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Call of Duty: Vanguard

Call of Duty: Vanguard multiplayer review: A strong, content-rich entry to the franchise

Vanguard is an extremely fun and content-rich CoD game, but there are some issues that need worked out before it achieves it’s full potential.



Call of Duty Vanguard padmavati operator

Call of Duty: Vanguard offers an extremely solid and complete multiplayer experience, but there are still a few kinks to be worked out before it’s remembered as one of the greats. 

After months of leaks and rumors, Call of Duty: Vanguard is finally here. The CoD player base can be hard to please, but Sledgehammer Games’ first title since WW2 appears to have captured what the player base wants – fast gameplay, interesting maps, and plenty of content. 

However, it’s not all plain sailing. Skill-based matchmaking is back, but it’s clear that it does wonders for Activision’s strategy so, like it or not, it’s here to stay. And there are some further kinks that hold Vanguard back from reaching its full potential. 

Fun, classic CoD gameplay

Call of Duty took quite a significant shift in direction with Modern Warfare, where a fast time-to-kill, loud footsteps, and map design promoted slower-paced tactical gameplay. And while Cold War was a funner core experience, its engine felt like a step back in terms of gameplay, and it didn’t feel truly next-gen. Vanguard has captured the best of both games, however.

Running on the same engine as Modern Warfare, it has that next-gen feeling where the movement feels smooth and responsive, and the weapons feel powerful. As soon as you launch into your first multiplayer match, there will be no doubt in your mind that this game was developed in 2021 with next-gen consoles in mind. 

And even with all of these next-gen improvements, it undeniably feels like a CoD game – and a very fun one at that. Even with the issues that I’ll mention below, the map design, sheer amount of content, and overall feel make it the most fun I’ve had in a CoD game in years. 

16 unique maps at launch

Let’s start with Vanguard’s most significant improvement from Modern Warfare and Black Ops Cold War’s launch – 16 classic multiplayer maps! MW was released with ten, and Cold War was released with only eight – so it didn’t take long for them to get repetitive. But Vanguard released with 16, so you can play for hours and have not even played on all of the maps.

And the majority of the maps are great. They’re interesting and unique, and they actually encourage players to move around. Even with doors returning, there aren’t any positions that are super easy to hold. Modern Warfare could be slow-paced and campy at times, but Vanguard players aren’t afraid to run around and constantly take fights. 

The destruction element to the maps might have been intended to be a game-changer, but unfortunately, it comes across as quite gimmicky. The first couple of minutes of the game can be quite slow, as players don’t want to be the first player to noisily burst through a wall into the unknown.

Instead, you’ll find players shooting holes through small pieces of cover to get the drop on whoever’s on the other side. But, once the action really kicks off and all the destructible environments are gone, you’ll forget they were ever there. It’s unlikely to be an addition that anyone will miss if it doesn’t carry into CoD 2022. 

Combat Pacing needs work

It’s absolutely worth mentioning the Combat Pacing option. Setting your matchmaking from Tactical (6v6), all the way up to Blitz (maximum players) allows for much more control over how you want the game to play – which is especially useful for grinding camos or weapons. 

But, Combat Pacing doesn’t always work as intended. You’ll often be matched into whatever lobby’s available, even if it’s the complete opposite of what you were after. 

Broken spawns also prevent Blitz from reaching its full potential. In a perfect world, Blitz would be reminiscent of Nuketown, where you spawn and it only takes a second to get into the action.

You’ll often find yourself spawning directly into a firing squad, and it’ll take several deaths to get out of the trap. Gun-skill goes out the window, and it’s who can find the best position to mow down enemies, rather than who can finesse and outplay their opponents.  

A grinder’s delight

For the grinders out there, there’s plenty of challenges to work through. Each weapon will take several hours to max out, and there’s plenty of camo challenges to complete as you’re leveling it up. But, these camo challenges range from standard to utterly outrageous. As an example, players are tasked with getting 100 point-blank kills with bolt-action Sniper Rifles, which Sledgehammer will hopefully adjust ASAP.

The new Operator system is nice, as it encourages players to use every character on offer. Each one has their favorite weapon, and you’ll earn bonus XP for that weapon when using the right Operator. And for reaching max level with every single one, you’ll earn an Epic Operator Outfit to show off your dedication to the grind. 

And of course, regular Challenges have returned. Although bugs are preventing them all from tracking, there’s plenty of Calling Cards to earn for your efforts. 

Fast time-to-kill makes fights inconsistent

The one area of the game that needs serious work is the time-to-kill (TTK), and the time-to-die in particular. You’ll die incredibly fast, hardly having any time to react to getting shot. This isn’t a game-breaking problem, but it can get extremely frustrating.  

Often, you’ll be turning a corner and die before you’ve even made it all the way around. With the STG44, you’ll find you’re killing players in only a couple of shots, which makes it feel closer to hardcore than the classic CoD experience. 

