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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Call of Duty: Vanguard just gives me for free what Battlefield 2042 misses

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opinion: Arms Race is the best mode that could happen to Call of Duty Vanguard.

Every now and then I get mail from some offices or institutions. So not urgent mail, not a your home is being seized or arrest warrant for unlawfully using Minecraft cheats, but rather some lame We’ve changed our terms and conditions, here’s 40 pages of bureaucratic legalese. And I find it so hard to even get to the third paragraph in these dry wastes of text. Bureaucratic stuff interests me so unspeakably little that my eyes keep slipping as I read, like a climbing squirrel on a smoothly polished marble wall.

For months, Call of Duty Vanguard has actually been just that for me. I gave as much of a shit about the game in private as I did pizza with tangerines, which is to say zero-zero. You would have had to pay me money to get involved with a World War CoD again, because absolutely no one in my circle had been waiting for Vanguard. Neither my friends nor I nor you, if the meagre call-up figures of our Vanguard messages are to be believed.

But that has suddenly changed. For days now, my friends have been playing nothing but Vanguard – and that is solely due to the new Arms Race mode, which you can all try out completely free of charge until 13 April. Because this mode provides me with exactly what Battlefield 2042 missed out on.

What is Arms Race?

In fairness: Vanguard is also having a pretty easy time winning my heart right now. Halo Infinite, since release, is turning more and more into one of those relationships whose flame goes out over time because you just don’t experience anything new together. No new content until May, nothing to unlock, just routine – absolute love killer.

And even more: This mode is so clever that other multiplayer modes can take a leaf out of its book. The basic principle can be summarised quickly.

  • Like in classic Conquest, two large teams fight for seven control points in the snowy Alps.
  • If you take all the checkpoints from the enemies and hold them for 60 seconds, it’s all over and you return home victorious.
  • Compared to other conquest multiplayers, Arms Race is tiny. A mere 24 people battle for supremacy in two teams of 12.

Of course, on the game box, 24 players would be merciless against the 128 of a Battlefield 2042, but in gameplay reality, Vanguard hits the perfect sweet spot here of constant action with no idle time and I can drive around half the map with buddies to steal the checkpoints from under the enemies’ butts. The Alpine map is exactly as big as it needs to be to ensure this. But there are other tricks in Arms Race.

The trick of Arms Race

Wettrüsten, as the mode is called in German, works differently in detail than regular Conquest. You don’t simply have to hold points to drive the opponent’s ticker towards zero. Instead, special explosive crates land somewhere on the map. If you capture them and carry them into your own base, you can permanently take an enemy checkpoint out of the race.

This is where Vanguard learns from the Battle Royale tricks of Warzone, because in the course of the match, the battlefield becomes smaller and smaller because more and more control points fall away. As a rule, only two bases are left at the end – and whoever gets hold of the last explosive box can bowl the remaining enemy base off the board like a chess piece.

Arms Race has even more tricks. For example, two control points are randomly taken out of the game at the beginning of the match so that the Alpine map remains dynamic. And at the beginning, everyone starts with the same loadout – you only earn your own favourite weapons over time. There are also tanks, jeeps and motorbikes to facilitate flanking manoeuvres and control actions. But I don’t want to go into too much detail, I want to get to the real point.

And that’s great now … because?

I play Battlefield because I want to collect campfire stories with friends. Because I like absurd manoeuvres that we still remember years later, because we oh-so-legendarily crossed other players at the time, stole their point at the last second, and, and, and. That’s exactly what Arms Race gives me.

Vanguard manages the masterpiece of putting all the strengths of huge Conquest modes into a compact package without really losing anything. Arms Race is more or less the counterpart to Battlefield 2042: instead of growing uncontrollably in width, it condenses and tightens in exactly the right places.

If you have a few buddies at the start in Arms Race, you increase your own chances enormously.
If you have a few buddies at the start in Arms Race, you increase your own chances enormously.

My mates and I have been in the flow for days. Every free evening we lose ourselves for three to four hours in Arms Race, pursue wacky strategies, experience great Battlefield moments … only in Call of Duty. If you have a group of friends, give it a try. It’s still free for a while.

Age: 25 Origin: Bulgaria Hobbies: Gaming Profession: Online editor, student


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