Call of Duty: Call of Duty spins its war wheel once more, and the needle has fallen on ‘World War II’ for the sixth time in the series’ history.
Call of Duty has always felt most at ease kicking Hitler in the Panzerschrecks, snugly snuggled in the history of the victorious, safe in the knowledge that the baddies were truly terrible.
It is, nonetheless, the hardest environment in which to start something new. After all, there are only so many World War II conflicts, and Call of Duty has extensively covered them over the years.
Vanguard fails to tackle this problem, which is a shame given the game’s familiar looks and sounds hide clues of more creative ideas.
In the end, though, Vanguard succumbs to anticipation. A Call of Duty game must meet certain criteria, and Sledgehammer does so in a reliable but uninspiring manner.
The Campaign Exemplifies the Disconnect Between Vanguard’s Goals and Implementation!
The plot centers on a cadre of special forces agents recruited from several war fronts who are sent on a top-secret mission to Berlin in the dying days of the Third Reich.
The action begins with a raid on a German train, with Russian advance fires raging in the distance. This leads to an assault on a submarine port, where the group discovers a secret Nazi operation known as “Project Phoenix.”
It’s a unique setting for a WWII shooter. The notion of following this band of outlaws through hellish Berlin piqued my interest, and I was eager to see what story Sledgehammer would spin in this under-explored part of the war.
However, this is not the case. Your team of operatives gets arrested by the Nazis shortly after the raid, and they spend the rest of the campaign imprisoned beneath some ominous Nazi government structure.
The campaign jumps between flashbacks that focus on each member of the team’s experiences during the conflict as our heroes sit about sucking their teeth.
In other words, what appears to be a unique perspective on WWII turns out to be merely another playable highlight reel from the fight.
Sledgehammer Does Try to Provide New Twists to Some of the More Common Encounters!
The obligatory D-Day mission entails parachuting into treacherous Normandy woodland before attacking a clifftop bunker from behind to facilitate the D-Day landings
While the Pacific-themed ‘Numa Numa’ mission entails parachuting into treacherous Normandy woodland before assaulting a clifftop bunker from behind to facilitate the D-Day landings.
In ‘Trail,’ you join forces with an all-black American unit to avoid Japanese deathtraps and snipers in preparation for a dramatic airport attack.
The campaign’s centerpiece is ‘Stalingrad Summer,’ which gives you a taste of life in WWII’s pivotal city before the Nazi invasion and before all hell breaks free in the campaign’s main action sequence.
Not all of the missions are well-planned. Later missions situated in North Africa are breathtaking, and your band of cheeky Australian saboteurs adds to the pleasure.
But, in the end, it’s just another journey through the desert. The Battle of Midway is the biggest letdown, with breath-taking aerial combat hampered by Call of Duty’s stubbornness to relinquish control of the flight stick, continually driving you toward the next goal rather than allowing you to appreciate the fight.
The campaign’s larger issue is that there are few opportunities to experience your spec-ops crew as a unit. It’s a shame because the characters are, for once, likable.
The narrative may be drenched in patriotism, and the fact that the game borrows phrases from its characters for the death screens is obnoxious.
However, the squad’s overall rapport is intriguing, and individuals such as Lucas, an Australian saboteur, and Polina, a Russian sharpshooter, are given enough complexity to make you care about them.
Unfortunately, there are just two missions in which the group cooperates. They spend the rest of their time locked up in a cell, as Dominic Monaghan’s scary Nazi administrator tries to hide Vanguard’s virtually complete absence of storyline.
The sequences are long and winding, leading up to a disappointing end objective. Vanguard’s campaign, in the end, feels primarily like a setup for Call of Duty: Vanguard 2, with the game’s most intriguing themes placed aside for a hypothetical sequel.
While the story tries to make the most of its concepts, multiplayer is more forward-thinking, with a few major tweaks and more specific new features that set it apart from past years.
More damaging maps are the most prominent of the new features. While we’re not talking about Battlefield-level devastation, some walls and windows can be destroyed to change the flow of maps, and landscapes can be ‘dirtied’ over time.
It adds a gratifying feeling of progression to the levels, and it’s entertaining to see the wreckage left by a half-dozen bombing-run killstreaks.
The addition of Combat Pacing, which essentially lets you set the rough player count for each game, is less known but probably more significant.
Tactical, Assault, and Blitz are the three pace levels. Tactical keeps the player count low, giving the game a Counter-Strike feel (especially on the “Tuscan” map, which is heavily influenced by CS Italy).
Blitz, on the other hand, can feature anything from 16 to 48 players, resulting in frantic action and a slew of killstreaks.
I enjoyed watching the game progress through the various ranks. It was a good demonstration of how diverse Vanguard’s multiplayer can be.
