Sledge­ham­mer Games released the Call of Duty: Van­guard beta for PlaySta­tion users over the week­end and, of course, I was there to try it out only a few hours after it launched. I spent quite a bit of time play­ing, learn­ing the maps, spawns, the var­i­ous weapons along with attach­ments, and every­thing else a decent Call of Duty play­er does. How­ev­er, the Van­guard beta has real­ly made me con­sid­er skip­ping this game, which I’ve rarely done over the last 16 years. 

While I did play the Cham­pi­on Hill alpha, that was tol­er­a­ble in com­par­i­son to this beta. For me, most of the mul­ti­play­er expe­ri­ence is just an awful one. Very few fea­tures are actu­al­ly enjoy­able, but then I remem­ber how it affects the rest of the game’s over­all health. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, there’s just so much I want to see changed, I doubt half of it will be adjust­ed for the Van­guard’s offi­cial­ly release date. Here’s a run­down of my opin­ion on the need­ed improve­ments to bring the game to its peak potential:

1. Spawns

I can not express this enough, the spawns are the worst I have seen in a long time. The newest game mode, Patrol, has hor­ri­ble spawns in gen­er­al. Ene­mies are either spawn­ing too far from where the Patrol point is cur­rent­ly, mak­ing it hard for them to get back to, or they spawn direct­ly behind or near its posi­tion. This makes it dif­fi­cult for your team to recov­er from its nev­er end­ing move­ment. Before Sledge­ham­mer removed Patrol from Hotel Roy­al, both teams would peri­od­i­cal­ly spawn in the same cor­ner of the map, end­ing with play­ers get­ting easy quad feeds. 

Dom­i­na­tion also has extreme­ly irri­tat­ing spawn log­ic. Dur­ing one match, my team spawned on A side of Gavu­tu. We capped A, then B. I died cap­ping B and imme­di­ate­ly spawned on C side, with the rest of team still in the mid­dle or slight­ly on A side. Then their team start­ed to spawn on our ini­tial spawn loca­tion. They start­ed killing my team, who were unaware the spawns had already flipped, and pro­ceed­ed to cap­ture A and B because we had to move back to B loca­tion and cap­ture C. This took 50 sec­onds or so from the start of the match. Dom­i­na­tion spawns should not be doing this. 

Team Death­match and Kill Con­firmed are hon­est­ly just as awful. I can’t even explain how many times I would spawn only to get shot after tak­ing a step, because I was spawned direct­ly in front of an ene­my, even in Tac­ti­cal (6v6).

2. Qui­et Everything

Foot­steps are so qui­et in this game, you lit­er­al­ly can’t hear if some­one is walk­ing up behind you–at all. You could be mov­ing for­ward, and some­one might spawn behind you, but guess what! You would­n’t know they were there. It also negates the pur­pose of hav­ing the Dead Silence field upgrade. Ene­mies also make no sounds when reloaded, or pulling pins on grenades. 

The only sounds that can be heard is open­ing doors, destruc­tible zones being wiped out, some gun­fire, and ally callouts.

3. Visu­als

This is anoth­er real­ly big issues I had with the beta. Play­ers most­ly blend in with the sur­round­ing envi­ron­ment, and some­times can hard­ly be seen at all. All the maps have loca­tions that are super dark, where play­ers sim­ply can’t be seen, espe­cial­ly if they are mount­ed against a box or wall. 

There are also these visu­al dis­tor­tions on the maps, that make it dif­fi­cult to see play­ers. It appears as fuzzy out­lines of objects (or the whole object) on the map. These dis­tur­bances distract–my eyes at least–from being able to see com­plete­ly past it.

The Call Of Duty: Vanguard Beta Gave Me So Many Reasons To Skip This Game - Opinion
Behind this ene­my is a wall of fuzz

Sledge­ham­mer has also addressed these con­cerns, so I seri­ous­ly hope they adjust it enough.

4. Radar Perk

This might not be as big a deal for oth­er peo­ple, but I’m dis­ap­point­ed by this one perk. It allows you to see ene­mies ping on the mini-maps when they’re not using a silencer. Ya know, how the game has been for years with­out this tak­ing a perk slot? It’s just an annoy­ing addi­tion that did­n’t need to be there, and could have been replaced by some oth­er perk.

The Call Of Duty: Vanguard Beta Gave Me So Many Reasons To Skip This Game - Opinion

5. TTK Seems A Lit­tle Too Fast

Van­guard’s time-to-kill seems a lit­tle high. You don’t real­ly have time to escape or turn, before you’re dead. I would like to see this increased slight­ly, by like a mil­lisec­ond or two. 

6. Map Design

While I was excit­ed about destruc­tible sec­tions of the map, it does­n’t real­ly work when it ruins that maps flow. Take Hotel Roy­al for instance. As soon as all the walls are destroyed, this map is just becomes absolute chaos. I would pre­fer three lane designs where the destruc­tion of cer­tain walls did­n’t inter­fere with how the map flows afterwards.

