Throughout all of the Call Of Duty: Vanguard & Warzone season’s of play, I get to the last two weeks and eagerly anticipate what’s to come next. It makes sense, I’ve been playing the same things for a bit, and it’s time for something new. What’s really odd for me at this point of Call Of Duty is that while I look forward to new seasonal content, I find myself tired of it at the same time. Maybe it’s fatigue with Vanguard, which is still better than people give it credit for, but I’m willing to bet it’s the pipeline not fitting me as much as it does others. That’s a good thing, by the way, because I’m not necessarily the casual audience. While I might be somewhat tired of the current metas and maps, the team has certainly given us a potluck of things to try in Season 4, each with their own merits that stand out in different ways.
Now, standing out can be for both good and bad reasons. I like some of this season’s content additions, but something that really stands out is how we have so many maps in Vanguard, but not enough good ones. Let me explain, there are so many maps in this game where it’s more than just the spawns messing things up. The design and build don’t always leave you with clear paths, and while I somewhat enjoy what the destructible elements add, that all goes away when a dude shotguns me through a wall, or when a guy sits in the back of their spawn with an LMG and the piercing vision perk just firing away at every possible hiding spot until he can call you out. It’s not always the case, but public matches can be a trainwreck.
That brings us to the USS Texas, a wonderful battleship you may remember from your time in Call Of Duty: World War II. I fondly remember it because I had a twenty kill game on it back in the day, with a closing pistol kill where I absolutely world-starred the guy. I may have enjoyed the memory a bit too fondly, because upon playing it again I see way too many open sightlines and corners to camp in. Beyond that, random destructible elements and doors make it so easy for players to take too many advantageous positions that can feel cheap, along with some who just sit in the back until you move them out of it. This map has become what I refer to as a “TDM map”, one I’ll be fine to play deathmatch on, but not any other mode. It’s pretty telling that it doesn’t really work for anything else given I was able to tell within seconds it wouldn’t work for Hardpoint and on Control. While Search and Destroy is possible, it sadly won’t work for Ranked Play in the slightest because of an absence of smoke grenades; no cover on the A site means a team can plant towards their spawn and leave a sniper in the back to cover. Sure, you have to hold, but the pros won’t let it in, so it won’t be in for the public. Here’s hoping the midseason map, Desolation, somehow can make an appearance in Ranked, but it’s doubtful since the CDL season ends shortly.
As for the weapons, I’m back to another SMG that I wouldn’t use in place of the MP-40, although it has its pros that outweigh the cons. The Marco 5 is definitely one of the more interesting weapons to enter the game, especially considering it is the first SMG in a while to arrive with an akimbo option. It has a fire rate roughly on par with something like the Welgun or the Owen, but with plenty of vertical recoil and not nearly enough stopping power. The
Marco 5 is weird, messing with my muscle memory with needing to hit someone an extra time or two which usually ends in my death because I just stop shooting. It falls into an odd category in that I don’t know that it is worth the trouble in trying to set it up for close-range gun fights over another gun, but it doesn’t have the range to prefer it over an AR. Not to mention even if you set it up for that, you lose the speed that would make it valuable.
The new light machine gun however, I actually like a decent amount. That says something, because there hasn’t been a single one enter my regular rotation beyond to level up, and even then I’m pretty sure I’ve only done that with the Bren for Warzone. The UGM-8 is one you pretty quickly can get a blueprint for from the battle pass, the “Beach Corral”, and I couldn’t suggest this less. This version of the UGM is set up completely for speed, and the recoil was so atrocious I nearly dropped the weapon from my loadouts entirely. Once I got things going though, with changing nearly half of the attachments over to lift my accuracy and control the recoil, I saw a much different gun. Yes, I wasn’t sliding around with it like I would with my Automaton setup (which is pretty insane with an LMG), but I could actually hit what I was aiming at, along with pretty quick stopping power. I’ll share this parting clip with you above on the UGM- mainly that you should not be able to be turned on with this gun, even if I did it.
From here we take a trip into the past… well, again, just on a bigger scale. Shi No Numa was included in the inaugural Vanguard Zombie map, Der Anfang, just as a small locale you visited in the objectives. Here, things have turned up to eleven, with a huge sprawling version of the Japanese fishing village to explore. Even better still, it’s round-based, something Zombie’s fans have been clamoring for. While I personally enjoy the objective-based Zombies, it’s nice to have the variation available here, even if most of what you’re doing is just slaying progressively harder hordes of the undead. Some of the new iterations have stuck around though, like the altars for sacrificing hearts for perks and better power-ups, and the Vanguard version of the “juggernog machines”.
