A new comes out Call of Duty and, once again, its creators take us to the Second World War. As fans of the saga, when they offer us to go – for the umpteenth time – to the most told conflict in the history of video games, we reluctantly go. It is undoubtedly a pivotal moment, with thousands of stories to tell or inspire. But everything has a price and the specialized critics are making them pay.
Of course, the taste for video games is very subjective. What may seem scary to some, is outright genius to others. Preconception is the worst enemy of gaming and, perhaps, we are missing a wonder, just because “someone said”. So we’re going to go against the grain and talk about a handful of reasons why you shouldn’t miss out on this new installment. Even knowing that they relentlessly refine the same formula and sell thousands of copies by name bearing.
A tremendous visual display, with some folds
In Call of Duty this is nothing new. Each delivery surprises with its graphic quality and raises the bar above the previous one. Despite using the same engine that Warzone maintains, year after year they find a way to steal a sigh from us. Thus, already in the opening scene we see a gigantic catalog of effects. A high-speed train, a night with a reddish sky -by the fire that lashes a city- and a rain that hits our heroes unstoppable. Drops abound, flutter in the wind, and the characters’ clothing shines with moisture. Everything is a perfect graphic symphony, until we discover that the faces are completely dry.
A little further on, the environment shows gunfights, burning windmills, and planes dropping paratroopers. While we have a fire and sparks that border on perfection, someone seems to have pasted “figurines” coming out of airplanes. Poor soldiers fall hard from the sky – like stickers in two or three sizes – and every once in a while some of them collapse in free fall.
Dare to tell a Single Player story
Today we all play online. Everything has multiplayer support and there are people claiming that first person shooter games should no longer have a story. This is something that is even comfortable for any studio, because it involves much less development time. But, if there’s one thing Call of Duty knows how to do, it’s tell stories in the most cinematic way possible.
On this occasion, a handful of soldiers from different countries try to infiltrate to steal Nazi secrets. Things go wrong and they are caught. During the interrogations, we go back in time to meet them at different stages of the war. Who they are, why they are there and what motivates them. Meanwhile, the Nazi empire is dying in the face of the Allied advance.
Beyond what they achieve with action and gameplay, the quality of the kinematics is superior. The situations, the frames, the light, the detail of the characters and, above all, the capture of movements and the acting. Richter, recreated by Dominic Monaghan (Lost, Lord of the Rings), is flawless. His gestures, his expressions of horror, his doubts and a nervous cough when speaking, build a masterful secondary character.
In this way, great moments are built with some emotional brushstrokes. But at the same time, at times the stories seem told in a hurry. As if someone were to tell you “guys, the singleplayer campaign can’t last more than six or seven hours.”
Characters based on real heroes
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Vanguard is that its protagonists are inspired by real stories. Stories that today have the massive push of Call of Duty. While there was no Paulina Petrova, there was a Lyudmila Mijáilivna Pavlichenko. He was born in July 1916 and eliminated 309 Nazi soldiers. They nicknamed her “Angel of Death” and the German troops were in a panic. They say that she is the most successful sniper and was one of the 95 heroines of the USSR.
There was also no Arthur Kingsley, but there was a Sidney Cornell. He was the first African-American paratrooper to jump behind German lines on D-Day. Sidney’s story was probably very different from Arthur’s, but he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for bravery that day. They wounded him several times in five weeks and he did not see the end of the war. He was killed in a bridge explosion in 1945.
In the same vein, Wade Jackson didn’t exist either, but he did Vernon “Mike” MicheeHe who was assigned to the USS Enterprise. During the Battle of Midway, a bomber flew and wreaked havoc among Japanese aircraft carriers.
Finally, Lucas Riggs also had his inspiring muse. Charles Upham he is one of the most famous soldiers in New Zealand. He joined the expeditionary forces in 1939 and for his efforts and leadership received several medals. He was wounded and captured in 1942 and, for trying to escape several times, he was locked up in Colditz Prison in 1944. He is one of three people who received the Victory Cross twice.
Gunplay, sound and an epic soundtrack
This is another of the areas of greater expertise for the creators of Vanguard. They all come from playing war games and many of them are from the Second World War. With this, Sledgehammer Games has six Call of Duty in its medal table, while Infinity Ward has ten.
This is how in each installment they improve the work on weapons and sounds, making them feel “almost” real. Although it is an arcade, they worked a lot on the recoil of the weapons (the novelty of supporting them to improve the aim is fantastic). The soundtrack – created by Bear McCreary – is wonderful and generates a climate that has nothing to envy of a Hollywood soundtrack.
Same multiplayer formula, but with more seasonings
Without a doubt, this is the highlight of Call of Duty. The traditional modes, Hot Spot, Confirmed Low or the classic Deathmatch are back. But in addition two new modalities make their debut. Patrol, which is very similar to Punto Caliente, but the place to be captured is moving.
Secondly, King of the hill It puts us in a duo or trio and forces us to shoot each other with other teams, with a time limit and respawn. Whoever survives is the winner. A strange mix between Battle Royale and Gulag from Warzone. Zombie mode is also back, refusing to go underground.
The pace of play is frantic as always. Maybe much more. If they are not used to such speed, they will have a hard time. And, if they are, too.
Call of Duty: Vanguard he is receiving the blows of the press, yet people continue to choose him. Sales start-up numbers are promising, however they are down and far from expected. The truth is that Call of Duty is a great game, perhaps below what we always expect. Encouraging yourself to tell a story has its risks. There are great characters that could have been deepened and avoidable technical flaws. But it is always good to see another fragment of the most important war in history. Even better if that pushes us to investigate and learn more. Applause for the bravery of making a single player, when many say that he is already dead.