The Call Of Duty: Vanguard Beta Gave Me So Many Reasons To Skip This Game - Opinion
One of the bet­ter maps

The only good map in the beta is Gavu­tu, and even that is debat­able, con­sid­er­ing the bunker that every­one seems to run to despite an objec­tive need­ing atten­tion. Red Star is just..on a whole oth­er lev­el of frus­trat­ing. You can’t real­ly move for­ward too far if you’re play­ing with any more than 12 play­ers in a lob­by, and if there are only 12 play­ers, the map is just too big. I wish they would have giv­en us dif­fer­ent maps to play on.

7. Con­nec­tion

Before any­one says “get a bet­ter con­nec­tion”, I assure you, this is not on my end. I have one of the best routers, modems, and inter­net con­nec­tions mon­ey could offer, because we game a lot in this house. There is just tons of pock­et pack­et loss, which will be a huge prob­lem if when the game comes to its full launch date. I also spot­ted ran­dom pop-ups of laten­cy issues as well, but that was min­i­mal com­pared to the pack­et loss.

The Call Of Duty: Vanguard Beta Gave Me So Many Reasons To Skip This Game - Opinion

It would also keep telling that I was not signed into my own account, which I am, and say­ing a “net­work ser­vice had failed.” This was even after I checked the game updates and restart­ed my router just to be sure. This worked for a short time before doing the same thing. Yet again, it’s not my con­nec­tion. I’ve been play­ing Cold War for a year with no problems. 

8. Lev­el­ing

I don’t know if they stunt­ed the weapon and play­er lev­el­ing for the sake of the beta, but dang, it just seems so slow. Sledge­ham­mer’s last Call of Duty game felt just like this with its lev­el­ing, and that was bru­tal­ly slow.

9. Move­ments

I did­n’t expect the sol­diers to be hop­ping all over the place and run­ning super speed, but the move­ments are beyond clunky. Hear me out. Sol­diers from the Cold War era and the WWII time peri­od are just aver­age men, but why do they not run or slide the same speed? Did peo­ple just get faster after 40 years? No. They didn’t.

The basic run­ning speed is painful­ly slow. The tac­ti­cal sprint is decent, but my PS5 con­troller won’t like me dou­ble click­ing that but­ton a mil­lion times in a year. In Call of Duty: Mod­ern War­fare, I typ­i­cal­ly used the tac­ti­cal sprint as a way to bridge a gap in cov­er or avoid dam­age. But, it seems like its not real­ly good at either of these in Call of Duty: Vanguard. 

Slid­ing is even worse than both run­ning and tac­ti­cal sprint. I don’t find myself using it at all, because it’s sim­ply not use­ful. They should have just removed it from the game.

10. Weapons

The base weapons them­selves are not real­ly a prob­lem. I noticed ear­ly on in the beta that peo­ple were try­ing out all sorts of guns, but that quick­ly dimin­ished to the typ­i­cal AR and SMG class­es that every­one uses..all the time..every game. 

How­ev­er, I’m left me with one mas­sive con­cern. Each gun has an option for kits and pro­fi­cien­cies in the load­out. These can make a gun extreme­ly over­pow­ered once you have these attach­ments. For instance, one of the kit options caus­es mas­sive flinch on the ene­my you are shoot­ing at, but can also slow down a tar­get when they are try­ing to escape. This means to me that play­ers like­ly won’t move off those weapons once they have those attach­ments available.

This also sig­nals a big prob­lem for any late arrivals to the game. As Call of Duty typ­i­cal­ly comes out around the hol­i­day sea­son, there is always strag­glers who have to wait to get the game dur­ing the hol­i­days. This includes teens who rely on their par­ents mon­ey, col­lege gamers who might not have enough mon­ey to pur­chase the game, any oth­ers who only real­ly have enough mon­ey to buy a few games a year. These peo­ple will be high­ly dis­cour­aged from play­ing the game when they real­ize what an uphill bat­tle it will be for them to acquire lev­els for guns, espe­cial­ly for ones they don’t even have, because they got the game late. The lack of new play­ers stick­ing to the game will even­tu­al­ly lead to old­er play­ers leav­ing, going back a year or to Warzone.

11. Score­streaks Please!

Ahh. The nev­er end­ing irri­ta­tion of kill­streaks. I don’t want them in the game. This pro­motes camp­ing and pre­da­tion of the spawns on the larg­er scale bat­tles. It’s not a hard con­cept. When play­ers have no rea­son to go to an objec­tive, they just don’t. So, typ­i­cal­ly, I’m the only per­son try­ing to go back to that Patrol zone or Dom­i­na­tion point–because I want to win. If you don’t give play­ers a rea­son to be on that objec­tive, they just won’t go there and Score­streaks make that happen.

The Call Of Duty: Vanguard Beta Gave Me So Many Reasons To Skip This Game - Opinion
Yes, Attack Dogs have made a return.

Will all that being said, I think the game has plen­ty of poten­tial. I want to see Sledge­ham­mer suc­ceed, because they haven’t exact­ly had the great­est track record. Ohh, one more thing. Please, for the love of everything–allow con­sole play­ers to play with just con­sole players!