Review: Call of Duty: Vanguard is What It Is and That’s Totally Fine

Note: Activision Blizzard has been in the news a lot for executives, including CEO Bobby Kotick, fostering a toxic workplace with widespread sexual harassment and mistreatment of its employees. It’s currently under multiple lawsuits and calls for his resignation. I acknowledge this project and others were made under these difficult circumstances and believe its management team should be held accountable. I don’t think this should stop people, including myself, from writing critically about the work of its development teams. Therefore, this is my full review.

It’s difficult for individual titles to stand out within an annual franchise. Consistency is really the name of the game, both in gameplay and structure. Call of Duty: Vanguard represents a continuation of great mechanics, rapid-fire intensity and blockbuster aesthetic from predecessors while suffering in areas especially within a bare-bones Zombies offering, slight imbalances in multiplayer weaponry and minimal integration with standalone battle royale mode Warzone.

The game is similar, familiar and doesn’t strive to reinvent the wheel. Which can be satisfying. This also means it’s not anything more than solid when taken as a whole.

As a military first-person shooter, it follows a similar cadence as many before featuring three distinct play options in Campaign, Multiplayer and Zombies. This year’s setting is the backdrop of World War II, showcasing characters, locales plus weapons from the era often sacrificing realism for functionality. It’s a video game after all, so some level of disbelief suspension is always in order.

Because of the historical setting, it’s naturally reminiscent of 2017’s Call of Duty: WWII. Which I found to be pretty good. Yet its mechanics are much more linked to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) which I consider in the highest regard within the mainline series and the genre in general. That means the pure feel, including movement capabilities, are top-notch. It achieves the series staple of smooth, seamless action.

The general approach here for both Campaign and Multiplayer, which were handled by Sledgehammer Games, is bouncing across different engagements during one of the world’s most massive wars. There’s fights everywhere from the Eastern and Western fronts, Northern Africa and Pacific regions. Zombies was instead made by Call of Duty: Black Ops creators Treyarch Studios and focuses on a tiny area in Stalingrad, a boring iteration in what’s the game’s most disappointing part.

Campaign has the highest of Vanguard’s highs, a playable blockbuster war flick following a team of specialized soldiers while learning about their pasts. From dazzling technical prowess to improved character writing and intense sequences, it’s a pretty thrilling five to six hour experience. Even stealth sections are worthy of praise.

There’s plenty of fun to be had in Multiplayer, the meat and potatoes of modern day Call of Duty. Even if progression feels uneven, unlocks take a lot of time and gun balancing is skewed from the start. Map diversity, general customization and play-style building is where it shines. That’s a lot of competitive content at launch, including at least a couple new modes plus rotating playlists that add flavor to the mix.

Other areas either plainly aren’t ready or don’t feel fully baked, notably Zombies and Warzone integration.

Zombies is the weakest bit, even if it’s the best place for mindless experience grinding without having to compete. More of a run-based approach. Which could work, it’s just way too basic and monotonous. Doesn’t feel fully baked at launch. December update.

The most relevant question asked of any virtual shooter is: how does it feel to play? Without that, it’s nothing.

I’m a firm believer that Call of Duty features best-in-class gun feel, movement capability, audio feedback and time-to-kill tweaking. While in a historical setting, Vanguard retains all of these and it just feels natural to play for first-person aficionados. Hit feedback is critical. I lean towards shorter time-to-kill games, where bullets feel stronger and engagements are about reaction and precision. This year’s experience continues modern staples like tactical sprint, sliding and mounting on different parts of the environment, providing a sleek and powerful combination of abilities that translate especially well to Multiplayer matches.

The game is similar, familiar and doesn’t strive to reinvent the wheel. Which can be satisfying. This also means it’s not anything more than solid when taken as a whole.

I always begin my annual Call of Duty passage with Campaign, so I’ll start there. While not the most impactful or innovative story, its intensity is matched only by its big budget feel during firefights across various theatres of the 1940s.

At first it appears a pretty standard setup when it comes to military stories: A group of specialized soldiers called Task Force One bands together during World War II to uncover a secret plot within the Nazi war machine. It ends up being more an interactive Tarantino flick told out of order because, within this framework, it’s actually a character piece delving into the past of its personalities before pushing forward into their present day.

