World Of Tanks Review
With just under 80 million registered users and a concurrent player record that keeps being broken over and over again, World of Tanks on PC has become one of the century’s biggest online videogames in seemingly record time.
Its community now spend more money on microtransations than even the World of Warcraft crowd does, and the game continues to garner industry plaudits around the globe. But do you actually know anybody who plays it?
Its uncommonly vast community seems to have no interest at all in public relations, eSports or (on the surface at least) other IP, which tends to suggest that the game itself is going to be impenetrable or intimidating in some way.
And yet it’s neither of those things: it’s a tense and pensive strategy romp convincingly masquerading as a dopey action title.
It also has one of the most gracious and diplomatic transaction models of any free-to-play game in history: trailblazing proof that you don’t have to strong-arm your community into parting with their cash.
World Of Tanks – Edgy Game Of Cat And Mouse
It’s an experience that demands attentive patience, and will ring bells with anyone who’s ever favoured Counter Strike or Battlefield over other online shooters; if only because when you flare into action without a battleplan, you’re going to be dead in no time at all.
So strategising is beyond imperative. As in Battlefield, a savvy platoon will always operate with an even split across the classes. While the Light, Medium and Heavy units engage in direct combat, Tank Destroyers snipe from a distance (but are very easily flanked and basically useless at close quarters) and the Artillery class spots enemies and rains fire down from above; again, to the detriment of general maneuverability and strength up close.
The most popular of the three available game types is Standard Mode; a base control game that isn’t really a base control game at all. The bases – which offer no cover at all, more often than not – exist solely to lure foolish rookies in.
One they’ve been disposed of, it’s an often ludicrously tense deathmatch with a fifteen minute deadline, and the only time you’ll want to break for the enemy base is if you’re certain that your opponent(s) have drifted too far away to stop you.
Those instances of edgy cat and mouse – with you skulking away from two or more foes, alone – are when the game truly flies.
World Of Tanks – Thoughtful And Tactical
The currency – which comes in two different forms – is awarded amply, and although you’re definitely in trouble if you end up facing off against a full unit of hardcore professionals, you’re never made to feel like you can (and should) reach for your wallet in order to compete.
And unlike in way too many other free-to-play offerings, World of Tanks never actually stops you from playing: quite the opposite, in fact.
Each game is over as soon as your first and only tank is destroyed, at which point you can either watch the rest of the match play out over player cams, or bounce straight back to your garage and leap into another game before the previous one has even ended. XP is awarded as soon each match finishes completely.
Now that the game is no longer brand new, the boisterous wave of gung-ho lone wolves has thankfully subsided, and if you’re looking for a thoughtful and tactical team game, you’re now more than likely to find yourself in great company.
As a package it currently feels distinctly flyweight – with only US, British and German tanks available – but Russian units are due to arrive via (potentially paid) DLC sometime in the near future.
And while the PC version is obviously the definitive one, the Xbox 360 approximation does a pretty damn good impression of it.
Version Tested: Xbox 360