As the Fall season arrives bringing with it Daylight Savings Time, colder weather, and the push of holiday ads urging people to get out and shop; it also brings with it the annual release of the latest Call of Duty game in the long-running and highly successful franchise.
This year sees the return to a World War II setting and Call of Duty: Vanguard hits the ground running with a daring train heist set at night during a rainstorm. Before players can catch their breath; there is a raid on a Sub Base before the story evolves into missions based on each character before they joined the team. This not only gives a much deeper backstory for the characters; but also allows multiple locales from WWII to come into the game. There are flying and ground missions set in the Pacific Theater, Ground missions in Europe, as well as desert missions in Africa as an example; but the frozen Stalingrad missions really shine as they are as emotional and engaging as any in the franchise.
What really makes this choice stand out is that they are told while the team is in captivity and the game cleverly weaves the past and present into the overall narrative. While the vast focus of the campaign involves the past experiences of the team; the final acts where the team brings home the mission objective while short are satisfying.
The multiplayer portion has always been the staple of the franchise as for the next year new maps and variations are introduced and with a large assortment of maps and game modes included at launch players will be very happy with what is available.
The game does require some adjustment as WWII era weapons do not have the accuracy, fast load times, and explosive radius of modern weapons so getting used to grenades taking longer to detonate and not having the impact that players may be accustomed to.
The game does have the customization for the weapons and streaks that players have come to expect but the game also offers numerous females and characters of color which is a nice step forward for the franchise.
The game also offers a Zombie mode which is usually associated with Treyarch games versus ones headed by Sledgehammer game and while it does not shake things up radically; it does offer enough enjoyable content and it will be interesting to see how it evolves with future updates.
In the end Call of Duty: Vanguard offers a familiar outing but with some new wrinkles, an engaging story, and plenty of multiplayer maps which should keep fans of the franchise playing steadily right up to the release of the next game.
4 stars out of 5