Call Of Duty: Vanguard Review — Personnel Problems

Call of Duty games can sometimes contradict themselves. The franchise dictates that each new game has a specific feel–things like quick kill times and consistent approaches to movement and weapons, and campaigns that mix a large sense of scale with an individual intensity of battle. Call of Duty: Vanguard maintains all of these things, but it also strains under the formula. There are times when Call of Duty’s underlying elements seem to hold it back, like in its single-player campaign. Other times, like with some of its multiplayer offerings, it takes useful steps forward in unifying ideas that push the series forward, albeit incrementally. Overall, though, the Call of Duty formula makes Vanguard feel uneven. It climbs to some excellent heights, but stumbles often along the way.

Vanguard returns to World War II but takes a fictionalized, exaggerated approach to the conflict. It puts you in the shoes of four veteran heroes as they come together to form the first modern special forces team. The story can be a bit cartoonish at times–it feels like Call of Duty’s take on something like The Expendables, as it brings together a team of unkillable action heroes, but it’s also fitting for a game where you single-handedly kill hundreds of enemies in each mission. These folks are the best of the best, and the story takes you through flashbacks for each one, establishing why they’re the best, and then letting them work together to hijack a Nazi train and smash a Nazi base.

Your special forces team is heading to Berlin near the end of the war, hoping to gain intelligence about a secret program before the Nazis bury it ahead of the Red Army’s approach. The team you play is matched by super-evil Nazis on the opposite side (Lord of the Rings’ Dominic Monaghan as a wormy Nazi nerd is particularly fun to hate), and most of the game is framed as a series of interrogations after the bad guys capture the heroes. It’s notable how much time Vanguard spends on cutscenes and character development, in fact. Creating memorable characters and leaning into storytelling is an area the franchise has often struggled with, and much of what makes the campaign fun is how hard Vanguard goes on building your team: it’s all character, all the time. That helps keep the story from getting disjointed as it leaps around both the timeline of the war and the globe, dropping you in major battles so you can see how each character got to where you find them.

Continue Reading at GameSpot

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