The public got their first real taste of Call of Duty: Vanguard with Champion Hill in the free Alpha test. It was available to all PlayStation 4 and 5 users, and there was a lot to like about Sledgehammer Games’ newest project.
After months of rumors and leaks, Call of Duty: Vanguard was finally announced on August 19, 2021. It signaled the next chapter in the storied franchise and instead of a foray into more modern-day war or Vietnam, the game is instead going back to its World War II roots.
Sledgehammer continues to polish the next entry into the legendary CoD franchise, and the devs announced an Alpha test phase would take place exclusively for PlayStation gamers.
We were able to get hands-on with this exciting first chunk of playable Vanguard, and we’ll dissect what we loved about the game so far.
The Champion that Vanguard needs
The Vanguard Alpha sadly had no customization options for clan tags, calling cards, etc, and only had one mode, but, thankfully, it was the brand new Champion Hill mode. A combination of Counter-Strike, Apex Legends’ Arenas, and Warzone, Champion Hill is a deep game mode.
Check out our full guide explaining what Champion Hill is, and how it works here.
We played several hours of it, and it was more than able to sustain our interest. Wins are most definitely possible, and dubs give you a great feeling of euphoria.
From the first match to the last, Champion Hill is several small games of Call of Duty with lots of strategy and teamwork required.
Old dog, new tricks
Breakable cover is nothing new in first-person shooter games but with competitors such as Battlefield 2042 emphasizing destruction, Call of Duty has decided to step up.
Each of the maps contained a multitude of vulnerable doors, walls, and surfaces. Meaning you can’t always just hide behind something and expect it to protect you now.
Although it wasn’t too thrilling on one map where we spawned and were immediately shot from the other side of the map through a wall. We also had multiple instances of killing a player, and them spawning right near us and killing us very quickly. So spawn points definitely need to be looked at and addressed before the beta phase.
Another slight issue with the 2v2 format is that there was quite a lot of camping, even in smaller maps. There were multiple instances of the enemy team lying prone at the back of the map, especially when they had a much inferior life count.
Whilst you are technically penalized for non-aggressive play by not winning matches and obtaining cash as a result, it still feels like there needs to be a way to force players to compete and not hide.
Nevertheless, destructible cover is welcome, wall-mounting adds an extra dimension and can be effective if used right and the jury is still out on the new blind-fire mechanic.
Variety is the spice of life
Despite some camping and more run-ins with SBMM, there’s so much to consider during the course of a full game of Champion Hill.
Do you focus all your money on upgrading your BAR or STG-44? Do you try to collect Perks? Do you focus on buying extra lives? Or do you try and save up an obscene amount of money to earn a game-ending V2 Rocket?
Even the maps themselves have an extra life in each one, leading to unreal dilemmas of whether you should gamble to get it or not.
Maps do possess a decent bit of personality, despite being quite similar in some respects. One is Airstrip, a literal giant airstrip with bunkers and watchtowers, and another is Market, and it’s filled with stalls and cover.
Our experience was on a 4K HDR TV on a PS5, so we can’t say how the PS4 version fares. However, PlayStation’s newest beast is capable of making Vanguard a dream to look at.
Call of Duty continues to excel in its ability to have hyper-realistic lighting and does so by returning to the Modern Warfare engine once more. The way dust particles fly up and stream across your screen is breathtaking.
Explosions look spectacular and the way in which they affect the environment feels spot-on. The audio feels pretty good, but we have found that footsteps can be inconsistent, with no sound coming through until the last second.
The Call of Duty: Vanguard Alpha bodes well for the game’s beta testing and eventual release. Champion Hill looks like another winner, and it has more maps to come in the future as well to flesh the experience out.
Given that this is very much an Alpha, there was always going to be an issue or two. Spawn points and audio mix irregularities are two things that can be cleaned up, and Sledgehammer has already confirmed some fixes.
The rest of the Alpha and Champion Hill as a whole is a lot of fun, and we look forward to seeing what Sledgehammer Games has in store for the Vanguard beta!
Verdict: 8 / 10
Image Credit: Activision / Sledgehammer Games
Activision apologize for using artist’s design in now canceled Vanguard & Warzone skin
Activision have scrapped an unreleased Warzone and Vanguard skin after using an artist’s work without permission.
Activision admitted to the major misstep of using an artist’s work without permission. The original art was to feature in an upcoming Vanguard and Warzone skin that has since been axed.
Major content drops like new seasons or midseason updates deliver weapons, maps, and changes to Call of Duty games, but they also tend to bring brand-new skins to enjoy. Vanguard and Warzone have seen some noteworthy skins that certainly got players talking.
After all, who could forget the Armored Titan, or Godzilla and King Kong skins? At the start of Season 4 Reloaded, players also received a new Terminator crossover. However, teasers for Season 4 Reloaded also hinted at a mysterious wolf-like skin.
After the wolf skin was teased in an official Call of Duty blog post, it was later inexplicably removed and replaced from the very same post. It turns out, Activision used content that did not belong to them in order to create the aforementioned skin.