Arthur Kingsley, a Cameroonian Brit well-educated in language and film, commands the unit with a deft touch and glowing charisma. Polina Petrova is a Russian-born sniper with a quick tongue and even faster trigger finger, she has a score to settle with her invaders. Pilot and New York native Wade Jackson joined the team after surviving the Pacific while Lucas Riggs is an Australian explosives expert. And general goofball. British Sergeant Richard Webb rounds out the cast, though is the only individual the player doesn’t control at some point.

In the opening mission, the team executes a high stakes train robbery where it learns of one of The Third Reich’s mysterious internal plans called Project Phoenix. Unfortunately, they are also captured by ambitious Nazi scumbag Hermann Freisinger and thrown into a high-security prison to be interrogated by Jannick Richter, acted incredibly well by Dominic Monaghan. It’s via these sessions that the game tells each character’s tale, leading to most of the game’s missions as flashbacks.

Each character has different abilities within these vignettes that change up the core gameplay. Petrova escapes her hometown of Stalingrad while leveraging her super fast stealth techniques and marksman aim. During The Rats of Tobruk, Riggs escorts a splinter unit to gain intelligence from a desert Nazi base while blowing up as many military vehicles as possible, even one that’s airborne, with an assorted inventory of grenades.

And during Operation Tonga, the player issues directives to a dedicated fire team as Kingsley, pointing out areas for cover fire or opportunities to hit high value targets, fighting during the infamous invasion of Normandy. Because what’s a World War II game without Normandy?

Sure, it’s a bit predictable. It’s still more effective bouncing between controllable characters rather than a single one, reminiscent of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare with its multiple protagonists. And the focus on the most important parts of their history means there can be quieter moments with family and fellow squad members amidst the chaos of war.

As a massive publisher project, the Campaign is a technical showpiece that exists on the front-line of modern console capabilities. The developers at Sledgehammer games, which handled this mode plus Multiplayer, are showing off when it comes to movement animations, environmental design and audio prowess. The sound design is incredible, neatly capturing whizzing bullets and crunchy demolition.

There’s a distinct focus on environment, cover and destruction in Vanguard. While of course it’s a set of linear sequences, it offers flexibility in blasting through a wooden barricade or mounting a crumbling cement wall. While far from revolutionary, this sort of destructibility is a welcome touch.

My favorite mission trick later in the narrative is one where the camera switches perspective mid-mission as the playable character shifts within a broader conflict. It’s a superb effect and spreads out mechanics because of those bespoke abilities assigned to each teammate. Jackson’s time-slowing aiming in particular is the most satisfying of all.

Regrettably an earlier set of missions set in the skies above the Pacific Ocean then the Numa Numa Trail in Papua New Guinea mark lows in the action. First the player is tasked with flying a primitive fighter plane then dive-bombing ships. The controls just don’t translate well, and imaginary walls restrict the combat area so flying outside them causes mission failure. Right after there’s a jungle sequence along the trail where Jackson and his copilot meet the 93rd Infantry Division, a segregated unit for African-American soldiers. I appreciate the inclusion, and leader James “Booker” Washington acts as an inspiration, even if the mission itself is a somewhat monotonous trudge.

Back to the highs, Sledgehammer’s voice casting and motion capture techniques are on full display. Famed voice actress Laura Bailey steals the overall show as Petrova, while British actor Chiké Okonkwo’s Kingsley quite literally commands his every scene. The aforementioned Monaghan is incredible as a sniveling, over-matched Nazi investigator when facing off with each personality. Facial features are crisp and animations line up perfectly in another example of technical know-how from the Sledgehammer team.

It’s a mostly enjoyable five or six hours, feeling even longer than it is and boasting more highs than not. I would have liked one additional mission or a more climactic final sequence, yet have minimal complaints about its length as a war epic trying to showcase multiple fronts of the war and more intimate flashback anecdotes.

The main focus of development and ongoing support in the latest Call of Duty games, now operating each year alongside its persistent Warzone battle royale offering introduced back in 2020, is Multiplayer. Clearly.

Competitive play is where the franchise’s smooth, fast-paced mechanics really make their mark. Vanguard is no different, maybe a slight step behind the master class of Modern Warfare. It’s the most tangibly rewarding mode, with the usual setup of the best unlocks requiring a major time investment. It’s the series that revolutionized progression in first-person multiplayer, and still does it as well as any other by dangling that next reward after every round.

