Call Of Duty: Vanguard Review: Innovating Upside Down

Call Of Duty: Vanguard Review: Innovating Upside Down
Soldiers running in the Call of Duty: Vanguard promo.

Call of Duty: Vanguard

MSRP $59.99

“While it does add some interesting new features to the Call of Duty formula, Vanguard’s mix of changes makes for a forgettable entry.”

advantages

  • Guns feel wonderful

  • Fast-paced, classic multiplayer

  • Destructible environments add depth

Cons

  • forgettable campaign

  • The new Zombies formula is not so fun

  • Unbalanced weapons in multiplayer

  • A paradise for cheaters

I fell in love with Call of Duty all over again two years ago when the series Modern war History restarted. The game featured many of the good parts of the classic Call of Duty experience, while also adding some fun new things. The tactical sprint was a joy, the new team options varied the game, and the new weapons (including a lever-action rifle that I spent way too much time improving) were a joy to use. Call of Duty: Vanguard seemed to emulate a lot of that before its release, using the same engine as Modern war and mimicking the most realistic feel of the game.

Nevertheless, Vanguard it’s all spectacle and very little substance. It flexes some features, claiming they are new when in fact only one of them is. Outside of multiplayer, VanguardThe campaign and zombie modes try to reinvent their classic interpretations, although both manage to fail in those attempts. Having spent around 15 hours with the game so far, I’m happy to put down my controller and walk away from Vanguard for good

The characters lack character.

I’ve come to have some expectations when I dive into a Call of Duty game, having been a player for years and years. I’m hoping for a simple campaign that lets actions speak louder than words and a zombie mode where I can turn my brain off completely and enjoy the slaughter with some friends. Vanguard tries to mix both experiences with some pretty radical changes, although the result is that both changes left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

Call of Duty: VanguardThe campaign brings back the franchise, once again, to World War II. Instead of looking at the war through the lens of combatants from a given faction, however, players are introduced to the Vanguards, a select group of highly-skilled specialists from allied nations. Each one has their own backstory, methodology, and even a special skill. Each one is painfully uninteresting, along with the rest of the campaign.

very few of VanguardHeavy combat encounters get the blood pumping like previous entries in the franchise.

Vanguard it puts its characters at the center of the story, rather than their struggle. It’s a great twist for a Call of Duty title, one that would work better if the game actually managed to make me care about any of the Vanguards. Instead, the group appears as a motley crew of stereotypes. The Australian has been in and out of jail and ignoring orders, the American is a lone wolf ace pilot, the Russian is a happy vendetta, and the team is led by a rational-thinking Brit. Those descriptions are the beginning and the end of the depth of the characters that players step into the shoes of. They are typical Call of Duty characters, shallow and uninspired, but the spotlight is on them nonetheless.

The action set pieces that usually get all the attention in a Call of Duty title are likewise a bit disappointing. most of VanguardMissions follow a formula where the player sneaks around before putting them in a firefight. However, very few of VanguardHeavy combat encounters get the blood pumping like previous entries in the franchise.

Crawling through a jungle in Call of Duty: Vanguard

overturning tradition

When Vanguard it manages to bring the intensity, it does so with heavy weapons and fantastic sound design. Every weapon in Vanguard has its own sound profile, each of which is fascinating to listen to. Even now, I can hear the somewhat hollow, metallic sound an MP40 makes when recharging. Shooting guns is a simple pleasure in Vanguardand the fact that they can blow up cover (or even body parts) only lends to that power.

Each character’s ability doesn’t do much to contribute to the power trip that players should be feeling. They’re all extremely simple: singling out enemies, commanding teammates, allowing players to hold on to different types of explosives, etc. These skills are what distinguish each character during the game, but they ended up not making a difference.

Every weapon in Vanguard has its own sound profile, each of which is fascinating to listen to.

VanguardThe campaign is a flip of everything players should expect from the Call of Duty single player experience. It lacks those massive action-packed moments, instead telling its story through character-focused cutscenes. The same quick change of direction applies to the game’s zombies mode as well, which now features a full cast of characters barking orders at players as they complete objectives. Killing zombies is not a meaningless action in Vanguardbut an objective-based mode where the players’ next moves must be carefully considered.

Walking zombies in Call of Duty: Vanguard.

