Whether you’re a keen gamer, or just someone who likes to dabble in a friendly game of Candy Crush now and again, chances are you’ve probably heard of the mighty titan that is World of Tanks.
After originally arriving way back in 2010 on PC, it finally found its way over to Xbox 360 in 2014, the Xbox One in 2015, along with mobile and PlayStation later on. Whilst we’ve had three years to get stuck into the experience on Xbox One however, things have been constantly evolving for the eSports phenomenon and recent times have seen the game take the final steps towards reaching update 1.0. So, with that in mind, I took a look to see just how far World of Tanks Console has come and if you should be getting involved in some tank-based warfare.
First of all, let me start off by telling you, yes, you should be getting involved. Why? Well because it’s pretty damn brilliant… provided you have the patience to stick with the learning curve that is.
World of Tanks Console is best described as a perfect blend of arcade and simulation rolled into one. The main objective is a fairly straightforward one that starts and ends within each battle. In each and every match players must band together and attack the enemy to either destroy all opposing tanks, or capture the control points that are spread throughout. Whilst it may sound rather simple, each battle brings an all new experience, with a whole world to get stuck into. These can be either short and sharp, or long-winded, nerve-racking and tense battles that have everyone involved gritting their teeth until the final shell has been fired and victory or defeat is confirmed.
Before getting started though, you first need to decide how you want to play and there are 6 distinct modes available to get stuck in to. First up is War Stories and if you like the idea of tanking through some PvE then this is certainly a great place to go. War Stories can be played via co-op with a friend and is the best way to get used to the game before heading into the incredibly demanding multiplayer side of things. That said, if you’re looking for an epic narrative experience, don’t expect to be blown away as War Stories isn’t a blockbuster, but it’s still a fairly solid game mode that deserves a look in.
If you’re completely new to the game though, then the Team Training and Proving Grounds modes are in place for beginners and those looking to refine their skills.
Team Training provides the basics such as movement, tactics, and strategies to use in play and helps players to get up to speed on just what you’re expected to do out in battle. Proving Grounds meanwhile is the perfect mode for those wanting some multiplayer style experience without the immediate challenge of real players, letting you play through scenario battles against a dynamic A.I. that proves a constant challenge. Proving Grounds is another great place for co-op play too if you want to introduce a friend, not to mention being a generally enjoyable mode at any time if PvE is your thing.
The multiplayer is where you’ll find the challenge in World of Tanks and is easily the biggest focus within the game – something which is shown by its gigantic eSports presence. The basic Multiplayer provides challenging operations in 15v15 online battles and Ranked Battles see the hardcore players – or intrigued newbies – decking it out in a league style system for leaderboard glory – although this is a timed mode that refreshes occasionally and isn’t constantly available.
Finally, we have Tournaments, and it’s here where players can signup for the many eSports Tournaments being offered, pitting the very best against one another.
Whatever mode you decide on however, getting to the stage of being victorious on a consistent basis is no easy task, and a big reason for that is down to just how long it takes to unlock the unthinkable amount of content that’s available in World of Tanks. After choosing a mode, players are taken to the Garage to buy and set up their tanks ready for battle, and these range from the World War 1 era all the way to the Cold War with 9 different nations available. There are hundreds of tanks in place starting with the highly basic Tier 1s all the way up to the fearmongering Tier X beasts that have the ability to wreak havoc on almost anything that steps in their way.
Tiers aren’t the only thing that differentiate the many tanks however, as characteristics such as Firepower, Survivability, Mobility, Concealment and Spotting help make up the core makeup for each vehicle, whilst the different classes – Light, Medium and Heavy -often dictates the sort of roles the tanks will want to be taking up on the battlefield.
Getting to the later Tiers and unlocking the most exciting tanks isn’t something that’s easily done however and without some serious time played and silver coin grinding put in, chances are you won’t be getting anywhere near those shiny legendary vehicles any time soon. A big reason for that isn’t the fact that it takes too long to earn coins, as anyone familiar with the game can often find earnings of between 50-100k per match; this is well enough to earn some decent upgrades to get going. Instead the difficulty comes from having to buy all the different upgrade packages for each tier of tanks before moving on to the next, and after the first few tiers, things quickly become excessively expensive and those wishing to hit up the better tanks will need to put in some serious commitment.
Whilst I could go on about the upgrades, and the grinding required all day – as there’s certainly a lot of it – let’s talk about gameplay. As I mentioned before, World of Tanks is best described as an arcade-simulation experience. For a better description, it is the Forza of the tank world. It provides players with an arcade feel with its easily accessible controls and general feel to movement and combat, whilst retaining what is quite easily the best tank-combat warfare we’ve ever seen in a game. From the weighted feel of every shell that’s fired, to the perfected sounds that come out of every action and vehicle, and even the semi-destructible environment and visually pleasing settings, World of Tanks is certainly one to join in with if you want to experience a realistic and explosive battle with some of the finest machines from around the world.
By now you’ve probably realised that there isn’t too much I’ve pointed out that’s negative about gaming’s popular tank on tank fighter, and that’s because quite honestly it is a rather brilliant game. There is one thing though that does grind on the line of irritation and that’s just how complicated things often feel. Despite combat proving rather accessible, navigating and indeed understanding the many options within the menu – in particular the countless options in the garage – certainly proves overbearing at points. Even though it’s fair to say that everything can be found within a few screens, it would have been much nicer to have had things presented in a simpler manner.
Overall though, World of Tanks Console is a fantastic game. It provides the challenge and quality of a pure simulation experience, whilst retaining the classic feel and ease of access that you’d expect from an arcade experience. When you find all that in a free-to-play title, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be getting involved. Especially now.