That progression, the forward momentum, it’s what Call of Duty perfected all those years ago. The numbers go up almost everywhere, after every match, between general level experience (XP), weapons getting more powerful via unlocks, Operator level and its ongoing battle pass. It’s part of why the franchise has been so successful and long-lasting, and why I keep coming back to it each time. Sure there are specific challenges and cosmetic awards for achieving them. But I love progression that can be earned in-game, and Call of Duty rewards people every step of the way for simply playing.

The core of Vanguard is a sampling of traditional modes like Team Deathmatch and Free-For-All, objective-based Domination, Hardpoint and Search and Destroy and many corresponding Hardcore renditions where radar is turned off plus bullets are more lethal. Team Deathmatch is naturally where most of the player base operates, as usual. It’s the bread-and-butter, the definition of consistency. Or perhaps redundancy, depending how one looks at it. When I’m not grinding out experience in smaller maps, I tend to gravitate towards certain objective types: the zone control of Hardpoint and especially Kill Confirmed where players collect dog tags of fallen foes and comrades.

This year’s title introduces a couple new modes, one that’s really an iteration of an existing template then another that’s unlike most others. Patrol is the former, where a capture area constantly moves around a map and rewards the team that holds it the longest. It’s cool enough, promoting more movement than Hardpoint while requiring the same team coordination.

Champion Hill is the more unique introduction in Vanguard. This is a round-robin style tournament in which eight small teams compete against one another with a limited set of lives in a fight for supremacy. It begins in a hub area with a buying round where teams of two or three can choose between weapons, perks, upgrades and even more lives. It then randomly selects a match-up of two teams and places them in one of four sub-areas on the broader map. Kills generate cash which can be used to add attachments or spent during additional buying rounds. Any team that runs out of lives is eliminated. It’s a snappy set of tactical skirmishes where things can go south quickly, and smart use of cash reserves is key. It’s intense and addictive, especially with friends on comms.

The big push in Multiplayer is creating a build that fits one’s play style. Weapons, attachments, grenades, field upgrades, perks, killstreaks, the cornucopia of completing one’s arsenal.

Weapon variety right now in Vanguard is mostly as expected, with a historical backdrop of course rather than any sort of modern military models. It’s a tricky task for Sledgehammer to operate within the World War II setting and create gameplay scenarios that entice players used to automatic weapons and accoutrements galore. So it ends up being a Frankenstein blend of period guns with unrealistic upgrades and capabilities, a sacrifice of realism for the sake of practicality which I believe is necessary.

There’s 38 weapons at launch across the typical primary categories of assault rifles, submachine or light machine guns and shotguns. Vanguard separates marksman rifles from snipers, the former being long range semi-automatics while the latter are mostly one-hit kills. Then the secondary options of pistols, melee and, my personal favorite, launchers. All of these archetypes aren’t just anticipated, they are purely essential by now.

Early in a multiplayer game’s life cycle, imbalances are unavoidable. That’s the case right now for at least one or two weapons especially within assault rifles and shotguns, while marksman and snipers seem underutilized. The STG44 is the very first assault rifle available to players and probably the best all around pick. There’s also the faster firing Automaton, lethal during closer engagements yet harder to control. The most fun, or broken, of all in Vanguard is the Combat Shotgun with ridiculous range and impeccable impact. Now of course this will change over time, as the meta layer moves according to Sledgehammer’s patches alongside user base feedback. I don’t mind going with the more powerful weapons because it allows me to focus rather than spreading myself too thin. Plus, I can be more competitive as a somewhat slightly above average player.

The defining characteristic of Call of Duty is flexibility, and the weapon attachment system is robust in Vanguard. Guns have ten dedicated spots for mixing and matching. Regulars like silencers, scopes, barrels and grips are all represented, adjusting attributes from accuracy to speed. Then there’s additional spots for ammo type, proficiency and kit. These add further customization like incendiary bullets that set targets ablaze or the Vital proficiency which increases critical hit size. As I alluded to before, the tradeoff is the most powerful are among the last to unlock.

Personally, an expanded arsenal of different launchers excites me the most. There are four of them: M1 Bazooka, Panzerschreck, Panzerfaust and MK11 Launcher. The last two are especially amazing during ground tactics. I’ve probably made a lot of opponents mad on smaller maps. The main risks are reloads that take forever and there’s no automatic lock-on for these, it’s straight shooting for all projectiles. Which means taking down airborne vehicles proves more difficult in Vanguard.

