Call of Duty: Vanguard

MSRP $59.99

“While it adds some interesting new features to the Call of Duty formula, Vanguard’s mixed bag of changes makes it a forgettable entry.”


  • Guns really feel fantastic
  • Classic, fast-paced multiplayer
  • Destructible environments add depth


  • Forgettable marketing campaign
  • New Zombies system is not as enjoyable
  • Unbalanced weapons in multiplayer
  • A haven for cheaters

I fell again in love with Call of Duty two years in the past when the sequence’ Modern Warfare storyline was rebooted. The sport featured lots of the great elements from the basic Call of Duty expertise, all whereas including in some enjoyable new bits. Tactical dash was a pleasure, new choices for gear various gameplay, and new weapons (together with a lever-action rifle that I devoted approach an excessive amount of time to getting good with) have been a pleasure to make use of. Call of Duty: Vanguard appeared to emulate lots of that main as much as its launch, utilizing the identical engine as Modern Warfare and mimicking the sport’s extra reasonable really feel.

However, Vanguard is all present and little or no substance. It flexes some options, claiming that they’re new when actually solely one in all them is. Outside of multiplayer, Vanguard‘s marketing campaign and zombies modes each attempt to reinvent their basic interpretations, though each handle to fail in these makes an attempt. Having spent round 15 hours with the sport up to now, I really feel content material to set my controller down and stroll away from Vanguard for good.

Characters lack character

I’ve come to have some expectations when diving right into a Call of Duty sport, having been a participant for years upon years now. I anticipate an easy marketing campaign that lets actions communicate louder than phrases and a zombies mode the place I can shut my mind off completely and benefit from the slaughter with some mates. Vanguard tries to combine up each experiences with some fairly radical adjustments, though the result’s that each adjustments left me with a nasty style in my mouth.

Call of Duty: Vanguard‘s marketing campaign brings the franchise again, as soon as once more, to World War II. Instead of trying on the conflict via the lens of fighters in a given faction ,although, gamers are launched to the Vanguards, a choose group of extremely expert specialists from the allied nations. Each has their very own backstory, methodology, and even particular capacity. Each can be painfully uninteresting, together with the rest of the marketing campaign.

Very few of Vanguard‘s combat-heavy encounters get the blood pumping like earlier entries within the franchise.

Vanguard places its characters as the middle of the story, quite than their battle. It’s a giant flip for a Call of Duty title, one that may work higher if the sport really managed to make me care about any of the Vanguards. Instead, the group comes off as a ragtag crew of stereotypes. The Australian has been out and in of jail and disregards orders, the American is a lone wolf ace pilot, the Russian is vendetta completely happy, and the crew is led by a rationally considering Brit. Those descriptions are the start and finish of the depth of the characters that gamers fill the footwear of. They’re typical Call of Duty characters — shallow and uninspired — however the highlight is thrust upon them nonetheless.

The motion set items that often get all the eye in a Call of Duty title are, likewise, a bit underwhelming. Most of Vanguard‘s missions comply with a system of getting the participant sneak earlier than placing them right into a firefight. However, only a few of Vanguard‘s combat-heavy encounters get the blood pumping like earlier entries within the franchise.

Crawling through a jungle in Call of Duty: Vanguard

Upending custom

When Vanguard does handle to deliver the depth, it does so with weighty weapons and unbelievable sound design. Every weapon in Vanguard has its personal sound profile, every of which is mesmerizing to hearken to. Even now, I can hear the considerably hole, tinny sound an MP40 makes when reloaded. Firing weapons is a straightforward pleasure in Vanguard, and the truth that they will blow away cowl (and even physique elements) solely lends to that energy.

Each character’s capacity doesn’t do a lot to lend to the facility journey that gamers ought to be feeling. They’re all very simple: Highlighting enemies, commanding teammates, letting gamers maintain on to totally different sorts of explosives, and so on. These talents are what set every character aside throughout gameplay, however they ended up hardly making a distinction.

Every weapon in Vanguard has its personal sound profile, every of which is mesmerizing to hearken to.

Vanguard‘s campaign is an upending of everything players should expect from the single-player Call of Duty experience. It lacks those massive action-filled moments, instead telling its story through character-focused cutscenes. The same swift change in direction applies to the game’s zombies mode as properly, which now sports activities a full forged of characters who bark orders at gamers as they full aims. Killing zombies isn’t senseless motion in Vanguard, however an objective-based mode the place gamers’ subsequent strikes must be completely thought of.

Zombies walking in Call of Duty: Vanguard.

