Over the weekend of August 27, Activision and Sledgehammer Games released a limited alpha for the upcoming release. Call of Duty: Vanguard. It introduces the launch of a new online mode called Champion Hill – a new knockout style contest.
While the mode itself showed promise, many gameplay design decisions turned out to be a troubling product overall and made me nervous for a full release. It’s possible that many of its problems will be resolved when the full game launches, while others will likely be swept up the rug.
Before diving into the myriad problems this alpha has, I’d like to acknowledge how creative the premise is Champion Hill To be. In it, eight teams of two start with 12 lives and are matched against each other. The final release will feature teams of three, as well as solo competitions. In a one-turn round-robin approach, teams will eliminate each other in short, fast-paced death matches. In each round, players are thrown into minimaps to compete against another team in a life-or-death battle.
Putting everything together is an in-game economy that allows players to spend cash to buy perks, perks, gear, and weapons. Cash is found scattered throughout each map and is rewarded at the end of a round. This is a unique approach that borrows elements from Battlefield, while removing many of the things that make battle royale complicated. It’s easy to understand, while still offering enough strategy to make each match exciting.
This mode certainly has problems, such as not being able to use streaks at will. Instead, they will automatically trigger at the start of the next round, which will eliminate the agency and strategy of using a streak. Overall, though, Champion Hill is shaping up to be a powerful mode that could be further improved with a few tweaks here and there.
The main problem is that terrible design decisions can threaten the entire game.
Right off the bat, the game’s most notable problem has to do with its visuals. Specifically, the art design of a game that takes place during the Second World War is, unsurprisingly, dark and muddy, working well from a role-playing perspective. However, in an online contest, the muddy color palette makes it very difficult to distinguish an opponent from his surroundings. In fact, there were many situations where we were simply looking for the red nametag that appeared on top of other players to locate them. Since this is such a fundamental art design decision, it’s hard to imagine it will change much in the final release, which is unfortunate.
I was often shot down by opponents without knowing where they were until we watched the dash cam – only to discover they were walking directly in front of us, camouflaged by our surroundings. While this is certainly realistic, it makes the game less enjoyable.
Along with terrible visual problems, Vanguard had even more problems with its sound design. Yes, this will most likely be fixed in the final build, but there are still too many issues to worry about. Competitive Call of Duty players often rely on audio cues to make gameplay decisions in a split second. For example, you should turn around when the player hears an enemy approaching from behind. Problem with Vanguard so far, enemy footsteps have often been obscured by gunfire elsewhere, outside of the map.
In Call of Duty, one often hears gunfire from outside the match as a way to set the tone, adding more immersion, but in Vanguard alpha, all surrounding sounds are so loud that it’s almost impossible to hear enemy footsteps. Since audio cues are such a major aspect of the Call of Duty experience, it’s frustrating to be knocked down by enemies that should be easy to hear. In the final build, we expect to be able to hear a variety of sounds at a distance, but they shouldn’t be so loud that it’s impossible to distinguish enemy footsteps – especially when they’re close. .
Traditionally in Call of Duty, players using unsupported weapons will appear as a red dot on the minimap. This is a feature that has appeared in many other games and is pretty standard at this point. It’s great because it makes it easy to find opponents and keep up with the pace of the game. However, Vanguard running on the same engine as 2019 Modern War, using a significantly different minimap system. Instead, the player just appears as a red dot on the compass towards the top of the HUD, which is less accurate than the minimap. They don’t show up on the minimap when using unfixed weapons. The only time the player appears is when the Spy Plane is used, which may not happen very often in any given match. Ultimately, this makes it very difficult to know where the enemies are, especially since the audio and visuals are lacking in the alpha.
It’s a constant battle of trying to wade through dull structures while being overpowered by the sounds of explosives and distant gunfire, along with an inability to tell where the enemy is. Many matches included us running around the map chaotically for no reason or rhythm, which made for a lot of opportunities. This is even more annoying than you might expect because the spawns are so bad. Enemies will often appear behind us, resulting in unfair elimination. Fortunately, the fertility problem has been resolved.
NS Vanguard alpha actually has more to do with it than we mentioned above, but thankfully, Sledgehammer Games has acknowledged these criticisms. Sledgehammer took to Twitter to highlight many of the response’s highlights, including visibility when it’s broken and spawn adjustments.
The issues we are dealing with include:
– Visibility when damaged
– Adjust spawn
– Map visibility
– Adjust audio mix
– Nameplate visibility issues
– Targeting assists through destroyed walls
& mdash; Hammer Game (@SHGames) August 28, 2021
The company also admits to tweaking the audio mix, which may have matched our feedback about not being able to hear enemy footsteps, but that wasn’t obvious. It’s an alpha version, so problems are expected, but oddly enough, almost none of them are glitches or bugs. All of them appear to be design blunders that significantly affect the overall experience of the game. Personally, these problems may not be many, but overall, we worry about Vanguard.
Call of Duty: Vanguard launches November 5 for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.