Call of Duty has certainly been making waves in the gaming community as each new entry tries to be better than the last but ends up with mixed results, especially on the multiplayer front. That being said, developer Sledgehammer Games alongside Activision are back at it again with yet another WWII-focused entry in the franchise, this time called Call of Duty: Vanguard. Loosely based on historical WWII stories, CoD: Vanguard tries to find the perfect balance found in Call of Duty: WWII but ends up a bit short in the end, sadly. Want to know what we mean? Journey with us here at Honey’s Anime as we explore Call of Duty: Vanguard and why you may—or may not—want to dive into this newest entry!
Avengers? No, This is the Vanguard!
As with most CoD games, Vanguard splits its core gameplay into three parts. There is a campaign focusing on a special unit formed from various allied forces called, you guessed it, Vanguard and how their efforts change the war. There is also the multiplayer—which we will go deep into in a few moments—that returns as per usual and yet another zombie mode. For those who are into CoD for the single-player campaign, we have good and bad news for you. The good news, Call of Duty: Vanguard has an impressive single-player that is almost like a movie; the bad news, you can beat it in a few hours.
Campaign wise, CoD: Vanguard focuses on several allied soldiers who end up joining together on a special assignment to find hidden intel on the Nazi regime. Players are given missions that center on each of the main characters and their particular set of skills. You'll assume the role of characters Arthur Kingsley, pilot Wade Jackson, sniper Polina Petrova, and demolition expert Lucas Riggs. The missions themselves are short, and most can be beaten in less than 20-mins. Still, they offer a solid narrative that gives these characters a lot of depth and personality. Polina steals the show as her missions are probably the most exciting and movie-like, making them fun and quite replayable.
Our only complaint with the campaign is that while movie-formatted, the story is short and lacks a lot of vehicle gameplay. You'll fly a plane in a truly chaotic episode, but aside from that and one vehicle chase, CoD: Vanguard is more akin to the original games, boots on the ground and guns blazing.
This is Not the Zombies Mode we Deserve or Want
We won't beat around the bust; CoD: Vanguard has probably the most boring and painfully dull zombie mode ever seen in the franchise. Don't get us wrong, it still looks and plays like the previous entries, but a lot has changed in the main structure leading to the strangest designed zombie mode seen in CoD.
Instead of the endless waves of undead soldiers that ruthlessly pursue players, you'll quickly notice that Vanguard tries to be like a roguelike zombie game. Players have a central hub to upgrade weapons, buy new abilities/gear and then enter one of several portals. Each playthrough will change the portals created, but the gist of the gameplay doesn't change. When you dive into them, you are teleported to a place filled with zombies tasked with an objective. Goals can be as simple as killing a set amount of zombies or safely escorting a weird skull to a given location.
Gone are the scary zombies that always seem locked in on your location. We encountered zombies that won't attack even if you run next to them or zombies that will actually run away from you! These could be bugged moments, but it happens so often we have to presume this is how the zombies are in Vanguard. Objectives get boring, and the zombies are dumb... Overall, CoD: Vanguard zombie mode is not worth even touching.
Okay, let's focus on what many people probably buy Call of Duty for: the multiplayer. CoD: Vanguard does indeed feature a multiplayer mode, and we have a lot to say about it. While it works and isn't as bad as some previous entries in CoD—we're looking at you, Black Ops 4—this isn't that great in the end.
Without diving into pages of what is wrong or right about Call of Duty: Vanguard's multiplayer, we will just talk about our experiences while playing. Most of the strength in Vanguard's multiplayer lies with the exciting gunplay and frantic gameplay—as well as the new maps—but that is also where the multiplayer kind of lacks oomph. There is really nothing new to Vanguard, and there are some broken weapons that make this game almost unbalanced.
Veterans of multiplayer will probably have more issues with the unbalancing issues with CoD: Vanguard, but we enjoyed ourselves and are kind of used to weapons being unbalanced in most of the games.
Lastly, let's talk about the maps and modes. The new maps like Decoy, Eagle's Next, and Numa Numa really lead to some excellent gaming sessions. The new modes, however, are kind of cool but get boring quite quickly. Champion Hill is great…the first few times you play; then it just feels extremely repetitive. Patrol fairs a bit better though as an objective mode that constantly pushes players to move and not just idle. Overall, Call of Duty: Vanguard multiplayer-wise is fine and most will play for hundreds of hours, but don't expect too much to be radically different than most CoD titles.
Call of Duty: Vanguard has the potential to be a series like the Black Ops games, and we would love to see another Vanguard game in the future. The campaign is fun, the multiplayer works, and the zombies…are there...kind of.
As a complete experience, it's one of the better games in the franchise, even if it has a weak zombie mode and a short campaign. For the price of admission, you're getting a lot of content that will keep most fans happy and none of the content—aside from zombies—is so bad you'll play once and put Vanguard down. We liked our time with CoD: Vanguard, and that is what matters most!