Call of Duty: Vanguard is the upcoming FPS by Sledgehammer Games and Treyarch. It’s the 15th entry of Activision’s saga.
Like with previous games in the franchise, Vanguard offers both single-player and multiplayer modes. Moreover, it will have integration with CoD: Warzone.
We aim to help you decide between Vanguard and the upcoming Battlefield: 2042. DICE took three years, since 2018, to create the new entry of the FPS game. However, CoD retains its yearly release schedule, so we must also ask: is it better than Black Ops – Cold War?
Release Date and Platforms
Call of Duty: Vanguard is debuting on November 5th. It will be available for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, and PC. PC players can find the game on Battle.net.
The game is also available for pre-order for either platform on its official site.
Crossplay and Cross-progression
Developers are going for a user-friendly approach with its cross features.
First, the game allows crossplay between either console and generation. So, for example, PS4 players can tag along with Xbox Series, PC, Xbox One, and PS5 users.
The game also includes cross-progression across generations and platforms. You only need your Battle.net or Activision account to import your progress over to your console of choice.
Developers have not published the final system specs. Nevertheless, they shared the specs for the public beta test on the CoD blog.
They are asking for moderate PC firepower, much less than what you’d need to play Battlefield 2042. Overall, you’d need a 4-cores CPU, a discrete GPU, and 45 GB storage.
Minimum Specs for public beta test:
- OS: Windows 10 64-bit (1909 build or later)
- CPU: Intel Core i5 2500k / AMD Ryzen 6 1600X
- Video: Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 2GB / GTX 1050 Ti 4GB / AMD Radeon R9 380
- RAM: 8GB
- Storage: 45GB HDD
- Sound Card: DirectX compatible
- DirectX 12
Recommended Specs for public beta test:
- OS: Windows 10 64’bit (latest build)
- CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K or AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
- Video: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 8GB / GTX 1660 6GB/ AMD Radeon RX Vega 56
- RAM: 16GB
- Storage: 45GB SSD
- Sound Card: DirectX compatible
- DirectX 12
As you see, the game depends more on the GPU and RAM and less on the CPU. That said, I think it’s great you could play on high-specs, 1080p with the theoretically affordable GTX 1660 card.
Before we go on, check Vanguard’s trailer below:
The developer behind the upcoming FPS is Sledgehammer Games. This is an Activision subsidiary with California HQs.
They created CoD: Modern Warfare 3, CoD: Advanced Warfare, and CoD: WW2. That’s actually the whole list of the studio’s titles.
However, former Visceral Games members founded the studio, so there’s plenty of experience behind the wheel. Visceral created the Dead Space saga, Dante’s Inferno, and Battlefield Hardline.
Other studios were part of Vanguard’s creation as well. In particular, Treyarch took care of the multiplayer aspect and the Zombies mode. They’ve been attached to the CoD franchise since 2008’s World at War.
Lastly, credits account for Beenox, Demonware, High Moon Studios, Toys for Bob, and Shanghai Activision.
Raven Software stepped down from the main franchise as they are currently leading CoD: Warzone. The battle royale will introduce new features when Vanguard debuts.
Similarly, Raven Software is also in charge of Black Ops – Cold War. Activision is planning several inter-connected upgrades for Vanguard, Cold War, and Warzone players this year.
- A new main Warzone map inspired by Vanguard events. The map will have a new anti-trap system.
- New Warzone weapons customizations based on the other three games.
- Battle Pass transfers across the four games.
- Character progression transfers across the four games.
Also, both Vanguard and Warzone will share free post-launch content. That means new weapons, game modes, maps, and events across various seasons. Some of these events will connect Vanguard and Warzone players on special maps.
As you see, Activision has left 2019’s Modern Warfare out of the loop.
CoD: Vanguard looks realistic and up-to-par AAA titles. It’s not breaking any boundaries, but it represents an upgrade over its predecessor.
So, graphics are perfectly fine for a shooter game. Bland, realistic, and allowing you to see everything clearly.
Also, the game runs on CoD’s newest game engine. That brings extra visual fidelity, photo-realistic settings, and optimal performance.
That said, public beta tests have showcased the console performance of the title. On the Xbox Series and the PS5, the game runs at a 2160p – 1620p dynamic resolution and 120 fps.
The Xbox Series X has an average higher resolution, reflections, and lighting. Nonetheless, either console, even the budget Xbox Series S, can play the game without issue.
Older-gen consoles run the game at 60fps on a 1080p resolution. The base consoles have some frame drop issues, playing the game often at 50fps.
The game goes back to a World War 2 scenario (1939 – 1945), a recurring setting for the franchise. We’ve already been there on 2005’s CoD 2, 2008’s World at War, and 2017’s CoD: WWII.
However, Vanguard is not a sequel to any of the Call of Duty games. It’s a standalone experience. In particular, Vanguard’s plot happens during the last months of WW2, so the year is 1945.