Individual play is even further defined by the familiar systems of custom loadouts and other options. Players assign perks, field upgrades, killstreaks then both tactical throwables and lethal grenades. It’s impossible to cover them all in a review. Suffice to say series regulars are all here, even if they have different names. Everything from attack dogs and Molotov cocktails to flamethrowers and spy planes. Variety is the spice of life, and a defining factor of Call of Duty.

I’ll often opt towards a more stealthy and accurate approach. Suppressors and stabilizers that steady recoil pair well with perks like Ghost and Radar to make me more inconspicuous. There’s always a flipside because firepower output is lower plus I’m more susceptible to explosions. This works well in objective modes and larger spaces. Lately I’ve started experimenting with a louder technique using options that give me more grenades and rockets. Combining Demolition, which allows two lethals at spawn, with Supply Box means I can resupply all explosive types. I pair these with a great perk called Piercing Vision that allows me to briefly see through walls when I hit a target. It’s especially effective on more compact maps, and I love being able to bounce between these two distinct styles.

Speaking of maps, or “boards” as veterans dub them, the sheer number at release is one of the most highly impressive aspects of Multiplayer. There’s 20 at present, 16 of which are traditional while four are the individual areas of Champion Hill. It’s a robust total which I believe is the most ever right at launch.

Maps are on the whole consistent. Certain ones are fantastic while there are a couple weaker outliers. There’s legacy areas sprinkled in like Castle and Dome, both from 2008’s Call of Duty: World at War. Most of Vanguard’s are new designs. Select favorites include Tuscan, a daring rooftop parlay in Italy, then the real-world German building Kehlsteinhaus represented in Eagle’s Nest which excels in interior engagements between two exterior lanes. Decoy is an incredible outdoor training course area with mock buildings and smashable walls.

Then there’s my choice: Das Haus, in what’s proving a most controversial pick within the community. It’s pure close-quarters mayhem in a remote location where Germans train to infiltrate the U.S. White House. I adore the chaos, one of those love it or hate it type of instant classics a la Nuketown. It often has its own dedicated playlist, or combined lately with a snazzy iteration of Shipment, which works wonders for grinding out levels.

Another introduction in Vanguard is the Combat Pacing system. It offers three distinct options for player population in each match, from the most chill to crazy hectic, and I really dig this particular move. Tactical has the least amount of players, feeling the most like a normal Call of Duty count of 6 versus 6. Assault ramps up the intensity to moderate. Blitz boasts the highest player count and most frenzied of all, leading to constant action and high body counts. The system changes even how a single map can feel, and it’s mostly for the better. Blitz makes even the most open locales feel frenetic. There’s the downside of Tactical hitting on that same sort of big board, which makes it empty. This sort of mini-innovation within the series is a welcome change, especially since there’s flexibility in matchmaking to focus on a single pacing or include them all.

A most frivolous and honestly questionable new feature is the Team MVP concept, which now exists alongside the typical end-of-match Play of the Game or Final Kill replays. Vanguard’s algorithm picks three contestants to highlight when a fight is over, normally those with the most headshots or multi-kills and occasionally showcasing people who led objective tasks. Each player can vote on who was the most valuable, gaining a slight bit of experience points each time. Because there aren’t many win animations and certain rewards are for trivial things like being around teammates for the most time, it’s not the most polished of match finales like say Overwatch.

Nowadays every Call of Duty game introduces their own Operators, or the characters one picks before a given match. Within Vanguard these are mostly visual as there’s no classes or roles like earlier titles. It’s a small roster, each has quips and finishing moves plus those Play of the Game and MVP animations. There is a slight XP boost for playing with a character and their “favorite weapon.” Oh, and of course there’s an Operator Level. It’s mostly another way to see the numbers go up, and increase cosmetic possibilities.

Multiplayer overall here is a sound foundation with excellent map consistency and clever pacing features that increase both the enjoyment and reward frequency. Sure there’s balancing challenges for weapons mostly, which is mostly forgivable early on and can even level the playing field for non-professionals. How it evolves over time will be key. I believe it’s quite enjoyable in its current state, notably on fast-paced maps and close clashes, even for the more casual competitors like yours truly.

It doesn’t have to change much because it relies on fundamentals that work. Whether or not that’s a knock against it comes down to taste and perspective, and I’m in the camp that recognizes how minor differences can enhance that base experience.

Now, to talk about the biggest swing-and-miss: Zombies.

