armour, and more.

Auto-shoot is on by default, though you can swap this to a shoot button if you find that more comfortable. You can also double tap the right of your screen to bring up your iron-sights, which was our preferred setup in Call of Duty Mobile, so it’s welcome to see it as default here.

Despite the Pay to Win and Greedy Monetisation, Warface Does Actually Play Well

Weapons all handle decently, though there is recoil which does help the more skilled players get a mild advantage over a whale. We particularly appreciate the fact that your character automatically whips out their pistol when you run out of ammo with your primary, and there are still enemies around. It saved us numerous times.

Visually, it’s solid too, though it doesn’t rock the boat. Each map is small, so you’re never far from another head to shoot, and it all runs super smoothly. We had no issues with the frame rate or anything like that.

Our only real complaint in terms of gameplay is the lack of mode selection. You simply tap a “Fight” button, invite a friend or choose to play solo, and are then chucked into a random map and mode – of which there are only two anyway: team deathmatch and control, which is basically domination.

Call of Duty Mobile has a huge advantage here, with a wealth of modes in its standard multiplayer alone, and that’s without mentioning zombies or battle royale.

Ultimately, we just can’t recommend Warface: Global Operations. On every single level it pales in comparison to Call of Duty Mobile, from its incredibly greedy monetisation system to its pay to win structure and its disappointing lack of modes.

That being said, it’s actually not that bad a game when you actually play it. It runs smoothly, has great touchscreen controls, and weapons feel suitably different from each other. We just honestly don’t see why you would bother to play this over the far superior Call of Duty Mobile.