It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and at first glance you could be forgiven for thinking that developer My.com is paying a huge compliment to wargaming.net and its hugely popular tank title, World of Tanks
. However, that would be doing the new title, Armored Warfare
a big disservice as the game brings its own subtle and not so subtle changes and is a truly worthy addition to the tank genre.
At first glance, the title does indeed have many similar features to the aforementioned game. It's a freemium title, it has a whole battalion of tanks, a multitude of battlegrounds, technology trees, crews, and online and offline play. Even HUD elements appear vaguely similar. Despite all of this, however, Armored Warfare
does bring its own unique spin to the genre, with modern tanks and fictional combat scenarios with deep lore behind these conflicts. In essence, the player is tasked with building up their own private military company facing off against various aggressive well-armed factions depending on the battle arena.
Thanks to the Crytek Engine 3, the graphics are quite solid. The environments varying from sandy deserts, icy tundras, bombed out cities and industrial areas are all well created. Particle effects, water, smoke, dust and snow all add to the ambiance and the atmosphere for each battleground. The tanks too are well modeled and show a fair amount of detail. Equally, the audio, especially from the tanks and the environments also help bring the battlefields to life. The only blemish is that the radio chatter from your tank crew occasionally gets cut off in the heat of battle.
The player is given a reasonably sized garage of tanks to start with, covering the different classes and each having their own strengths and weaknesses. Main battle tanks, MBTs, are generally slower but can deal lot of damage in a single shot, but can also take a lot of damage. In comparison, the scout tanks are very lightweight, fast and maneuverable, but have weaker firepower. Much like any FPS, there's a balance between all of the classes of tanks.
Expanding your mechanized arsenal is as simple as visiting one of the three arms dealers in game, each one possessing a tech-tree of tanks that the player can choose from. Tanks can also be upgraded with new equipment specific to that particular vehicle. Additionally, it is also possible to apply generic upgrades via a retrofit to any tank regardless of its make or tier. It is a nice little detail that adds more scope and possibilities for the player when developing a particular build of tank. Naturally, this is not without cost, and new tanks will cost either gold for premium tanks or credits for the standard. A nice feature is that tanks can be taken for a test drive and premium tanks can be rented for a period of three days to 30 days, just to give you a taste of the high-roller lifestyle.
Purchasing particular tanks will also unlock new commanders and crews. Once they are part of your military, players can assign specific types of skills to crew members, and work through a skill tree for the commanders, giving players another opportunity to fine tune the game to their own particular play style. Insignias can be applied to both tanks and crews providing a one-off boost to the score in battle, helping speed up progression through the title. A common element is that both tanks and personnel need to attain a certain amount of reputation before being allowed to level up and unsurprisingly, reputation points can generally be earned on the battlefield.
Reputation points are generally earned for taking an active role in the objectives and taking out the opposition and these can also be boosted in various ways. Premium time rewards more, but so does competing in the various game modes, all of which are online. Standard PvE puts up to five players together in cooperative missions against AI opponents. Special Operations is similar but adds a story-driven campaign. For those wanting tougher opponents, the remaining two modes are PvP only, Global Operations and Random Battle. However, to participate in the latter players will need a tank from tier 11 or higher which seems like an extraordinarily high requirement to join a 15 versus 15 multiplayer match. If you're feeling social, players can set up their own small platoons of five friends for the PvE battles and 3 for PvP.
Gameplay and combat are pretty much what you would expect from a tank title, a mix between ponderous and hectic depending on which stage of the battle the player is in. Moving into strategic positions may take some time depending on the class of tank selected, but developer My.com has ensured that you never have wait too long before the first encounters. Those skirmishes can escalate quickly once the first shots are fired. As anyone who has played any titles in this genre knows, it can be extremely unnerving when you find yourself under attack by one or more assailants especially if they are unseen. In those moments it's time to find cover before your tank is crippled by a well-placed shot leaving you sitting there like a lame duck.
While there are no paid loot crates, logging in each day will reward the player with such crates of increasing value, providing more boosts, reputation, credits and cosmetic items. It's a nice touch that you won't have to buy any loot boxes to carry on playing. That said, it is possible to buy premium time which will boost the amount of reputation and credits earned in every battle. Similarly, it is also possible to buy an extra boost slot that will allow you to play with two active boosts for a period of twelve hours. Again, none of this is necessary to play, it only speeds up progress towards those more powerful tanks and crews.
It's worth noting that this is not a pay-to-win title. You can't simply throw credits at each and every tank, instantly leveling up and progressing through the tech-tree to reach those prized high-tier tanks. There is a welcome gating process in place requiring every tank to have earned enough reputation before progressing to the next tier, and whilst reputation can be boosted with a couple of limited packs, the rest of the reputation has to be earned in combat on the battlefield. In short, you can boost and level up certain parts of your tank, but to move up a tier, you have to have to go fight. Of course, the downside of such a mechanism is that there is no quick route to the highest tiers, you will have to quite literally battle your way through the tech tree to get to your desired tanks, which will take some time and many, many battles.
There is, however, a slight issue, and a rather surprising one considering that the game is an online title. During the review period, at the end of a battle after the credits and bonuses had been awarded, there were a number of network disconnections. This never happened during matches but after the battle was over. Fortunately, it's only a matter of seconds to reconnect and doesn't detract from the combat, but it is a little surprising nonetheless.
The achievements in the title may well prove a little problematic for some members of the community. Whilst there are some relatively easy achievements to unlock, most of the remaining achievements will require a great deal of time to obtain. At the time of writing, none of our community has unlocked any of the PvP or Random Battle achievements, perhaps due to the fact that only level 11+ tanks can battle in this mode, but there are a good dozen achievements linked to this particular game mode. It's certainly a title that completionists may want to think twice about starting.
is a welcome addition to the tank battle genre. It brings the familiar elements from World of Tanks
but adds its own subtle changes to both the gameplay and the freemium model, along with modern tanks and weaponry. As with other similar titles, it may not be for everyone, especially those looking for fast twitch-based games, as the gameplay can be a little ponderous until battles begin. However, once the first shots are exchanged, the battles can be as intense as any other. It is a solid title and will easily let you while away many hours, but therein also lies the biggest drawback, it will cost time to reach those higher level tanks, and for achievement hunters, it will have to be a labour of love to unlock all of the gamer score.
- A varied garage of tanks available at the start
- Welcoming to beginners in the genre
- Familiar gameplay for those used to the genre
- Lots of options available through skill trees, retrofits and upgrades
- Will cost many hours to unlock the higher tier tanks
- Occasional disconnects for online
- Biggest online battles are for highest tier tanks only
The reviewer spent around 10 hours tearing up battlefields firing shells at anything that moved. Three achievements were unlocked during the review period. The title was reviewed on a standard Xbox One and the download code was provided by the publisher for the purpose of review.
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