Call of Duty Vanguard Review: Big on Cinema, Short on Play

Call of Duty: Vanguard rubs and polishes the trite World War II theme to cinematic brilliance. What follows, although, is an epic story that by no means fairly reaches a crescendo. The enigmatic heroes that knock your socks off in rigorously imagined cutscenes render into one-trick-pony operatives for essentially the most half. Call of Duty: Vanguard injects the largest flights of World War II right into a spin-off story in regards to the legendary Fourth Reich, which is worthy of a giant spherical of applause. But the 18th instalment of Activision’s priced collection suffers from the implications of its lofty intentions.

The single-player marketing campaign developed by Sledgehammer Games spends a lot time in defining its 4 prime characters — and two Nazi shmucks — that the story wraps up earlier than it might get going. The gameplay is basic CoD: quick and dynamic like an elite impediment course, with a number of get together tips that make the expertise much less humdrum.

Call of Duty: Vanguard multiplayer mode will get extra consideration. The expansive mode has 20 maps at launch and a brand new ‘Combat Pacing’ matchmaking that allows you to management the tempo of the sport — you’ll be able to select the quantity of gamers vis-à-vis the map dimension — and never be compelled right into a sniper contest or a massacre the place you solely survive for a number of quick breaths. While the sport controls are the identical, the expertise is markedly totally different (not worse, not higher) from Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War.

The Zombies mode in Call of Duty: Vanguard, although, is in its infancy in comparison with the final instalment. Treyarch Studios claims to have a transparent roadmap, however one that’s but to take a formidable form.

The gaming expertise in all three codecs begins with rather a lot of pleasure — due to a fantastic storyline, stunning cinema, next-generation graphics, and regular advertising — but it surely turns into fairly apparent that one thing has gone amiss as the sport progresses.

Call of Duty Vanguard PC Performance Review: Can a Budget Gaming Rig Handle It?

Call of Duty: Vanguard single-player marketing campaign overview

Call of Duty: Vanguard marketing campaign is roughly a six-hour run. For a vastly anticipated sport that was marketed to seize the entire world at conflict, it is unsettling. What’s worse, although, is that it is fairly nice. So, you are left wanting extra, however not in a great way.

My different main grouse is that the sport’s problem setting is lopsided. There are 4 ranges to it: Recruit, Regular, Hardened, and Veteran. And the six-hour run I discussed was on Hardened. It’s uncanny how not onerous it was to hurry run by the marketing campaign, particularly when you’ve got performed different titles from CoD Black Ops or Modern Warfare collection which might be much less forgiving. The storyline doesn’t assist both. Since all of our heroes get their very own introductory missions earlier than they arrive collectively as Task Force One to power the Nazis to skedaddle for good, the issue stays nearly flat all through.

A nonetheless from Call of Duty: Vanguard
Photo Credit: Activision

On the topic of heroes, you play as 5 characters. There’s the level-headed Brit chief Arthur Kingsley (voice of Chiké Okonkwo), the foul-mouthed Aussie Lucas Riggs (Martin Copping), the American show-off Wade Jackson (Derek Phillips), and the Russian straight-faced killer Polina Petrova (Laura Bailey). It’s a pleasure to look at and play such fleshed-out characters in a first-person shooter (FPS) marketing campaign. Each has a again story, a specialty, and a particular means in fight.

Kingsley is a pure chief and might direct troops to focus fireplace on a specific goal if you play him. Riggs is a demolition professional who can lob grenades with a exact intention. Wade, the American dive bomber pilot, has a Max Payne-esque focus means to sluggish time but in addition see enemies by partitions and obstacles when on the bottom. Lastly, the Russian sniper Petrova can climb partitions, crawl by particles and tiny areas, and whistle an enemy sniper into losing a shot who will then in all probability die reloading.

This combine of eclectic characters, particular person missions, and a non-linear storyline provides selection and dynamism to the gameplay that makes Call of Duty: Vanguard stand out. I simply want the gameplay was rather less predictable.

