Gamers love merchandise. As someone who’s been playing video games for as long as I can remember, and who lives with two other people in the same boat, my house is filled with models, action figures, and random knick-knacks from various games, to the point where we’ve had to add new rooms onto the house. Finding something to display from a game that you love can be a great feeling, showing off your support for a franchise that has brought you countless hours of entertainment.
But there are some games where it’s harder to find such things, and Call of Duty has often seemed like one of these. You can find t-shirts and hats that feature Call of Duty inspired logos and artwork, but this isn’t quite the same; not least because whilst wearing a t-shirt you’re not normally the one who gets to see the designs. Koyo seems to be trying to rectify this lack of merchandise with their newly released Call of Duty: Vanguard products.
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The first of these new products is the Call of Duty: Vanguard Patch Set. This set comes with three embroidered fabric patches featuring designs inspired by the different game modes, and include the Snake Bite patch, which features a bold, severed snake head on a bright yellow background, the Death Run patch, which has a skeletal faced pilot on it in nice muted orange colours that look very pumpkin-like and Halloween inspired, and the Dog Fight patch, which has a very animated looking dog wearing a pilot’s cap and boxing cloves squaring up for a fight.
These patches are actually really nice, the artwork that they feature is very bold and cartoonish, and definitely looks like the kind of art you’d expect to find painted on fighter planes or adorning the side of a chopper. The embroidery feels really well done too, and it seems like a decent amount of care and attention has been given over to them; they don’t feel like they’re going to start falling apart any time soon. One of the best bits is that they come with Velcro backs, so you don’t have to permanently attach them to things. This means that they can easily be removed, moved, or attached to pre-existing spaces on other items without you having to use the backing that comes with it. This level of flexibility of use is definitely a plus, and means that they don’t need to be displayed on one specific thing.
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The second pack I received was the Call of Duty: Vanguard DIY Pin Badge Set. Now, I’m honestly not sure where the DIY element comes in here, as the badges are fully made and don’t feature any customisation; but I assume it could be in reference to the fact that the artwork on these badges are inspired by the hand painted nose artwork that fighter pilots would put on their vehicles.
The three badges all have a very punky feel to them, and wouldn’t look out of place emblazoned on the back of a biker’s jacket. There’s the Royal Corps badge, that features red and blue art of a snake warpping itself around a bomb, the black and white Flying Assassins logo that has a knife stabbing through a winged skull, and my personal favourite the Stinger badge, which has a really cool looking wasp dude in a pilot’s hat in a lovely yellow and blue colour.
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Due to coming in a three pack these badges are a bit smaller than the other badges on offer from Koyo, and as such they’re fairly light feeling too. The benefit of this is that you would definitely be able to wear all three without it starting to weigh you down too much or pulling on your clothes. They are all made from pretty decent material though, and feel pretty solid in your hand. The colours are nice and bold too, and my only real complaint is that it can be hard to see the white on the silver for the Flying Assassin badge on occasion, depending on your angle.
The next item I was sent was the Call of Duty: Vangaurd Logo Pin Badge. This badge is pretty plain from a design point of view: it’s the game’s title presented in badge form, and as such there’s not a great deal that can be done from a design perspective to make it flashier. However, the badge itself is really well made. It’s a decent size, the metal is pretty weighty and doesn’t feel cheap at all, and the black and red of the logo are nice and bright with a decent level of gloss on them. It works pretty nicely, and looks good on display.
Speaking of logos, Koyo are also offering a keyring featuring the logo. This is a big, chunky piece made from pretty thick metal, and is about twice the size of the logo pinbadge. The chain and loop at the end of the keyring aren’t small either, and it really does seem to be a piece designed to take some wear and tear, and I can’t see this being one of those keyrings that’s easily going to fall off or go missing. However, due to the size of it, I don’t think you’d be able to have many keys on there with it before it starts to get too big for your pocket.
My personal favourite item from the new line is the Call of Duty : Vanguard Bar Blade. Now, being someone who hasn’t been out to a bar in a long time I’d simply call this a bottle opener, but I do get that there are some differences and that some people might be looking for one of these specifically; but, even as a simple around-the-house bottle opener this is really, really good. From a design perspective it’s pretty nice. One side has a simple, flat silver with the logo for the game embossed into it and filled with a nice glossy black and red paint. The other side of the bald features a camo pattern in greens and brown for if you need that bottle of beer on the battlefield.
What I liked most about this item, however, was something that most people might not consider: it was really nice to use as a disabled person. The blade is a decent size to hold in my hand, and I was able to grip it well without any difficulty even when my hand wasn’t working right. The length of it also meant that I didn’t have to apply too much pressure when opening the bottle, which helped with my bad wrist. I know this isn’t designed as a disability aid, but it’s honestly the nicest bottle opener I’ve used in a good, long while.
Overall, I was really impressed with the items on offer from Koyo, they were well designed and well made, the quality felt really good, and it was really nice to see stuff like artwork from the game being used on merch rather than just the logo every time. If you’re looking for something to get to show your love of the game, some nice new pin badges, or even a disability friendly bottle opener, these might just be worth your time.
Call of Duty: Vanguard collectibles are available now from Koyo.