I’ve been playing a lot of the Call of Duty: Vanguard beta recently. There are a lot of problems on the technical side, but the ebb and flow of its multiplayer maps, the snappiness of its shooting, and the constant drip feed of weapon upgrades and class unlocks – that’s all great. After a few hours however, something occurred to me: I had yet to encounter a shotgun. I hadn’t died to buckshot from some corner-camping degenerate, nor had I spun away from a tiny room reloading my own boomstick, several dubious kills to my name and a shit-eating grin on my face.
I had to go into the menu and check that shotguns were definitely among Vanguard’s weapons. They are; they’re even primary weapons. So why is nobody using them? Well, I tried both the semi-auto revolver shotgun and its full-auto sibling for a few matches, and it turns out they’re both terrible. The former is wildly inconsistent and hampered by an agonisingly slow reload, while the latter feels like you’re just breathing on your enemies. It’s odd that Vanguard has a relatively fast time to kill across its arsenal, and yet its two shotguns aren’t even close to competitive, even in extremely close quarters.
Of course, this is only the Vanguard beta. More shotguns will inevitably be available in the full game, and hopefully a powerful pump-action trench gun will be among them. So, what if – hypothetically – Call of Duty: Vanguard’s shotguns didn’t suck? How might Sledgehammer’s third COD entry play if its shotguns had a little more bite?