Call of Duty reminds me a lot of Sean from Jimmy Neutron. A singular vision of what to present at the front of the class, along with zero qualms about providing anything remotely new.
Call of Duty Vanguard seems more of the same, once again reinforcing the fact that the audience that poo-pooed Infinite Warfare’s futurist campaign was wrong and Treyarch’s complete bungling of the Black Ops storyline post 2 turning the next couple games into these bizarre rush jobs with no real impact whatsoever. Sledgehammer might have made the best campaign in recent memory, but it’s completely ruined by the heavy presence of Kevin Spacey.
Activision has such little hope for Vanguard in terms of sticking around long enough that they’ve SEO’d the game’s website to combat this by placing “Best WW2 Game” at the end of the headline, forcing it into multiple Google searches when you go hunting for something to play.
So also in light of the recent controversy and general “maybe don’t play an Activision game” until they fix everything for the developers inside the company, let’s recommend some games you can play right now instead of Call of Duty Vanguard.
Half-Life 2 + Episodes 1 and 2
Half-Life 2 released in 2004, is still a masterpiece. If you haven’t experienced it, get to it. It’ll even be in the upcoming Steam sales – it always is.
Gordon Freeman awakes after being put in stasis after the first game’s disaster, to a world that is no longer his and must join the resistance to take it back.
Across three games you’ll fight amongst the cities, forests and zombie-infested abandoned towns in the world. Episode 1 might be the weakest and 2 does like its vehicle sections, but man. Nothing will ever compare to running at breakneck speed at the Combine across City-17 or the White Forest.
Also, I just want people to feel the pang of the pain of having the biggest cliffhanger in video games given to them.
EA’s reboot of the classic strategy game might not have been well received back in 2012, but to be honest, it actually paved the way for a lot of the changes we’re seeing in more modern shooters. Starbreeze’s cyberpunk shooter is this heavy feeling, fairly hard shooter with excellent set-pieces throughout the entire game. It’s actually a better cyberpunk game than Cyberpunk 2077, featuring hacking and brutal capitalistic actions.
Also, the main character is literally called Miles Kilo. It’s incredible.
DOOM is the only game that’s worthy of being written in all capitals. A vicious meatgrinder and perfectly structured demon slaughter, DOOM 2016 is the perfect soft reboot. It’s genuinely one of my favourite games of all time and has yet to be topped by anything else that has come since – even its own sequel.
If you want the fast-paced action of Zombies, but don’t actually want to play with other people, Painkiller: Hell and Damnation (HD, get it?) is the absolute perfect replacement for this. Structured levels with an incredible sense of chaos, Painkiller is my go-to when I need to destress. It features the hoards and constant bloodbath that is in CoD: Zombies, but you just never need to worry about literally anyone else. Just you, your convoluted set of guns and the various shambling hell demons coming your way.
Prey 2006 is an odd one to recommend, why wouldn’t I recommend Prey 2017? Well, see, they’re completely different things. The reboot ditched the idea of a first-person shooter in the traditional in favour of an immersive sim. It’s also really hard to get hold of legally, but because of this limbo the game has fallen into since Bethesda abandoned it, it’s quite available on Abandonware websites!