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access_time September 18, 2021 at 6:00 AM in Previews by Dragos Dobre

Preview | Call of Duty: Vanguard (Multiplayer)

Call of Duty: Vanguard is getting closer to its November 5th release, and Activision decided to give Call of Duty and PlayStation fans a chance to try it out early. An alpha version was released for the game, with a more extensive beta following. As with any alpha, it’s very limited and only features one rather unusual game mode for the franchise. Oh, and it was only available for PlayStation owners as part of a deal between the publisher and Sony.

I’ve been playing and writing about Call of Duty for more than a few years now. While I didn’t love every title in the series, most of them had that special something that made me come back and play it every single year. Vanguard is the third Call of Duty title from developer Sledgehammer Games. Their last released game being Call of Duty: WWII back in 2017. Vanguard is kind of the spiritual successor to WWII, as the action is placed around the same period. The difference is that it’s not following the same plot as WWII. On top of that, it’s also being polished for the next-gen consoles.

As you might expect, the guns are very similar to every WWII game you’ve played in the past. It feels a bit boring to pick up and play the same old weapons. But there’s no way around it if you want to keep the game as realistic as possible. You won’t be able to modify the weapons, except for the gun attachments we are all used to.

Alpha Impressions

The only game mode featured in the Alpha is a 2v2 tournament-like gunfight with several teams competing for first place on Champion Hill. Every round plays with different teams in their own separate arenas. The goal is to keep as many of your lives out of twelve total. Maintain your lives and you’ll continue to the next match.

In between rounds you’ll also be able to buy better guns, perks, and armor from a common area where chests are available for in-game purchases. You can buy items with accumulated currency from previous rounds, collecting it from defeated players.

The mode sounds simple and interesting in theory, but it seems that it’s not played how it was intended. Since it encourages you to keep as many lives as possible, campers are all over the place and will surely ruin your experience. Some of them don’t even leave the initial spawn zone, making you play mostly on an empty map. If there’s no other incentive for people to move around the map, they will most often just find the best and most hidden corner they can snipe from.

Surely, this mode is not even ten percent of the entire game. And it’s not big enough to judge the full game based on just a tiny sample. Strangely, Activision decided to start showing the game with this Alpha, as it doesn’t reflect the real multiplayer experience of the game. To be honest, this might be one of the modes I will be skipping in my matchmaking filter. That is unless they find some way of making it more dynamic and fun.

Beta Impressions

With the beta in full swing, we can dig a little deeper into what makes this game tick. As expected, the Call of Duty: Vanguard Beta brings a lot more content to the table. It features three new maps: Hotel Royal, Gavutu, and Red Star. Hotel Royal is by far my favorite map, as it features Paris and the beautiful Eiffel Tower seen from the top of the hotel.

You can experience the three new maps in five of the most iconic game modes, including Team Deathmatch, Domination, Patrol, and more. For the beta, Sledgehammer Games chose to remove the game mode selection for matchmaking. Of course, this restriction will lift away for the full game, as it’s just something to improve the feedback received from players.

Sledgehammer Games has certainly listened to the feedback given so far and has addressed a lot of the issues reported. One of the most noteworthy of them is the damage overlay, refining it to maintain visibility while injured. This makes it easier to spot enemies while injured, but there’s also been improvements for the footstep sounds. There’s a huge increase to the chances of recovering after taking damage when comparing to the alpha.

The beta surely feels like a more complete experience. Killstreaks, loadouts, and perks are also back. There’s nine weapon classes available across the Primary and Secondary weapons categories, giving multiple options. Gunsmith is also back, with over 100,000+ possible custom loadouts available. It’s not even close to the full game, but it’s more than I could ask for in a Beta. And to be honest, I never spend too much time customizing my loadouts. I usually just set up two of my favorite ones and keep playing with what works.

If our impressions aren’t enough to convince you, you can go ahead and play the beta for yourself. Starting today, the beta is available across all platforms for free. I’ll surely be playing a few more games this weekend, as I have really enjoyed my experience with it so far. Call of Duty: Vanguard releases on November 5th, 2021 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X, and PC. Until then, I’ll see you on the battlefield!

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