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Call of Duty: Vanguard

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Call of Duty: Vanguard
COD Vanguard Artwork.jpg
"Do you speak Japanese?"
Japanese soldier who casually speaks fluent English.
Protagonist(s): Lucas Riggs
Wade Jackson
Polina Borisovna Petrova
Arthur Kingsley
Genre(s): First-person shooter
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 4
PlayStation 5
Xbox One
Xbox Series X/S
Release: November 5, 2021
Engine: IW 8.0
Developer(s): Sledgehammer Games[1]
Publisher(s): Activision
Country: United States
Canada
Ireland
China
Series: Call of Duty
Predecessor: Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War (by release date)
Call of Duty: WWII (chronologically)
Successor: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II (2022) (release date, upcoming)


"Hey guys. Another year, another Call of Duty, this time Call of Duty: Vanguard... it sucks. And for most of you, that'll do!"
Angry Joe
"Welcome to the Moist Meter, today we're taking a look at the new Call of Duty game, Vanguard, a game I don't think many people were excited for and rightfully so. This is the most generic Call of Duty game I've ever played. It was literally like playing a fucking parody of Call of Duty."
penguinz0
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Call of Duty: Vanguard is a first-person shooter game developed by Sledgehammer Games and published by Activision in 2021. It is the 18th main installment in the Call of Duty franchise, and the 6th game to take place in World War II.

Plot

Vanguard is about the creation of the first special operations task force that is made of four members, how they met to form the group, and their task to stop a threatening plan that the Nazis have under their sleeves.

