Call of duty vanguard
Call of duty vanguard
And we’re back with another episode of “Before You Buy,” the show where we give you some straight-up gameplay and some of our first impressions on the latest games releasing. And today, we’re talking about “Call of Duty: Vanguard.” That’s right. They made another one. We dove in on launch day and decided to take a look.
As a group here, we tackled the campaign, some multiplayer, and the Zombies mode. Bottom line here, right at the start: “Call of Duty” releases every year. It’s an endless product at this point. If you’re not interested, you’re still not gonna be interested. I still think they should have maybe taken a year off, focused on their other projects, and obviously, Activision is pretty messy right now and needs to get their stuff together. But hey, “Vanguard” feels like an in-between game. It’s not the strongest entry.
It’s got some lame stuff, and it’s got quite a few nice things worth pointing out. It’s still fun, but we’re mixed. You might like it if you are looking for some more World War II stuff, at least. Let’s get into it, though.
The campaign footage here was captured on PlayStation 5, the multiplayer footage here was captured on PC, and the Zombies mode was on Xbox Series X. So let’s start with the campaign. For us here, and me specifically, personally, it’s pretty strong. You guys know I say it every year:
I love playing through the campaigns. I try them all because they’re always just fun little popcorn roller-coaster rides, like kind of just quick action movies, and this one has some really, really good standout moments and a couple of boring, bland missions in between. The story revolves around a group of unique, quirky soldiers from various countries, working together on a big conspiracy at the end of the World War II involving Hitler’s fictional successor. Each soldier is unique for different reasons and are a little more over-the-top than your classic World War II thing, helping this all kind of feel a little fresh.
There’s Paulina Petrova, AKA Lady Nightingale, the bloodthirsty Russian sniper badass who I think is loosely based on a real-world Soviet sniper, who she killed like 300 people in the war. Then there’s Lucas Riggs, the quirky, funny Australian explosive guy. Then there’s the American guy, Wade Jackson. He’s kind of just like a stereotypical hot shot ace pilot. And the English Arthur Kingsley, the kind of leader who is just super crazy smart and knows a bunch of languages and is also pretty badass. Along the campaign, they all have their unique tricks, like being able to carry more explosives and swap between them or being able to whistle and wave and draw fire, nice little shakeups to the campaign shootouts here and there that really do wonders because some of the actual encounters and areas are pretty straightforward.
Now, these characters, not only are they all involved in the plot together, but the game also jumps back to their time in the middle of the war, giving them a little character development and setting up the overall plot, while also, of course, giving you kind of like a little greatest hits of World War II, featuring these fictional characters in it. There are some cool Ariel battles as Wade, who then eventually crash-lands in the jungle and fights off Japanese forces. Lucas is in the desert campaign, giving you a little bit of desert Nazi action, and these can feel a bit bland at times, but the standout is Paulina by far. Many World War II games have given you Stalingrad stuff, and “Call of Duty” has done it a few times.
I can’t actually think of all of them. It’s pretty cool, but this stuff takes the cake. It’s good sniper encounters, a personal mission involving taking out a Nazi general, and it’s all cold, it’s bloody, and pretty gory, and the game gives you a few environments where you creep around buildings super quick, hiding under tables, going through vent shafts, popping out, and shanking dudes. It almost feels like a “Batman: Arkham” stealth environment, just quick and deadly. It’s a nice new spin. Is it realistic? No. Is it fun? Yeah. “Vanguard’s” campaign isn’t gonna change the world, but the people who worked on it clearly gave a damn. It’s not perfect and there are a couple of lame missions, but the story and characters are surprisingly memorable.
They even got Merry from “Lord of the Rings” as an ambitious, but slimy and nervous Nazi, and he’s really good onscreen, as well as all the other characters. There’s really a couple of moments like the Stalingrad bit that are up there in my list of best “Call of Duty” campaign mission moments, maybe not number one or anything, but they’re up there, you know? Like many other Call of Duties, the campaign is not very long and it’s not enough to completely justify the full asking price, of course, but it’s still mostly worth experiencing some way or another.
Now, on the multiplayer side, it’s pretty much what you’d expect. There’s plenty of stuff to keep you busy. First of all, the gunsmith weapon thing is back, and it’s pretty much as awesome as usual. There’s something about the way it all flows, how it all looks, and how satisfying it is to change stuff and just how the stats really work and change. It’s just, it’s something I’ve always really enjoyed. Now, this time around, things are once again operator-based, so in short, in layman’s terms, just kind of meaning you can choose a character and then customize within. There’s all the stuff you’d expect. There’s skins, levels to grind out, loadouts to tweak and customize with different perks, swap kill streaks. It’s just the right amount of stuff to feel like you can still really tailor stuff to your preference.
Now, multiplayer is chaotic and as fast as usual. To be completely straight up with you guys, though, none of us here are completely qualified yet to comment on the super fan-specific stuff like balancing quite yet, just because it’s really early. If you’re watching this later, just know that we are talking about the game the day after launch. Players are very picky, and everybody has their preferred “Call of Duty” multiplayer.
