Vanguard vs Battlefield 2042: Does Call of Duty come out on top this time?

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Call of Duty and Battlefield are two of the biggest first-person shooter series at the moment. Halo Infinite has seen the unexpected return of another amazing franchise, but the debate on whether you should pick up Call of Duty Vanguard or Battlefield 2042 is still important. Here's what we think...

BLACK FRIDAY - Both games are on sale right now!

We know this isn't going to help you make a choice - but both games are at their lowest price right now thanks to Black Friday deals and offers!

Call of Duty Vanguard's Black Friday deals also come with COD Points - however, they are more than the price of the base game alone.

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On the flip side, the Standard Edition of Battlefield 2042 is the best Black Friday deal at the moment. This doesn't have microtransactions in the same way as Call of Duty does, so it might be worthwhile if you're on the fence.

Both games are expecting free post-launch content and we're due a couple of major Battlefield 2042 updates to drop

POST-LAUNCH - New Patch Notes improve both games

Battlefield 2042's Day One Patch was matched by Sledgehammer Games with another Call of Duty Vanguard update - both of which are updates aiming to improve the general performance and balancing of their respective games. Here are the highlights from both, to help you decide which one you should jump into this weekend.

  • Battlefield 2042 Day One Patch Highlights
    • Implemented Server Side upgrades that are targeted at reducing instances of Rubber Banding, often experienced in the later part of a round in All-Out Warfare modes.
    • Significantly reduced instances of stuttering when playing on Breakaway. If the silos are destroyed, it should no longer reduce performance on the server.
      • A note that we are continuing to investigate similar occurrences that have been reported to us on other maps.
    • When looking at allies on your team, their names will now correctly display.
    • Adjusted the animations for Falck during the End of Round sequence to ensure that she is displayed correctly.
    • Updated a skin earnable for Boris via Mastery Progression with a new name: Gator.
    • Ensured that TDM Rounds in Battlefield Portal always start with Random Deploy set as active. We observed that this sometimes wasn’t active when moving from round to round, but have now fixed this.
    • Applied a set of measures that ensure the correct number of AI spawn in Custom Battlefield Portal modes using the Free for All preset.
    • PC Only - Enabled Specialist Selection in Hazard Zone via mouse interaction, removing the need to lock in your selection with the Spacebar.
    • Fixed a rare occurrence in Hazard Zone that would sometimes cause the End of Round flow to not activate correctly, ensuring that the correct amount of bonus XP was awarded.
    • Repaired an issue found in Hazard Zone that could cause players to be shown on the Map when they were not visible, or spotted.
    • Provided a fix for Hazard Zone players who were not seeing their Extraction Streaks updating correctly.
  • Call of Duty Vanguard Update Highlights
    • PS5 - Resolved issue where players could not start up Vanguard if they had less than 40GB of space available
    • Weapons
      • Fixed bug preventing players from equipping camos
      • Players can no longer equip camos they don't own
    • Clans
      • Fixed issues where Clan Members would crash when sending a clan invite
    • Progression
      • Corrected inconsistencies for Next Unlock in the Operator's Tab
    • Zombies
      • Addressed an issue where players couldn't view the Scoreboard after dying or after Exfil
      • Addressed an issue where players could not view Armor Health in the HUD
      • Addressed an issue where Objectives would not start properly, preventing progression
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It's also worth noting that Shipment just dropped in Vanguard with a 24/7 playlist...

Both games are off to a rough start...

Call of Duty Vanguard has been out a little while now and it looks like it's had a tough start - commercially, anyway.

VGC has reported that Vanguard's UK launch sales have been the lowest in fourteen years for Call of Duty. It's the second-biggest game of the year, though, but low for a Call of Duty game. This could be Warzone's influence, as it's free to play, but it doesn't bode well for the game.

In addition to this, Battlefield 2042's initial launch - it's currently in Early Access - has been met with an ambivalent response. The gameplay is a solid basis, but it's lacking. The maps are huge, but feel empty in a lot of places. It's lacking content and server issues aren't making things any better.

Read on for more on why Battlefield 2042 might be for you, or why Call of Duty Vanguard should get your money...

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The case for buying Battlefield 2042...

Battlefield games are warfare on an epic scale and Battlefield 2042 takes that to the next level - something that Call of Duty simply doesn't. Fans of Battlefield 3 and 4 will be pleased to know that we've returned to the near future with Battlefield 2042. There's going to be tanks, jets, helicopters, and all manner of crazy ways to kill one another in Battlefield 2042.

