The open beta for the free-to-play tank game, Armored Warfare, has just begun. We recently published a news article about the release, and so I decided to take the time to sit down, write a review, and see what all the fuss is about.
Upon first look, anybody that has played World of Tanks will start drawing parallels between the two games. While this comparison is fair, I thought that I should delve deeper into the game to find out exactly what else it has to offer, other than just another tanky MMO.
One of the first things that I noticed when firing up the game is that the tanks are all quite modern, especially when compared to many of the WWII centric war games, of which there are an abundance. The earliest tanks start at around the 1960s and progress until the present day. This instantly gives the game a more up-to-date feel, and I quickly found myself tearing around the map at some pretty decent speeds in a M113 APC or later an M1A1 Abrams tank. Another cool aspect is the extra gear that you can strap onto your tank, which makes it a formidable fighting force armed with smoke-screens, thermal scopes, anti-tank missiles, and more. All of these new toys are great at giving players more tactical options and teamwork possibilities, making it much more than just a team deathmatch in tanks.
Obsidian (Fallout: New Vegas, Neverwinter Nights 2) has taken great care in replicating the armored behemoths in the game, trying to keep the digital versions as true to their real-world counterparts as possible. Sometimes the developers have taken some creative license for balancing reasons, but they seem to have nailed it pretty well. Each of the tanks has every detail modelled and copied from the real war machines, even down to turret and engine sounds, so it ended up being quite immersive when I rolled out onto the battlefield. You can check out our run-down of the classes here, if you want more detail into the different types of tank available.
As someone who has some experience with World of Tanks, I knew exactly how to navigate through the tech trees and upgrade my armored war machines to reach the next tier. The upgrades are based on an XP system that allows you to progress to the next tank when you have gathered enough experience in battle. Sound familiar? That’s exactly what I thought. Blindingly obvious comparisons aside, it’s a very easy to use and intuitive system that clearly marks out what you need to do to move on. You can see a screenshot above, to see just how recognisable and user-friendly it is.
Team Up for PvE Missions
Obsidian's experience with single player games (Fallout: New Vegas) really shines through in the PvE missions. The devs have included the option to team up and take on computer controlled opponents, and it’s actually really fun. The story goes that you are a mercenary who teams up with internet friends to complete “contracts” for various international agencies, all of which have a penchant for blowing things up. If you’ve kept up with our news on the game, you’ll see that Obsidian has been releasing new co-op maps quite regularly, so there’s always a new challenge to overcome. These contracts are a nice way to get used to a new tank or start learning the game, as you’re less likely to fail instantly and get berated by all of the clearly professional tank commanders on your team for playing badly; it’s a much more relaxed atmosphere to play in, compared to full player-versus-player mode. Check out the PvE trailer above to get a better feel for how the contracts work.
Gunning for Realism
There’s something about the gameplay that makes it feel way more immersive than other similar games. The audio design is very well done, and the sound of the engines and gun noises feel spot on. I was a particular fan of the earth-shattering boom that happens when you fire off one of the heavy tank turrets, which is accompanied by a big smoke cloud and dust around your vehicle. It feels much more realistic with these little graphical bells and whistles added on. The whole game just feels well-polished when it comes to gameplay, and I was suitably impressed.
There’s quite a variety of maps in both of the playable modes. I found myself battling through jungles, built up urban environments, snowy landscapes, with the promise of more maps to come. These different environments make the co-op missions a lot of fun, as it lets you use all of the cool kit you’ve picked up to gain a tactical advantage over the enemy. What’s more is that all of the scenery is destructible; if you fire a shot at a nice looking shop in one of the urban maps, it will soon turn into a charred shell of its former self, with smashed windows and broken furniture.
As a side note, the way that the game handles different types of ammo is great. It’s not like other games where firing a shell means you’re just hurling a bunch of stats at the enemy player; Armored Warfare takes into account the type and thickness of the armor, the distance the shell travels, which type of ammo is used, penetration depth, among loads of other things to determine just how much damage the shot does. This makes it really unforgiving, as I found out the hard way when hurling high explosive shells at a tank with heavy armor and doing absolutely no damage.
- Tactics & strategy are important
- Modern, well-designed vehicles
- Excellent graphics and effects
- Growing community of players
- Not too many original ideas
- Can sometimes be a bit "grindy"
- Over 20GB download size
Overall, I think that Armored Warfare is definitely worth trying out. Admittedly, I was unsure what to think of it going into the game, but I have come out of the experience pleasantly surprised. It's agood way to kill some time and have fun with friends online. The only thing that may be stopping you is the massive 20GB download size, but if you get over that hurdle, then you'll be able to drive into battle in some formidable war machines in no time at all!
Armored Warfare is completely free-to-play on PC and can be downloaded by clicking the button below.