Call of Duty Vanguard's Alpha early proof that this is the best COD game in years

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Sledgehammer Games has just concluded their first Public Test of Call of Duty Vanguard's multiplayer and it's safe to say that it was a success. Of course, it wasn't perfect, but Vanguard's Champion Hill Alpha is early proof that this year's Call of Duty game could be one of the best Call of Duty games we've ever played. Here's why...

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Vanguard's gameplay is arguably the perfect combo!

When Modern Warfare was released in 2019, Call of Duty fans were treated to the most grounded gameplay experience we've ever seen from Call of Duty. It was slower than some other games, sure, but its gunplay was weightier and each movement mattered more. Whatever Activision has done with the IW Engine 8.0 - the Modern Warfare game engine - it works perfectly for Call of Duty.

Call of Duty tried to be a run-and-gun shooter for a long time but Advanced Warfare, Infinite Warfare, and Black Ops 4 were all a bit lacklustre when it came to the gameplay. They aren't bad titles at all, but at their core, they're not as good.

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Call of Duty Vanguard Champion Hill Alpha
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WORK TOGETHER - Champion Hill isn't something you can win at alone

Call of Duty Vanguard is running on the same game engine as Modern Warfare 2019 - However, it's being updated for the newer title. This means its gameplay is a little weightier, the movement is slower, but that's better. The gunfights in Vanguard's Champion Hill Alpha were intense and the newly-added destructible environments only serve to improve this.

The Public Alpha wasn't perfect, though...

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That being said, it was an Alpha Test and it felt like an Alpha Test. Things still felt a little unpolished and, at times, there were instances where you'd lose a gunfight you really shouldn't have.

Furthermore, there were times when actually seeing your opponent was a real pain. We understand that the IW Engine 8.0 is graphically different from Black Ops Cold War, but the difference in target identification is clear. Essentially, it's a lot easier to see your enemies in Black Ops Cold War than it was in the Champion Hill Alpha. A few tweaks to the contrast and saturation of the title would probably solve this, but some improved outline definition would go a long way in making this a little easier.

In addition to this, the destruction physics could do with being refined. At times, they felt a little lacklustre - and at other times, they felt like you were going to be hit with a plank of wood through your screen. There was an inconsistency that we can imagine Sledgehammer Games is going to tidy up as we head into the Open Beta and full release.

Call of Duty Vanguard Champion Hill Alpha
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ONLY THE FOUR - We're hoping the Open Beta shows us a few more Operators...

You could also barge through wooden walls in Champion Hill's arenas, which was fantastic, but it would leave a clearly rectangular hole in the wall. We know it isn't a major detail, but it felt a little... Odd. It would break the reality you were trying to cling onto throughout playing Vanguard. The IW Engine 8.0 is fantastic for offering weighty, grounded gameplay - however, sometimes the small things take away from that.

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Champion Hill is still a great game mode!

We don't know why Vanguard chose to Alpha Test with a game mode like Champion Hill - brand new to the series - but it was fantastic. It was the perfect evolution to Call of Duty's gunfight and an important step in developing a fairer competitive experience in Call of Duty's multiplayer as a whole.

Everyone starts with the same weapon - well, selection of weapons - and the shorter round times help to keep everything fresh. If one duo proved a difficult opponent, you wouldn't be stuck losing against them for too long.

Call of Duty Vanguard Champion Hill Alpha
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COMPETITIVE GUNPLAY - Vanguard feels like it could be huge for the CDL

The Champion Hill Alpha was a light way to introduce Vanguard's wider multiplayer experience and we can imagine that it won over a lot of fans quickly. Champion Hill offered a competitive experience that wasn't weighed down by endless rounds of gameplay. It was fast and fun - exactly what a lot of people want from Call of Duty.

It also reminded us a lot of Gears of War 2's Wingman mode - easily one of the best multiplayer modes to ever exist. If Gears of War isn't going to bring back Wingman, someone else should.

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The Open Beta should confirm all of this...

If you couldn't tell, we left the Champion Hill Alpha in high spirits - we're excited for what comes next and what Vanguard's multiplayer mode has to offer us fully. There are a few things that could do with tidying up, but it's important to remember that this is an Alpha.

There are going to be two weekends of Open Beta and a number of weeks between now and launch - We're sure Vanguard is going to be fine. For now, though, we're looking forward to the following dates:

  • Open Beta Weekend One
    • September 10th to September 13th
  • Open Beta Weekend Two
    • September 18th to September 20th
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The first Open Beta weekend is going to be available exclusively to PlayStation players who pre-ordered Call of Duty Vanguard. The next weekend is a fully Open Beta - however, you can jump into it from September 16th if you pre-ordered the game.

Call of Duty Vanguard Open Beta Start
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REVEAL INCOMING - Next month, we're getting a lot of Vangaurd content...