Wednesday, December 7

Call of Duty: Vanguard Zombies feels like one step forward, two steps back

While there are a few things that Call of Duty: Vanguard Zombies does well, there are many more examples of the mode being a disappointment.

When Call of Duty: Vanguard Zombies was first revealed, it quickly became clear that Treyarch was taking a huge risk. Along with all-new mechanics like the Altar of Covenants, the latest version of Zombies completely moves away from the round-based format. Instead, players will be constantly completing objectives rather than simply surviving, forced to do exactly what the game tells them to do at all times.

While taking risks is admirable, it has become clear that Zombies fans are not happy with what Call of Duty: Vanguard has to offer. The vast majority of comments on the mode have been negative, with loyal gamers and content creators criticizing Der Anfang and advising their fellow players not to buy the game if they only care about zombies. While there is a possibility that Call of Duty: Vanguard Zombies gets better in the future, the community reaction is clear; while the new mode does some things right, it gets a lot more wrong.

The Good: A Welcome Approach to Storytelling in CoD Zombies

One of the biggest complaints regarding Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Zombies was how quiet the Operators were. Aside from some generic jokes when players grabbed a mystery box weapon or got some quick kills, the playable characters were silent about all the madness surrounding them. This broke the dive, and without conversations between the Operators, there was no reason to worry about them at all.

However, in Der Anfang’s story, operators are more forthcoming. While players still have voices that speak to them as the match progresses, such as Kortifex and Von List, the real star of the show is the Dark Aether entities who speak directly to the player character. Linked to each of the four field upgrades, these mysterious characters add plenty of humor and interesting lore as the game progresses. This dialogue between humans and demons is always intriguing, and it has the potential to make things like the next main quest that much more interesting.

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While storytelling is Der Anfang’s main strength, it’s worth noting that the framework for the mode is solid. While the goals are not for everyone, most would probably enjoy the concept of the mode much more if it were a secondary option like Outbreak rather than the only option. The Altar of Covenants also has a lot of potential, and should only get better when more Covenants are added. Still, while Der Anfang can be significantly improved over time, it’s hard not to see it as a step below what Zombies is capable of.

The Bad: Unnecessary changes to the CoD Zombies formula

Obviously, the switch to such a different style of play than just surviving is a major issue. While Treyarch might have pleased fans of the rounds by offering a closed version of Shi No Numa, that hasn’t happened. There is no traditional Zombies content on Call of Duty: Vanguard, and players have no choice but to play the vastly different Der Anfang. While this is smart from one point of view, as it funnels all players into the new mode and forces them to give it a try, this becomes frustrating for those who prefer how things used to be.

Zombies has had a round-based approach since its inception, so Obligations leaving that behind suddenly has been jarring for many players. Modes like Grief and Outbreak never caused as much frustration as Der Anfang for no other reason than that there was still normal round-based content to enjoy alongside them. Moving away from the Zombies type of gameplay that made the mode a hit is something no one was asking for, as fans didn’t want Zombies to change this drastically. Players should always have options and Call of Duty: Vanguard disregarding it has understandably been controversial. The situation is comparable to what would happen if a Obligations multiplayer released without Domination, Search and Destroy, and Team Deathmatch, which only offers completely new modes.

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Aside from what seems like a complete abandonment by fans of round-based Zombies, the perk system also feels like an unnecessary change. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold WarPerk upgrades were a huge hit with players, as levels could be unlocked from the main menu by spending in-game currency. This resulted in permanent decisions, similar to those in an RPG, but Call of Duty: VanguardThe approach of ‘sees the advantages that are updated in each game. While this wouldn’t be a bad thing on its own, the pricing for upgrades is absurd, especially with drinks that offer fewer benefits than those of Black Ops Cold War. Since even seasoned players can’t fully upgrade all of their perks in every match, the new upgrade system feels significantly worse as players spend much more on five perks than 10 perks in the previous Zombies mode.

The Ugly: Missing Features CoD Zombies Fans Love

However, the biggest issue with Der Anfang isn’t the expensive perks or even the abandonment of round-based play. While some Zombies fans may have been willing to take a chance on a bold new mode, the problem is that it lacks the polish and features fans have come to expect. Players cannot pause their games like they have in recent iterations of Treyarch’s Zombies, and that feature won’t arrive until Season 1. There is no Pack-A-Punch camo, which makes the updates feel lackluster as weapons look no different. Most shocking of all, there is not a single Wonder Weapon in Der Anfang, not even a Lightning Weapon can be used by players.

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Given the sheer amount of personality that Wonder Weapons like the Chrysalax have added to their respective maps, Der Anfang feels like something is missing without a unique weapon that players can fight for. Mystery Box hits are less exciting because of this, and players feel significantly weaker than in other Zombies modes. Considering that Der Anfang is made up of repurposed multiplayer and campaign assets, a Wonder Weapon of some sort could have helped the map stand out and feel more original. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg, as the mode lacks the most important thing that makes Zombies unique: Easter eggs.

While Treyarch has said that the main quest for Der Anfang will be saved until after Season 1, the biggest issue is the lack of side quests for players to complete in Call of Duty: Vanguard Zombies There’s no easter egg song to discover, no fun easter eggs like the ghost of Forsaken or arcade machines, no Wonder Weapon upgrade mission. Players have nothing to do apart from completing objectives, which is a genuine problem as it severely limits replayability. While older Zombies content may have seemed like it was only surviving against waves of the undead, there was a lot more to do below the surface. Sadly, when it comes to Der Anfang, players will have seen everything it has to offer after just one match.

Call of Duty: Vanguard It is available now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

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