I might not buy this year’s Call of Duty.

I love the Call of Duty franchise. Much like how World of Warcraft ruined all other MMORPGs for me, Call of Duty has been my go-to First Person Shooter for multiplayer since the first game released in 2003. I still play others FPS games like Borderlands and Far Cry, but the former’s multiplayer is co-op and not versus and the latter just doesn’t feel right. While I do own a few of the Battlefield series, the only one I really enjoyed the multiplayer in was Bad Company 2.

Today was the multiplayer reveal of this year’s release called Call of Duty: Vanguard and after watching the Sledgehammer presentation on it, I am underwhelmed. Here’s the presentation in full.

Meet the new Call of Duty, very much like the old Call of Duty.

Back when Modern Warfare 2019 was released they made a big deal about how it was an all-new engine (it wasn’t, though it was a major overhaul) and how that engine would be the basis of all future CoD games, I was concerned that we’d end up with cookie cutter releases. The release of Black Ops: Cold War offered some hope that this wouldn’t be the case as it made some major changes, but it still shared a lot of similarities to MW 2019. Vanguard looks practically like a reskin of MW 2019 with a few new additions tossed in such as breakable parts of the environment, a blind-fire ability, and the ability to move back and forth while mounted.

Pew pew pew!

To be fair, it’s a good-looking game and they’ve obviously made several improvements to the graphical fidelity, but many of the perks, kill streaks, and field upgrades are reskinned carbon copies of what you’d find in 2019’s CoD and I already own that game. There’s a couple of new perks and kill streaks, but most of it’s the same.

For example, one of the things I really hated about MW 2019 was the fact that Dead Silence was a field upgrade instead of a perk. That means it’s on a timer that has to fill up before you can use it and when used it only lasts for 12 seconds, though getting kills will extend it a few seconds. Cold War made it back into a perk called Ninja that didn’t completely eliminate your footsteps, but came really close and it was active all the time. Vanguard is using MW 2019’s field upgrade version of Dead Silence and I’m really disappointed at that. I like stealth builds and having Dead Silence along with suppressors on the guns was a big part of that. In Cold War two of the 6 perks I take on every build are Ninja and Ghost — silent movement and invisibility to UAVs — and I only ever use other options in that tier when needed to complete a challenge.

I’ve not preordered Vanguard yet and that’s a first for me. I’m reserving a final decision on it until after I’ve tried the Open Beta in a couple of weekends. I love the franchise deeply and there’s no other FPS out there that I would enjoy the multiplayer as much. I keep hoping someone will come along and put out something that feels as good that I can switch to. I thought Respawn would manage it seeing as the guys who founded it started Infinity Ward which made the original CoD, but they put out a sci-fi shooter with giant mechs and grappling hooks instead and it just doesn’t work for me.

Dunno what I’ll do yet, but I’m definitely disappointed.

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