Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Being a Classic Video Game Collector in my off time, I must have about 748 copies of Combat for my Atari 2600. I don’t know how I keep getting them, it’s like they are multiplying. Anyway, I’m no stranger to playing a game where you drive a tank and destroy other tanks for points. I was unfamiliar with the PC tank combat hit until the Xbox 360 version of World of Tanks was announced. I pretty much try any game that is free to play and after playing this for quite some time, I can say that this may be the most fun free to play games out there today!
World of Tanks is, well, it’s a world… with tanks. You jump into an available tank from your garage, and head into a 3D environment with other teammates, and take out the other team in a heated, but strategic battle. Each tank you own (and can later purchase) handle differently and are based on real tanks from different countries around the world. There are large, slow moving tanks that pack a wallop, smaller tanks that zip through the terrain and some mid-size tanks that can shoot from far distances. The entire game is completely online and you will be battling it out with up to 15 real life enemies with each fight. If you die (and believe me you will), you are out for the entire battle. You can either switch cameras and watch the rest of the battle unfold through other players, or head back to your garage, select one of your other tanks and join another battle. It’s a little awkward at first, jumping from one battle to the next, but you get the hang of it eventually.
Successfully winning the battle can happen by eliminating the opposing teams tanks in Random Battles, or completely capturing the enemies’ base camp. Later on, you may want to join up with a Platoon that is looking for a teammate, and earn even more experience and money as you battle against other Platoons in the giant network of games being played. Being the part of a team that wins a battle can be a satisfying experience, especially when you get that last, well placed shot on an enemy tank. After you get your fill with the provided tanks, you will want to upgrade and get new tanks to expand your play experience, and this is where World of Tanks leaves its free to play status. You can earn in game gold and silver by winning battles, and use it to get anything offered on the shop, but paying real world money will net you large amounts of coin to acquire the best stuff. Before you know it, you can get lost in the very expansive amount of tanks and upgrades to existing tanks that is offered here. You can even customize your tanks with decals and paint jobs to make you stand out on the battlefield. World of Tanks is definitely NOT what you would expect from a typical free game. Most “free” games out there give you, maybe one character or level and let you play for a total of 5 minutes until you are forced to shell out 500 dollars for the next set of content. In WOT, you actually get enough content to enjoy the game without having to spend real world cash right away. Although this is a nice break from the norm, sooner or later you will want to own new tanks and features as only using the provided tanks can get rather stale.
Gameplay for the most part is rather simple. When you begin playing, your only thought is to not get blown away in the first 5 seconds of battle. After playing through a few matches, you may want to start thinking of ways to strategically maneuver around the play field in order to get the most kills. Sometimes, I found that staying behind and guarding the base camp was a great way to pick off enemy tanks that have been damaged in battle. One of the best things about WOT is there really isn’t a wrong way to play, unless you constantly drive into and get stuck in ditches. Controlling the tank is strange at first, but after a while using the twin stick layout begins to feel natural. There is a quick chat option to communicate with teammates by holding the left button and selecting what you want to say, but it’s a little awkward and you may end up saying “Affirmative” when you wanted to say “HELP!”
Since each one of the offered tanks is different, you will need to experiment with as many as you can acquire so you can find the tank that is right for you. The only other minor complaint I had while playing was the menus were a little confusing, especially when trying to buy new tanks. However, a little trial and error and I was figuring things out like a champ. The visuals in WOT are really fantastic. Huge draw distance for each map I played on, with great attention paid to the smallest detail, make trudging through the area in a tank a joy. Each tank is modeled after real tanks and look perfect from first bolt to last. Even in a heated battle with multiple tanks on screen, the action or frame rate never dropped and always stayed constant. Sound wise, there isn’t much music, except in the garage and some of the videos you can watch, and the only thing you hear during gameplay is the sound of rolling tank treads and echoing gun blasts. You do hear radio chatter from your tank but other than that it can fall pretty silent at times. Having constant music playing would not really fit this type of game, so I’m actually glad they left it out during battle.
In conclusion, I am impressed with World of Tanks. It’s typically not the type of game I run after, but once I started playing I found it hard to put down. The micro-transaction system and a slight learning curve with some controls isn’t enough to keep this game out of your library. Even if you don’t go for a garage full of tanks and just buy one or two, or even just play with the provided starter tanks, you will have fun with this one. It’s truly up to you how much you want to spend on this one, so you really have no excuse for not at least trying this one out. Download now and start blasting away!
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