Vanguard’s modes are mainly based on traditional scenarios like Team Deathmatch and Domination, although a new version of Modern Warfare’s ‘Gunfight’ game called Champion Kill is included. In small-scale rounds, competitors compete in two or three-person teams.
You all start with the identical loadout, but gaining money allows you to upgrade your guns and equipment, allowing combat to become more varied as time goes on.
Patrol, on the other hand, is the highlight of Vanguard’s multiplayer for me. This is capture and holds scenario similar to Domination, but only one control point moves around the map at random.
This makes it significantly more dynamic than traditional Domination because the controlling team must constantly alter its defense to counter new sightlines or attack angles.
Meanwhile, the moving objective renders map exploits in the map design null and invalid. Although it’s best played on Tactical or Assault Pacing, it’s a lively, hectic game that combines collaboration with your ability to respond. Patrol becomes a chaotic pile-on as a result of Blitz.
Overall, I Enjoy Vanguard’s Multiplayer, but There’s Nothing About It That Makes It a Must-purchase
It appears to struggle with the World War II context, much as the campaign. There’s nothing quite like Call of Duty: WWII’s War Mode, for example, and the game’s entire gunsmithing component feels completely out of place with WWII weaponry.
Indeed, one feature I’d like to see in Vanguard is a “no attachments” option, in which you only use the base weapons and ignore scopes and stocks.
I believe I’m now obligated to bring up the subject of zombies. To be honest, I’ve never been a fan of Call of Duty’s Zombies mode, and Vanguard’s version doesn’t do much to persuade me that I’m missing out.
‘Der Anfang’ revolves around a central hub in Stalingrad from which you may use portals that transfer you to various locations such as Paris or the Pacific, where you must achieve one of three types of objectives.
One requires you to collect runes to disable a series of magical obelisks, another requires you to protect a floating orb as it goes across the area, and the third is a simple “kill zombies until the timer runs out” game.
Cursed Hearts are earned by completing these quests. These are spent at an altar on various capabilities that, well, I was going to say “combine with your weapons and talents in intriguing ways,” but that’s pushing it.
For example, I paired the combat shotgun, which has a wider spread than Covid-19, with a critical hit feature that automatically reloads your weapons.
As a result, I didn’t have to restart nearly as much, allowing me to slaughter zombies mercilessly. As the zombie horde grows, more powerful versions of these skills become available for purchase, implying that the combat rises in intensity as you continue.
There Is One Final Issue With This Year’s Call of Duty That Has to Be Addressed: the Darkness It Has Emerged From
Sledgehammer’s game comes on the heels of horrifying allegations of discrimination and sexual harassment at Activision Blizzard, aided by a broader ‘frat-boy’ culture, which has prompted the state of California to sue the firm.
Sledgehammer, for its part, addressed the complaints against its parent firm in the run-up to the release, and the ABK Workers’ Alliance is still working to reform the company’s culture.
Within the framework of a review, it’s difficult to cover this topic in a suitably nuanced manner
PC Gamer has been following the story closely and will continue to do so in the future. Nonetheless, the claims were never far from my thoughts while I was playing, and while I wouldn’t want to blame Sledgehammer’s work for actions made by others within Activision, I couldn’t help but think about them.
Blizzard, It’s also difficult for me not to feel irritated at the thought of who might benefit from the great things I’ve written about Vanguard, and how that feeds into encouraging a culture of harassment and abuse, however marginally or indirectly.
I hope there will be no need for such clarifications in the future because there are glimmers of brilliance in Vanguard, and perhaps Sledgehammer can expand on such ideas in the series’ next installment. This time, however, my feelings are mainly neutral.
There are a few amazing missions in the single-player game, and there are a couple of decent multiplayer modes. Call of Duty: Vanguard, on the whole, is a war we’ve seen before.
Over 6 million gamers have played Call of Duty: Warzone in the last 24 hours, totaling 60 million, and that number doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
Is it Free?
If you haven’t heard of Call of Duty: Warzone, it’s a free-to-play Call of Duty battle royale game. Yes, you read it correctly: you do not need to purchase Call of Duty: Modern Warfare to play the battle royale mode.
If you possess Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, all you have to do is download a 20-gigabyte update and then go to the main menu to activate the battle royale mode.
If you don’t already have the game, you can get it for free through another link on the Microsoft Store. Below is a section dedicated to the free-to-play game, as well as a download link. You’ll be sent to the Microsoft Store, where you can get Call of Duty: Warzone.
Keep in mind that the Xbox One X’s file size is around 100 GB. When it comes to your internet provider, be sure you consider bandwidth limitations. For example, my monthly limit is 1 TB, which I routinely surpass.
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