Lady Nightingale could have saved Call of Duty: Vanguard from mediocrity

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Opinion: Polina Petrova is what Vanguard should have been about, as the Russian sniper is the most interesting character Phone call of Duty has offered in years.

Every bit the 19th game in the chief Call of Duty series, it’due south safe to say that nosotros’re all very familiar with the franchise at this signal. A vast bulk of the Call of Duty games follow the same formula and use the aforementioned gameplay mechanics, with the main difference each year unremarkably focusing around the advancements in graphics.

This fourth dimension around, Call of Duty: Vanguard tried to mix it up a little; y’all play equally four allied heroes, including an American pilot, a black British Sergeant, an Australian demolitions expert and a female Russian sniper. The game tries to put the states in the shoes of these outcasts throughout the game, with most of the focus going towards the racism that Sergeant Kingsley has to bargain with.

Just I would argue that the more interesting – and amend handled – character in this roster is actually the sniper Polina Petrova. She is one of the very few playable female characters in the CoD franchise, and her wasted potential is particularly noticeable.

Petrova is based on a existent-life female person sniper, Lyudmila Pavlichenko. Pavlichenko was a Soviet sniper for the Ruddy Army during the second world war and she is credited with 309 official kills, which makes her the near successful and deadly female sniper in earth history.

Lady Nightingale is besides a clear reference to Pavlichenko, whose own nickname was Lady Death. In my opinion, that is already interesting enough to warrant a bigger storyline. Combined with the storyline that Petrova is given regarding her family and Steiner, she easily could take taken centre stage in Vanguard.

Not only would this exist a very appreciated moment for all the female fans of the franchise, but if Sledgehammer kept her original gameplay mechanics from this game, information technology would exist one of the most refreshing revamps for the Call of Duty franchise yet.

Since playing Vanguard, I can safely say that her missions were the near memorable. Her get-go mission opens up with her talking to her father and brother, as you’re given the chance to wander through Stalingrad and chat to neighbours.

While I wasn’t too thrilled with the comparatively slow and modest start to her story, if built up over a whole entrada instead of two levels, it would be ane of the more emotional Call of Duty stories, as we would have time to actually understand why Petrova wants to save Russia and her family.

Not but was her story a lot more than impactful than the others – Australian demolition practiced Lucas Riggs’ entire storyline was essentially based on him antisocial all of his superiors – simply her gameplay mechanics offered a lot more diverseness to missions. Petrova tin can climb up walls and tin motion swiftly while crouching, meaning that all of her missions offer the player freedom for how yous could attack. Volition you snipe your enemy from the rooftops, or will you creep through the grates and takedown your enemy without anyone noticing?

And while Vanguard attempted to develop deeper themes around race regarding Sergeant Kingsley, the lack of resolution and confusing tone fabricated it experience like Sledgehammer wasn’t ready to commit to this type of storyline, and instead just wanted to allude to information technology so it could say it tried. The theming around Kingsley fell flat considering anybody’s overly racist attitudes no matter which side they were on.

With Petrova, however, her storyline regarding gender reaches a much more than satisfying decision. Her first mission starts with everyone reminding her that she is in fact a woman, and thus won’t be fighting alongside her brother, even if she is a more talented marksman. But equally the mission progresses she comes into her ain, with her and other characters acknowledging that she was the only person who could have saved everyone.

Over again, if done over a full-length campaign, this storyline could take been fleshed out even more, and it feels like Sledgehammer was just more comfortable talking virtually gender rather than race, which calls into question why her graphic symbol wasn’t pushed more than into the spotlight.

If Call of Duty wants to use the well-worn properties of real-life wars like WW2, I don’t see why it tin can’t utilise the most interesting historical figures, and to half-use such a fascinating woman like Pavlichenko is such a waste material.

If Activision wants to reinvigorate a series that is arguably becoming stale, it needs to mix things up and have some risks, and it will never exercise that if it keeps pushing some of history’s deadliest female heroes into the background.

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