Call of Duty: Vanguard Quick Time Review

Developer: Sledgehammer Games (Zombies mode co-developed by Treyarch)

Publisher: Activision

Release date: November 5, 2021

Available on: PC, PS4 (reviewed), PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

It’s another year, and time for another installment in the long running Call of Duty franchise. This year, the 18th for the series overall and the third title for developer Sledgehammer Games is titled Call of Duty: Vanguard. The game returns us to World War 2, and follows a specialized unit made up of Lt. Arthur Kingsley (Chike Okonkyo), who serves as the task force leader, Russian sniper Polina Petrova (Laura Bailey), American pilot Wade Jackson (Derek Phillips), and Australian demolitions expert Lucas Rigg (Martin Copping). The task force finds themselves up against an SS general Herman Freisinger (Dan Donohue) and his interrogator Janick Richter (Dominic Monaghan) as they try to uncover the secret behind Project Phoenix. Outside of the 18 mission, 5-7 hour long campaign, the game also has its multiplayer component with some familiar game modes, 20 maps at launch, and three new filters to determine the size of the conflict: Tactical (6v6), Assault (10v12, 12v12), and Blitz (24v24). The multiplayer features cross play across all platforms. Last but not least, a new Zombies co-op mode rounds out the package with a prologue to the Dark Aether story in Black Ops: Cold War. A new game mode called “Der Anfang” is available at launch, with a more robust story mode said to be arriving in a month or so.



Well developed characters

Very cinematic

Good story with a satisfying ending

Solid controls


Some awkward controls in a couple of segments

Invisible walls can hamper stealth portions



Cross platform play

Nice variety of maps at launch

Familiar but varied set of game modes for players to jump into

Good amount of customization for operator loadouts


Camper issues, especially at spawn points

Indefensible attacks that feel cheap

Still the same familiar multiplayer with not much new to offer

Had one crash on the PS4 that required a hard reset



Decent mix of survival horror with objective based gameplay

Can play solo or set up a private session

Interesting story set up


Thin at launch with repetitive areas and enemies

Weapon variety doesn’t feel different enough from each weapon used

Crafting not very deep

Missing some of the humor from earlier Zombie modes

In all, Call of Duty: Vanguard proves to be another satisfying if unremarkable entry to the franchise. The campaign, brief as it is, proves to be a highlight, with well written characters and some fast paced action, including a rousing opening sequence aboard a moving train. Multiplayer is solid enough, but as always may be more enjoyed by veterans of the series than those who delve into multiplayer more casually or are newbies to the franchise. The maps at launch are great and nicely varied, but the continued problem of campers sitting at optimal points, including spawn points, is still the bane of the franchise. The Zombies mode has a nice set up, but wears thin quickly with only having one real mode at launch and really not offering up much of anything new. That in a nutshell sums Vanguard up. It’s the same old tried and true formula. It works, but it offers little more than that, and will likely fade from memory with the next installment.

7/10 stars