Imagine a world where wars are fought completely by tanks. Nothing appears to exist save for the big, burly war machines. Unlike Disney and Pixar’s world of Cars, this world is brutal and realistic. This is a World of Tanks, and it is now accessible on Xbox 360.
The PC version of World of Tanks has accumulated more than 75 million registered players worldwide since it launched in 2010. That success is why developer Wargaming.net is bringing the heavy artillery to consoles with the free to play World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition.
World of Tanks is simple, yet complex; easy, yet difficult; strategic, yet badass. After a quick tutorial, players are free to jump right into the action. In this alternate universe, World War II era tanks from America, Britain and Germany still fight for world supremacy.
Real-life tanks are recreated accurately and thrown into large battlefields. In 15-on-15 matches, players must traverse open ranges and lush hills to infiltrate enemy bases or simply destroy all opposing tanks. Battlefields often blend together but landmarks such as covered lookout points (perfect for sniping) and small towns break up the monotony and encourage different styles of play.
Not only are tanks historically accurate, gameplay is realistic. There are no respawns during battle. Once your tank is destroyed, the match is over for you. Wargaming.net offsets this by allowing players to use other tanks in their arsenal to jump right into another battle. By going to the home screen after death, the match will cotinue in the background and players will gain all XP once a winner has been determined.
Despite its use of real-life machines, World of Tanks is by no means a tank simulator. Some liberties were taken to make the game more accessible for all types of players. For instance, spotting enemy tanks will produce a tinted highlight around them, even when they are mostly hidden behind cover. Players are also able to upgrade their tanks with repair kits and body armor.
In its current form, the Xbox 360 port of World of Tanks is a stripped down version of the PC offering. What it lacks in options, it makes up for with the ability to easily pick up and play.
Using controls that any Call of Duty player will be instantly familiar with, World of Tanks works well with the console controller. However, manuevering tanks can be difficult. Constantly rotating the tank gun and camera angle makes it easy to forget what direction the tank is actually facing, which can be especially frustrating when taking cover in tight spaces.
Free to Win
Players start out with three tanks, with the ability to upgrade each tank and purchase new machines. Earning XP is done by performing tasks such as spotting enemies, taking control of enemy bases and destroying rival tanks. In-game credits can be used to modify tanks and purchase new machines.
Tank upgrades are based on a research system in which players use credits to research the upgrade before deciding to purchase it. Researching an upgrade will make the next potential upgrade available to research; the upgrade does not have to be bought, only researched.
While purchasing a premium account will help players earn in-game currency, it is not a necessity. The game’s balance allows all players to compete evenly. Leveling up doesn’t require a paid account but it will be extremely helpful once the higher levels are reached. It is possible to play without paying a single dime but leveling up will be grind.
Time is Money
World of Tanks may be a called a free-to-play game because of the amount of free disk space needed to download it. Users will need more than 2.5 GB of free space on their consoles in order to download the game and all of its updates. Fortunately, this is a one-time occurrence when first booting up the game. Future updates are expected, but nothing rivaling the size of the initial download.
World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition is unique in execution and solid in gameplay. A true free-to-play title, World of Tanks is balanced and accessible at its core. However, there are complexities lying beyond the surface that will keep players coming back again and again.
Oh, and did we mention you control tanks?