'Call of Duty: Vanguard' - First Look at Campaign Gameplay Revealed at Gamescom 2021

A new trailer for Call of Duty: Vanguard has premiered, showcasing the game's destructible environments and next-gen visuals.

As Newsweek reported in a recent preview, Call of Duty: Vanguard was one of the biggest draws of this year's Gamescom event. Actress Laura Bailey (who plays Soviet operative Polina Petrova) took to the stage on August 25 and, together with host Geoff Keighley, presented an entire section of the upcoming title's campaign.

This demo was the first time that fans were able to see actual gameplay footage of the first-person shooter in action, as the previous trailer was comprised solely of cutscenes.

The premiere gave us an extended look at Polina's backstory, viewing the German invasion of Stalingrad from her eyes as she tried to evade the Axis forces. The vertical slice, which was all captured in-engine, showed off the game's next-gen visuals, stunning lighting, atmospheric particle effects and believable textures.

It began on a surprisingly low-key note (at least by Call of Duty standards) with Polina making her way through a ruined building, stealthily dispatching German soldiers with a rusty kitchen knife, before eventually graduating into the frenetic action that we have all come to expect from the franchise.

Judging from what we see in the resultant firefight, it looks like there have been a few minor tweaks to the tried-and-tested formula here to make Vanguard's combat feel more dynamic. For example, Polina is capable of blind firing from behind cover, environments are noticeably more destructible, and NPC animations seem to be a lot more authentic than we are used to, as evidenced by a moment in which a wounded enemy realistically collapses over a banister and then falls to his death.

The footage culminated in a truly spectacular set-piece depicting the initial German air raid that levelled the Russian city of Stalingrad in the first place.

A look at the destructible environments in Vanguard. pic.twitter.com/c4OqJ25R7C

— CharlieIntel - Call of Duty News (@charlieINTEL) August 25, 2021

What Is 'Call of Duty: Vanguard' About?

Military shooters like Call of Duty and its closest rival, the Battlefield franchise, regularly cycle through different historical periods. The games are constantly flitting between modern settings, cold war era conflicts, and sometimes they even venture into the near future.

With Vanguard, COD is once again returning to its World War 2 roots, only this time the scope has been expanded considerably. Whereas previous entries in the series usually focussed on a handful of skirmishes and a couple of protagonists, this newest game will take you all over the globe, with you controlling soldiers in the Western and Eastern European fronts, as well as in the South Pacific and North Africa.

In addition to the ambitious campaign, there will be the obligatory multiplayer component (which will integrate with the Warzone battle royale) and the latest iteration of the popular "Zombies" cooperative mode, which has been developed separately by a dedicated team over Treyarch.

Call of Duty: Vanguard will be released on November 5 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X Xbox Series S, and PC.

Call of Duty: Vanguard Composite
A level from "Call of Duty: Vanguard's" campaign was showcased at this year's Gamescom event. This image shows stills from the game. Activision