Normally, when I get an email for a game from the chief editor I break into a cold sweat thinking it is going to be another Energy Cycle Edge or Dying Light: Be The Zombie. This time it was a code to the Call of Duty: Vanguard beta. I was interested since this would be the first time I have played a Call Of Duty game since Activision was kind enough to invite me to the Black Ops 4 unveil in LA. I was more than happy to put Vanguard through the paces and give my thoughts. Since it was a beta, I decided to put it here instead of a typical scored review.
Let’s not bury the led here… it’s a Call of Duty game. I don’t know what you were expecting, but it is still a Call of Duty game so there have not been earth shattering changes since the last one you have played. The beta consisted of a few online play modes and about four levels. In addition to the modes, there were different sizes of the matches from 6 vs. 6 all the way to 28 vs. 28. This is where my first, albeit mild, complaint is. 28 vs. 28 is just too much. This was especially true on Hotel Royal where it was so small the chaos sucked most of the fun away. I had no issue with other size player groups, and they didn’t impact the match negatively at all.
I really like the weapons and customization options for the weapons in Vanguard. This Call of Duty game goes back to World War II and it is kind of nice to use weapons like the MP-40 and the M-1 Garand again. The customizations are very in-depth from stock to muzzle to barrel to the type of handle. Each upgrade increases or decreases various stats and allows you to build your weapon the way you want.
One thing I am kind of on the fence about is that these upgrades are based on you leveling up the weapon which could discourage players from using leveling up new gear. Why start over with a new gun operating strictly with iron sights when you can stay with your upgraded weapon that suits your preferences perfectly? I suppose if the new weapon does more damage overall, handles better or is more accurate, then it might be worth it to level it up, but that’s going to be up to each player to decide for themselves.
The best feature I found in Vanguard however was in the menu where I could turn voice chat off. Sometimes the mute feature didn’t take on my headset. Anyway, to players who are playing with a headset, please read this next part closely. We don’t need to hear about your (sometimes pretty crazy) personal issues over the game chat while you play. I am here to play Call of Duty, not listen to you argue with your wife or girlfriend about cleaning up the house (actually happened), practicing your Bon Jovi karaoke (its bad, just…bad), gossiping about your friend’s attempted suicide (again, really not joking, this happened), or talking at a soothing 110 decibels with your friend on your phone, though I do hope that last person finds their missing dog…and that illegal substance they had stashed under their collar.
In fact, this kind of over-the-top stupidity is one of the reasons that I don’t normally play online to begin with.
Domination mode quickly ground my patience into a powder so fine you would need an electron microscope to find the remnants of it. Domination is your standard capture the flag style game, although the main issue is every time either team was taking/losing the flag there was a voice angrily yelling that. This reminder was constant and he was always saying something like “we’re taking Alpha” or “we’re losing Baker” every three seconds. EVERY. THREE. SECONDS. This was not helped by the voice actor pronouncing “Baker” in a way that it sounded like “Bacon” which made my wife and I hungry.
Overall, for a beta, I really enjoyed the gameplay and think this title has great potential to be a solid entry into the season. I would like to see what the final game looks like and run it through for a scored review. Overall, I might also take a buddy up on his offer and give Call of Duty: Warzone a whirl. Stay safe everyone, and don’t forget that the GiN Lounge podcast is back. Please make sure you listen.