You play as a special team, tasked with a dangerous, top-secret mission. The group includes a demolition expert, a plane pilot, a sniper, and two operatives. These 5 soldiers are the Task Force One team, and you’ll change perspectives as you progress the story.
Is CoD: Vanguard Historically Accurate?
The story is fictional. It tells the origin story of Task Force One, a special military unit on its first assignment. The team has to stop a Nazi resurgence around the time WW2 is coming to an end.
The squad members are also fictional characters, war heroes who changed the war’s tide on various fronts. You’ll play these moments across some significant WWII battles, which accounts for historical accuracy.
Because of how the guns work and the game’s lack of factions, the game feels more like Modern Warfare wearing an old-school skin. It’s not as accurate as CoD: WWII.
However, Activision created an advertising video using real-life war photographers. They found the game’s graphics realistic and heart-breaking. Visual-wise, they said: “This is what war looks like, this is what conflict looks like.”
The main plot is about stopping Project Phoneix, a Nazi resurgence movement at the end of the war. The antagonist and movement leader is Nazi Officer Herman Wenzel Freisinger.
The campaign makes you control the five characters, team members, across past and present battles. You’ll play on the Eastern Front, North Africa, Western Front, and the Pacific on flashbacks, detailing the character’s origin stories.
Here’s the story trailer:
The five main characters are:
- Sergeant Arthur Kingsley: Task Force One leader is kind, determined, and willing to face the odds. He’s a British Parachute soldier who was fighting the German occupation of France.
- Sergeant Richard Webb: Webb is second-in-command. He’s also a British soldier and represents the master strategist of the team.
- Lietenant Polina Petrova: The Russian special-ops defended Stalingrad from Nazi invasion. She’s the squad’s sharpshooter, thirsty for vengeance against the German army.
- Private Lucas Riggs: The Australian soldier fought in the North African Campaign. He’s a demolition expert, always eager to blow stuff up.
- Lieutenant Wade Jackson: The American pilot has fought the war in the Pacific for years. He’s a hotshot, adrenaline-junkie, and one of the best pilots available.
So far, the character descriptions look quite stereotypical. But there’s more to it.
The offline game plays like any other CoD title, as there’re no significant changes in gameplay. There’re also no stand-out features or sequences.
Also, neither the story nor the characters seem as thrilling as they were in Cold War. It’s just a run-of-the-mill super-soldier story, with lots of explosions.
Lastly, gunplay is a mix between 2019’s Modern Warfare and Black Ops – Cold War. It’s moderately fast, with significant recoil, ballistic calculations, and low HP for the characters. Gunplay is definitely the best part of the game.
Here’s a campaign gameplay demo:
Multiplayer remains largely the same as well, for better or worse. Albeit there’s a couple of new modes, it behaves exactly as you’d expect.
Moreover, multiplayer graphics don’t look as polished as campaign graphics, and neither does character animation. The game seems more like an older Source-code title rather than a next-gen game.
Even so, the multiplayer brings various technical upgrades. For example, the screen doesn’t blur anymore when you get hurt. Thus your visibility doesn’t suffer.
Another example is how the game improves spawn rates, so you wouldn’t re-spawn in a place where a sniper could instantly kill you anymore.
As before, multiplayer includes a character progression system, weapon customizations, crossplay, and cross-progression.
Weapon customization feels a bit silly, though. You can place up to 10 mods per gun, although you need to unlock them as you play. Also, a new ammo system allows you to identify different kinds of ammo (like silent rounds) on any weapon.
Also, Vanguard is launching with 20 maps on day one. 16 of these maps cover classic CoD game modes, whereas others support new game modes. Maps are biodomes across North Africa, the Eastern Front, the Western Front, and the Pacific.
The maps include Hotel Royal, Eagle’s Nest, Gavutu, Red Star, The Castle, and Dome.
Lastly, all maps feature some new-gen improvements:
- Some items and areas in the environment are destructible
- There’s grime, dirt, burn marks, and wear on textures.
- There’s dust, leaking pipes, and flourishing fauna on some maps to improve realism.
- There’s “combat fog,” dust that kicks in the air when bullets hit the floor and walls.
The campaign is an origin story for the Special Forces. Then, the multiplayer expands the concept by introducing new Special Forces members as Operators.
Sledgehammer worked with an expert WWII historian to create characters inspired by real war heroes.
Here’re the ones we’ve seen so far:
- Captain Carver Butcher: He’s a British Special Force operator, present in CoD: WW2.
- Polina Petrova, Arthur Kingsley, Lucas Riggs, and Wade Watson: Main characters as Operators.
- Daniel Take Yatsu and Roland Zelme: Upcoming Operators.
We expect to see the other main character (Richard Webb) as an Operator as well. When the game launches, there will be 12 available operators.
All characters will come with expanded dialogue, customizations, challenges, and favorite weapons. If you use the favorite weapon, you receive additional weapon XP; weapon XP unlocks weapon mods and camo.
Also, you can level your Operators by gaining Operator XP. This is separate from regular XP, Battle Pass, weapon, and Clan XP. Leveling the operator unlocks cosmetics, Calling Cards, Skins, Finishing Moves, and more.
