Call of Duty: Vanguard is the series’ second attempt at recreating WWII boots on the ground action developed by Sledgehammer Games. Like most games before it, Vanguard offers three main modes including a single-player campaign, multiplayer, and zombies.
Vanguard’s WWII setting brings tense and chaotic battles back with bullets firing from all directions and explosions going off every few seconds. Not only does this require players to change up their gameplay but also pay attention to their environment. Taking cover behind walls and doors is no longer as effective as they will break apart as the battle ensues. As a result, the gameplay is very fast-paced and dying isn’t such a big deal, for the most part. No matter how skilled you are, sometimes it is impossible to survive when bullets are flying at you from all directions. The game also tends to spawn you in the middle of firefights, get killed instantly. In a sense, the game pushes the idea that you are a dispensable soldier fighting in WWII.
The game has 16 maps available at launch, most of which are impressively designed and detailed. There is also an added level of verticality which players must now account for before sliding into gunfights. In addition, Vanguard offers tons of weapons with unique loadout customization options to suit different playstyles. Although the multiplayer modes are fun, it is tough to play more than a few games back to back without feeling the need to play something else. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as multiplayer can still be enjoyed in short bursts.
Bringing zombies back to life
Zombies mode is back and it brings with it some much-needed changes to bring the game mode back to life. You will now start off in a central hub area and progress by traveling through portals to other locations. There you will need to complete certain objectives before returning to the central hub. This new layout works really well in Vanguard and helps keep the objectives clear to players. Players are now working towards something rather than just killing endless hordes of zombies to survive. However, there still is a sense of emptiness in Zombies that becomes apparent after playing for some time. The mode’s lack of content makes it difficult to play regularly at launch with most content coming at a later date.
A short but sweet campaign
The single-player campaign offers what you’d normally expect from a Call of Duty game, just in a more concise package. You get to experience epic WWII battles with stunning photorealistic visuals and a ton of action. The story revolves around a group of heroes called Task Force One, each with their own backstory and unique set of skills. Vanguard isn’t the first FPS that takes you back to WWII to fight Nazis, but the stellar gameplay and mission design help it stand out from the crowd. There really isn’t much to complain about in regards to the quality of content available, however, the campaign does run short with a completion time of around five hours.
Call of Duty: Vanguard is a solid entry in the franchise that introduces changes to Multiplayer and Zombies that are more than welcome. While the modes start to struggle when playing in long stretches, there is still a lot of fun to be had. The action-packed single-player campaign is one of the main highlights of the game as it offers a nice change of pace.
GameRev was provided with a digital download of the game for the purpose of this review.