Wargaming’s free-to-play tank fighting game comes to Xbox One.
So, you have decided to take the long route to the enemy base, maneuvering your surprisingly mobile little tank around the outside of the map, through mountainous terrain that makes progress grind to a halt. Just as you come round a rocky outcrop, you spot an enemy tank hiding in some ruins. Luckily, their focus is on the open expanse below and you manage to get into position and repeatedly fire your at them without their noticing, reducing the enemy tank to a smouldering pile of twisted metal, probably before they even noticed. It is at times like this that World of Tanks feels really good…
Wargaming’s World of Tanks is an incredibly popular game, and with good reason. At times it can be exciting, rewarding and make an expert tank commander out of anyone. The game was first offered for free on PC before making an appearance on the Xbox360. Now, the game has arrived on Xbox One, again as a free-to-play title, meaning there really is no reason not to give the game a try.
And in coming to the Xbox One, World of Tanks also brings with it something that was sorely missing from the Xbox360 version. On the Xbox360, players were expected to jump into the action with little or no guidance, leaving them to work things out amidst a hail of shells and explosions. This baptism of fire likely caused many gamers to never return for more free-to-play tank-on-tank action.
But the arrival of the Proving Grounds mode on the Xbox One version serves as a way for new players to be eased into the action, or for more regular players to just brush up their skills and earn some experience. The Proving Grounds pits the player against AI tanks, introducing the different concepts of tank control and the different modes, while also giving hints and tips on how to perform like an all-powerful tank commander. It goes a long way towards making the game more accessible and friendly for new players.
That is not to say that the game couldn’t be a little more friendly. Outside of the actual battles, things can get incredibly overwhelming. The sheer number of different tanks available, which are sorted into different nationalities along with different classes, is absolutely massive. Beyond this, there are a ton of ways players can upgrade their tanks, something which is necessary to unlock new tanks to play with, or tweak their crews and purchase additional items to give them the edge on the battlefield. The way that the menus are set up can be confusing and are not intuitive, and players will spend a substantial amount of time looking through and trying to work out what they should be upgrading or buying.
Players earn their currency from playing battles, along with experience. This currency can then be spent on upgrading your current tank before being allowed to unlock a new tank in that particular tree. Early on, the upgrades and tanks come quick and easy, and it won’t take long for the player to fill their allotted number of slots in their garage. But things soon slow down and the player will find themselves having to really grind and put in the time to get their hands on the more impressive tanks further along the tree. This is where in-game purchases come in, with a separate currency that will allow the player to purchase some of those really impressive tanks or even expand their garage slots. Spending real money is not necessary to enjoy World of Tanks, but the more frugal players will find themselves having to make a massive investment in time if they want to compete with the big boys, so to speak.
Still, there is a lot of fun to be had even with the lowest levels of tanks. There are a variety of different modes available to play in, which mostly involve either capturing bases or destroying all of the opposing tanks. Going into the game expecting Call of Duty in tanks will lead to disappointment. It is enjoyable to bomb across the battlefield and pick a fight with the first tank that you come across, but this will more often than not end with your own tank a smouldering hunk of metal. World of Tanks is a little more strategic than that, and often involves finding the best vantage point, taking a few shots while aiming for where the armour is weakest, and then moving somewhere else before other enemy tanks lock on to your position. There is no respawning, so once your tank has been destroyed, you can watch the rest of the match or simply head back to the garage and get into another match in the ongoing grind for new tanks.
Aside from the inclusion of the Proving Grounds mode, the other big change in the Xbox One version of World of Tanks comes from the visuals. It is no secret that World of Tanks on Xbox360 didn’t look that great, but things have been vastly improved on the Xbox One. The higher resolution and smooth framerate is great. The tanks are incredibly detailed, the environments are nice considering how war torn they are, and the lighting brings everything to life. Even the rain looks good.
World of Tanks on Xbox One may not suit every player out there. It can be confusing at times and the grind to unlock the best tanks without spending real money is quite epic. However, the game is offered for free and really is a great way to spend a few hours. There is no reason not to give World of Tanks on Xbox One a try. Maybe you will unlock your inner tank commander and become a battlefield legend?