Call of Duty: Vanguard Review

Call of Duty is an interesting series. Due to excellent gameplay the series has made some excellent and enjoyable fictional stories. The issue has always come in when the game tries to tell relatively true stories and things can get uncomfortable in the middle. So with Call of Duty: Vanguard telling some individual stories from WWII I was getting nervous about this one.

The Ultimate Collaboration

I tried to stay blind going into Call of Duty: Vanguard. I knew it told a bunch of different stories but assumed it was going to be individual chapters about different people in the war. Instead these stories are framed in a more interesting way. I was glad to have done so.

From the outset you are thrown in as a group of special forces soldiers with varying accents as they assault a train. This is a solid introductory mission as you get a taste of stealth right before you go bang bang shooty man on everything. The train ride ends with a lot of fire and blood where your team then assaults a submarine dock while they find out some information about Operation Phoenix.

This is where the action ramps up and you…no wait your team gets captured. Oh well. Short game aye?

Successful Solo Projects

This is where your team starts getting interrogated by Meriadoc Brandybuck, I mean Dominic Monaghan, I mean generic German sounding name number four. Each team has a scene where they speak to their captor before we learn more about their past by… doing a mission in their past. I should say here I am being a bit mean, but Dominic Monaghan does a pretty damn good job in the role. As a LOTR fan I can’t help but see Merry every time he shows up in anything.   

I mean how much fun was he as Merry? Loveable and mischievous at all times, while teaming up with Pippen made for some excellent cinematic moments. Especially when they kick it with Treebeard. Then the Battle of Isengard, man there haven’t been many battles that good on screen, that and Helms Deep. Wait where were we? Oh yea WWII.

Each of our characters take us to different battles. There is of course D-Day…because it is a WWII game of course. More interestingly we get to take the part of a sniper hoping to keep those darn Germans out of Stalingrad in one of the better missions. After an aerial battle in the pacific we find ourselves stranded in Papua New Guinea wounded and armed with a knife. You’ll even spend some time with some subordinate Aussies in North Africa.  

What this does is it helps keep the game feeling fresher. If we spent eight hours in Berlin going toe to toe with Nazi’s it would get pretty repetitive quickly. The change of scenery, enemies, your situation and skills kept me engaged the entire time. The framing of the fictional story around it helps disassociate it with the serious matters dealt with in the flashbacks.

Not everything a supergroup makes is a hit

So much of this game is excellent, and like COD does so much of the gameplay feels so good. One thing I hated with a passion was flying. There are a couple of significant chunks of gameplay that had you in aerial battles and I only fluked my way to the end, I never got the hang of it. This wasn’t helped by a lot of boundaries that if you went out of it would tell you to return to the missions area. I would do this regularly trying to regain my bearings and I died too often with it.

Despite this the rest of the gameplay is bloody good as usual. This carries over to multiplayer which is, you know, COD multiplayer. I am not the biggest fan of online shooters anymore but I enjoyed dabbling in some battles. God some people are far too good at online though.

Not the Final outing for this band

Call of Duty: Vanguard has an interesting story. I enjoyed the way that it was framed, with short blasts of different gameplay styles and environments helping to keep it running well. It took me about eight hours to finish the story, and I am slow, so it isn’t overly long. Despite this I wouldn’t want it longer because that’s when games drag, and this felt like the perfect length for the story told.

I suspect it will have some kind of sequel…

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