I absolutely loved Call of Duty Vanguard’s campaign. Now, when I first heard the rumors that the 2021 Call of Duty was going back to WW2, I wasn’t all of that excited. Well, I like to be proven wrong, and boy, I am so glad I was.
Vanguard’s campaign is one of the best Call of Duty single-player campaigns I’ve ever played. It’s a rollercoaster bombastic and blockbuster ride with an insane level of production value, start to finish. This is what Call of Duty campaigns are all about in my opinion. However, reading what players say across the internet, not everyone is liking Vanguard’s campaign as much as I am. Of course, liking or not liking something is entirely subjective and I don’t have any problem with that.
For you to Run a powerful game like Call of Duty: Warzone, you will have to have a COD Warzone Requirements with a powerful PC too. The minimum RAM you must have is about 8 GB, although it is recommended to have 12 GB RAM. But if you want to make the best out of it, have up to 16 GB RAM available. If you don't know how to check for your PC specs, a great resource for PC help is https://mytechnolojoy.com.
Yes, we’ve played through bombastic set-pieces before. Yes, we’ve played through stealth sequences before. Yes, we’ve played through on rails vehicles sequences before. But does that mean that you should not enjoy something just because you’ve seen it before? No. I myself didn’t really like the Cold War campaign all that much because it relied too much on the stuff we played before in the original Black Ops, but I still found it to be enjoyable. I did not love it, but it was good enough. “There’s nothing innovative in Vanguard’s campaign dude.” - you might argue and yes, you are right. But remember the last few times Call of Duty games tried to innovate, remember what happened?
They had us fighting in space in zero-g or on the ice caps of Jupiter’s Europa moon and what did players say? “We want boots on the ground gameplay, enough with this space bullshit”. We then got boots on the ground two years later with WW2 and guess what… “Where’s the innovation?”. In truth, we don’t really know what we want and we use that as a “weapon” to complain about what we’re expected to be playing instead of, you know, enjoying what we are playing. And I enjoyed the shit out of Vanguard’s campaign, let me tell you that.
It tells the fictional story of the first special operations group “Task Force One”, a group of badass fictional soldiers heavily inspired. by real-life people with the simple task of stopping “Operation Phoenix”, a secret Nazi operation that would ensure their dream to live on long after their defeat in 1945. “TF1” is there to stop just that, but after a bombastic first mission set in moving trains towards Hamburg, Germany goes awry, the team is captured by the nazis and thrown into a prison cell in Berlin where they are interrogated so they spill the beans on what the allied forces know about “Operation Phoenix”. But, remember, these are some of the best operators out there and while the nazis think they’re getting valuable intel from them, TF1 is just playing with them, working them so they spill the beans on their “after war” plans.
Seeing all this unravel is just fantastic. The scenes featuring Hitler’s successor Freisinger, which is absolutely tense and terrifying, or scenes between Richter, the snake nazi officer in charge with this interrogation played by the great actor Dominic Monaghan, and each of the main characters in the game is just great cinema. The insane level of high fidelity and production value in these pre-rendered CGI cutscenes are the best I’ve ever seen featured in a game to date. While each of the operators is being interrogated, Arthur, the leader of this task force, explains to the other members of the task force and to us the players, why that operator was chosen for this specific mission. Think sort of like an origin story for each one on why they are the right man or woman for this job and what made them hate nazis. This is also great as it allows the campaign to jump through and have you play on all of the WW2 fronts in a way that makes sense.
For example, Arthur’s missions take place the day before D-Day as deploys behind enemy lines in Normandy sneaking around the battlefield, taking out nazi forces, and teaming up with allied forces to ultimately take out a heavily fortified artillery nazi encampment while being bombarded by artillery friendly fire.
