World of Tanks Xbox 360 Edition is a free to play game which allows players to build a fleet of Tanks to take into battle against other players in a battle to the death across seven maps. First announced last year at E3, it has been a long wait for this game to land fully on Xbox 360. Was it worth the wait?
Originally a PC Game, World of Tanks 360 Edition as much a battle of strategy as it is big metal things going boom at one another across a map. The premis is simple. Pick a tank, take it into battle and use the XP and currency earned to upgrade and buy new tanks to build your own garage full of destruction. The game mostly has the player spending time in their Garage. From here tanks can be upgraded and bought before the easy process of picking a tank, pressing A and going straight into a match lobby and game.
The matches take the form of a Team Deathmatch style where two teams of Tanks leave their respective Home Bases with the two objectives of either destroying all the enemy tanks to win the match or capturing the enemy home base to win. Matches run for fifteen minutes and at the end of the match any XP or Currency earned via killing enemy tanks, spotting them or capturing the base will be dished out to all. You only have one life in a match, there are no respawns. But the game does something very clever with this restriction. Should your tank fall in battle, you are immediately given the option to return to your Garage where you can instantly pick another tank and go join another match. Should you fall early in the match, your tank will not be available to use again until that match has ended, but if you do leave the game and go to join another, any XP and currency will still be deposited to you once that match ends.
XP during battle comes in two forms. Tank XP and Free XP. Tank XP is tied to the tank you use in battle and can only be used on that tank. Free XP and currency can be used to buy or upgrade any other Tank in your garage. Each tank has a tier system comprising of ten levels. Buying ‘packages’ with XP or currency will upgrade the tank. One that tank’s tier tree is completed, you will then have the option to buy a new tank in that class. I found that the first three to four tiers were quite easy to obtain via normal gameplay, but the higher tiers required much more careful gameplay to get maximum XP from each match by destroying enemy tanks, spotting tanks for your team and capturing the enemy Base.
The matchmaking system is also very balanced in this regards. Higher graded tanks will be put in lobbies to fight other high graded tanks so you will not find yourself in an entry level tank going up against bigger more powerful tanks so the matches remain balanced as you work to level up your tanks and earn XP without the fear of being instant cannon fodder.
Of course, as a Free to Play game there is an elephant in the room. The dreaded Micro Transactions. In WoT Xbox 360 Edition, this comes in the form of being able to use real cash to purchase in game Gold coins. These can be used to fast track tier progression and unlock unique tanks. But before you start thinking “here we go again”, the use of Gold Coins is not a one sided advantage in the game. Other then the unique tanks, all other tanks on the roster from the USA, Germany or Great Britain, can be unlocked and bought using normal gameplay and XP won. Gold Coins can also be used during the customisation of your tanks, from camouflage skin options to emblems and symbols. You have the option of times usage of such items or with gold, you can buy them as a permanent addition to your tank. Whilst you can fastrack to more powerful tanks using gold, the way that the match lobbies work, as above, means just having a tier 8 tank will not mean instant win in a match as you will be placed in a match against other tier 8 tanks.
WoT Xbox 360 Edition is more simulation then arcade. Movement is very much as you would expect from Tanks, and depending on the class and size will change the way in which you approach combat. The Left stick controls movement of the tank and the right stick controls the turret. The game has a good tutorial which gives you the basic principles of gameplay but it does a poor job of giving real instruction to the much deeper aspect such as types of shell you can use, consumables which can enhance attack and defence options and repair your tank during battle.
The controls are easy enough to use and follow, but it will take time to learn how a tank will move across the seven maps. A few times my tank was stuck in a convoy of team mates as everyone shot off at the start of a match and there is nothing more annoying then when you have an enemy tank in your sight then a team mate driving in front of you and blocking you. The maps themselves will have various different terrains and obstacles such as vegitation and buildings. The buildings can act as good cover but can be destroyed by cannon fire and should you get trapped in a location with no escape route then you will be canon fodder if spotted by the enemy. Knowing your tank, what it can do and is capable of blended with good map knowledge is key to succeeding in this game.
It can take a while and patience to get the hang of the gameplay style and earn a more “fun” tank to use but with such quick access to matches and garage you will always find a match quickly and that adds to the charm of WoT Xbox 360 Edition. I found that trying to be the “kill shot” when fighting an enemy tank was better then just going toe to toe with one as it can take several shots to take out an enemy tank which ever tier you are using, and often I would mix it up only to have a team mate steal the kill with a final shot once I had done all the hard work. The more time you devote to this game the better the game will become for your gaming experience.
It does have issues though. Whilst you can customise and use XP or Gold coins to apply emblems and skins to your tank, in a match they are often only visible up close and only you will really notice them at all. The maps themselves can be problematic with great distance needed to be covered to get to the action and if you are in a slow tank this could take a while. Using buildings as cover is logical and makes sense, but I found that sometimes if an enemy tank is hiding behind a bush, they become almost invisible to my turret and shots will miss which makes no sense considering its just a bush. The deeper aspects to the game have no tutorials so you go in almost blind to upgrading or to what tank you should go for next.
For me, World of Tanks Xbox 360 Edition is a fun game, pick up and play to begin with but will take strategy and game experience to get the best out of it. It is free to play and 90% of it is achievable without the micro transactions but progress to the higher levels can take time but will feel more rewarding when you get there. You can fire it up and be in a match in a matter of minutes, but the more simulation over arcade action means you wont find yourself getting mixed up in the action and killing tanks with every shot you fire, but that is something that I actually liked about the game.
This game will have a select appeal, it will not be to everyone’s taste even as a Free to Play game. But it can be fun but needs investment in time to get the most out of it, which not all gamers will have or choose to devote to it. Not a game I would fire up on a daily basis but would fire it up on a weekend just to have a tank fight for an hour or so.
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