We’re back to WW2 for this year’s Call of Duty and while it has all the excellent action and bombast you’d expect of the series it isn’t a vintage year.
We loved Black Ops: Cold War in 2020 and it has been a regular feature all this year as the multiplayer offering has gotten better and better over the six online ‘seasons’ of gameplay.
Here we start with a biggest-ever launch sum of 20 multiplayer maps to enjoy. Great value for money.
Hopefully over time they’ll match and compete with the Cold War’s huge array of gameplay options.
This online feature, and the impressive Zombies portion of the game, will ultimately keep CoD running on consoles across the land long into 2022.
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And you can see the efforts of the developers, baring in mind this game was made through the covid pandemic, has been concentrated there.
The pace of the games is as fast and frantic as any Call of Duty and the graphics have more of a Modern Warfare feel to them than the slightly more arcade-style Cold War.
The guns however don’t quite feel as fantastic in the hands and I didn’t get the bite and kickback I was hoping for in the controller with this game compared to past efforts.
As such, it often feels less impactful and less enticing.
The WW2 theme also slightly limits the overall spread of the game’s design, feeling very well trodden in the past and giving a tonal monotony to the 30-odd weapons, 12 character Operator looks and overall sheen, despite the best efforts to broaden the game beyond the traditional Normandy-style war hotspots.
There’s a blockbuster single-player campaign too that delivers a good few hours of global war shenanigans.
You experience the origins of today’s modern Special Forces fighting across four major theaters of WW2, with a focus on a handful of heroic, ordinary-but-diverse characters who end up throughout the storyline doing some extraordinary fighting to win the war for the allies.
It’s very Hollywood and that means character-driven arcs can struggle to land the intended impact as your heroes batter their way through endless hoards of computer-controlled baddies without you, the player, feeling any real emotional weight or remorse.
The game looks amazing on the PS5 though and Activision is starting to get the most out of the new console generation with incredibly lifelike people design and just the sheer amount of action on screen at any given time.
Vanguard then feels like something that sits nicely between an excellent Cold War and a much-anticipated Infinity Ward follow-up in 2022 to the classic Modern Warfare.
It’s a great shooter game, CoD always is, but its not the best in the series and the overly used WW2 backdrop is wearing thin.
The pandemic would have played a part in this and kudos to the developers for still delivering a big game despite the lockdowns.
Let’s hope a jam-packed post-launch package of online seasons helps to flesh out Vanguard game further and make it as great as its contemporaries.
Right now it’s good but not outstanding.
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