World of Tanks: Xbox One review- Slow and steady…or just slow
The free to play game World of Tanks has made its way to the Xbox One, and with it, some new features have been added to the game. One of the additions is the Proving Grounds gametype (more on that later) where you can play against AI controlled opponents, albeit with less rewards.
Furthermore, World of Tanks is probably one of the first (if not the first) games to offer cross generational platform play, letting you play against people who are on the Xbox 360. As an aside, this is a rather good feature that should help maintain the population of the game, even if there may be more people playing on one console than another. This also means that your stats and unlocks and such will remain with you regardless of what platform you are playing on.
If you aren’t familiar with how World of Tanks plays, don’t let the official trailers and such fool you. People will rarely charge each other and fighting on the move is more or less a death sentence. Instead, most experienced players will bunker down behind bushes, rocks, trees, and other things of that nature and wait for an opportunity to shoot you. The reasoning behind this is that World of Tanks plays more like a game where everyone is given a sniper rifle and active camo technology. Don’t forget that some players in the match are blatantly over leveled and thus practically invincible in a one on one fight.
Flanking is also a rather inconsistent tactic, mostly because your enemies can spot targets for each other regardless of whether or not they would logically be able to see you. Granted, the gripes about the spotting mechanic are more as a result of game limitations and mechanics, but it does feel cheap at times. For example, you can try flanking a team, but it is quite likely that some guy on the other side of the map (who isn’t looking in your direction) spots you and you are quickly annihilated by a barrage of shots from invisible enemies.
All that being said, the game does have its moments. Very few other games have such in depth mechanics, especially if you are comparing it to games that just happen to feature tanks, like Battlefield. Things like armor thickness, angle of attack, ammunition type, and more have rarely been implemented so smoothly without considerable balancing problems. And with hundreds or even thousands of tanks, ammunition types, and upgrades, it is a wonder how relatively balanced things are. Of course, there are some scenarios where this is not the case, but for the most part this is true.
Plus there is a degree of complexity involved. In a MOBA esque fashion, the maps have a handful of lanes where you can attempt to make an attack. Naturally, if the other team breaks through one of those lanes, you’re practically guaranteed to lose the battle. Of course, you will have to pick your own position wisely, since a bush may not provide the same benefit as say, a rock.
Grinding, grinding, grinding, and microtransactions!
As you can probably expect from a free to play game, there are microtransactions. They are entirely optional, and they don’t really offer that much of a bonus that you will feel constantly outgunned when you see someone in a tank that they bought. However, World of Tanks does offer an accelerated XP and in game currency profit rate for those who basically subscribe to the game.
While there isn’t much of a point when you are playing with the lower level tanks, there definitely is an incentive to do so when you reach the higher levels. For example, once you reach the level 7 tanks and are looking to move to level 8, it can cost 100,000 XP and 1.5 million silver (the in game currency). A game where you do exceptionally well can net you 1,000 XP and maybe 20,000 silver, so if you don’t want to spend money, expect to play a lot.
A new gametype that was added to World of Tanks is Proving Grounds. Like the name suggests, Proving Grounds is more or less a glorified training mode, albeit one where the AI shoots back at you, occasionally killing you. As stupid as the AI is in this mode though, at least it lets you get a taste of how the multiplayer more or less functions. Don’t expect to be able to gain XP and silver here, since your rewards are roughly a tenth of what you can get from a normal game. On the bright side, it is a nice change of pace to be able to test out new tanks, and Proving Grounds is definitely a “just for fun” mode for when you’re fed up at getting blasted by bushes.
For the most part, World of Tanks on the Xbox One is the same as World of Tanks on every other platform, albeit with better graphics. That means the slow, methodical, somewhat unfair gameplay that you know and love (or hate) is intact. Definitely not a game that will push you to buy a new console, but for what it’s worth (free), you can still get a good number of hours out of it.