Why It Sucks

  1. Similarly to Battlefield V, there are many instances of historical inaccuracy present throughout the campaign. Examples include:
    • White characters being made fun of for laughs.
    • Polina being a Mary Sue, as she takes on a giant group of German soldiers with only a pistol while carrying her injured brother, and manages to emerge triumphant.
    • The teams in the multiplayer mode being simply named "Your Team" and "Enemy Team" instead of being based on armies that served in WWII like in the previous WWII games.
    • Multiple unreal weapon attachments that really shouldn't be in WW2, including but not limited to: a rotary grenade launcher, a drum mag for a KAR-98, red dot sights (though technically yellow dot sights but who cares), a Japanese weapon found on a German train, speaking of which Japanese people using German weaponry (while it could be argued they stole it) and a prototype AK that never actually saw use in the war.
    • In a recent update, a new gun was presented, and before you think it's a WW2 gun that has yet to be shown in a accurate WW2 game, no, rather (and no this isn't a joke) its instead a PROTOTYPE LASER RIFLE CALLED THE EX1. It's like they just gave up making an accurate WW2 game!
    • Speaking of multiplayer, for reasons only known to Activision, the game added a update where SNOOP DOGG and the T-800 become playable!
  2. Speaking of historical inaccuracy, there's also a good amount of unrealistic moments present despite realism being a selling point for this game. The most notable examples of the unrealistic elements are the abilities of each protagonist. This is a case of false advertising.
    • Polina's ability in particular is ridiculous, as she waves her finger while whistling to distract an enemy sniper, which causes the sniper to fire their rifle. They'll shoot even if Polina is completely hidden too thanks to poor AI.
    • Even though she's a sniper who specializes in stealth, Polina's gameplay style practically turns into what the gameplay style of Doom is when she takes on the German army with a pistol as mentioned above.
    • Wade's ability allows him to see enemies through thick fog and solid object like thermal goggles would, even though he has no thermal equipment on him. He also has auto-aim and bullet time abilities as well.
    • During one of the missions, the player throws a specific grenade to destroy a barrier, only for the grenade to destroy the entire building. Granted there were other explosives near the grenade, but even then the explosion shouldn't have been that powerful.
  3. Destructive environments was also a selling point, yet almost nothing is destructible. One of the very few destructible things are small, poorly made walls that are scattered throughout the game.
    • Players can't even shoot out the headlights of a car.
    • There's also barely any effects when bullets hit solid objects like walls.
    • Trying to shoot the gas tank of an enemy using a flamethrower does nothing. The tank only explodes during a cutscene.
  4. Although the campaign is fairly interesting, most of the missions are boring; they either don't stand out at all and feel like a mission you've played before, are far too linear and restrictive, or are very easy even on Veteran difficulty setting. Wade and Lucas' missions tend to suffer the most from this.
    • Some missions appear open, yet are filled with invisible walls and other restrictions. This sometimes makes them difficult to navigate and know where to go.
    • A lot of the missions contains parts where the player are simply defending a certain area from the enemies, a level element that has since been overutilized.
    • Wade's mission where he's a pilot during the Battle of Midway is pathetically easy. The Enemy planes have terrible AI and will almost never land a shot on your plane, and crashing into the ocean is difficult as well due to the game forcefully moving your plane away from the waters.
      • The plane controls are also made awkward due to the mission trying to be an odd mix between on-rails shooting and freely controlling the plain.
      • The mission itself feels like a rehash of the plane mission in Call of Duty: WWII, except this time the camera is first-person instead of third-person.
    • Wade's second mission is also a cake walk since his abilities are very powerful and exploitable.
    • During the mission where one grenade blew up an entire building, the game requires the player to destroy the barrier using that very specific grenade. None of the other grenades will do anything against the barrier.
    • There are no collectables to obtain in any of the missions.
  5. Most of the campaign is just flashbacks of what the four protagonists were doing prior to getting captured. Only two of the missions aren't flashbacks, making almost the entire campaign feel like filler.
    • What doesn't help is that the two non-flashback missions are shorter than the other missions.
  6. The developers tried to use films as the game's main inspiration, and went for a more cinematic experience this time around, something of which that almost never works. Because of this, cutscenes are much more common than in previous campaigns. This wouldn't be so bad but they drag on for too long and cutscenes will trigger in parts where they are completely unnecessary such as a cutscene playing without warning during a shootout in a church and ending when the shootout ends.
    • To add insult in injury, most of the interesting parts of the story happen during the cutscenes.
  7. Speaking of cutscenes, there are shots throughout the story that try way too hard to be cinematic, mainly overusing slow-motion for miniscule things like the protagonists tossing equipment to each other, or sometimes when the player kills an enemy.
  8. There are some parts of the story that are poorly written or remain inconclusive or too vague. The biggest examples are how the game never explains in detail what Project Phoenix is all about despite being talked about a lot, and the ending being a cliffhanger and an obvious sequel-bait, where the protagonists uncover the Nazi's plans and then pursue the Nazis with their newfound knowledge. It also isn't explained how the Nazis are still powerful even after Adolf Hitler's death.
  9. The campaign is also fairly short despite having four different stories to work off of, usually taking less than four hours to beat. There's only nine missions, with only two missions for each protagonist before the last mission to be more specific (except for Arthur, who only has one mission).
  10. Because of how short the campaign is, all four of the protagonists feel underutilized. The shortness also makes most of the characters barely fleshed out, with almost no time to explore each of the characters in depth. The ironic thing is that the developers claimed that they were going to put an emphasis on the characters this time around.
  11. The dialogue is oftentimes laughable, with there being a lot of cringeworthy one-liners that try too hard to be funny or serious depending on the situation.
  12. Poor AI for enemies and allies alike. The enemies often don't notice the player until they start firing at them. The player can even charge straight at them and the enemy won't do anything, allowing the player to easily melee kill them. As for the allies, they often don't fight back against enemies, and will stay behind cover and not follow the player even after the area is clear of enemies. Sometimes they will also stand in front of a doorway and block the entrance, making it difficult to get through.
  13. The Gunsmith system from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) returns. This system was already lauded for its innovative take on gun customization due to its sheer number of modification that can affect the gameplay significantly, but is now robbing any semblance of realism in Vanguard. While the prevalent number of gun accessories and customizations are justified in Modern Warfare 2019 due to the high number of these customizations in our modern era, the same can't be said in this game since many of the available customizations were only still in the developmental phases (thus resulting in a very small amount of them being tested in the frontlines) and the customization only makes the guns look silly in multiplayer.
  14. Artificial Difficulty:
    • The player's currently equipped gun disappears for no reason when having to perform a stealth kill on a German soldier.
    • Dead enemies despawn immediately after being killed, preventing players from collecting their weapons or ammo.
    • Enemy dogs are cheaply overpowered and instantly kill the player just by touching them, whereas in previous games there was an animation that plays when a dogs attacks and the player can survive the attack by acting quickly.
    • Enemy snipers are similarly overpowered as they can kill a player within a second thanks to them having pin-point accuracy and lightning fast reflexes.
  15. There is almost nothing different regarding the multiplayer aspect. None of the modes are any different than in previous games, and the players are still glass cannons that get killed with two bullets to the foot.
    • A few modes present in previous games are missing here, such as the tank mode in WWII. All that's left are the basic modes that are in almost, if not every other, Call of Duty game.
    • There is a new mode however, called "Patrol". Unfortunately, this mode is a chaotic mess with no clear objective. Spawning in this mode is abysmal as well since the player often gets killed the second they respawn.
      • This mode allows players to level their guns up in Warzone, resulting in the other modes getting neglected in favor of leveling up as fast as possible.
    • The different maps and modes encourage different pacing for each of them, but they all play out the same due to there being no difference in gameplay.
  16. Although there are quite a number of maps to choose from, a few of them are recycled from World at War. This not only feels lazy, but also may be an attempt at nostalgia pandering.
  17. There are barely any new weapons here. The game mostly reuses the same weapons that were available in the previous COD WWII games.
  18. The Zombies mode here is very underwhelming, to the point where this is arguably the worst incarnation of the Zombies mode yet.
    • Initially, There was only one map available named Der Anfang were it has players being restricted to only one section of the map at first until they complete objectives to open more of the map's sections. These objectives however have little variety, which makes them repetitive quickly.
    • The map itself is badly designed, as the sections are either too open or too closed-in. This allows the players to easily avoid the zombies in the open areas, or spawn kill them in the tight-quarter areas. What's really lazy is how the map isn't unique, but is instead several multiplayer maps that were closed off. There are also portals that take you to sections of maps from previous zombie iterations.
    • Because of the mode trying to mix the objectives with rounds of simply killing zombies, the overall gameplay of the mode feels awkward and gets really boring. A majority of the mode is spent waiting for one of the three available objectives or a different part of the map to appear.
    • What doesn't help is how easy this mode is. The weapons the players are initially provided are overpowered, especially the shotgun, and there's plenty of ammo to collect.
    • The enemy variety is as bare-minimum as it can get, and there aren't any bosses to fight.
    • Besides a slick intro cutscene, There's no story to tell here nor easter eggs, which makes this campaign even less motivating to play.
    • Wonder Weapons are missing despite being a staple of the zombies series since World at War.
  19. Like most other recent Call of Duty games, glitches are fairly common. Some examples include NPC or random objects floating in the air.
  20. The main antagonist is an idiot. After Vanguard finally caught up to him in Berlin, Hermann Freisinger gloats how they cannot kill him as he holds information that the Allies would want, and how well the Allies will take care of him and his future in exchange for his cooperation (even saying he will raise a family in front of Polina's face). This, predictably, ends with Vanguard deciding to just kill him by burning him alive. What makes Freisinger's action idiotic was that there was never any outstanding goal among the Vanguard unit or the Allies to take Freisinger alive, not to mention that his escape plane has a treasure trove of documents that Vanguard can just root through after he is dead.
  21. Although the graphics are good, a lot of the character models look outdated. Some examples include the dogs and papa (the latter of whom looks cartoonish in addition).
  22. When taking the short campaign and underwhelming multiplayer and zombie modes into consideration, this game is overpriced. What's worse is that the Xbox Series X/S and PS5 ports cost $70, while the ultimate edition costs a whopping $100.
    • The bonus content for the ultimate edition is a complete rip-off. All you get is five hours of double XP, three operator skins, three weapon blueprints, and the Battle Pass. What's worse is that it's advertised as having a ton of extra content.
    • Not to mention that you could literally buy a bottle of a specifically marked Call of Duty Mountain Dew and get double XP for an hour per bottle code, per day anyway, making the special edition more pointless.
  23. Although Vanguard was the highest-selling game of 2021, Activision said the game did not meet its expectations, blaming its sales on people who don't like playing World War II games or those who are tired of playing games with WW2 setting.[2]
  24. In July 2022, a Chinese ArtStation artist accused Activision of plagiarising a Samoyed character skin for Kim Tae Young.[3]