Wade’s missions take place during the Battle of Midway flying like an ace pilot taking out Japanese Zeros in exciting dogfights and dropping bombs obliterating Japanese carriers to be ultimately shot down on one of the Pacific islands. There, you sneak around the jungle, silently killing Japanese soldiers to ultimately join with the 93rd unit, a unit of badass “colored” segregated infantry soldiers, and together you take over the island.
Lucas’s missions are on the Africa front, across the Saharan desert in the Battle of El-Alamein where along with other Aussie soldiers he has to clear out nazi forts, bring down a Stuka fighter and along with his friend Des, capture a vital nazi artillery encampment that was obstructing and devastating the advancements allied forces.
Last, but not least there are Polina’s missions, the badass soviet sniper also known as “Lady Nightingale”. Her missions are set around Stalingrad as you experience first hand in a very personal and intimate way the nazi’s bombing and devastation of Stalingrad.
Each of the main characters has a unique ability like Polina can climb on surfaces or move quickly while crouching and Wade has an ability which is basically an aimbot/wall-hack combo that allows you to see enemies through walls and automatically aims at them when you shoot.
All of the missions are straight-up fucking amazing. It’s what you expect, what I expect out of a Call of Duty game. There are no branching pads, no choose your own dialogue options, no bullshit alternate endings. It’s a carefully designed and masterfully delivered experience. Powerful and intense character moments, excellent infiltration/stealth sequences, and bombastic set-pieces are all present in Vanguard and they have never looked, felt, or played any better than this. Just strap in and enjoy the ride playing it in the Veteran difficulty setting as it is absolutely excellent. It’s a thrill ride, start to finish, and I am so glad I got to experience it as it might be one of the best ever Call of Duty campaigns I’ve ever played. (I have not played the new Modern Warfare campaign, so I don’t know how this is stacked against that one though)
The presentation is just phenomenal. Graphically it looks amazing with gorgeous lighting, extremely detailed environments, and weather effects, and beautiful face and body animations. Voice acting is absolutely excellent as usual and the soundtrack, which I just now found out is made by Bear McCreary, is so so good. Hearing that gorgeous score kick in during the most intense scenes elevated the experience to a whole another level. It’s also pretty smooth too at 60fps nearly at all times, apart from the occasional and awful hitching during a checkpoint. Call of Duty Vanguard is also the first game I’ve ever experienced playing in 120fps on the PS5 on the LG C1 OLED and well, I think I ruined 60fps games for myself now as it’s buttery smooth and also gave me a significant advantage during multiplayer matches. So much in fact that a dude was calling me a cheater and well, gay, in the in-game chat.
If you are here, reading this review, there’s a good chance you are here to learn more about the multiplayer than you are about the campaign, and well, it’s good. If you loved what they did with Modern Warfare’s multiplayer, then you will love Vanguard’s as it is basically that same look and feel, but set in a WW2 setting.
All of the mainline modes like TDM, Search & Destroy, Hardpoint, Domination, Kill Confirmed, etc. are all here and they are as good (or bad) as you remember. There are a lot of maps already in the game and they range from good to well, not so good. Long gone are the days of 3-lane maps as most of the maps here feature many paths in many different elevations and depending on the pacing option you choose, you might struggle a lot. See, in Vanguard you can choose how chaotic a match can be with the new pacing options. Tactical pacing, for example, is the original Call of Duty multiplayer feel where you have 6v6 or 8v8/10v10 matches on some of the larger maps. The addition of Assault or Blitz pacing changes things up as they up the number of players in each map. Now, I personally did not like that, at all, as matches using these pacings for a lack of a better word are a total clusterfuck. As soon as you spawn, you are dead as there’s a good chance a happy camper is. waiting to shoot you on your back on your spawn area. If the camper doesn’t kill you, the 11 other enemy players are there, in a map that is barely designed for 6v6 matches, to blow your ass to smithereens. It’s not fun, but at least you have the ability to choose what type of pacing you want.