And the TTK doesn’t feel consistent either, which is where the time-to-die comes into play. Often, it’ll feel as though you’ll die much faster than you can kill. You’ll tag an enemy across the map with several hitmarkers, but then die in milliseconds, as though every bullet has hit at once. Players have been experiencing packet burst issues, so this could be a netcode issue. 

It would only take a slight time-to-kill reduction to vastly improve Vanguard’s multiplayer experience. 

Vanguard multiplayer Verdict


At its core, Vanguard is a very good Call of Duty game. It hasn’t reinvented the wheel or introduced any new mechanics that completely change how the game is played, but it runs great, the maps have a satisfying flow, the weapons feel unique, and there’s plenty of content to sink your teeth into. 

Luckily, all of the negatives that I’ve brought up are fixable and aren’t core gameplay features. Of course, bugs and glitches are present – but they’ll likely be fixed soon.

While I criticized the lackluster destruction mechanic, it by no means detracts from the overall experience – it just feels a bit pointless. Also, spawns will need to be addressed for Blitz Combat Pacing to achieve its true potential, and while the time-to-kill feels far too quick, it’s not entirely game-breaking. 

But, issues aside, Vanguard will offer a fun and satisfying experience to both new and returning Call of Duty fans.

Reviewed on PC 

Image Credit: Sledgehammer Games / Activision

Call of Duty: Vanguard

How to play CoD Vanguard multiplayer free access: Dates, download, & content

Here’s how you can play Call of Duty: Vanguard’s multiplayer mode for free and experience exciting Season 3 content.



Activision and Sledgehammer Games have announced a free access period for Call of Duty: Vanguard’s multiplayer mode. Find out how you can snag this free trial and enjoy Season 3 for free.

Every now and again Activision hands out free access trials to try and entice new players to experience the latest Call of Duty, and the company is continuing the tradition for Call of Duty: Vanguard.

The free access period for Vanguard will allow players to check out the multiplayer mode of Vanguard for free for a limited time.

Here’s everything you need to know about the one week of free access during Vanguard Season 3.

When does the next Call of Duty: Vanguard MP free trial start?

New players will have some time to get to grips with Vanguard’s Multiplayer as the one week of access will start on Wednesday, May 18 at 10 AM PT, 1 PM ET, 6 PM GMT, and end on Tuesday, May 24 at 9 AM PT, 12 PM ET, 5 PM GMT.

The free access weeks will be available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC as a part of the Season 3 update.

How to download the CoD Vanguard free access

Finding and installing the free week of access doesn’t take too much effort or trouble. A quick search and a few button prompts later, and players will be able to get stuck into the game’s offerings.

Here’s what players will need to do:

  1. You need to go to your respective console’s store – PlayStation or Xbox
  2. Search for “Vanguard Free Access”
  3. A free trial option for Call of Duty: Vanguard should be available to download
  4. Download it, and then boot it up to play

For PC players, there will be an option to “PLAY FREE” on the client when you load into the Call of Duty: Vanguard tab. This will kick start the download and then let you begin accessing the free trial content.

CoD Vanguard MP free access content: Maps & modes

The Call of Duty: Vanguard MP Free Access will include access to Season 3 content such as the new Mayhem map. Alongside this new map, players will be able to enjoy 20+ Vanguard maps. In addition, this period will grant players access to a whopping nine multiplayer modes including the innovative Arms Race mode.

Players can experience all of the content as part of Call of Duty: Vanguard, and if they decide to purchase the full game, will have all of their unlocks carry over to the game.

All this awaits new players who will make the most of this special, one week of free access during Vanguard Season 3.

For more Vanguard news, check out how Elden Ring dethroned Vanguard as the best-selling game of the last year.

SOURCE: Call of Duty Blog

Image Credit: Activision / Sledgehammer Games

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Call of Duty: Vanguard

How to get Apex Phase Rifle Owen Gun Blueprint in Warzone & Vanguard

Here’s how to unlock the Apex Phase Rifle Owen Gun Blueprint in Warzone and Vanguard – the most expensive Blueprint ever.



Vanguard and Warzone players can unlock the Apex Phase Rifle Owen Gun Blueprint as part of the Godzilla vs King Kong collaboration. It’s set to be the most expensive weapon Blueprint ever, so here’s how to get your hands on it.

Vanguard and Warzone players have been loving the Kong, Godzilla, and Mechagodzilla skins and bundles, but there’s one more Operation Monarch cosmetic for players to unlock — the Apex Phase Rifle Blueprint.

Although announced alongside the Season 3 Battle Pass, the devs didn’t reveal which gun it would be for, nor what it looked like. Now, thanks to an email sent out by Activision, we know that the Apex Phase Rifle Blueprint is for the Owen Gun, which is arguably one of the best SMGs in Warzone.

