Another year passed, another Call Of Duty game right around the corner. Activision has a pretty unique situation in regards to releasing a new COD game every year, but for some reason this time around a new release seems premature. It feels as though COD Black Ops Cold War still has enough legs to last another six months or so being the primary game for the franchise, however, we all know its all about the money and so we have another game in the pipeline; and in comes Call Of Duty Vanguard. It is set during WW2 and will be putting us players back into that visceral “boots on the ground” combat experience. From the trailers so far it would appear Sledgehammer games has ramped up the visual presentation and the overall intensity of the game. In this entry, it seems the approach was to go for a more gritty cinematic experience which is always welcomed.
Trapped In the Same Time Period
Call Of Duty being set during WW2 is nothing new. We’ve seen it before and unfortunately we’re going to have to relive the old school setting again. At first glance this may be a turn off to many veteran players since we already know what to expect (for the most part). One would think there really isn’t much to elevate or improve especially considering Sledgehammer games has already developed COD World War 2 back in 2017. In addition, this new game will not be a sequel to the 2017 title but instead it will be a retelling of real world events from individuals who actually fought in the war. According to the COD Vanguard website you will be fighting on 4 different fronts that were involved and the game will hone in on 4 specific experiences. Personally I am not excited to revisit this time period again just because of how overused it is becoming within the franchise, however, I am excited about the immersive presentation, storytelling, and writing of the game. From the campaign trailer it looks like a lot of attention to detail was put into the title and in some parts it didn’t even look like COD which was shockingly impressive.
Open Beta Experience
Thankfully though was beta was just as immersive and promising as the campaign trailer and I was grateful to put some time in. Truthfully the multiplayer felt fast and frantic, and it reminded me of the original COD 2 when I played it back on the Xbox 360. The soldiers feel solid as you traverse the map, but the game still retains the core classic COD experience. Visually, COD Vanguard sets itself apart from Black Ops Cold War by sporting vastly improved visuals and more dynamic maps. In some intense moments, the multiplayer felt like a movie scene rather than gameplay which was striking. COD Vanguard is also looking to change up the formula by adding larger player pools to standard matches such as 24 vs 24 team deathmatch. Another notable feature is the kill count announcer (who is reminiscent of the Halo series announcer), who calls out each major kill streak as you progress and mow down enemies.
This time around some gameplay features like the UAV have been renamed to “Intel” and no longer acts as the classic radar pulse that reveals general enemy positions, but instead now acts like a short wave proximity scan for the player who activates it. While initially this may seem irritating or a step backward from the normal UAV scan we are familiar with, it seemed to function well while playing, but only if you keep moving since the score streak only highlights the enemies near you. The change seems to replicate a hypothetical scenario in which the older technology would have not been able to function on a wide scale but instead a localized signal, which seems to fit the setting. In addition to score streak changes, maps have been upgraded to add more variety to gameplay through simple destruction mechanics that open up new sight lines. While this isn’t a revolutionary gameplay mechanic by any means, being able to destroy parts of maps to regain target acquisition in a COD game is amazing. As well, larger scaled maps feel balanced, even with the increased players and in combination with the smaller scale destruction, matches almost mimic the intensity of some Battlefield games.
All of these new updates in combination with the original fast paced action formula make COD Vanguard an interesting take on a staple COD setting. While preferably I would have liked to have seen a newer take on COD (perhaps in another Advanced Warfare style or something unique and slightly futuristic) I am still impressed with Vanguard. It looks to be sporting enhanced visuals that elevate the experience from normal run and gun COD to a gritty in-your-face immersion COD. Regardless of the setting and time period this one still feels different compared to previous games in the series. COD Vanguard is aiming to provide a real fun and rewarding experience for new players, although veteran players will have to get through the “been there done that” first impressions and dive deeper into its mechanics to find new upgrades to be excited about. Call Of Duty Vanguard will be available on Nov. 5th 2021.
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