On next-gen consoles and PC, Battlefield 2042 supports up to 128 players in a game and EA DICE has introduced a new Operative system alongside Battlefield's traditional class system. You might want to play as a Medic, but you won't be playing as a faceless Medic anymore!

Vanguard Battlefield
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VEHICLES - Call of Duty just doesn't do those

Battlefield 2042 also lets you customise your weapons on the fly and features a lot of new gadgets that match its technologically advanced warfare. Massive, dynamic, multiplayer maps are your destructive playground in what could be the most impressive Battlefield game we've seen.

In addition to this, Battlefield's Portal feature offers endless hours of play and - as far as we know - is going to be continually supported post-launch. This is a mode where you can draw on Battlefield's past - like Battlefield 3, Bad Company 2, and Battlefield V - to create your own matches on select locations from the series. It's limited for now, but expect this to evolve over time and introduce a lot more content for you to check out.

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Battlefield Vanguard
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PORTAL - Mix-and-Match from Battlefield's history

The case for buying Call of Duty Vanguard...

Call of Duty's latest entry takes us back to the Second World War with a slew of new features. Vanguard has the most extensive Gunsmith yet, with each weapon allowing up to ten attachments. In addition to this, it's the largest multiplayer launch in Call of Duty's history - there are over thirty weapons to check out and twenty maps.

Call of Duty Vanguard also has an incredible Campaign, something that Battlefield 2042 lacks entirely, and another iteration of Treyarch's Call of Duty Zombies. Zombies is lacking in content at the moment, but Vanguard Season One is dropping on December 2nd. This update should introduce new Operators, new Weapons, new multiplayer maps, and more Zombies content.

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Vanguard Battlefield
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CLASSIC - Call of Duty games are reliable in their quality

Call of Duty Vanguard is fast-paced and Sledgehammer Games' new Combat Pacing feature only improves this. Now, Call of Duty lobbies will be dynamically sized based on the map in play - with some being a 10v10 minimum. You can also toggle Assault or Blitz Combat Pacing to up this number even more. Call of Duty's multiplayer has never been more hectic and it's a game that wants to throw you into the thick of the fight as soon as it can.

Sledgehammer Games have re-introduced Cover Mounting to Call of Duty through Vanguard alongside "Destructible Environments". These aren't exactly comparable to Battlefield's level of destruction, but anything that's made out of wood (which is surprisingly a lot of the walls) is subject to being destroyed.

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Battlefield Vanguard
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SMASH AND SHOOT - Vanguard features SOME destructible environments

So, Battlefield 2042 or Call of Duty Vanguard?

This is the big question, isn't it?

Battlefield 2042 is a Multiplayer-only experience - Hazard Zone and Portal offer more variance than Call of Duty Vanguard, but they're all still PvP Multiplayer experiences. Call of Duty Vanguard, on the other hand, has a Campaign mode and Zombies. The Campaign might be short, but it's one of the best we've seen from a Call of Duty game in some time.

To add to this, Vanguard is getting more immediate post-launch content. Season One is due next month - however, there are rumours that Battlefield 2042's first season of content isn't coming until 2022!

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Battlefield is going to have the longevity Call of Duty games lack, though. Vanguard is expected to be replaced in Q4 2022 by another Modern Warfare title whereas Battlefield 2042 is going to be around for a little longer if it can keep its' players happy.

Call of Duty Vanguard might be trying to do things differently, but it still boils down to being a Call of Duty game. The pace of combat is fast, games tend to last ten minutes or less, and there's a lot of quick-scoping. Battlefield 2042, similarly, is still a Battlefield game. Its combat is slower and more open, with vehicles playing a huge part and environmental destruction key in shaping the experience.

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The deciding factor might be the cost of both games, then. Battlefield 2042 and Call of Duty Vanguard both require an initial purchase that's around the same price. We know for certain that Call of Duty Vanguard's post-launch content will be free as well. The Battle Pass will add new Operators, new cosmetic items, and XP boosters - however, all the maps and weapons will be available to unlock without additional purchases. At the moment, we're not entirely certain how Battlefield 2042's post-launch content will work. Portal offers a lot and we're under the impression some content will be free - but at the moment, we don't know for sure. Battlefield has traditionally had paid content expansions - map packs and weapons can be locked behind a paywall.

If you're worried about forking out more money in the future, Call of Duty Vanguard might be the better choice. However, we'll need to wait for more confirmation from EA DICE on whether future DLC will be free. If it is, there's a lot in store for Battlefield 2042 and it will undoubtedly have more multiplayer content in the end. The question is... Do you want to wait and how much do you like Call of Duty Zombies?