The talents are closely prescribed, which implies you will nonetheless be following a linear path laid down for you. You as Kingsley, as an example, are given a most of two targets to select from the place others can focus fireplace on your command. What you select makes little distinction and it might get repetitive. Focus fireplace, subdue a sniper or an SMG bunker, achieve some floor, and do it once more. All home windows Petrova can climb into are marked with a yellow fabric, and so on. You start the story with a way of management — taking part in totally different characters, making use of new controls — like mounting weapons on flat surfaces or blind firing from cowl — that ultimately fades away. The world’s a stage, we’re all actors.

Call of Duty: Vanguard marketing campaign is recent. The writing is sensible, the characters are outlined — Petrova takes the cake right here — and the cinema is well worth the expertise. It’s somewhat disappointing that it rushes right into a closely scripted climax earlier than you’ll be able to really feel such as you have been challenged.

Call of Duty: Vanguard multiplayer overview

More video games every day are dropping the pretense of placing the single-player marketing campaign on the centre of the expertise when on-line multiplayer is the place the massive cash lies. Call of Duty: Vanguard tries to stability the act by giving extra consideration to characters that intensify each modes. Even the operators (or skins) that don’t have anything to do with the marketing campaign get their very own cutscenes in multiplayer. But with a brief marketing campaign, it is largely the net multiplayer mode Activision hopes will hold the sport alive past a yr.

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A shot from Call of Duty: Vanguard
Photo Credit: Activision

It’s the 1940s, the world’s at conflict, and the setting is generally bathed in shades of inexperienced and brown. It’s not essentially the most palatable alternative of colors, however one which does justice to the fight of its time. Can’t be mentioned the identical in regards to the tempo although.

Call of Duty: Vanguard multiplayer gameplay feels rather a lot quicker than CoD: Black Ops – Cold War in addition to Call of Duty: Warzone that’s set to discourage new or less-experienced gamers. It’s additionally closely customisable — weapons now have 10 attachments. Too a lot to do may also put some folks off who’re simply attempting to get into fast matches and be taught issues on the fly. There’s a bit extra strategic pondering in phrases of maps, pacing, and loadouts which might be wanted to outlive CoD Vanguard than the opposite titles within the franchise.

Combat pacing principally lets you choose what number of gamers are in a match with you. Choosing Tactical will get you in 6v6 matches the place you’ll be able to dangle again; Assault could have you in with 20-28 folks in maps that can provide you rather less respiratory house and extra to kill; Blitz is the insanity rather a lot of us love with 28-28 gamers capturing in each route.

In our expertise on an Xbox Series S with crossplay enabled, the distinction with pacing was not as pronounced, but it surely no less than provides you the choice to not be in sure conditions — large map, method too much less gamers and vice versa — which retains issues attention-grabbing. Destructible in-game environments, that are principally flimsy wooden panels you could shoot by can also be rather a lot much less menacing than it sounds.

It’s somewhat extra wall-banging than the final CoD title and you’ll inflict extra injury if you recognize the map nicely, however you will not be killing folks unawares. Then there’s blind fireplace (firing from cowl with out aiming) and weapon mounting (putting your gun on flat surfaces to cut back recoil) that may be put to good use in Tactical pacing, hardly ever in Assault and never a lot in Blitz.

Another nice function of Call of Duty: Vanguard multiplayer is the brand new Champion Hill mode. It’s a sport mode that places Solos, Duos, and Trios towards different groups in a round-robin (elimination) contest. It’s clearly extra enjoyable to win in a workforce however Solos can also be an effective way to check how good you’re 1v1 on a level-playing discipline. It’s extremely aggressive and has made me think about ditching the Xbox controller for a keyboard and mouse to even the percentages. Win or lose, Champion Hill is mighty enjoyable.

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Another nonetheless from the sport Call of Duty: Vangaurd
Photo Credit: Activision

What’s off about Call of Duty: Vanguard multiplayer, although, is that regardless of it wanting stellar on paper — expansive, customisable, and recent — the sport has quirks that severely alters the expertise that Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War and Call of Duty: Warzone gamers have come to like. The colors, as talked about earlier than, do not assist the visibility. And maintaining in thoughts that Vanguard’s multiplayer kicks the tempo up a notch, the brand new, extra animated hit marker sound and visible results make it worse. You die sooner with much less to be taught from it.