Straight up, this co-op mode wasn’t ready. Because developer Treyarch themselves said the first story beats begin in early December. Right now, it’s a shell of what it should be and the most disappointing aspect of Vanguard’s packaging. Zombies lacks intrigue, replayability, narrative hooks and a reason to stay longer term other than maybe messing around leveling up with friends or seeing how difficult it can get.

Set within a very small area of Stalingrad, the Zombies mode is supposed to be a continuation of the Dark Aether narrative which began last year. For background, Projekt Endstation opened up inter-dimensional portals to a demonic parallel universe and a Nazi commander now wants to control them for a last ditch effort against Allied forces. Basically, players control Special Forces soldiers to see how many otherworldly foes they can take down.

The glaring problem is right now, Zombies has.. turned into a run-based mode that starts in a small hub world then moves into other tiny areas for a single task then teleports players back to that main area to purchase upgrades and the like. The main map features a crafting bench, the “Altar of Covenants,” weapon upgrades and a Pack-a-Punch machine that generates a random gun.

There’s an obvious roguelike influence here, except without the variety or meaningful progression and certainly no mysterious, engaging elements like years past. Which is what I cherished most about Zombies, its ability to be weird and curious with random artifacts and puzzles to solve. Sad to report this is the exact opposite.

Portal objectives rarely require any brainpower. I believe there are only three of them, two of which are variations on staying alive long enough for a timer to run out. The most taxing is Harvest, which asks players to collect runes then deposit them. No variants. Zero coordination needed. The utter definition of monotony.

In typical Zombies fashion, difficulty bumps up a bit after the group of up to four players clears a portal. Which really means they mostly become more bullet spongy and more of them spawn. One would think Zombies offers developers a golden chance to flex muscles on enemy variety and design tactics to push players to their limits.

Nope. There’s three zombie types. Standard shamblers, exploders called Boom Schreiers and Sturmkrieger also known as “Big Annoying Zombie With Machine Gun And Too Much Health.” At least they have cool names, I suppose. Because Vanguard’s idea of challenge is throwing more and more of the same exact fodder, not getting creative with tactics or mutations. Oh wait, I forgot. Some of the base versions do have armor. Which is just a way to disguise giving them a bigger health pool.

Are you asleep yet?

Sure, there are select loadout choices and customization powers. All the guns and attachments from Multiplayer are used, then the player selects one of four “entities” that each have a single power. These are basic abilities dressed up with fancy names like Dragon of Saraxis, an area of effect blast, or Mask of Bellekar that’s just a short-term cloak. Perks can be found around the map, giving more health or speed. Chests drop grenades or different guns, usually throwaway versions. Again, wholly lackluster.

The aforementioned Altar of Covenants is the most impactful of customization tactics and at least provides meaningful benefits. After each round when returning from a portal, a player earns a Sacrificial Heart. These can be exchanged for Covenants, or abilities that spice things up a tad. Bloodlust allows self-healing for melee damage, Death Blow returns ammo for critical kills and Cryofreeze is pretty self-explanatory. The best of these are Brain Rot, which randomly turns a damaged zombie friendly, then Ammo Gremlin which refills ammo in stowed weapons. It eliminates the need to reload constantly, which is a staple of zombie fights.

It’s so bare-bones and boring that I don’t have much more to say about Zombies other than it feels half-baked in its current form. And I’m not sure updates will vastly change that. Its nowhere near as mysterious or intriguing as past iterations, though at least it will have more substance in a couple weeks. Because it drastically needs that.

I guess there’s one reason to play Zombies as a quick, more chill way to gain experience and player level without having to run competitive matches. It’s just flat out bad after the first hour or two when the allure of jumping into portals wears off, the seams start showing and its rampant imperfections take hold of any semblance of fun. There’s not much reason to play Zombies until it’s fixed. If that even happens in the future.

As expected from a project of this magnitude and a team of this size, Vanguard runs smooth as butter on the Xbox Series X and I assume most other platforms because of its pedigree. Performance stability is a staple of first-person shooters, and Call of Duty excels in this department offering up to a 120hz refresh rate on console. There’s also a welcome field of view slider, plus a variety of motion blur and video options. Sadly, there’s no ray tracing implementation though it’s still a gorgeous game where I noticed zero frame rate hitches and no issues running in any mode.