The Owen Gun Blueprint isn’t a straightforward unlock and you’ll need to put down a hefty amount of CoD Points, so here’s how to get your hands on it in Warzone and Vanguard.

How to get Apex Phase Rifle Owen Gun Blueprint in Warzone & Vanguard

Unlocking Warzone‘s Apex Phase Rifle Owen Gun Blueprint is unique in that you need to purchase all three of the Kong, Godzilla, and Mechagodzilla bundles.

Even though Operation Monarch ends on May 25, you’ll have until June 16 to purchase all three bundles and claim the Apex Phase Rifle.

How much is the Apex Phase Rifle Owen Gun Blueprint?

As players need to purchase all three of the Godzilla vs Kong bundles, the Apex Phase Rifle Owen Gun Blueprint will cost a whopping 7,200 CoD Points or $74.99 / £69.99.

Of course, you’re not just paying for the Blueprint itself, you’ll also get the Kong, Godzilla, and Mechagodzilla bundles with all of their cosmetics. Plus, for buying two out of the three bundles, you’ll get the exclusive “Godzilla vs. Kong” Weapon Sticker and the “Superspecies” Player Title.

When does Apex Phase Rifle Owen Gun Blueprint unlock?

Don’t worry if the Apex Phase Rifle Owen Gun Blueprint hasn’t appeared in your account yet, as it won’t become available until Vanguard & Warzone Season 3 Reloaded.

Although no official release date has been confirmed, we expect Vanguard & Warzone Season 3 Reloaded to go live on Wednesday, May 25. This update is also set to bring the H4 Blixen SMG and the Serpentine Perk to Warzone, as well as Vanguard’s Sphere map.

For more Vanguard and Warzone, be sure to check out how Sledgehammer have changed matchmaking, as well as the highest K/D weapons in Warzone.

Image Credit: Activision

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Call of Duty: Vanguard

Vanguard May 16 update patch notes: Major Combat Pacing changes & camo challenge fixes

Vanguard’s May 16 update patch notes brought major changes to Combat Pacing as well as fixes to camo challenges.



Call of Duty: Vanguard devs Sledgehammer Games released an update on May 16 that delivers major changes to Combat Pacing, and fixes some camo challenges in Season 3.

Vanguard players have long since complained about the poor map rotation and disappointing Combat Pacing mechanic, but it now seems like the devs are actively working to alleviate this major issue in Season 3.

On May 16, a brand-new update hit Vanguard and it focuses on improving the map rotation by making some major changes to how Combat Pacing functions. The update also provides a few fixes to camo challenges.

Vanguard Combat Pacing changes

For starters, the devs decided to remove Assault Combat Pacing from the Quick Play and Featured Playlists. This leaves Tactical and Blitz as the two remaining Combat Pacing options in Vanguard. The devs explained that only 5% of players choose to play on Assault Pacing, and they believe that removing it altogether will lead to an improvement in map rotation.

Since Assault Pacing has been removed, the minimum and maximum player counts for both Tactical and Blitz have been tuned. You can take a look at the number of players per match on each map in the chart below.

Full Vanguard May 16 update patch notes

Feature Update

  • Assault Combat Pacing filter removed from Quick Play and Featured Playlists
    • This change intends to improve diversity in map rotation. Although Assault Combat Pacing is the choice for just 5% of players, its impact on matchmaking cannot be understated. By removing this option, we aim to improve map rotation across all Quick Play playlists. We will be monitoring your feedback and game analytics to assess if this change has made the desired improvements. Give it a try, and let us know how you feel. 
  • Minimum and maximum player counts for Tactical and Blitz Combat Pacings have been tuned. For more details check out the Sledgehammer Games blog for the most recent Patch Notes.

Camo Challenges

  • Nikita AVT (Assault Rifle)
    • Corrected the requirements for multiple Camo Categories.
      • Pack Tactics: 40/80/120/160/200/240/280/320/360/400 Eliminations
      • Surgical: 5/10/15/20/25/30/35/40/45/50 Headshots
      • Predatory Ambition: 5/10/15/20/25/30/35/40/45/50 Multikills
      • Reptilian: 3/6/9/12/15/18/21/24/27/30 Bloodthirsties
  • M1916 (Marksman Rifle)
    • Corrected the requirements for multiple Camo Categories.
      • Pack Tactics: 30/60/90/120/150/180/210/240/270/300 Eliminations
      • Predatory Ambition: 5/10/15/20/25/30/35/40/45/50 Multikills
      • Reptilian: 3/6/9/12/15/18/21/24/27/30 Prone Kills
      • Wildcat: 5/10/15/20/25/30/35/40/45/50 Holding Breath Kills

For more Vanguard, be sure to check out the best Vanguard Season 3 quickscoping class or how Elden Ring dethroned Vanguard as the best-selling game of the last year.

Source: Sledgehammer Games

Image Credit: Activision / Sledgehammer Games

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