Review: One week in with Call of Duty’s newest title ‘Vanguard’

Last week we got our yearly installment in the Call of Duty series, and we are back to the European and Pacific theatres of World War II. So how does it compare to years past? Buckle up, cause like years prior, it will be a roller coaster of ups and downs.

Multiplayer: Pay no attention to the bugs behind the curtain!

Let’s be honest, the majority of the gamers buying Call of Duty: Vanguard each year are jumping right into multiplayer. It’s been the key feature of the series since CoD 4 was released back in 2007. This year brings a big bag of mixed emotions – From top-notch map designs to clear signs that the game was not ready to ship.


The only way I can honestly describe my feeling when playing is it’s surprisingly satisfying. From the way sounds of gunfire are muffled when you get further away or when you move in and out of buildings, to the way the maps are designed with some destructible walls, allowing for surprise engagements by knowledgeable players.

Same old signs of rushed development

Sadly, Call of Duty: Vanguard is plagued with a lack of innovation, is missing basic features fans want, and has plenty of release week bugs. Personally, I have run into funky respawns, challenges not progressing, and connection dropouts during my time playing. This stacks on the lack of popular features, like a ranked game mode and leaderboards.

We need to discuss one final topic: Vanguard’s “Time To Kill,” a combination of gun damage and the player’s health. Oh boy, is it quick. Sledgehammer Games, which led development this year, usually has a faster TTK than other studios, but this year it feels shorter. Quicker TTKs favor whoever shoots first over better accuracy in most scenarios. This is not game-breaking, but it is something some may not enjoy.

So is it good or bad?

This year’s Call of Duty multiplayer has well-designed maps, a satisfying in-game experience, and excellent guns (although unbalanced). However, Vanguard falls short in fields that the series has struggled with for years, like innovation, complete quality assurance testing, and player-requested features. Nevertheless, I’ve had an overall positive experience so far, and I’m looking forward to seeing what improves as development continues.

Campaign: History buffs beware but FPS lovers prepare

It’s clear that historical accuracy was thrown out the window when designing Vanguard’s campaign. Gone are the days of Call of Duty’s exceptional storytelling of history’s greatest moments. While yes, Vanguard touches on the key milestone events of the war: Normandy, Stalingrad, Midway, etc., this band of the legendary soldiers from the ally nations on their secret quest deep into Germany would make any history buff cry in agony. But, remove the idea that World War II Call of Duty installments must be an accurate historical representation, and the feeling changes.

Call of Duty: Vanguard, a fictional first-person shooter based during World War II, is a masterpiece. You have chaotic assaults on German positions during D-Day, stealth missions through the jungles of the pacific islands, and sniper on sniper duels on the eastern front. Historically accurate? No. Filled with exciting missions and an intriguing storyline? Subjective, but I will say most definitely.

Zombies: What did they do to my beloved game mode?

To be short with this, I don’t know what game mode this is, but it’s not Call of Duty Zombies. It’s an enjoyable side game, but it is not the Zombies game mode anyone was expecting. The forced tasks and short stories make for confusing and repetitive gameplay. Don’t take my word for it, though, see the thoughts of leaders in the Zombies community below.

This year, Treyarch is leading the design of Zombies rather than the lead studio of the game. We don’t know if this was the idea from the start or if it was a recent change to the development timeline, so this could have been a quick creation. Treyarch is known for fantastic zombie experiences. The studio started the trend back in Call of Duty: World at War. Hopefully, this is just an intro piece to get players into the storyline and not a precursor of what’s to come. Below is a response to the criticism by Treyarch Zombies lead Kevin Drew.

Final verdict

Call of Duty: Vanguard is a good first-person shooter title. It doesn’t portray World War II as well as previous versions, but the gameplay and storyline are enjoyable. If the zombies game mode is your primary concern, then I would hold off from purchasing it just yet. Easter Egg content for that mode is coming in early 2022. Hopefully, we will get a better picture of what is to come then. I’m also excited to see what additions will come when Season One begins on December 2.

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