Call Of Duty Vanguard At launch review
Disclaimer: The following review was originally written when Call Of Duty Vanguard first launched. As such, I will not be mentioning the patches or the DLC.
Call Of Duty Vanguard is one of the biggest pieces of garbage I've ever paid full Price for.
Nothing about the game feels as if it was developed with any sense of passion, integrity, or even a basic level of care.
That's probably because this game was in development hell, and the greedy higher-ups at Activision didn't seem to care about making a quality, or even serviceable product. They admitted that this game was rushed and that much of what was implemented, such as a zombies mode, was shoved in at the last second.
What's The Most important aspect of any game? Well being able to play it.
The First thing I wanted to do was see if the developers learned anything from the previous Call Of Duty games and took the feedback they garnered to heart.
I immediately jumped onto the multiplayer.
Or should I say I tried to jump onto the multiplayer.
Upon opening the multiplayer tab on the menu, I was greeted with a message that said I had to download a patch. However, the patch wasn't available yet. The game told me I had to wait another 56 hours before the patch would be available in my region.
So I couldn't play one-third of the game at launch.
I'm not going to sit around for three days and wait for this patch to come out.
I then decided to start up a fan favorite mode; Zombies.
It's Almost Scary How Little They Care.
Surely this mode had to be good. After all, it was developed by Treyarch, and they are the zombie experts of COD.
But When I started a zombies match, I immediately realized that there was nothing to accomplish, LITERALLY: there was no story, no lore, no easter eggs, nothing. All you do is go around the map and shoot zombies.
At first, I thought that Treyarch was going back to their World At War days by giving you small maps that you just play for fun. However, I was told that these maps were going to receive updates later on, to be more substantial.
If that's the case, why even bother putting them in the base game if there's nothing to do?
The zombies map felt like a mod that a team of novices could make in less than a week using Unity or Unreal engine 3.
I say Unreal Engine 3, not 4, because the graphical fidelity of this game outside of a few pre-rendered cutscenes is garbage.
I hadn't even played the game for an hour, and already I was pissed.
I tried to calm myself. I put all my faith into the single-player campaign.
A World Not Worth Fighting For.
The Single player campaign was hyped up to explore all four main fronts of World War 2. The Eastern Front, The Northern Front, The Pacific Front, and North Africa. On top of this, each of the four main protagonists was going to have their own unique Story and a gameplay aspect that was tailored to them.
I was a bit skeptical at first. After all, the average Call Of Duty Campaign is roughly 3-4 hours long on Normal difficulty.
So, the question is, how do you tackle the four fronts of World War 2 with four characters, each with a unique personality and gameplay gimmick that feels rewarding while trying to tell a compelling story in a mode that most people can beat in under four hours?
The answer is simple; you don't.
The Story starts towards the tail end of World War2 in 1945. You and your squad of commandos fight Nazis on a train with all the enthusiasm of a teenager working part-time at a car wash.
Seriously, the game sets the tone with this edgy vibe, where all the characters try to show off how cool they are, but it comes across as annoying and bland. Especially with the voice acting and line delivery that sounds like it was recorded after the voice actors just found they were being paid minimum wage.
" I shoot Nazis. They die; that's my plan," says a supposedly war-torn Russian sniper after being asked to introduce herself.
"Hell of a world, Who's up for saving it?"
"If this is so important, why did they not send an army?" "They did, the six of us."
"Yeah, that's why we brought the guns, to shoot them."
These are supposed to be battle-hardened commandos who've experienced the horrors of war, but they come across as what a seven-year-old would think a soldier in their position would talk like.
Gameplay Breaking And Visual Bugs Kept Me From Being Engaged.
There is an assload of bugs and visual glitches as well.
Often, my teammates would go into a mele animation when they were a few feet away from an enemy. The enemy would act as if they were hit, even though there wasn't any physical contact.
There were also times when I wasn't sure if it was a glitch or just poor programming. Often when a grenade went off near an enemy, it would send them flying like 20 feet in the air.
Visually like I said, outside of a few pre-rendered cutscenes, there isn't much to look at here. I got this game for my PC with a 3950x processor and 3080ti graphics card, cranked up the graphic settings to ultra on a 4K monitor, and it still looked incredibly underwhelming.
Terrible Physics And A Lack Of Animations Made It Hard To Stay Engaged.
It's not just the graphics; the overall look of the game is just depressing and void of any personality. I can understand that a sad vibe might be what the devs were going for, but there are ways to make a game feel depressing other than simply making the sky have a blood orange tint covered in dust that is repeated in about four of this game's meager nine levels.
The only level that was somewhat ascetically pleasing to look at was one that took place in the daytime, where I was surrounded by foliage. However, even this level lost its luster to me upon taking a closer look. In this stage, you are given a flamethrower and tasked with killing Japanese soldiers in makeshift bunkers. The second my flames came in contact with the soldiers; they either just stood there like totem pols for a few seconds before succumbing to their wounds and falling down or wobbled back and forth like bobblehead dolls. There wasn't even an animation that showed them flailing their arms around in agony as they were being burnt alive.
Also, the grass physics in this level were atrocious.
All the blades of grass looked the same, were the exact same height, and didn't even burn upon being lit on fire.
Call Of Duty World At War, which came out in 2008 for the Playstation 3, featured enemies that reacted appropriately to being lit on fire, uneven grass, and foilage burning and turning to ash upon being lit ablaze.
The Plot Feels Like A Pitch To A Rejected Austin Powers Novel.
The Story is dog shit glued together with cat shit.
Some evil nazi guy shows up to introduce himself in the most cliched way ever. He comes across as a parody villain, like Dr. Evil in Austin Powers.
We get vague hints at his scheme throughout the game, ending on an undeserved cliffhanger.
I didn't feel as though I accomplished anything because nothing I did lead to a grandiose finally or a melancholic personal resolution.
I didn't care who lived or who died, and I didn't care about anyone's motivations, provided they had one; I was so uninterested in the Story I couldn't even tell you if there were any.
I hope that whatever money the higher-ups at Activision saved by skimping on this game's production value went to hire a legal team that is well versed in the Geneva Convention handbook because charging full Price for this game should be a war crime.
SCORE 1/10 ABYSMAL
October 1st, 2022 UPDATE:
According to some of the higher-ups at Activision, Vanguard didn't sell well because it was a World War 2 game. This is the garbage reason they gave for its lackluster sales. The fact that they can't even publically admit that the game is just bad tells me that they don't care about consumer feedback.
I feel bad for studios like Raven Software, who genuinely take the feedback they've been given to heart to make a quality product while their oppressive overlords force them to churn out this garbage.
I only hope that with the acquisition of Activision by Microsoft, and them letting the devs skip a year to focus on the quality of the games, maybe, just maybe, Call Of Duty has a successful future.