Call of Duty: Vanguard multiplayer has much more content material, performs quicker, and is more difficult. You can customise the hell out of the weapons, select your tempo, research the maps, and dominate. The downside is that it is an enormous funding and there are lots of FPS multiplayer video games within the fray, together with Call of Duty’s personal completed titles in Black Ops – Cold War and Warzone, which may attraction higher to informal avid gamers on the lookout for fast matches the place they do not really feel like cannon fodder.

Call of Duty: Vanguard Zombies overview

Let’s hold this one quick as a result of that is what Treyarch has performed with it. Call of Duty: Vanguard Zombies has launched with only one mode for the pre-season (earlier than Battle Pass seasons start). It’s referred to as Der Anfang. The mode is doom-sy sufficient as was anticipated from the studio behind CoD Black Ops – Cold War’s Zombies mode, but it surely’s not fairly the Nazi slaughterhouse that I used to be anticipating.

The melodrama is on level although. The Nazis have been too proud to lose and went to the rotten ends of the Earth to search for an occult secret that may overwhelm the Axis forces. Enter ‘darkish powers’ that manifest by an historical relic and resurrect corpses to provide the Nazi top-dog a military of the lifeless. And you’ll be able to gleefully whereas away hours at it.

Zombies mode by definition is a Hold-style, repetitive sport mode that thrives on our urge to be the final word apocalyptic survivors and our greed of upgrading weapons for the extremely aggressive CoD multiplayer. Killing undead Nazis is an altruistic bonus. But the sport slips a bit right here.

There are rather a lot of new components in Call of Duty: Vanguard Zombies — like the brand new Covenant upgrades and the portal problem of escorting a cranium — however nothing can compensate for the shortage of content material at launch. Treyarch has alas simply made small additions to the Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War Zombies mode as a substitute of overhauling the expertise to match the theme of CoD: Vanguard.

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A nonetheless from Call of Duty; Vanguard
Photo Credit: Activision

I used to be anticipating the Nazi zombies to be extra thrilling, however all I met have been hordes of skeletons that have been totally different to inform other than every other league of rising corpses. Treyarch has introduced a roadmap that ought to deliver extra sport modes to make the continuous killing extra attention-grabbing. That mentioned, Call of Duty: Vanguard Zombies mode was subjected to a rushed launch and isn’t any match for its predecessor’s now fantastically advanced Zombies mode that’s completely price spending cash on.

Call of Duty: Vanguard overview verdict

The companies of Swedish cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema (Tenet) have paid off. Call of Duty: Vanguard is gorgeous to look at and has a narrative and characters that can depart an impression. The Russian sniper Petrova’s story and missions is a standout instance. The cinematic cutscenes make for a gripping story and the in-game visuals and graphics again it up. Even the depiction of World War II is healthier than something we’ve seen within the Call of Duty franchise — Vanguard is the sixth title on the topic.

All of that is exactly why Call of Duty: Vanguard is a missed alternative for Sledgehammer Games, Treyarch, and Activision. The sport suffers from an uncomfortable contradiction: the marketing campaign and its visible cues favour newbies, whereas its multiplayer and its cranked-up tempo is a veteran extravaganza. The single-player marketing campaign can also be unsatisfyingly quick, whereas Zombies barely qualifies as a full sport mode.

That mentioned, Call of Duty: Vanguard marketing campaign has an simple visible attraction that makes it price a run, and its multiplayer has sufficient newness to carry its personal. Its potential is what makes the expertise barely underwhelming.


  • Beautiful cinema
  • Well-written single-player marketing campaign
  • Great characters; attention-grabbing addition of particular talents
  • Champion Hill sport mode and fight pacing in multiplayer


  • Single-player marketing campaign is method too quick
  • Campaign problem skewed in the direction of simple
  • Multiplayer visuals and tempo make it tougher
  • Zombies mode isn’t prepared but

Rating (out of 10):​ 6

Call of Duty: Vanguard is out worldwide for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S beginning at Rs. 3,999.

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