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Call Of Duty: Vanguard Review – A Tumultuous Trinity

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Call of Duty: Vanguard is a three game story. As is sometimes the case, several pillars lift the package – and one lowers it. Vanguard’s campaign is weak, but multiplayer and zombies carry the title to victory. Let’s break down each experience.

It is important to keep in mind what is currently going on within Activision Blizzard regarding the ongoing allegations regarding work culture. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) lawsuit against the company is over a reported toxic work culture. The bulk of the prosecution focuses on “violations of state civil rights and equal pay laws”, particularly in relation to the treatment of women and other marginalized groups. To learn more about the proceedings to date, including the details listed in the Activision Blizzard lawsuit, please see our previous cover here.

We will fix the problem first; The campaign is ambitious and beautiful, taking players to several key locations including Stalingrad, the Pacific, and even North Africa. While this features excellent environmental diversity, and its haunting soundtrack begs for blood to be pumped, everything around these elements remains in the doldrums. Since the story jumps from scene to scene, neither character has any weight. These are lifeless pieces of cardboard that don’t even reach the level of one-note action movies.

These characters are placed in boring segments that are as dull as it gets and stereotypical, with no real opportunity to shine. While large arenas full of opponents to contend with is nothing new to Call of Duty, engaging in the non-arena segments is even more tiring. There is no cool subterfuge mission to break the grind, only tasks that will leave you begging to just clean up another killing room. It’s a shame, because some of these storylines and characters feel like they should have been dunks.

Vanguard has all the attributes of a ready-made Enemy at the Gates sniper versus sniper scenario. Unfortunately, he drops the bullet and delivers one arena after the next full of garbage to kill without ever realizing this sniper fantasy. You have to run under the desks, fighting an endless flurry of flashes of light, as you climb rocks and walls. Insanely boring stealth segments of trial and error are shockingly juxtaposed with bombastic action sequences. I found it surprising that one of the characters in the game has essentially superhero powers, allowing them to see enemies through view-obstructing landscapes and automatically aim on demand with a combination of divine vision and bullet time. The multitude of storylines and segments are magnificent, but beauty cannot save this trip.

The narrative never decides whether it wants to stay grounded in the harsh realities of WWII or go after Ham, with absurd caricatures of whiny villains who would be more comfortable in a bad comic. This dissonance is pronounced, bizarre, and runs through the lifeblood of the whole experience. Call of Duty campaigns tend to go from weird to dramatic to emotional resonance – this one is none and is easy to ignore. I’m going to marvel at how this campaign has left the impression that a badass, revenge-fueled sniper storyline is stuck in traffic for years to come.

Multiplayer is successful, but not with the addition of a pistol, super-slide, or jetpack mechanic. The key to the online offering lies in very impactful decision tools, in addition to its already best-in-class shooting and customization. The most effective feature for base systems is the addition of a Combat Pacing dial. With Combat Pacing, you can influence the number of players and the engagement time of whatever activities you favor. It probably seems like a small thing, but it’s great because you can select exactly the type of multiplayer matches you want, in addition to the base game modes like Kill Confirmed, Hardpoint, or Domination. When I felt like throwing a bunch of grenades while packing a shotgun loaded with incendiary ammo, I got into Blitz mode, which allows for instant action with almost immediate engagement time. When I wanted something where I could not see a player immediately and have time to aim a rifle before I got shot, the tactical rhythm was perfect. Even if you don’t want to turn the dials, Assault is a great standby for standard Call of Duty multiplayer.

Combat Pacing is subtle but more important than any of the new multiplayer offerings. Still, Vanguard has a handful of new modes. Patrol offers a moving hard spot to protect, but it “patrols” around a map, and Champion Hill gives players some small-scale shenanigans to engage in. Champion Hill is sort of an evolution of Gunfight mode, with more player choices and lots of teams. play tournament style at the same time. Picking your path to victory via shopping in the hub and competing against other teams for lives and money feels different in terms of small-scale skirmishes, and I enjoyed that. Of course, the gunsmith has a plethora of options to explore for multiplayer, letting you tweak each weapon to your liking, up to and including ammo types for that little bit extra.

Last but not least is Zombies, designed by Treyarch. The studio’s intuition of the living dead rarely misses the mark, and Call of Duty: Vanguard is about to take the zombies down a fantasy road. This iteration is kind of like a roguelike zombie dungeon crawl, and it’s pretty awesome. With hints of the recent Outbreak Mode, players are tasked with taking down a demonic entity while wielding their own otherworldly powers, including rings of fire and icy fate, which allow you to summon a blizzard. All of the fun zombie traps like Pack-A-Punch, Mystery Box, and other upgrades serve as a hub in a base where players hang out between missions. Don’t be fooled into thinking you’ll have a city break; Zombies Mode is faster than ever with a neon arcade action glow and streamlined upgrades that keep you in the action.

With your team, choose from a selection of classic shooting activities where you’ll escort a magical item, survive until time runs out, or slaughter enemies to get drops. Lots of these elements we’ve seen before, but they’re laid out in an incredibly powerful way. For example, I enjoyed the lack of tedious commute time found in Outbreak – click on a portal and you move on to the next task. Special abilities acquired and upgraded after portals that can significantly alter your kit. Essentially, Vanguard distills a lot of interesting stuff about zombies into a compact package, and then carries some cool banter and dialogue throughout. Fortunately, you can still throw monkey bombs. However, none of the stories that beat the Easter eggs were in the version I played; these are expected to arrive with season 1.

Call of Duty: Vanguard’s campaign misses the mark, but multiplayer and zombies do the heavy lifting to get the title in the right place. If you’re more into the single player experience, you can skip this year’s entry, but if you’re into the other modes, Call of Duty is still a great choice for shooting, looting, and executing zombies. .

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