Call of Duty: Vanguard - Before You Buy

Call of Duty: Vanguard - 2021

And we're back with another episode of before you buy the show. We give you some straight-up gameplay and some of our first impressions of the latest games released, and today we're talking about Call of Duty: Vanguard. That's right, they made another one. We dove in on launch day and decided to take a look as a group.

Here we tackled the campaign. At this point, and with the zombies mode bottom line here right at the start, Call of Duty releases an endless product at this point. You know, if you're not interested, you're still not going to be interested. I still think they should have maybe taken a year off to focus on their other projects.

Obviously, Activision is pretty messy right now and needs to get their stuff together, but hey, Vanguard feels like an in-between game. It's not the strongest entry. It's got some lame stuff and quite a few nice things worth pointing out. It's still fun, but we're mixed. You might like it if you were looking for some more World War II stuff.

Call of Duty: Vanguard - 60fps

Let's get into it though. All the campaign footage here was captured on PlayStation 5, the multiplayer footage here was captured on PC, and the zombie mode was on Xbox Series X, so let's start with the campaign for us here, and for me specifically, personally, it's pretty strong. You guys know, I say it every year: I love playing through the campaigns.

I try them all because they're always just like fun little popcorn roller coaster rides, kind of quick action movies, and this one has some really good standout moments and a couple of boring, bland missions in between. The story revolves around a group of unique, quirky soldiers from various countries working together on a big conspiracy at the end of World War II involving Hitler's fictional successor.

Each soldier is unique for different reasons, and they're a little more over the top than your classic World War II things, helping this all kind of feel a little fresh. Then there's Paulina Petrova, aka Lady Nightingale, the bloodthirsty. Then there's Russian sniper Badass, who I think is loosely based on a real-world Soviet sniper who killed like 300 people in the war.

Call of Duty: Vanguard - before you buy

Then there's Lucas Righs, the quirky, funny, explosive Australian guy. Then there's the American guy, Wade Jackson, who's kind of just like the stereotypical hot shot. And the English Arthur Kingsley, the kind of leader who is just like super crazy smart and knows a bunch of languages and is also pretty badass.

Throughout the campaign, they all have their own unique tricks, like being able to carry more explosives and swap between them or being able to whistle and wave and draw fire. You know, nice little shake-ups to the campaign shootouts here and there that really do wonders, because some of the actual encounters and areas are pretty straightforward.

Now these characters are not only involved in a plot together, but the game also jumps back to their time in the middle of the war, giving them a little character development and setting up the overall plot, while also, of course, giving you kind of a little greatest hits of World War II featuring these fictional characters in it.

Call of Duty: Vanguard - campaign

There are some cool aerial battles as Wade, who eventually crashes lands in the jungle, fights off Japanese forces. Lucas is in the desert campaign, giving you a little bit of desert nazi action, and this can feel a bit bland at times, but the standout is Paulina by far. Many World War II games have given you stalingrad stuff, and Call of Duty has done it a few times.

I can actually think of all of them. It's pretty cool, but this stuff takes the cake. It's got good sniper encounters, a personal mission involving taking out a Nazi general, and it's all cold, it's bloody and pretty gory, and the game gives you a few environments. You creep around buildings super quickly, hiding under tables, going through vent shafts, popping out and shanking dudes.

It almost feels like a Batman Arkham stealth environment, just as quick and deadly. It's a nice new spin. Is it realistic? No, is it fun? Yeah, Vanguard's campaign isn't going to change the world, but the people who worked on it clearly gave a damn. You know, it's not perfect, and there are a couple of lame missions, but the story and characters are surprisingly memorable.

Call of Duty: Vanguard - cod

They even got like Mary from Lord of the Rings as an ambitious but slimy and nervous Nazi, and he's really good on screen as well as all the other characters. There's really a couple of moments like the Stalingrad bit that are up there in my list of like the best Call of Duty campaign mission moments, maybe not like number one or anything, but they're up there, you know, like many other Call of Duty's.

The campaign is not very long and it's not enough to completely justify the full asking price, of course, but it's still mostly worth experiencing, some way or another. On the multiplayer side, it's pretty much what you'd expect. There's plenty of stuff to keep you busy. First of all, the gunsmith weapon thing is back, and it's pretty much as awesome as usual.

Call of Duty: Vanguard - cod review

There's something about the way it all flows, how it all looks, how satisfying it is to change stuff, and just how the stats really work and change, that's just that it's something I've always really enjoyed. Now this time around, things are once again operator based, which in short, in layman's terms, just means you can choose a character and then customize within.

There's all the stuff you'd expect. There's skins, levels to grind out loadouts to tweak and customize with different perks, swap kill streaks. It's just the right amount of stuff to feel like you can still really tailor it to your preference. Now multiplayer, It is chaotic and as fast as usual.

To be completely straight up with you guys, none of us here are completely qualified yet to comment on like the super fan specific stuff like balancing, quite yet, just because it's really early. If you're watching this later, I just know that we are talking about the game like the day after launch.

Players are very picky and everybody has their preferred Call of Duty multiplayer. It just feels a little bit too familiar, but I'm curious to see how the community takes to it. Some people will just prefer the World War II style weaponry and stuff in their multiplayer. And you definitely get that here, but you also get the usual modes you'd expect.

Call of Duty: Vanguard - gameplay

Nothing quite game-changing, but there are 16 multiplayer maps, which is pretty nice. Many of them are tight and amount to a lot of quick chaos, but there are a few standouts. What we really liked is that there are a couple of maps from Call of Duty: World at War remade here, and they're fun to jump into.

Call of Duty Vanguard PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series XSOne is the latest FPS once again set during WW2 with a fictional story, over the top characters, and more multiplayer options.
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