PETER HOSKIN reviews Call of Duty – Vanguard and Football Manager 22

Yes, it’s once more unto the virtual breach: PETER HOSKIN reviews Call of Duty – Vanguard and Football Manager 22

CALL OF DUTY: VANGUARD (PlayStation, Xbox, PC, £59.99) 

Verdict: Shooting with meaning

Rating:

FOOTBALL MANAGER 22 (PC, Xbox, Switch, £39.99)

Verdict: Nerdball

Rating:

Uh-oh, duty’s calling again. Just as it has in almost every year since 2003.

Sometimes it wants you to take part in covert missions during the Cold War. Sometimes it sends you to the technological battlefronts of the near future.

But each time the experience is fundamentally the same: shoot — and keep on shooting until all the bad guys are dead.

The latest Call of Duty game, subtitled Vanguard, is no different. In a harkening back to the first games in the series, its setting is World War II.

The latest Call of Duty game, subtitled Vanguard, is a harkening back to the first games in the series, with its setting in World War II

In telling the stories of a group of Allied special agents at the tail end of the war, Vanguard takes you from the frostbitten ruins of Stalingrad to the battleship-strewn waters of the Pacific, from Normandy to El Alamein

During its roughly six-hour campaign mode, you end up shooting a lot of Nazis

During its roughly six-hour campaign mode, you end up shooting a lot of Nazis.

Still, there’s enough big-budget spectacle to keep things engaging.

In telling the stories of a group of Allied special agents at the tail end of the war, Vanguard takes you from the frostbitten ruins of Stalingrad to the battleship-strewn waters of the Pacific, from Normandy to El Alamein.

The sights and sounds are as impressive as they come on modern consoles.

But, as with other Call of Duty games, the substance of Vanguard is rather thin. It’s not just the constant shooting, it’s also the usual cack-handed moralising: this game wants to tell you that war is terrible . . . and then give you a flamethrower to make short work of some enemy bunkers. Hooray! I think?

Some might prefer Vanguard’s two other modes, Multiplayer and Zombies, in which you take on unknown people from around the world and the undead respectively.

But my trigger finger isn’t quick enough to compete. Next time, I think I’ll just put duty on hold.

The new Football Manager game, where most of the gameplay is done off the pitch

On the surface, Football Manager is just a glorified spreadsheet of ginormous proportions

Here’s another longstanding series that doesn’t change much each year — but it has so much more heart than Call of Duty.

Which is strange because, on the surface, Football Manager is just a glorified spreadsheet of ginormous proportions.

It presents you with reams of information about teams, players, agents, finances — and you have to make decisions accordingly. So where’s the heart? It’s in the care that is put into both compiling all the stats and then making them play out — compellingly— on match days.

What could be accountancy ends up becoming storytelling. 

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