World of Tanks is already a hit with PC users, and developers Wargaming.net have decided to push that luck by luring in Xbox 360 fans. We checked out this massively multiplayer online title, which is currently in beta mode, to see if these tanks are worth the ride.
The great news for World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition is that it doesn't suck. Many games will live or die in beta mode, and some changes are simply mandatory before any title goes live. After playing several online battles, I was highly impressed with this war driven shooter on many levels.
Creating a tank experience may lead a developer to put so many intricate controls that navigating a vehicle will nearly ruin the sheer visceral feel of combat. You don't need to be a gear head or even an adept learner to ease your way into this MMO, as moving a tank simply requires the use of the controller's left analog stick. Camera movements are employed with the right stick, and if you love firing at your enemies from a sniper's range, press on the left trigger and fire away (with the right trigger).
A training session will give you the basics on driving your war machine, and several tanks are made available for you to destroy during the beginning stage. As soon as you spend several minutes driving through a nearly deserted field and learning the a few combat techniques, you're off to battle.
With an easy to pick up control mechanic, the true challenge is win your engagements against opponents which may have vastly superior fighting units. You start off with a German (Leichtraktor) and a U.S. (T1 Cunningham). As you start your missions to capture the enemy's base, leading the charge, especially if your tanks aren't completely upgraded, may earn you a quick trip to the morgue. If you're killed during the encounter, you'll have to wait until your colleagues finish their fight to collect rewards from the fight.
As you gain experience and win a few showdowns, you can spend your currency to purchase new tanks or upgrade your current vehicles. Your first two units are Tier 1, with the best engineered tanks reaching the Tier 8 level.
Whether you're roaming through a sunny countryside or tracking down an enemy base camp on a snowy hillside, the details of each terrain shine through. Although the controls are extremely comprehensive, don't expect the tanks to bend to your every whim. Driving up a windy hill or deciding to veer off a main road won't be as easy as following a straight path to your adversary. Much of my enjoyment from World of Tanks arose from actually finding the enemy base along with a few random allies, as driving through a beautifully rendered environment is always a great way to gear up for an ensuing firefight.
World of Tanks should attract many gamers who are craving a no frills, online combat experience. Its navigation and fighting mechanic fits in perfectly with the Xbox controller, and the learning curve is surprisingly easy. Xbox Live Gold members will be able to play the game for free but can also spend their own money to buy gold coins which, in turn, helps them level up in a more rapid fashion.
How this freemium model will play with console gamers is a subject that should be tabled until the title's release this year. But for now, I really enjoyed my time with World of Tanks and whether or not I end up spending money for a couple of upgrades, I still had a blast.