When the wolf skin was first teased, it certainly generated a ton of buzz, or rather raised a ton of eyebrows. The anthropomorphic Operator definitely sticks out in a WWII-era Call of Duty game. Nonetheless, fans were excited at the prospect of running around as a wolf in Warzone.
Unfortunately, that idea won’t come to fruition as Activision have confirmed that they completely removed the skin from their planned content drop for Season 4 Reloaded.
It seems Activision overstepping bounds is the reason behind the skin’s cancelation.
An artist claimed that the wolf skin, also known as Samoyed skin, was stolen without their permission. In a strange turn of events, Activision has issued an apology, seemingly confirming the artist’s claims.
In a statement, Activision admitted that they “regrettably erred in our process and have removed this imagery from the game,” apologizing for the misstep.
While fans may be disappointed to lose their chance at slaying in a furry wolf skin, most would agree that if the artist’s claims are legitimate, the greater injustice was corrected as nobody should have their work stolen without credit.
For more, check out how CoD players are thrilled with the rumored change to Modern Warfare 2’s movement.
Image Credit: Activision
When is the next Vanguard & Warzone Pacific Double XP event?
We have the dates and times for the next CoD: Vanguard and Warzone Pacific Double XP event to help you rank up weapons and the Battle Pass.
We’re past the Season 4 halfway point of Call of Duty action, and there’s still plenty of time to level up, prestige, and unlock weapons before Modern Warfare 2. Here are the full dates for the next Warzone and Vanguard Double XP weekends.
XP has been a vital component of Call of Duty’s multiplayer for many years. It’s the quintessential upgrade mechanic that allows you to increase your in-game level and provide you access to better gear and attachments.
Vanguard & Warzone Double XP dates
Call of Duty players can get Double XP by taking advantage of the Double XP promotional events that Activision put on.
Thanks to the Raven Software Trello board, we know when the next Warzone & Vanguard Double XP events are:
- Double XP event – All platforms: Thursday, August 4 – Thursday, August 11
- Double Weapon XP and Double Battle Pass XP
These special Double XP events are coming as part of Vanguard & Warzone’s Season 4 Reloaded. With major weapon buffs and nerfs, changes to the Fortune’s Keep map, and the new Vargo-S AR there is plenty of new content for players to sink their teeth into.
What time does CoD: Vanguard & Warzone Pacific Double XP start?
Here’s a full list of the usual Double XP event’s start time & dates in some of the key timezones:
- PT – 10:00 AM
- CT – 12:00 PM
- ET – 1:00 PM
- BST – 6:00 PM
These special Double XP events usually occur during a weekend, as it naturally gives players the most time as it’s away from school hours and generally when people are off work.
For more Call of Duty, find out everything you need to know about the next release in the legendary franchise, Modern Warfare 2.
Image Credit: Activision / Sledgehammer Games / Raven Software
Warzone & Vanguard players claim Terminator bundle was a huge “missed opportunity”
Call of Duty fans are disappointed with Warzone and Vanguard’s Terminator skin as they feel a huge opportunity for the bundle was missed.
Two Terminator bundles made their way to Warzone and Vanguard at the start of Season 4 Reloaded, but players feel as though a huge opportunity to bridge the two franchises was missed.
The Call of Duty franchise is no stranger to pop culture collaborations that bring unique bundles and skins to their games. These exciting new skins never fail to generate hype amongst players, but sometimes it’s for the wrong reasons.
We’ve seen players react poorly to the Attack on Titan Levi skin, while the Godzilla and King Kong skins were met with positive reviews. The Terminator skins were the latest to hit Vanguard and Warzone, but players are now claiming that the Call of Duty team missed a major opportunity to celebrate the Terminator franchise.
The Terminator T-800 Mastercraft Ultra Operator Bundle comes with several items including an Operator modeled after Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator character in the films.
It also comes with three weapon blueprints, but fans of the Terminator films believe that this is where the crossover fails to deliver. One Reddit user calls the bundle “the biggest missed opportunity” as they point out: “they could have given the FINN LMG a minigun mastercraft skin.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator famously operates a minigun and with the FiNN LMG in the game, players believed that a perfect opportunity to raise the authenticity of the collaboration was overlooked.
Ultimately, it seems like multiple players voiced their grievances with the bundles not pulling enough content from the movies. In addition to the minigun, Vanguard players were also disappointed to not see a version of the Winchester Model 1887 shotgun used in the films, especially when it’s used in his Highlight Intro.
As the OP puts it, there’s no excuse to overlook such a blatant addition as the “gun is even period correct.”
It remains to be seen if more unique collaborations are on the way in Vanguard and Warzone Season 5 after an Umbrella Academy crossover was leaked. It’s safe to assume that when popular franchises come together, expectations are high.
For more Call of Duty news, check out the latest on Warzone’s current meta, after major buffs to Modern Warfare weapons.
Image Credit: Activision
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