World of Tanks isn’t an easy game, let’s make that clear right out the gate. My first half an hour with the game was filled with me throwing all sorts of tantrums in the living room. I almost gave up and handed the review duties off to one of the other lads, but instead I persevered and came out golden. What you have to understand is that World of Tanks requires a bit brain work and a lot of time to be invested in it.
There’s a quick tutorial that guides you around your garage and lets get you familiar with all of the research options, upgradeable stuffs and what not, but even after going through it I was none the wiser. Even today I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing with the upgrade menus. Perhaps I’m an idiot, or the developers didn’t make it clear enough, and as I run a pretty nice website, I’m inclined to be- no, I’m just a fool.
Once you’ve gotten over the initial hump of finding out what’s what and how things work, you’ll get yourself into a match and, if you’re anything like me, you’ll charge forward with all the good intentions in the world, but you’ll also find yourself ruing your decision. World of Tanks pits teams of 15 against each other in one-off battles for supremacy. Unlike other games, where you’ll run in acting like Brad Pitt in Fury, World of Tanks dictates that you must use your brain. As I found out in my first battle when I died and went to tank heaven, then I stayed there for the rest of the match. You see, World of Tanks doesn’t have a respawn system: once you’ve been killed, you’re dead and are no longer of any use to your team. What I wasn’t aware of is that you can then step out of the game and join another. For 20 minutes I watched everyone else have the time of their lives (I assume) while I sat in my living room, huffing and puffing.
It’s my own fault though. For my next game I decided to go for the more reserved approach, and by that I mean I reversed while everyone else went forward. I saw out the battle and wrote to my fair maiden to tell her that I’d survived the war and would be requiring a cup of tea. Well, I text her “yo, games over, can you make a brew?” Still, I’d survived, but I wasn’t fulfilled.
With a few more battles under my belt I started to feel a little more confident and began showing the other boys what I was packing, so away I went and lead the charge. You can spot enemies before firing upon them, something that’s useful for not only yourself, but also your fellow would-be tank commanders. It takes a bit of work to get used to the game’s controls but once you’ve mastered the basics you’ll be fine. Or at least I was.
In general the gameplay is quite tense due to the “one life” rule. It forces you to make the right decisions and not to go riding out into the other team’s hood all by yourself. It forces a bit of co-operation amongst players, something that’s sorely missing from most online multiplayer games these days. What didn’t sit too well with me was being killed on the cheap so many times by bigger and better tanks. See, World of Tanks is a free-to-play game, so naturally there are microtransactions to help the game makers bring in a bit of cash. However, it often leads to some pretty unfair fights. Those with more money can afford more powerful tanks that seem to just absorb everything that’s thrown at them, while others deliver unspeakable damage in one shot, often crippling your vehicle and leaving you vulnerable to attack. I found myself disabled and then set upon by the vultures from the other team far too many times.
I understand that free-to-play games need to make some money, but perhaps offering more firepower and better armour isn’t the best way to get it. New players that jump in to try it out for the first time will most likely find themselves hitting the ‘delete’ button after being annihilated so many times in quick succession by paid for tanks. That being said, I still had some fun with it, and for a free game it’s pretty bloody good.
There’s a vast library of tanks to work with, unlock, and upgrade, but there’s not too much going on in terms of gameplay variety. There’s but a handful of modes and maps, and once you’ve played them a couple of times you soon feel the repetition starting to creep in. Game modes are generally based upon wiping out the other team or taking over their base, which is fine at first, but after a while I started to lust for something a little more varied. Perhaps Wargaming will add new modes in the future? That’s something that we’ll have to wait to see.
So, how does the game look and run on the PS4? Is it any better than its rival console or the PC? Well, naturally, it’s no better looking than the PC. It’s comparable to the Xbox One version, but it’s still not the most impressive thing we’ve seen on the next-gen consoles. That being said, it’s still a nice looking game and it gets the job done in a no-frills manner. What more could you ask for?