World of Tanks could be said to have kicked off the popularity of vehicular combat MMOs. Since its initial launch in 2010, the game has now arrived on a wide variety of platforms.
Even now, some nine years later, it still remains one of the most popular titles of its type. This is in large part due to the constant updates and refinements that developer Wargaming Minsk carries out.
But, just how well does it hold up against the many competitors that have emerged over the last few years?
As is common with MMOs and other similar games, there is no narrative or plot. Instead, players compete against each other in online multiplayer matches. World of Tanks focuses entirely on ground vehicles and their role in armed conflicts.
A game that focuses entirely on tanks will live or die on the available options. World of Tanks does not disappoint in that regard. There are a huge number of vehicles to choose from. The tanks and other armored vehicles available all range from the mid 20th century. This gives players access to a wide variety of machinery to use from the early 1930s to the late 1960s.
Nations such as the UK, China, France, Germany, the Soviet Union, and the USA are represented in the more than 400 combat units. The range of tanks doesn’t just come from their country of origin either. You can pick from heavy tanks to tiny light armored vehicles. Each has their own unique characteristics and feel. At the same time, the different type of tanks also allow fro different types of play style. You can be nimble, using agility to get around enemies, or choose to go with a heavy tank to soak up damage and deal plenty of your own out to opponents.
Unlike some similar titles, World of Tanks is easy to pick up and play. There are no complex menus. You simply use the analogue sticks to move around the tanks and the triggers to fire your weapons. Other actions are also intuitive and will not take a lot of time to learn. All of that means that when you do unlock a new tank or want try a different one, you don’t have to worry about picking up a new control scheme. Of course, that encourages players to experiment and try out the different options as much as possible.
The basic premise of World of Tanks is fairly simple. Once a match has been found, the players are thrown into a random map. They then have to either kill every opponent or take control of their base by capturing their flag.
Despite the fact that there are no other game modes, matches do not become boring slugfests. In fact, they are often very strategic and slow affairs at the beginning.
Each side tries to get into advantageous positions, maneuvering around the terrain while trying to stay hidden. The confrontations that do occur can quickly turn into mayhem as more than 30 tanks blast each other.
Once there are only a few players remaining in the closing moments things can become extremely dramatic. One mistake can mean defeat, requiring you to think carefully about every move.
Thankfully, playing World of Tanks remains fun for the most part. There are instances, though, where things are frustrating. Especially when someone clearly has better vehicles than you.
The developers have clearly put effort into ensuring there is a good variety to the maps. Some take place in empty deserts while others are located in abandoned and ruined cities. Even remote regions like the Arctic are represented.
This wide array of environments keeps matches from becoming stale by switching up your surroundings regularly. Furthermore, it adds a layer of depth to gameplay by forcing you to develop new tactics. What works on a largely flat open area might not in a mountainous region.
In this way, World of Tanks requires plenty of tactical thinking. You cannot simply rely on your skill at working your tank. Rather, you have to be patient and think about your approach alongside the actual combat aspects of the game.
Although World of Tanks is not a new game, it still manages to perform well when it comes to presentation. The various landscapes all look authentic and contain enough detail to keep you immersed.
Meanwhile, the tanks themselves are rendered beautifully in minute detail. Textures are high quality and you will struggle to find armored vehicles like this recreated with such realism in any other game.
But, where World of Tanks really excels is in the sound design. Everything about the game sounds great. Whether it is the highly appropriate soundtrack or the satisfying sound of a shell exploding, each aspect is high quality.
This is a game that you should play with headphones to fully appreciate. The combination of the great visuals and excellent soundscape is really impressive, particularly when this is a free-to-play title.
Ultimately, World of Tanks has a lot of positive elements. There’s plenty of fun moments and the gameplay can be both tense and exciting. With so much variety when it comes to the actual tanks and great presentation, it’s a game that definitely deserves to be given a chance.
The thoughtful combat also has a lot of depth to it that you might not have expected. Unfortunately, a time-consuming unlock system can make progression feel too much like work. For the most part, however, World of Tanks remains enjoyable.