World of Tanks…You’re Welcome
by Adam Sibille
In an effort to mix things up a bit, I downloaded World of Tanks since it’s free-to-play on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. World of Tanks is a large game at 40GB, but after downloading the first two gigabytes, you can play with the starter tanks and even dive into multiplayer after the tutorials. I found this to be quite helpful if someone didn’t enjoy the game and didn’t want to spend an entire day waiting for the full 40GB to download.
The mechanics of the game are simple to learn, kill the entire enemy team or capture their base. The difficulty of these tasks are amplified by the actual skill it takes to drive a tank tactically in battle. Now the player also has to take into account there are several countries that you can choose tanks from. Each one of these tanks can be upgraded and customized to fit the player’s needs which can give someone an advantage or disadvantage in a fight.
Gameplay is done very well. The tanks move like tanks should and when firing artillery, the player has to account for weapon range and bullet drop. Not only are the physics realistic, but the player has to take into account reload times, crew skill, and positioning. For example, if a tank is firing from a mountain side, they would have a distinct advantage over any other tank in a lower position. This allows for smaller tanks to be able to take out medium tanks effectively based on position. I found this to be especially appealing since this mechanic rewards a player’s skill instead of the amount of time they have played.
Visually the game is beautiful. The tanks look fantastic as well as the environments. There is quite a bit of environmental devastation that occurs during battles and can even be used tactically. I found myself rolling over trees in order to camouflage my tank from enemies giving me the ability to setup traps for unsuspecting victims. Other environmental features such as water, sand, and structures can slow your tank down while flat land or rolling down a hill will increase your speed.
The audio in the game is exceptional as well. I used my set of Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 headphones while playing and at times found myself ducking while a round flew towards my tank when in first person mode. Each sound was done in a way that the player can hear where shots are fired from and even when damage occurs around you. In game audio from NPCs also sounds like analog communications instead of a digital voiceover which gives the game an even more realistic feel to it.
So let’s talk cons. There are a few pay-to-win mechanics in the game. I don’t feel like they make a huge difference, but they’re there. I typically find any game where if you pay with cash and you get any advantage off-putting, but I suppose Wargaming needs to make money somehow. The only other item that I disliked was that if you are killed in a match, you can leave the match and return to the garage. This is a nice feature at first, but once you return, you can’t use the tank you were killed in until the battle is over. I found this to be rather annoying since I preferred a German light tank and did not like any of the other light tanks.
Overall, the game is quite fun. I do not typically enjoy simulation games but I found myself playing World of Tanks for quite a few hours without stopping. Even with the game having a pay-to-win model, I believe Wargaming did an exceptional job of implementing this feature without hurting free-to-play members as well. With a large amount of tanks to choose from, I feel anyone can find a tank they enjoy and wreak havoc on the battlefield.