Call of Duty: Vanguard is the latest addition to the long-running first-shooter thriller franchise, Call of Duty. It is the sequel to the 2017 action hit, Call of duty: WW II. Published by Activision and developed by Sledgehammer Games, Vanguard is the 18th instalment in the overall action series.
The game has three modes- Campaign mode, multi-player mode and Zombie mode. The game has blending elements from two of the major hits from the franchise- Modern Warfare and Black Ops: Cold War.
The studio had been constantly hyping Vanguard since its initial reveal calling it ‘The best World War II game’. Honestly, it isn’t something really new and being a long-time fan of the franchise, I wasn’t very impressed with the numerous trailers and gameplay clips that teased the game before its release. It felt like something I had already seen before. However, since I enjoyed Black Ops: Cold war, I went ahead with playing Vanguard anyways. So here is my take on the overall game.
The developers of this game had heavily marketed the game’s story as disjointed storytelling. And boy was I excited about this. I have always found myself enjoying the non-chronological order of story-telling in a video game. Something about connecting the small parts and forming the big picture has always intrigued me.
The story of the game starts strong with a group of soldier’s code named Vanguard hijacking a train to Germany. This happens around the end of World War II, where Vanguard is tasked with the mission of finding intel on a secret Nazi programme named, Project Phoenix. This secret project would be responsible to ensure the continuation of the Nazis even after Adolf Hitler’s death. However, the group is captured during a fight by an individual, Harmann Friesinger, also known as the successor to Hitler in the video game. From here, the storytelling of the entire game just messes up. The non-linear way of storytelling through memories is quite an interesting way, however only if done correctly.
Here, the story completely looses focus and instead draws attention to the pasts of the members, where most of the game’s action happens. It seemed to me like the developers tried to drag the plot for a sequel as they worked on the character development through the memories, completely refusing to acknowledge the situation in the present.
These memories take you to several places and war fronts that involve the team member’s past. The places are widespread and are located in South Africa, Europe and the Pacific. As I have mentioned before most of the action happens here and that includes everything that any Call of Duty game has- heavy drama and the intense to and FRO gameplay. The rest of the action happens as you sit cramped in the cell awaiting the next cutscene to provide you with an update of the present.
You may enjoy playing some of the team members’ past through their flashbacks, their journey and story may intrigue you and may make up for the present time action that is missing. Having said that, there are a total of two different missions one at the beginning and the other towards the end, outside of the whole flashback thing.
Focusing on the villain of the game, who is also claimed to be the successor of Hitler (in the game). I couldn’t understand him and found him quite ridiculous. Friesinger, the villain isn’t anything you would have expected or imagined. He is introduced as an absolute dictator who is ruthless and wouldn’t bat an eyelash as he kills someone. However, for the sake of continuing the game, they turned him into this confused person who leaves the group unharmed as he finds them interesting.
Now this is the mode where the developers can have fun as logic doesn’t need to be a guest to this party. I started with this mode first and finished it off within two hours in one sitting. I felt as though I have been playing some indie zombie thriller mindlessly killing and blasting zombies one after the other.
This mode didn’t have any Call of Duty touch to it, and anyone could mistake it for some generic zombie killer game.
The next mode I jumped onto was the campaign mode. Sledgehammer did an amazing job by bringing in models and equipment from the older COD titles and reinventing them in this one.
The missions here were easy to complete. Although the campaign mode is completely scripted and at times may feel restricted, some cool moments make up for it. I especially liked the fighter-jet scene and fighting my way through the skies full of smoke and enemy jets.
This is a trademark mode that distinguishes COD from other first-shooter games in the industry. I just think that the multi-player mode in Vanguard gets the work done with its innovative weapons and an extensive array of locations to choose from. Like you can join and match modern time scopes with various vintage weapons.
On the completion of a pre-determined set of objectives, you get to unlock operators that come with special abilities that may help you in your game. Of course, it depends upon your playing style.
Another thing to be excited about in Vanguard is the Blitz Pacing mode.
The Sound and Visuals
The visuals of this game felt like a cinematic experience with its surreal visuals and amazing audio.
Talking about the audio in this game, everything from the background score to the movement details seemed very realistic. The tension built-up scenes had the perfect audio supporting it for a full-on intense experience. The rustling of leaves, crunching of snows beneath your foot, the thud after shooting someone, the blasts, the list can go on and on about the captured accuracy of every single sound made in the game.
The developers weren’t messing around while designing the characters and their surroundings. Everything seemed sharp and focused and all in all absolutely immersive. From the character’s details to the wind in their hair, everything so precisely showcased that you would mistake it all for a movie. The cut-scenes looked like cinematic brilliance.
If you are a long time Call of Duty fan, this newest addition would be a bit disappointing to you. However, it does promise plenty of surprises in the coming months with new maps, leagues and so much more.
All in all, I feel like I would definitely go back to play this again more so after new content has been released. Besides this, I have been enjoying Cold War a bit too much and see myself enjoying the same in the future as well.
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