But so far, everything here feels fine. It just feels a little bit too familiar, but I’m curious to see how the community takes to it. Some people will just prefer the World War II-style weaponry and stuff in their multiplayer, and you definitely got that here. But you get the usual modes you’d expect, nothing quite game-changing, but there are 16 multiplayer maps, which is pretty nice. Many of them are tight and amount to a lot of quick chaos, but there are a few standouts. What we really liked is that there are a couple of maps from “Call of Duty: World at War” remade here, and they’re fun to jump into. It’s almost like we didn’t quite realize how iconic some of them were. I can’t believe we’ve been playing these “Call of Duty” games for like a thousand years now.
But still, “World at War” feels like just yesterday. Shout out to “World at War.” Anyway, I might seem a little cynical here, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had with this multiplayer if you want it. These games play like well-oiled machines at this point. It’s “Modern Warfare” from two years back in feel, but with World War II. It’s fast, smooth, and with the fun, more recent additions started in “Modern Warfare,” like mounting your gun and stuff, all with a little bit more noticeable destructibility. Now, you will level up and you’ll learn, you’ll get your adrenaline going, and you’ll have some fun. How long it lasts, that’s up for debate, but it’s fun as usual. And there are some really cool presentation things they do here. It’s just slick as hell.
Now, the Zombies side of the thing is really the negative of this package for us. The one map available right now is called Der Anfang, and it’s pretty weird. It’s basically a combination of the Outbreak mode and the standard round-based Zombies game. It’s objective-based, so you go through these portals and complete just one of three different objectives. Each time you complete one, the round increases and more sections of the map open up. Now, there are only three objectives: Harvest, Blitz, and Transport, and they get repetitive really fast, unfortunately. Now, it also doesn’t help that there’s no storyline or Easter egg or anything like that.
They’re gonna patch this stuff in later, apparently. There’s no Pack a Punch unlocking. All that stuff, this whole thing feels kind of unfinished and simple, compared to what Zombie players are probably used to. The changes made to gameplay in Zombies for “Cold War” are generally well liked, I think, but this feels too extreme and just really lacking all around. The way it works by breaking up the big map with these smaller objective-based things is probably meant to make the game more focused and newbie-friendly, but it just ends up giving the mode a lot of downtime. Too much time is spent just waiting around for objectives to start or for portals to get into. It’s boring.
The central map is very open, so it’s really easy to avoid the zombies, and the smaller maps are so small that there’s hardly anything interesting about them, and a lot of the time, you just get teleported to a small section of the main Stalingrad map anyway. Also, it’s worth pointing out that some of us here never really ran out of ammo, and using the starting shotgun, was able to just breeze through many games. The challenge just isn’t quite there at the moment. Even the intimidating new boss enemies are just kind of a joke with the right weapon. And now for one of us here, the first game that they ended up playing, they played for like over 40 minutes and exfiltrated because of it just being kind of boring.
It seems like a lot of the times, you rarely feel like you’re in any danger, which is crazy to say for a Zombies map, and it’s a total bummer. Now, we’ve spent more time with the mode since, but all of us here, our opinion hasn’t changed much. If you love the Zombies mode in other “Call of Duty” games, I don’t think you’ll like what they’ve done here, and I think more casual players will get bored of this mode quickly, and it won’t hook them. So with this “Call of Duty” package, if you can’t tell, a lot of this stuff is subjective or down to your personal preference. The campaign, I thought it had some really cool moments. You might love it. You might not. It’s not the best campaign they put out, but it’s fun.
The multiplayer is very much “Call of Duty” multiplayer, but once again, with a nice World War II spin and tons of fun unlockables. But maybe you’re burned out. Maybe you’ve been playing too much “Call of Duty.” Maybe you’re sick of it. Maybe you’re not. And the Zombies, unfortunately for us, was just a bummer. And the game does seem to be pretty divisive overall. Maybe you might think we’re missing the mark here. I did speak to two people that think this is the best “Call of Duty” in years. At this point, the way we look at it is that there are so many Call of Duties that release, the fact that one comes out every single year, there’s gonna be one for everybody.
Everybody’s gonna love one specifically. “Vanguard” might be it for you, or it may not. I’m saying the obvious here, and I’ve probably taken up too much of your time, but at least now you know what to expect jumping in. This is a “Before You Buy.” You know how it goes. I give you the pros, the cons, and some personal opinions, and now we want to hear yours down in the comments. Did you jump in? What are you thinking so far, the multiplayer? Are you as down on the Zombies mode as us? And the campaign, I had some really fun moments. Do you have a favorite moment from the campaign? Definitely let us know. Now, if you enjoyed this video and enjoyed seeing this fresh gameplay up here on the screen, clicking the Like button’s all you gotta do. It really helps us out