Call of Duty: Vanguard Review – Back to WWII

On November 5, developer Sledgehammer Games dropped a new Call of Duty game called Vanguard. Each year, the developers like to take a different approach in a new installment. This time, the story returns to World War II. Although their approach might seem a bit exaggerated at times, you’ll still enjoy the game.

Just like the previous Call of Duty games, Vanguard also lets players choose from different game modes such as the Campaign, Multiplayer, and Zombies. As for the campaign, it revolves around four veteran heroes who have formed a special forces team. As for the multiplayer and zombies, they’re the same as before but with some new additions and changes. 

The Campaign (Potential Spoilers) 

Let’s talk about the campaign first. I’ve always been a big fan of the campaigns of almost every Call of Duty game, and Vanguard didn’t disappoint me as well. The story allows you to play with each of the four characters, Lt. Arthur Kingsley, Lt. Wade Jackson, Lucas Riggs, and Polina Petrova. Through this, you get to have an amazing experience as each character sends you to a different location. 

At the beginning of the game, you play as a random character who is accompanying the four mentioned heroes. In the first mission, you are assigned the task to hijack a train. However, your entire team is then captured by Nazi soldiers. This is also where you get introduced to Hermann Wenzel Freisnger and Jannick Richter, the game’s main villains. While your character is killed, the remaining four are captured alive and are then being transported to some location. During this time, you get to play flashback missions of each character and are introduced to their personalities. 

Call of Duty: Vanguard Review
Campaign

The most interesting thing about the campaign is that each character has a different set of abilities that they can use in combat. I don’t know what Sledgehammer was thinking while adding this feature since its something out of the ordinary. Still, it’s a nice touch and something that won’t bother you in any way. Throughout the campaign, you’ll get the chance to try out different weapons. The developers have done a remarkable job by introducing most of the popular weapons from the World War II era. The gameplay also feels smooth and the shooting feels nice. 

Four Different Stories 

To begin with, Lt. Arthur Kingsley has the ability to give his accompanying soldiers orders to target something specific. With a touch of a button, you can have them flank whatever you want. This is something that you’ll use only a couple of times as you’ll be able to handle most of the situations all by yourself. Then, we have Lt. Wade Jackson who is a pilot. You’ll get the luxury to experience a dogfight in his story, during which his plane will crash. You will then need to move through the enemy territory by using abilities that allow him to see enemies behind walls and even slow down time to auto-aim on his enemies. Yes, I know. This will make you feel as if you’re playing The Last of Us or Red Dead Redemption. However, you won’t be using the second ability that much considering it has no use outside of a room.

Call of Duty: Vanguard Review
Story Mission

After you’re done with the pilot’s story, you’ll get to experience the flashbacks of Lucas Riggs. Unfortunately, unlike the other characters, the developers failed to provide him with some unique set of abilities that could help him out in combat. The only thing he gets is the luxury to have more than one piece of offensive equipment in his arsenal. Therefore, you shouldn’t expect a lot from him. And finally, after this ends, you’ll get to walk in the boots of Polina Petrova. She’s a Soviet sniper who is excellent at her job. You’ll enjoy her story the most considering it’s filled with a lot of sniper action and is a little emotional too. And as you might have already guessed, her special abilities are linked to sniping as they grant her improved movement controls. 

The Multiplayer 

Now, coming down to the multiplayer. If you’re someone who has already played the multiplayer of Modern Warfare and Black Ops Cold War, then you might feel a lot of similarities. This is because other than a few changes and additions, it’s all the same. The biggest addition are the two new modes called Patrol and Champion Hill. Patrol is somewhat like Hardpoint while Champion Hill lets players engage with each other in close-ranged scenarios. Other than this, you’ll get to enjoy the regular modes such as Deathmatch, Domination, and much more.

For those wondering, there are a total of 20 multiplayer maps at launch. More maps will most likely get added through future updates and DLCs. There’s also a new feature in the multiplayer that allows players to manually select the MVP out of the top three players. This makes the process of choosing the MVP better as you won’t have to rely on the game’s algorithm anymore. The player who becomes the MVP receives some XP as a reward. 

Call of Duty: Vanguard Review
Multiplayer

Just like the previous Call of Duty games, you get to choose from a wide range of different weapons. From SMGs to Snipers, Vanguard has it all. You can customize your weapon however you like and apply different attachments to it to make it even more powerful. As for the maps, they offer the same experience as before. However, some new additions include destructible walls and doors. This kind of lets you have a more aggressive approach towards taking down enemies. 

Zombies Mode Is Back 

The Zombies mode has once again returned, and it was expected. I mean, how could the developers avoid adding the Zombies mode in a Call of Duty game? There are some changes that you’ll notice instantly. The biggest downside is that there is only one mode available at launch called Der Anfang where you and your teammates are gathered in a hub-like area. Here, you can upgrade your weapons and your character before you proceed to take down the zombies. You can then interact with portals and each one will send you to a location with a different objective. For instance, you might need to hold back a horde of zombies for a few minutes, pick up runes from dead zombies, and so on. 

PC Performance 

Vanguard is a visually stunning game and I enjoyed the colors of it. The cinematics was super amazing and there wasn’t a single point where the graphics felt odd. The campaign is obviously the place where the graphics are more in-depth. However, the multiplayer section didn’t disappoint in this area as well. 

The game was tested on the Asus Zephyrus G14 2021, which has the following specs:

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 6GB
  • Ram: 16 GB  
  • SSD: 1 TB
  • Display: 144hz 1080p

I was able to get more than 60 FPS on Ultra settings. And with everything set to high, I was able to get 80-100 FPS. However, there were times when the frame rate dropped to 30-40 with both settings. But I guess that had something to do with the game’s optimization. This was something that I was expecting to happen as we can’t expect to have a smooth experience at launch. With new updates, we can expect such issues to go away.

Final Verdict

Overall, Call of Duty: Vanguard is a solid game. The only thing I felt odd was that the story gets a little confusing at times. But that will happen since you’ll be playing with four different characters. Furthermore, the developers could have made some more and better changes to the multiplayer section. But if you liked the multiplayer Call of Duty Modern Warfare and Black Ops Cold War, then you’ll like this one too.

Review Score: 8.5/10.

The Good

  • The campaign is amazing. 
  • Let’s you play with four different characters.
  • A new set of weapons.
  • Combat is great.
  • Graphics are amazing.

The Bad

  • The multiplayer section could have been better.
  • The story gets a bit confusing at some points.
  • Some minor bugs and glitches.

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Abdul Haddi


I'm just a guy who loves playing video games and writing about them. When not gaming, I can be found wandering around in the streets trying to create a film.
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