Where this one kind-of loses me is how complex the endgame of the map feels. I’ve never understood the vague main quest the Zombies maps offers, so the draw has never been there. But with objectives to accomplish while on the map, it gave me something to do that varied compared to the monotony of “kill the next zombie horde, reload, wait for the next one that’s incrementally harder”. I know, blasphemy against Zombies, but as a newer Zombie player the old ways just don’t give me enough reason to play beyond a few rounds. I think this variant of Shi No Numa looks great, and round-based fans are going to be very happy, but it’s just not for me.
As for Warzone, it certainly seems like they’ve hit their stride with content. Not only did we get a new small map in the vein of Rebirth, but we got to keep Rebirth (which leaves three maps available in the game for the first time), and Caldera got a pretty big update. I don’t have the time to go heavy duty into what it means for Caldera, and I want to jump into Fortune’s keep, so let’s just share something from the Call Of Duty Twitter account-
Battle Royale players – we got you ????
A few of next season's updates to the Caldera include:
???? New micro-POIs and more looting
???? Secret underground Mercenary Vaults
???? 50% less vegetation & better visibility
???? Plenty more surprises in-store pic.twitter.com/Ux3kR69RX3
— Call of Duty (@CallofDuty) June 15, 2022
So, Fortune’s Keep? One of the best things we’ve seen come to Warzone, probably since Rebirth before it. With this one it is mainly a Resurgence mode map, in that the first circle has already run its course and respawning is available. It’s a fast and furious battle, with a low player count not taking away any of the intensity. What I really like about this map is they somehow took what works best in Caldera and made that the emphasis. Caldera’s colorful landscapes are a sight to behold, but they can get a bit boring with long stretches of grass and rock.
On Fortune’s Keep you don’t get the same feeling, with this island city oozing personality and inviting you to look deeper. There are underground areas, buildings a plenty, and in the little bit I’ve been able to explore, a lot of places to set up your operations. Every match I did play was really fast paced, which comes because of the mode, but it’s also in the map design itself which forces you to either take a route in the open or get to cover inside a building. It’s something Caldera wishes it could do, but the size of that map is just too much to overcome. Fortune’s Keep capturing the potential we wanted to see in Caldera is a big win for Raven Software, and an even bigger one for players. Also, a quick shout out to Warzone Loadout who you can find here on Twitter and their website. They have made my life so much easier when it comes to understanding the current metas for Warzone, and definitely allows me to actually compete in a mode I’m not as frequently playing.
As per usual, we can’t leave new season impressions without talking about what you can get in terms of the battle pass. I’m really excited for the potential this season has, especially with the incoming Terminator themed items. With this season’s battle pass, I’m happy to see Sledgehammer cut back from a lot of additions being in-game equipment and such. We’re getting towards the end of this particular game, so certainly there is a little bit going on in terms of what you could actually put in Vanguard at this point without overloading it, but I like to think they realized we don’t need a new firebomb or streak. We’re good as we are, and that leads to less earning these things through the battle pass.
In their place are a lot of really neat skins, blueprints, and of course the barrage of tokens, calling cards, and COD points you’ll also expect. One specific thing I like is the team adding in blueprints for the new seasonal weapons really early in the cycle, and I mean very early. You can earn the Marco 5 at Tier 15, but you’ll already somewhat have it in your arsenal at Tier 5 via the battle pass, even if it’s admittedly only for paying players. It’s a nice benefit, and not for much of a cost. The same happens at Tier 24 with a blueprint for the UMG-8 you’ll receive at Tier 31. They’ve usually positioned these a lot later in the battle pass, but now they’ve got both, with early ones to start with that aren’t too overpowered.
The only thing I do find funny is how Sledgehammer at this point has totally thrown any attempts at realism out the window… and that’s if that was ever even the plan. That being said, the skins available in the battle pass and in bundles are going to be in Warzone as well, so it makes since to go a little nuts. The one that’s really hilarious is Butcher’s “Fortnite-ish” skin, pictured below. Beyond that, the Violet Stealth “Night Terror” skin for Florence is probably Roze 3.0, but it’s super cool, and the Tier 100 “Gold Horror” skin is also incredible, along with all of their respective gun blueprints. While it may be viewed as pushing for a more realistic take, Call Of Duty is more fun with these kind of additions (like the crazy Horseman skins), so I hope it continues.
Call Of Duty: Vanguard & Warzone Season 4 can be a mixed bag, but in the end I come out of it largely positive. USS Texas really wasn’t what we wanted, and Shi No Numa feels like a step backwards in ways, but Fortune’s Keep is amazing, and the weapons are solid additions to your arsenal. Am I sold on the longevity this gives the games? Warzone yes, but Vanguard no. I’m looking forward to seeing what the Desolation map brings, but my waiting for the next season may have started way too early this time around.
David Burdette is a gamer/writer/content creator from TN and Lead Editor for Gaming Trend. He loves Playstation, Star Wars, Marvel, and many other fandoms. He also plays way too much Call Of Duty. You can chat with him on Twitter @SplitEnd89.