Call of Duty is returning to the Second World War, and its alpha was released last August 27. It uses the engine of 2019’s massively popular Modern Warfare, which was largely praised for the new features and general quality. Call of Duty Vanguard’s Alpha feels like a mix between Cold War’s faster movement with elements of Modern Warfare’s controls, with executions even making a return. Compared to 2017’s entry, WWII, movement is definitely faster and lighter in comparison to WWII’s slower and heavier pace. While some classic weapons from past games set in the same era are seen, like the 1911, STG44 and KAR98K, others, notably the M1 Garand, are absent in the Alpha, with a large number of new weapons that were absent in the last World War entry, such as the Revolving Shotgun.
Guns don’t quite carry the same weight as in Modern Warfare, due to the faster pace of combat, in addition to lacking some punch when fired in comparison to other titles, including EA’s own World War II focused entry, Battlefield V. That being said, it still feels as rewarding as ever to get a nice streak going. While Vanguard looks nice most of the time, there are some areas where textures look a little dodgy, particularly in dirt and grass, though that may be nitpicking. New to the franchise are breakable walls, allowing for more destruction, although sometimes there is a disappointing lack of sound when breaking through them, while also being disappointing compared to other games like Rainbow Six Siege. Even then, this new feature is an interesting one that is a welcome addition to the long-running series, which has had minimal environmental destruction.
The game mode presented in the alpha, known as Champion Hill, is brand new to the series. Focused on 2v2 or 3v3 tournament style matches, each team has a set amount of lives that don’t replenish unless bought at a buy station in between every few matches (something taken from Modern Warfare’s Warzone) or through finding them in the open during matches, and through personal experience, are useless unless you can find cover quickly. This new game mode brings some unexpected tension to each match, as each death brings you closer to a loss for both you and your teammate. While this new game mode is exciting, the base gameplay doesn’t feel as fresh, feeling like it combines older titles while struggling to find its own identity as a Call of Duty game. Currently, the campaign seems more promising as it looks to take more new directions compared to the multiplayer, which doesn’t seem to bring anything new or interesting to the formula, instead opting to be a safe combination of the last two Call of Duty games. Call of Duty Vanguard releases on November 5, 2021, on both current and last generation Xbox and PlayStation consoles in addition to PC platforms.