Warzone's Operation Monarch finally gets Godzilla right in a video game

Godzilla stomps around the Caldera map
(Image credit: Activision)

Godzilla in video games has always sucked. As a life-long fan of the films, I’ve always wanted a great game featuring the King of the Monsters, but that’s not come to pass. The closest we've gotten was probably Natsume-Atari's Godzilla back in 2014, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who'd say it’s a great game. 

What Godzilla games get wrong is that they put you in the shoes of the Kaiju. Worse still, most of them are quasi-fighting games where you can choose classic monsters from the Toho films, and have them duke it out in a city. But that doesn't capture what makes the movies great.

Warzone: Operation Monarch is the latest Warzone update, and it gets Godzilla right. It makes me feel small in the face of the wrath of an unstoppable force. Godzilla works best when its scale is intact, its intentions are unknown, and we can do nothing but watch and try to avoid getting stepped on.

In Operation Monarch, both Godzilla and King Kong stalk the map of Caldera, making their presence known, even if they don't interact with the game too much. At various points through a regular game of Battle Royale they will go into a Titan Frenzy mode, charging up and attacking players on the map. At that point, you can desperately try to fight back or you can do the sensible thing and flee before them.

It's a shame that King Kong and Godzilla don't fight each other as that would be a spectacle to behold. But it's enough for me to see King Kong leaping from one side of Caldera to the other, or Godzilla charging up a heat-ray before letting loose its iconic scream. 

In one game, the gas was circling around me on a beach and Godzilla sat offshore, screaming at the closing moments of the battle. Even though it and King Kong didn’t play major roles in the end game, you can feel them there, hanging over the conflict. We are but ants in the face of gods, and it’s fun to not feel like the biggest, baddest thing in the vicinity. 

Godzilla feels tacked on

Godzilla breaths a heat-ray at four warzone players

(Image credit: Activision)

At the same time, Operation Monarch also feels like it’s holding back the Godzilla vs. Kong concept a little by still needing to be a Warzone game. The action, while chaotic, has to be legible, and the monsters' impact has to be controlled. In a competitive mode like Warzone, having the NPCs kill skilled players in attacks, stomps, or collateral damage won't be fun. There still has to be logic to the monsters so players can succeed. 

If anything, Operation Monarch has merely whetted my appetite for a great Godzilla game. One can be made, and this is the closest we’ve been, simply by changing our perspective. It's now easier to envision a game that puts you in the shoes of a civilian trying to make it through an extended Godzilla attack or to survive on the fringe of its battle with another massive monster. 

Video games are so often about making you feel powerful so you can live out that fantasy. But, monsters like Godzilla aren't part of that fantasy, they make you feel small and insignificant. Godzilla isn't about action, it's about horror and powerlessness. 

Patrick Dane
Gaming Guides Editor

Patrick Dane is TechRadar Gaming's Guides Editor. With nearly a decade in the games press, he's been a consistent voice in the industry. He's written for a plethora of major publications and travelled the world doing it. He also has a deep passion for games as a service and their potential to tell evolving stories. To wit, he has over 2000 hours in Destiny 2, over 1000 in Overwatch and is now deeply into Valorant.