Diving more into settings, Vanguard’s feature suite is extensive. Flexible control mapping alternatives, gameplay changes, movement options, color customization and heads-up display switches are all tweaks available to players. Accessibility is covered with font size, subtitles, crosshair bobbing, the aforementioned color changes plus a variety of text chat features. There’s even the ability to disable graphic content and engage profanity filters. I commend the teams for just how many different configurations they offer.

One glaring omission is a formal photo mode, which is more popular than ever in modern games. Even those with multiplayer elements. Campaign in particular can be stunning and would lead to some epic shots.

In terms of social features, it’s the usual party system where one can team up with platform or Activision friends. There’s also full cross-play and cross-progression in Call of Duty now, the former can be flipped off and the latter is done via Activision account. A neat touch now is Clans, where a group of up to one hundred folks can team up in a group and earn bonuses for doing so.

Luckily I’ve seen limited disruptions in matchmaking and connection. This year’s title also introduced a dedicated anti-cheat team called Ricochet, which was desperately needed. Technologically, Vanguard is an achievement for all folks involved. Just remember to mute all in the lobby when running outside of a party!

Because it’s a modern multiplayer game, there’s all sorts of cosmetic systems from emblems to name plates and weapon skins to those Operator animations I mentioned earlier. It’s ripe for monetization over time, though the usual cosmetic packs aren’t present yet. They certainly will be, I’d imagine when integration with Warzone kicks off in early December.

And that part will be key for the ongoing support and meta game for Vanguard, as it’s another annual launch operating in parallel with Warzone. Right now, the two operate independently. There’s going to be a new map set in the Pacific called Caldera, available on December 9th, which will mark a new season in the Call of Duty universe. The battle royale mode and its current maps have grown a bit stale to me, so I’m excited to try out the changes and see how integration with historical weapons works. It can’t be a clean break because of how much investment players have put into prior seasons to date, even as much as I’d love to see what would happen in that case.

After spending a considerable amount of time with all that Call of Duty: Vanguard has to offer, I’ve come away satisfied with Campaign, impressed with elements of Multiplayer and wholly distraught by an aggressively poor Zombies offering. Sledgehammer’s contributions to story and online play lead the charge while Treyarch’s lackluster fighting against the undead is the weakest link.

Vanguard, like individual instances of many ongoing franchises, is mostly predictable. It does show off a handful of surprises, like select flashback missions in the narrative and the Multiplayer’s new battle pacing system that ramps up the reward feedback loop. Which is essential in the competitive space, even when played casually.

It’s a technical showpiece, plain and simple. There’s clear attention to detail in animation quality and environmental design. One moment, gunsmoke exiting a weapon’s barrel looks real enough to smell the residue. The next, a character jams that new round in the chamber before aiming down their scope to snap off a clean critical hit. The frenzied pacing often hides these qualities that really define a military shooter, and Call of Duty does it as well as any. Even if it does happen every year, there are noticeable improvements for those paying attention.

This sort of iterative effort is akin to a sports game that nails the core experience. It doesn’t have to change much because it relies on fundamentals that work. Whether or not that’s a knock against it comes down to taste and perspective, and I’m in the camp that recognizes how minor differences can enhance that base experience.

Call of Duty is no longer isolated to the once a year event then content packs in the coming months. It’s all the time, ongoing and ever-present. Vanguard as its latest iteration is mostly good, even if not regularly great. It’s still one of the best at those jaw-dropping, blockbuster moments and trailblazing technology.

I’m way content with the time I’ve had in the game so far, and I plan to keep it up over time especially with friends in the online component. And I hope to dip into a better Zombies mode down the line. Foundational mechanics and gratifying progression, plus those “wow” moments when chaining shots together or parachuting across the Pacific during a Campaign mission, are plenty good enough to carry Vanguard even when other aspects weigh it down.

Title: Call of Duty: Vanguard

Release Date: November 5th, 2021

Developer: Sledgehammer Games, Treyarch Studios

Publisher: Activision Blizzard

Platforms: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC.

Final Score: 7.5/10

Recommendation: While there’s entertainment to be had in the Campaign and it features the most memorable moments, I’m not sure it’s worth the price of admission alone. Multiplayer is the more consistent highlight right now due to great game feel, awesome maps and a steady progression system. Zombies is a total whiff, at least for now. I say it’s worth a try for the first two modes alone, just don’t expect a mind-blowing experience.

Sources: Activision Press Center, Screenshots from Xbox Series X.