Many of you will have played World of Tanks before. Many of you will have played console version of free-to-play games before. What you might not have seen is a console version of a game that’s actually better than the original.
Wargaming.net have finally brought World of Tanks to the Xbox One and in many ways it is exactly what you expect. Tank on tank action with progression through different tiers and classes of tanks, separated by country. You can earn new tanks by playing and winning a lot, or you can simply buy your way through the tiers with real money. Wargaming.net were kind enough to let us play with some of the currency to see the paid features as well as the free parts of the game.
While this is much the same game as it is on PC, the graphics have had a notable upgrade. This isn’t due to the power of the console, but rather some spectacular new maps that are going to be ported back over to the PC in the near future. Every single map feels incredibly detailed and watching tanks rain down fire from behind crumbling buildings on a Mediterranean hillside is surprisingly beautiful.
The controls also work well on Xbox and knowing that you’re up against other people with the controller means no one is at a disadvantage. The tanks are easy to manoeuvre but you quickly learn that this is essential as movement is everything in World of Tanks. You need to be mobile and you need to be ever-conscious of exactly where every part of your tank is lest an enemy gets a critical hit on an exposed flank or bit of tread. This is our greatest issue with the Xbox version and it’s through no real fault of the developer. On the PC the community that has built up around World of Tanks is excellent and ever-vocal. While you might get some grief in early matches, people are always willing to communicate. With no text-based communication on the consoles the game relies on some simple commands and voice, and hardly anyone actually uses the voice chat. If you get a group of friends together then you can have a great time, but if you don’t and you’re trying to go it alone, that lack of communication makes the game incredibly difficult. Small mistakes can lead to destruction very quickly and without anyone watching your back the game can quickly degenerate into a scrappy and frustrating fight.
The base game is completely free to play and you could easily have a lot of fun just using that version. If you want to pay some real money you’ve got a few options. The most obvious is to buy new tanks, but this comes with problems. Having a ridiculous amount of money available to us, we bought some very powerful tanks and launched right in to matches with people who had got there the hard way. Those hundreds of hours of experience let them completely decimate us, relative newbies in very expensive toys.
A much better way to spend your money is on experience boosters. Through these you can simple increase the amount of money and XP you get in each match, so you still go through the same tank progression and learn all the skills you need on the way, but you go a bit faster and avoid the game starting to feel like a grind. These really do feel like a worthy investment and make the game a lot more fun as you unlock new vehicles and parts at such a speedy rate. The boosts aren’t particularly expensive and if you’re only going to play occasionally it’s worth getting the short-term ones just for a session here and there. If you do have the money to spare you can also use some paid-for experience to skip over the less exciting tiers or open up a new class that you hadn’t been working on. (pro tip: If you’re tired go with the artillery, it’s quite a fun way to spend a more relaxed game).
Overall we’ve enjoyed our time with World of Tanks on Xbox One more than we did on PC. It still is the same game, there’s a bit of a grind and the matches become quite samey after a while, but for a free to play game there’s very few that are this competitive and generous with content, especially on the consoles. It’s very easy to recommend.