Call of Duty: Vanguard Review

Sledgehammer Games’ latest iteration of the hit franchise is finally here!

Posted on  by Aaron "Better Actions" Knowles

Call of Duty: Vanguard Review

Sledgehammer Games’ latest iteration of the hit franchise is finally here!

Posted on  by Aaron "Better Actions" Knowles

Now that we have had plenty of hands on time with Call of Duty: Vanguard released and we thought it was time to give you the ol’ GameFace review.

The Good


We had to start with the more popular aspect of this Call of Duty: Vanguard. The campaign of these games is rarely the first thing that many people want anymore.

Call of Duty: Vanguard’s multiplayer is everything and more of what we have all been waiting for when it comes to World War II based combat scenarios.

Launching with 20 maps, and already adding more, Sledgehammer Games definitely put a great amount of their effort into this aspect of the game. Cold War went live with 10 for context.

Besides the amount of maps that we were given being insane and beautiful, the weapons are one of the best parts of Vanguard all-around.

From the very first mission in the campaign, to the multiplayer maps across all modes, the weapons of Call of Duty: Vanguard are something that absolutely deserve a round of applause. They handle brilliantly. They are balanced, fun and challenging to take into different combat modes and scenarios, but every single one of them is fun to try in all types of environments.

The multiplayer modes have all made a reappearance, including the new Patrol mode which is a fast-paced, violent and action packed style of multiplayer that is non-stop fun. In patrol, you are chasing around a zone that you must control, but instead of disappearing and reappearing, it just slowly moves around and you gotta be on the tip of your toes every second.

Another new mode that is introduced into Call of Duty: Vanguard's multiplayer is called Champion Hill. This mode is played solo, duo and trio. Each team is given a number of lives, and every match, which is timed, you must either kill or be killed, or you can just survive. The whole point is to stay alive throughout all the matches and maintain the most amount of lives. 

The concept itself feels and sounds crazy, but it works. For something that feels like Sledgehammer took a gamble on, I think this will be a breakout winner for best multiplayer mode.

Single Player Campaign

“The award-winning Call of Duty® series returns with Call of Duty®: Vanguard, in which players will experience influential battles of World War II as they fight for victory across the Eastern and Western Fronts of Europe, the Pacific, and North Africa,” as read on the Call of Duty’s website.

That statement is true, but that is where the campaign of Call of Duty: Vanguard starts and kind of just stops.

“In Vanguard, although most of the missions take place in a conflict whose story is told on multiple fronts, they reflect how five ordinary soldiers became heroes, ultimately resulting in what the game’s Campaign is all about — The origins of the original Special Forces — Task Force One — stopping what could have destroyed the world long after the war was over” - Sledgehammer Games

In the campaign missions, the story is probably the biggest let down part of the campaign. 

In past Call of Duty games, I have always felt like there was a connection to the characters that I was taking the role of and fighting my way out of nearly impossible situations, and once I had reached the break in combat, felt almost a feeling of relief.

Although, I did feel that during combat throughout the campaign, I didn’t feel that connection to the characters.

Again, the combat in the campaign, although slightly frustrating in certain situations (I am looking directly at you, “meet your unit at the windmill - mission”), was in-depth, fun and challenging.

The main characters, a group of five Special Forces Operators from across the globe, visit and battle it out on important battlegrounds of the World War II era, which is linked together well during the main focus of the game, you are told the story mostly through flashbacks that attempt to connect you with each character.

You fight behind enemy lines at Normandy, you battle in North Africa against the Axis forces and you try to survive as you attack Nazi submarine bases; but none of the story felt like they actually tied in with the bigger and more historical battles of the WWII events.

That would have been the “it” that would have sold the campaign for me. If they had told me how the actions of this team impacted the bigger picture. 

Call of Duty: Vanguards Special Operators don’t even really battle it out together during the game, save for two short missions.

Don’t misunderstand me at all when I complain about small elements of the campaign; I enjoyed my time with the campaign, even though it didn’t pull me in as Call of Duty games have in the past.

If you play the campaign for any reason, please let it be for the visual experiences; this game is beautiful. 

Even on a lower quality scale of graphics, which I played around with for streaming purposes to test frame drop issues, this game is a treat to the eye.

And the aerial battle scenes, which sadly, you do not get a chance to participate in are blood pumping, heart throbbing and glorious to watch.

One other small issue that I have with the campaign is that a few of the maps feel like it is ready to be a multiplayer map, a zombies map or not at all a campaign map. It is a small gripe, because when this does happen, generally you are out of that area pretty quickly.

If I had to sum up how I felt about the campaign, I would definitely say that this game was a cake built to be a multiplayer game and the campaign was a layer of icing. 

But I would be remiss if I didn’t say that graphically, the cut scenes, the gameplay scenery, the weapons, the explosions; they all look damn good in this game, but don’t play the campaign and take that as the main focus of this title; play it through, enjoy it and move on to Zombies or Multiplayer.

The scene stealer


Here is where Call of Duty: Vanguard makes its side hustle money. Zombies is fun. It is damn fun.

In years past, Zombies was basically Horde Mode. You would battle wave after wave of the undead as they increased in difficulty. This time, the formula has been insanely revamped. You start off in a “hub” with your other players that you match with, and you get a choice of gameplay styles to vote on.

The new modes include a patrol style mode where you escort a glowing orb, a fetch-quest mode where you harvest runes to feed into obelisks across the map, quick horde mode-esque battles and more. You, as a team, vote on which mode to attack to earn power-ups, currency to upgrade weapons and the ability to unlock supernatural abilities.

Zombies, with this new approach, is super fun, strategic and doesn’t depend on your matched up teammates to be fun.

Final Thoughts

As I sit here trying to sum up my thoughts for Call of Duty: Vanguard, I struggle to find the words to describe the game in its entirety. On one hand, there are a lot of awesome things about this game (new multiplayer modes, graphics, etc.), but they are definitely tarnished a little by the smaller issues of the campaign.

But is it an issue, really? We all know that the meat and potatoes of the Call of Duty franchise is the multiplayer experience and they know that as much as their fans are. What we wanted, we got as fans. And I think that it is great, but on the other hand, lets not forget about the fans who sticklers for the single player experience.

If you are a fan of Call of Duty because of storylines, you may be underwhelmed. If you are a fan of their multiplayer, you have nothing to worry about. And if you are a fan of Zombies, then I am really excited for you!

At the end of the day, this is only my opinion and you can make your own decisions on whether I am completely mistaken or that you agree, but regardless, feel free to share them with us over on Twitter HERE.

Last but not least, don’t forget to get your GameFace on!