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Despite its many problems, the campaign has a decent story, and has a few fun missions. What makes the campaign more interesting is the fact that there's four different stories going on at once, and how they all tie up towards the end of the campaign.
  2. Even if their abilities are overpowered, each of the four protagonists offer a different style of gameplay to help shake up the campaign more.
    • Polina's missions are by far the most unique out of the four protagonists, as her first mission have an emphasis on stealth.
  3. This is the first time the improved gunplay is present in a Call of Duty game set in WWII, causing the weapons to feel more powerful and enjoyable to use as a result.
  4. Speaking of gunplay, the Gunsmith system returns, and is improved upon. The menu is better optimized to make using it faster and less complicated, and weapons can now have ten attachments on them (versus eight in Black Ops Cold War). Course it still won't excuse the ridiculous conversions and attachments you can mount on the guns.
  5. There more multiplayer maps than in Black Ops Cold War.
  6. Although there's still not as much maps as in 2019's Modern Warfare, none of the maps here are restricted to only one game mode.
  7. The game's size has been reduced compared to Modern Warfare (2019) and Black Ops Cold War.
  8. The graphics are drastically better than in Black Ops Cold War thanks to using the same engine as in 2019's Modern Warfare, and upgrading said engine. The best example of the great graphics and visuals is during the fifth mission, which takes place in the jungles of Papua New Guinea.
    • The cutscenes are highly realistic looking in particular, and are one of the highlights of the graphics.

Reception

Call of Duty: Vanguard received mixed reception from critics and mixed-to-negative mixed reception from users. While the game received better reception from fans than Black Ops Cold War, some fans still showed negative feelings towards the game. The main points of criticism were directed to its lack of changes from previous Call of Duty games, as well as the Zombies mode.

On Metacritic, the game has a Metascore of 74/100. As for the user scores, the PC version has a user score of 4.1/10, the PS5 version received a 4.4/10, the Xbox Series X/S version received a 5.8/10, the PS4 version received a 5.3/10, and the Xbox One port received a 4.9/10.[4][5][6][7][8]

AngryJoe gave the game a 4/10, calling the game a "soulless cash grab". penguinz0 gave the game a 45% and views the game as a poorly-made parody of the franchise.

A few days after the game was released, it was removed from the front page of the PlayStation Store due to the ongoing Activision Blizzard controversy. According to data from the GSD, annual sales for the Call of Duty games, including Vanguard went down by 40% year-on-year in the UK.[9] The game has also generated controversy towards Muslim players, as one of the page from the Quran were depicted on the floor in the Zombies mode.[10]

Videos

References

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