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:
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!