The sport’s lone map, Der Anfang, locations gamers in a hub space, directing them towards portals that result in zones the place gamers have to finish aims. Some aims are so simple as killing zombies and surviving, whereas others activity gamers with gathering up drops from zombies and bringing them to an enormous obelisk. While it’s enjoyable to revisit outdated zombies maps like Call of Duty: World at War‘s Shi No Numa, and have speedy entry to the Pack-A-Punch machine within the hub, Vanguard‘s zombies mode ended up feeling weighed down by its aims and left me wishing it was extra directionless like its earlier iterations.

Missing the mark

A Call of Duty sport is outlined by its multiplayer mode, the place nearly all gamers will spend a majority of their time. And whereas I can attest that Vanguard‘s multiplayer is better than its other two game modes, that’s not precisely a excessive bar of high quality. Multiplayer in Vanguard has total satisfying gunplay, however suffers from far too many balancing points that punish gamers who aren’t prepared to grind the sport out for a weekend.

When you hop into Call of Duty: Vanguard‘s multiplayer, you’re given a fundamental allotment of weapons and perks. But what the sport doesn’t inform you is that these weapons and perks are among the worst obtainable. Low-level gamers will discover themselves consistently outperformed by high-ranking gamers who’ve entry to the sport’s higher weapons and weapon attachments. The sport’s STG-44, its beginning assault rifle, is extremely troublesome to regulate when firing with its beginning attachments, for example. But higher-level gamers who’ve leveled up the weapon can flip it right into a laser beam that downs gamers immediately.

Vanguard‘s multiplayer also runs into some classic first-person shooter multiplayer issues. In some of the game’s smaller, extra chaotic maps, it’s not unusual to spawn in entrance of an enemy, serving them up a fast, free kill. This challenge isn’t unusual sufficient that it doesn’t generally throw the results of a match to luck, or give opponents easy accessibility to their killstreaks, a few of that are problematic in their very own proper. Some of Vanguard‘s killstreaks drop bombs across the map, and while they won’t all the time harm you, they’re assured to ship a puff of smoke up into the participant’s face. It’s a disorienting impact that simply made me lose gunfights and usually felt unfair.

Call of Duty Vanguard's Multiplayer.

Vanguard‘s biggest issue, outside of strange spawns and balancing issues, is one it has in common with Call of Duty: Warzone. During my time with the game, I’ve performed a handful of matches the place it was clear {that a} participant was dishonest. Killcams confirmed them locking onto gamers, generally via partitions, earlier than mowing them down with extraordinarily exact fireplace. Cheaters will ultimately make their approach into any sport, however given the aggressive nature of a few of Vanguard‘s sport modes, like Search and Destroy, encountering cheaters could be a game-ruining expertise.

During my time with the sport, I’ve performed a handful of matches the place it was clear {that a} participant was dishonest.

But when all the things does go proper in a sport of Vanguard, when issues don’t really feel too unbalanced and there aren’t any cheaters current, the sport’s improvements shine. Adding destructible environments to the sport brings a brand new degree of depth, as whole chunks of canopy are ultimately blown away, remodeling maps. Being in a position to burst via partitions is only a badass transfer like one thing ripped straight out of a ’90s motion film. It’s unlucky that these options are overshadowed by Vanguard‘s extra distinguished points.

Our take

Vanguard does what each entry within the Call of Duty franchise tries to do. It seeks to evolve the sequence’ fast-paced motion, flipping whole sport modes on their heads in some locations. But Call of Duty: Vanguard is an instance of innovating within the unsuitable course. It emphasizes the unsuitable elements of a Call of Duty marketing campaign and zombies mode, turning them into the worst variations of themselves. The sport’s lone redeeming issue is its multiplayer, which retains that good outdated run-and-gun enjoying type that gamers ought to anticipate. However, it’s slowed down with its personal points, starting from cheaters to probably game-ruining spawns. These points could be mounted, although, and as soon as remedied may go away Vanguard as an total respectable entry within the franchise for multiplayer lovers.

Either approach, I’ll nonetheless be enjoying 2019’s Modern Warfare for an additional yr at the least.

Is there a greater various?

If you’re in search of a brand new multiplayer FPS to get into, Battlefield 2042 is simple to advocate.

How lengthy does it final?

Call of Duty: Vanguard‘s campaign goes by quickly, lasting just over six hours. Anyone who wants to unlock everything in the game’s multiplayer ought to be capable to entertain themselves with the sport till one other Call of Duty title releases subsequent yr.

Should you purchase it?

No. Call of Duty: Vanguard doesn’t hit the bar of high quality set by 2019’s Modern Warfare, which to today holds up properly. If you’re in determined want of recent Call of Duty content material, be happy to buy the sport, however should you’re glad with no matter sport within the franchise you’re enjoying now, hold at it and move this one up.

Call of Duty: Vanguard writer Activision-Blizzard is presently going through lawsuits over the corporate’s alleged historical past of poisonous office habits. If that’s one thing which may affect your shopping for determination, we advocate studying up on the scenario.

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