First impressions of the Call of Duty Vanguard Open Beta

Weapon balancing, pace, and Warzone engine performance all check out.

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The Call of Duty: Vanguard Open Beta is up and running, and so to are the millions of fans who’ve been waiting to get back to some classic CoD after a mediocre 2020 release. Having checkout all that the Open Beta release has to offer, here’s what I think of the action so far.

With Call of Duty: Vanguard, Activision has gone back to the engine from Modern Warfare and Warzone. Many fans did not like the Cold War engine, which effectively powered all the Black Ops games and had already been superseded by Warzone’s the year before. Many even switched back to playing Modern Warfare, rather than stick with the new game and its outdated tech. Thankfully with Call of Duty Vanguard embracing the times, there should be no need for any CoD fan to revisit the past – WWII itself notwithstanding, of course.

In sticking with Warzone’s established tech, movement in the new Call of Duty (on the evidence of the Open Beta) once again feels flush and smooth. I found myself wanting to use the game’s ‘slide’ feature to better get a vantage point over my enemies. Similarly, the ‘mount’ option makes a return, allowing you to mount your gun to a surface for greater accuracy. This is a feature I greatly missed in Cold War, as I found that trying to beam an enemy cross map was virtually impossible with an AR. Now, once you mount your gun, you have bipod-level accuracy and can actually challenge snipers.

The Ghost of Modern Warfare’s Past

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It could be a lack of familiarity with the game, but the pacing in CoD Vanguard feels very weird. My biggest gripe with Modern Warfare was that you could be shot fromr 14 locations at once. That issue appears to have reared up again. Although things aren’t too bad on 6v6 encounters, the new pacing mechanic which allows for 10v10, 14v14, and 24v24 makes those maps with windows and doorways a nightmare. Many times during the open beta I’ve gone from point A to B and been slapped by 7-14 year olds furiously consuming GFUEL. (No offense to those that don’t.)

However, the pacing mechanic is incredibly cool. You can take a large 24v24 map and force it to 6v6 and have yourself a game of fucking hide-and-seek because everyone is off in Narnia. Similarly you will be able to – once the game is released – force a 6v6 map to 24v24 for an absolute clusterfuck of spawn killing and FPS drops. which is literally the most fun you can have in Call of Duty.

Call of Duty Vanguard Weapons

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Vanguard’s WWII arsenal feels incredible. Although the STG-44 with maxed attachments is quite literally a laser beam, it can still be challenged by the BAR, the MP40 or other sub/AR’s. Overall the weapons feel balanced and well tuned, which is surprising for a beta even of Vanguard’s caliber.

Snipers feel powerful, I’ve had one hitmarker so far which is ridiculous, but to challenge that is the slow ADS speed and reload time. Quickscopers are absolutely fuming because they have to play more passively – and if you miss a shot in a 1v1 it’s over for you. This can be helped with attachments later on down your gun level, but it means you’re not being 360’d by xXFaZeMeNansDedXx every 5 seconds.

Open Beta Impressions

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With just over six weeks to go until the release of Call of Duty Vanguard, there’s isn’t much time to put things right. Thankfully, on the evidence of what’s been played so far, there doesn’t appear to be too much that’s wrong. The fundamental error of sticking with outdated and unpopular tech has been avoided, which means we can look forward to there being a playerbase that isn’t divided across three games. With the return of weapon mounting, the new map pacing (which I’m conflicted about), and supremely balanced weapons, it promises to be a vintage year for 2022’s Call of Duty release. November 5 can’t come soon enough.