Multiplayer includes 16 maps for traditional CoD modes:;
- Team Deathmatch
- Kill Confirmed
- Search & Destroy
On top of that, there’re four 2v2 maps for Gunfights, plus a single Champion Hill map.
Gunfights, a new mode, is a raw combat scenario. There’re no killstreaks, perks, and loud-outs. Instead, it’s just a matter of personal skill, luck, strategy, and teamwork.
Champion Hill is another new mode. It’s an arena tournament battle you can play as 1v1, 2v2, or 3v3.
Another new mode is Patrol, an objective-based multiplayer mode that features a scoreboard. The goal is moving across the map to find the objectives.
War Mode, present on CoD: WWII, is not present here.
The game also includes Combat Pacing, a feature that indicates the number of players you want on your team:
- Tactical: It would be for franchise veterans, akin to classic CoD titles. It’s always 6v6 team deathmatches.
- Assault: It’s a balanced choice that supports 20 to 28 players. That means 8V8, 10V10, 12v12, or 14v14.
- Blitz: It’s larger-scale combat, with up to 48 players. In other words, you play on 14v14, 20v20, or 24v24.
You can select one of these Combat Pacings to filter the lobby or select “All” for every choice.
Lastly, there’s a Clan System you may recognize from Modern Warfare’s Regiments System. Clans feature progression, emblems, and Battle Passes.
The game’s Zombies mode is “Der Anfang” (The Beginning). “Projekt Endstation” opened a dimensional veil towards the Dark Aether, and monsters poured into the real world. Your goal is defeating Fuhrer Oberfuhrer Wolfram Von List, leader of the undead.
That means it’s a co-op campaign that supports up to 4-player teams. You use Dark Aether portals to jump across the various levels. These levels happen in Stalingrad, Paris, Japan, and more.
Compared to the main campaign, players get special abilities by using Dark Aether magic. You can make a pact with one of five otherworldly beings to get a special ability.
Also, you get extra rewards for each completed objective. These can be Mystery Boces, perks, and more.
Lastly, the progression you make on Zombies transfers to the multiplayer mode and Warzone.
Overall, the CoD Zombies mode is always fun. Treyarch has been in charge of Zombies for the last 10 years, and they can deliver thrilling results. Also, it’s the single piece of Vanguard that looks new compared to previous titles.
However, this is a secondary experience. It’s not Doom, Dead Space, or Resident Evil. It’s more of a mini-game, an official mod.
I feel like I could have guessed most of what the game offers without reading anything. Sadly, I bet both you and I are unimpressed with CoD: Vanguard. It’s just more of the same and even less of the same without WWII’s War Mode.
We do commend the game’s user-friendliness, like crossplay, cross-progression, and integration. These features are outstanding.
On that line of thought, those of you who enjoy Warzone or CoD: Balck Ops – Cold War will probably like Vanguard. It’s nearly the same game, with a WWII “skin.”
Also, the gunplay feels great and very familiar on Vanguard. You could see that as a downside, though. WWII weapons should not feel this similar and should not fit 10 mods and different ammo types.
Lastly, the game’s performance during the beta tests is fine. We’ve seen no glitches, bugs, or performance issues. Developers could fix some odd lighting mechanics, though, like the Sun being too big on some maps.
CoD: Vanguard vs WW2
Kudos to WWII. It’s one of the best titles in the franchise. The older game features a stellar campaign, historical accuracy, and creative game mods.
The older campaign was more about the war. You played as Average Joe soldiers in massive battles, full of suffering and fear.
The newer games seem more like a group of super-spec-ops soldiers using high-tech to accomplish the missions. Both retain the “epic” cinematic value CoD games tend to offer, though.
In particular, WWII’s War Mode is a narrative-driven multiplayer PvP. One team completes strategic objectives, and the other team defends the goals. Teams change roles each round.
CoD: Vanguard vs Black Ops – Cold War
Raven Software was very creative with Cold War’s campaign. It’s one of the best in the franchise, with one of the best CoD stories in years. It features new stuff like customizable character bios, selectable character perks, decisions, consequences, and plenty of cinematic cuts.
The multiplayer is as per usual, so we can’t compare. For what we said above, though, Cold War seems like the better game.
Even so, it seems fans are more excited for Vanguard’s campaign than Vanguard’s multiplayer.
CoD: Vanguard vs Battlefield 2042
Neither game has debuted yet, so it’s hard to tell which one would be better. As I said above, if you like Warzone and looking for more of that, you’d probably like Vanguard more.
However, those looking for a newer, next-gen FPS should wait for Battlefield 2042. It looks promising, epic, and fresh. Nevertheless, the closed beta performance left some of its promises in the theoretical realm.
I’d advise you to skip pre-orders and wait for further reviews and impressions.
Overall, CoD: Vanguard is a good FPS game, but nothing special. I feel Activision should stop the yearly releases to create a CoD entry that feels more like a game and less like an expansion.