Call of Duty: Vanguard Review – WWII Revisited

Developer Sledgehammer Games had its latest Call of Duty title released upon the world and we have been battling in the WWII era for a week. Is Call of Duty: Vanguard worth your time, or should you just let Stalingrad fall this time?

Read on to find out


The Call of Duty franchise is arguably the most well known video game franchises around the world. From its inception in 2003 it has always been a first person shooter, with a campaign and multiplayer modes, and then the introduction of a zombie mode in Call of Duty: World at War in 2008. Some of the campaigns have been well written and played out nicely, while others felt like an afterthought with very little resources spent on them. The franchise has taken several different routes with several developers, with Treyarch taking on the Black Ops series and Infinity Ward (the original Call of Duty developer) and Sledgehammer Games taking on the other Call of Duty games like this one, Call of Duty: Vanguard.

Call of Duty: Vanguard Review – A Well Written Campaign

Call of Duty: Vanguard picks up where Call of Duty WWII left off. It’s nearing the end of the war, Hitler is eating his own bullet in a bunker in Berlin, and the post war clean-up of ornery Nazis has begun. The allied forces put together a small team of soldiers to travel to a submarine base in search of some highly classified German technology. After a few enemy encounters, the team is captured and placed in prison, to be interrogated by a high ranking Nazi. As each member of the team is interrogated, their back stories are told through flashbacks that will take you all over the globe. You’ll be visiting Libya, Midway, Stalingrad, and preparing for D-Day in Normandy by parachuting behind enemy lines in France in order to take out the German’s artillery. There are nine different levels to play through, with four different characters to play as.

Gameplay for Call of Duty: Vanguard is your general Call of Duty style of warfare, but differing from Call of Duty WWII is the regeneration of health. Unlike WWII where you had to have health packs, in Vanguard, if you are hurt, you can slink off and hide somewhere and wait for your health to come back. We played through the game on Veteran, the hardest difficulty, so while that was a nice change, it tends to make the game a little easier than its predecessor. A few other noticeable changes are blind fire, which is pretty useful, the ability to blast through walls and thereby creating a new path, and some tactical changes. All in all, the campaign is one of the best Call of Duty campaigns to date, with memorable characters and an interesting storyline.

Call of Duty: Vanguard Review – Four Unique Campaign Characters

During your flashback missions, you’ll get to play as four different unique characters, each with their own style of gameplay and each from a different branch of the allied forces. You’ll be flying through the skies of the Pacific Theater as United States Navy pilot Lieutenant Wade Jackson, and subsequently get shot down, where his special perk of focusing and being able to see nearby threats is introduced. During the battle of Midway, you’ll have to learn how to master not only dog fighting, but also dive bombing while trying to avoid AA and machine gun fire. The dog fighting is quite a bit of fun, but that dive bombing takes some practice and trial and error so as not to get obliterated on your dives.

In Stalingrad, you’ll be playing as Red Army medic Polina Petrova, who is pretty nifty with a sniper rifle, as she fights off the enemy at the gates. The opening sequence in Stalingrad shows the city before it is destroyed, but upon returning to area for a later mission, all that is left is rubble and destroyed buildings. Polina has the ability to raise her knife to draw fire from hidden threats, and then tactically advance and take them out. She can be used stealthily as each of her levels has a series of crawl spaces that can be used to get around and/or behind a Nazi, and then slit his throat or just stab him til he’s dead. Either way, she is an effective killer with some serious anger issues.

In preparation for D-Day, you’ll be playing as British paratrooper Sergeant Arthur Kingsley. Once you meet up with your squad, you’ll have the ability to direct your forces to specific tasks, like attacking a building or the gunner on a half track. We found that this can also be used as a diversion, while we snuck around and flanked the unwitting Nazis, and gunned them down before they knew what hit them. It’s a very useful technique that came in handy several times.

Call of Duty: Vanguard Review – Zombies

Once you’ve finished the campaign, Zombie mode is ready and waiting for you. This is the tried and true, 4 player co-op mode that will keep you entertained for hours of Zombie killing fun. The zombies have been created with a more nightmarish look this time around, and wave after wave of them will try their best to eat you and/or tear you limb from limb. You can play locally, split-screen with two players or jump online and play with three online players or split-screen plus two online players. You could also play solo, but really, who would want too? The game screams co-op since you can revive each other if the zombies take you down. Developer Treyarch worked with Sledgehammer Games on this mode and it is an expansion of the Dark Aether story, and acts as a prologue to Black Ops Cold War‘s story.



Call of Duty: Vanguard has one of the best campaigns of any of the Call of Duty games to date, with a well written story and an open ended storyline. The graphics on the PS5 are impressive, with a level of detail that brings every level to life, or death if you are shooting Nazis. The game has impressive audio, with enough detailed directional audio to know where those foot falls are coming from before the guy making them can kill you.The music and score is Hollywood worth, and so is the voice acting.

Call of Duty: Vanguard is an overall impressive addition to the Call of Duty Family.


Call of Duty: Vanguard review copy provided by publisher and reviewed on the PS5. For more information on scoring, please read What our review scores really mean.