Tanks, they are big, loud, behemoths of the battlefield. Big guns, heavy armor, all rolling on tracks that will take you through anything; I've always had an appreciation for them. World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition looks to bring the rumbling chaos of tanks to consoles in a free to play title. Can they bring the boom? Read on.
World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition is set to the backdrop of World War II, but it doesn’t have a storyline to follow. There is no, “go here and do this” or “find this and deliver there,” it’s all about the battles and upgrades. Depending on what tank you choose to field, you will be able to switch between sides, Allies, and Axis.
Controls and Gameplay
After playing a lot of racing titles the controls for World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition took a little getting used to, a little period of adjusting. The tank’s hull is controlled with the left thumbstick and the turret is controlled with the right thumbstick. What I thought was acceleration,the right trigger (like in all the racing games), actually fires the main gun. A little embarrassing to fire that off first thing in battle, but there I was. The left trigger zooms in your aiming reticule.
The gameplay for World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition is fairly simple. It’s a third person mechanized combat. I say mechanized because while there are tanks, you also have tank destroyers (arguably still tanks) and mobile artillery, so all vehicles with no troops on the ground. Unlike many combat games, when you die in a round, you die. There is no respawning. Because of this, the pace is a little slower; people don’t want to die right away. Each battle, or round, lasts until everyone is dead on one side, one team has captured the enemy’s flag, or the 15 minute timer runs out (rarely happens). Even though you only have one life in a round, it is balanced by the fact that you can go back to your garage and jump back into another round right away. All experience points (XP) and silver you earned will be awarded once the match ends.
While I’m talking about it I should explain the XP. You earn two kinds of XP; Tank XP and Free XP. Tank XP is tied to the tank you earn it in, as such can only be used to unlock improvements for that tank. Free XP can be used for any tank and any upgrade. The silver you earn can be used to buy improvements, once you unlock them. Additionally you can buy in-game gold with real world money. With the gold you can buy premium memberships and premium tanks. The premium memberships last anywhere from a few days up to a year and gives you bonus XP and silver in battle.Even though you can buy those premium tanks, some of the best tanks in the game are earned the old fashioned way, by playing the game and earning them.
Graphics and Sound
World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition has a realistic look that is impressive considering some of the tanks in the game are prototypes that were never actually built for WWII. In some ways World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition is the only place these prototypes exist outside of historical documents and museums.
The audio for World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition seems to capture the atmosphere of WWII and the clanking of the diesel powered tanks quite well. Nothing seemed out of place. I liked the ratchet sound for making selections.
When I first heard about World of Tanks, as an ex-Army tanker, I was very interested. I got in on the original PC version, but I don’t remember being very impressed with the game at the time. I figured I would come back to it eventually. Well it looks like eventually is now and,oh my, time has been good to World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition! It benefits from the years that have been put into making the PC version better.
World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition is fun, fluid, and tactful, more than many other war games out there. Part of that comes from the “one life per battle” element. In other war games I may do something I know will get me killed just to help my team advance and not worry about it because in a few seconds I’ll be back in the game. In World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition you only have one life, get killed and now your team is down a man for the rest of the round, so playing smart and staying alive is a bit more important.
Another thing I found interesting is, while you can pay real money to get gold to advance yourself in game, you really don’t have to. For this review the developer, Wargaming.net, provided me with a nice stack of silver and gold so I could jump in and experience “high level battles.” Instead of using it right away I decided to play with whatever I earned. I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I was able to earn enough XP and silver to fully upgrade one of my first tanks. It really only took a few rounds and I had upgraded my Vickers Medium Mk. I to the point where I could buy a Mk. II. In fact I unlocked a tank destroyer along with it. I only splurged on buying special parts because I really wanted coated optics, they don’t give me huge bonus, but I’ll take any slight edge I can get. None of the special items seemed to give “game changing” advantages, but they did give just enough to feel a difference.
My kill to death ratio isn’t great yet (which means I'm dying more often than not), but I am having a lot of fun in World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition. I do wish there were a few more game types and the ability to have private skirmishes with friends, maybe that’s something for the future. For now I’ll enjoy tearing across fields, hiding behind bushes, and angling around buildings to get that better shot. I give World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition a 4.5 out of 5.
World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition is rated T for Teen fir Mild Violence by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB).
World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition is available now for the Xbox 360. For more information see the World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition web site.