CoD Vanguard vs Battlefield 2042: Which 2021 shooter reigns supreme?

It’s shooter season, and this year sees CoD Vanguard vs Battlefield 2042 in a battle for your trigger finger’s attention. Which one comes out on top? Another year means another Call of Duty, and while Vanguard takes the franchise back to World War II, it’s got a new challenger that’s going the other way. Battlefield 2042 has jumped to the near future following Battlefield V, but with both launching in the same month it can be tough to tell which one you’ll prefer. While Xbox and PC fans can also check out Halo Infinite, a game that dropped its multiplayer portion out of nowhere a few weeks before launch, many FPS fans will want to stick to more realistic combat. With that in mind, we’ve put Vanguard and Battlefield 2042 in a head-to-head battle. Which shooter should you buy? This is a bit of a mismatch in truth, but if you’re a solo player looking to blow through a campaign then Call of Duty Vanguard is the only option here. That’s because Battlefield 2042 is multiplayer only, and will let you fight against offline bots in multiplayer matches, but has no bespoke campaign. On the other hand, Vanguard has a solid, Tarantino-esque effort that tells the tale of the world’s first special forces unit in WWII. As you’d expect with a CoD campaign, there are plenty of set pieces, and while it’s a little formulaic, there are some fun stealth and sniping sections. Vanguard also offers Zombies, if you’re into that, although we’d much prefer to play that in multiplayer. The winner this round: Call of Duty: Vanguard. CoD Vanguard vs Battlefield 2042 multiplayer Inarguably the most contentious of these categories, multiplayer is where virtual warriors will be spending the majority of their time (or all of it, if you’re playing Battlefield 2042). The good news here is that both games have a solid base to build out from, with both Vanguard and Battlefield 2042 getting post-launch content for free, including maps, characters, and weapons. That’s a good thing, because at launch things could do with a little improvement. Vanguard’s spawn points are all over the place, while Battlefield 2042’s 128-player matches can be a little too busy. Vanguard’s Zombies mode, sadly, feels half-finished. All the usual Call of Duty modes are here, but Battlefield is a little more experimental. Hazard Zone is a squad-based mode where 32-players hunt for resources while fighting each other and AI squads, feeling like a big-budget Escape from Tarkov. The best addition, though, is Battlefield Portal. This lets you take tools from the likes of Battlefield 3, 1942, Bad Company 2, and of course, 2042, and make custom match types with all kinds of parameters – like sending WWII infantry up against an army of robot dogs. The winner this round: Battlefield 2042 CoD Vanguard vs Battlefield 2042 gameplay Despite stepping back into the 1940s, Call of Duty has lost none of its snappiness. Weapons feel great, and while the time-to-kill is a little on the short side, it makes for great running and gunning – even if not every one of the launch maps is a winner. When it comes to Battlefield 2042, there are few games that offer the feeling of charging into a warzone. Bullets bounce off of walls, explosions shake the screen, and tanks rumble by while aircraft dogfight above. It’s a lot to take in, which can make it extra frustrating when you’re sniped from the next postcode. When you’re the one pulling the trigger, though? Exquisite. While Sledgehammer Games could have stuck to the usual format of mostly static maps, the team has implemented some destructibility in the environments. Some walls can be torn through, and grenades can blow doors off hinges. Battlefield 2042 still takes the cake for explosive redecorating, though, because while its destructible environments are great, its new weather systems are next level. Sandstorms roll through and obscure vision for all players, or a hurricane can hurl a soldier into the air. Still, it’s tough to call – if you’re looking for more running and gunning, then Vanguard provides that in spades. For slightly slower, more methodical combat, it has to be Battlefield 2042. It comes down to preference though, so we’ll call this a draw. The winner this round: Tie CoD Vanguard vs Battlefield 2042 verdict So here we are, at the verdict, with each game sitting on 1.5 rounds won. It may sound a cop-out, but it’s justified – both games, despite their inherent similarities as FPS titles, offer something a little different. Battlefield 2042 is the perfect title to practice your sniping, although that may mean things don’t get as hectic as they do in Call of Duty Vanguard. On the other hand, Vanguard’s action can feel like it needs the Benny Hill music at times, as players dart around its maps dodging bullets and killstreaks. The good thing is that each game is worthy of your time, and for more on each, we’d recommend going to read our full reviews of Call of Duty Vanguard and Battlefield 2042.