The game’s solo map, Der Anfang, places players in a central area, directing them towards portals that lead to zones where players must complete objectives. Some objectives are as simple as killing zombies and surviving, while others require players to collect drops from zombies and take them to a huge obelisk. While it’s fun to revisit old zombie maps like call of duty world at war‘s Shi No Numa, and have immediate access to the Pack-A-Punch machine in the center, VanguardZombies mode ended up feeling overwhelmed by its objectives and left me wishing it had no direction like its previous iterations.

miss the mark

A Call of Duty game is defined by its multiplayer mode, where almost all players will spend most of their time. And while I can attest that VanguardThe multiplayer is better than its other two game modes, that’s not exactly a high bar for quality. multiplayer in Vanguard it has satisfying gunplay overall, but it suffers from too many balance issues that punish players who aren’t willing to play for a weekend.

when you get in Call of Duty: VanguardIn multiplayer, you receive a basic allotment of weapons and perks. But what the game doesn’t tell you is that those weapons and perks are some of the worst available. Low level players will find themselves constantly outmatched by high ranked players who have access to the best weapons and weapon attachments in the game. The game’s STG-44, his starting assault rifle, is incredibly difficult to control when fired with his starting attachments, for example. But higher level players who have leveled up the weapon can turn it into a laser beam that knocks players down in an instant.

VanguardThe multiplayer also runs into some classic first-person shooter multiplayer issues. On some of the smaller, more chaotic maps in the game, it’s not uncommon to spawn in front of an enemy, offering them a quick and free kill. This issue isn’t common enough that it sometimes doesn’t throw the outcome of a match up to chance, or give opponents easy access to your killstreaks, some of which are problematic in their own right. Some of VanguardKillstreaks drop bombs around the map, and while they won’t always damage you, they’re guaranteed to send a puff of smoke into the player’s face. It’s a disorienting effect that easily caused me to miss firefights and generally felt unfair to me.

Call of Duty Vanguard multiplayer.

VanguardThe biggest problem with, outside of the weird spawns and balance issues, is one that it has in common with call of duty: war zone. During my time with the game, I played a handful of matches where it was clear a player was cheating. Killcams showed them closing in on players, sometimes through walls, before taking them down with extremely accurate fire. Cheaters will eventually find their way into any game, but given the competitive nature of some of VanguardIn Search and Destroy game modes, encountering cheaters can be a game-breaking experience.

During my time with the game, I played a handful of matches where it was clear a player was cheating.

But when all goes well in a game of VanguardWhen things don’t feel too lopsided and no cheaters are present, the game’s innovations shine. Adding destructible environments to the game brings a new level of depth, as entire parts of the cover eventually disappear, transforming maps. Being able to walk through walls is just a rough move like something straight out of a 90s action movie. It’s unfortunate that these features are overshadowed by Vanguard‘s highlights.

our take

Vanguard it does what every entry in the Call of Duty franchise tries to do. It looks to evolve the fast-paced action of the series, turning entire game modes upside down in places. But Call of Duty: Vanguard it is an example of innovation in the wrong direction. It emphasizes the wrong parts of a Call of Duty campaign and zombies mode, turning them into the worst versions of themselves. The game’s only redeeming factor is its multiplayer mode, which retains that good run-and-gun style of gameplay that players should expect. However, it is stuck with its own problems, ranging from cheaters to spawners that can ruin the game. However, these problems can be fixed and, once fixed, can stop Vanguard as an overall decent entry in the franchise for multiplayer lovers.

Either way, I’ll keep playing. 2019 Modern war for another year at least.

Is there a better alternative?

If you’re looking for a new multiplayer FPS to get into, battlefield 2042 it is easy to recommend.

How long does it last?

Call of Duty: VanguardThe campaign goes by quickly, lasting just over six hours. Anyone who wants to unlock everything in the game’s multiplayer mode should be able to keep themselves entertained with the game until another Call of Duty title is released next year.

Should you buy it?

Do not. Call of Duty: Vanguard falls short of the quality bar set by 2019 Modern war, which to this day is holding up well. If you are in desperate need of new Call of Duty content, feel free to buy the gamebut if you’re satisfied with whatever game in the franchise you’re playing right now, go ahead and skip this one.

Call of Duty: Vanguard Publisher Activision-Blizzard is currently facing lawsuits over the company’s alleged history of toxic workplace behavior. If that’s something that could affect your purchase decision, we recommend reading up on the situation.

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