This year they have also introduced some destruction to the maps where you can blow up doors or wooden walls to create new paths or cheeky holes you can camp and shoot out from. It’s a nice addition to the game and while it’s limited, I am more than happy to see this evolving in the future installments where you might, I don’t know, blow a hole on a concrete wall with an RPG or C4 or collapse an entire building Battlefield style.
Apart from the usual modes, there’s Patrol, a new mode that works exactly as Hardpoint, but the objective you have to capture and hold is constantly moving throughout the map. This makes camping useless as everyone needs to be moving around if they want to win. It’s fast, chaotic, and can be quite fun. Champion Hill is the other new mode introduced in Vanguard which is a high intensity, high stake game mode. Eight squads of two or three go up against each other in head-to-head matches set on four dedicated maps, with the last team standing wins. During the game, you can use earned cash to upgrade your current weapon for better status. In-between rounds you can use buy stations to purchase weapons, equipment, perks, and killstreaks. You have a set number of lives to use before you're eliminated. I really like this new game mode and as you move through the rounds, things get quite intense, so playing with friends or communicating with random players is more than advised.
Gunsmith is back and it’s better than ever. Yeah, yeah, you can attach holographic sights, 21st-century stocks, or 100 round drum mags to pistols and other anachronistic things that make no sense whatsoever, but that doesn’t really bother me and if it does for you, hey, try Hell Let Loose for some authentic WW2 gameplay. There are tons of attachments and cosmetics to unlock for each of the weapons that will keep you busy for a long time.
While I haven’t really played all that much of the multiplayer when compared to the previous entries, I have really enjoyed my time so far. There’s a lot of map variety, modes and the ability to customize the player number is a nice neat addition. And as for skill-based matchmaking, again, as I experienced with Cold War, most of the time I am placed in lobbies with human players and well, I kick ass. But often, I get placed in lobbies with basic demons who just obliterate my ass and my team and that’s not fun.
What’s also not fun is the Zombies mode that’s present in Call of Duty Vanguard. It’s a barebones zombie experience and after you play a game and reach wave 15th, you have done, seen, and upgraded everything this mode has to offer. There’s only one map, Der Anfang, which is set in Stalingrad Square. This serves as a hub area where you can pack-a-punch weapons, run around and drink all of the demon juices aka. perks of the usual zombies and acquire additional perks by buying them directly from a floating demon effigy. Here, there are also portals which similarly to the Outbreak mode in Cold War teleport you to different sections of the game’s multiplayer maps where you have to complete one basic task and you are back to the hub area to repeat the whole process all over again. There are only three types of missions wherein one you play a version of Kill Confirmed where you have to collect tablets and deposit them into a flying thingamajig. The other type sees you escorting a floating zombie head across a small map which is the same as the Patrol mode. The third one well, just survive for 2-3 minutes and that’s it. There’s no actual storyline, there are no easter-eggs, no wonder weapons to unlock, and no raygun. I mean, come on, no raygun?! It’s a barebones mode, one that you can experience everything in just one match. Hopefully, we will see this expanded further once the new content season drops early in December, but yeah, as it is right now, it sucks.
Call of Duty Vanguard surprised me as I initially wrote off its campaign when I learned about its WW2 setting. The campaign is one of the best I’ve ever played with great characters, bombastic gameplay, and set-pieces and bloody gorgeous to look at. The team at Sledge Hammer Games has done an incredible job and that ending that connects the recent Call of Duty games into one big universe, I am all for that. Multiplayer is fantastic too. Tons of modes, tons of weapons, and unlocks that will keep you playing for a long long time, especially if you are onto that whole Battle Pass stuff that they have been doing for a while now. Zombies suck, for now, but I am hoping they turn that ship around in an update or two and deliver an experience as good if not better than what we have had before. Call of Duty Vanguard is an easy recommendation from me, get it if you have the chance. Thanks for reading!
The game was reviewed on a PS5 using a promo code provided by PR. Call of Duty Vanguard is available on Playstation, Xbox and PC.