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Video Game Review: ‘Vanguard’ improves on the foundation of Modern Warfare’

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Sebastián Abdon Ibarra
Metro Editor 

“Call of Duty: Vanguard” is the next entry into the “Call of Duty” franchise. “Vanguard” was developed by Sledgehammer Games, coming on the heels of last year’s “Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War” developed by Treyarch and Raven Software. “Vanguard” has three main game modes to offer: the single player campaign, multiplayer, and zombies.

“Vanguard’s” single player offering is more of what you expect from a “Call of Duty” campaign. The story and characters are never going to blow the player away, but are enjoyable nonetheless as a player can turn their brain off and have some dumb fun.

“Vanguard” returned to the World War II setting, but with less emphasis on realism and historical accuracy. For instance, the story revolves around a fictional squad of soldiers comprised of the different allied nations tasked with uncovering intelligence on a secret Nazi program. “Vanguard’s” characters are a highlight of the campaign and each person’s story is enjoyable to explore. There is the British-Cameroonian leader Arthur Kingsley, the Russian sniper Polina Petrova, the Aussie demolitions expert Lucas Riggs, and the American pilot Wade Jackson. The story is told in non-chronological order and the player explores these character’s backstories as the campaign progresses. Important historical battles, like the battles of Midway and Stalingrad, are used as the background for exploring these backstories. The campaign covers the Eastern and Western fronts in Europe, the Pacific theater, and battles in North Africa.

In terms of gameplay, Polina’s story is the highlight of the campaign. Her storyline is filled with sniping sections, stealth sections, and some of the best game mechanics and level design in the whole campaign.

Multiplayer is the main draw for any “Call of Duty” game, and any experienced veteran of the series will know what to expect. However, this year’s entry is an improvement from Cold War. Unlike Cold War, “Vanguard” is running on the “Modern Warfare 2019” engine and benefits from the smooth and satisfying gunplay that comes with it. Unlike “Modern Warfare,” whose poor core game design catered to a slower and more campy playstyle, “Vanguard” has had a higher pace of play so far. This has translated into a better experience for players who prefer to play at that higher pace.

Most importantly, “Vanguard” launched with 16 different multiplayer maps and 38 base weapons at launch, which is a welcome improvement from previous years. Having a diverse offering of maps at launch is important for avoiding the monotony that comes with playing the same maps over and over again when a game has a small offering of maps. As it was said before, “Vanguard” was not made with realism and historical accuracy in mind, so various pieces of equipment and gun attachments are all embellished in the name of fun gameplay. Killstreaks also make their return to the game, replacing last year’s scorestreak system, and the game is better off for it. There will be plenty to do in “Vanguard” for those who appreciate a good progression system. There is the traditional progression for the mastery camo, which this year seems time consuming but fair. In addition, players can progress their operator characters, with the ultimate goal of obtaining mastery skins for those characters. “Vanguard” offers plenty to do and work toward for those players who like to have that feeling of progression while playing.

Champion Hill is the new multiplayer mode offered in this year’s game. It is an interesting mix of the well received Gunfight mode introduced in “Modern Warfare 2019” and some elements of “Warzone.” It is a good way to take a breather from normal multiplayer.

The zombies game mode is more of the same that a player can expect from it. It is sure to satisfy its sizable and passionate playerbase, but is a little lacking in content right now. However, more content is surely on the way as the different seasons come and go.

Sebastián Abdón Ibarra can be reached at sebastian.ibarra@laverne.edu.

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