Review

World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition Review

  • Game release: April 12, 2011
  • Reviewed:
  • X360

Heavy metal rules.

Burly and menacing, tanks are an enticing tool for turning the tide in any pitched military conflict. There's also an undeniable coolness to them. Why drive around trees, walls, and foes when you can crash straight through them unscathed, right? Raw power and heavy guns are the primal ingredients that drive World of Tanks, an online multiplayer shooter that reimagines what mid-20th-century warfare might be like if it were fought solely with rolling metal doom machines. But even if you're titillated by the brute force of hammering explosive shells into your adversaries until they erupt in flame, it's the thoughtful emphasis on strategy and the unpredictability of every encounter that keep matches interesting over the long haul.

World of Tanks' 15-on-15 matches get off to a zippy start, spurring your battalion to spread out quickly across the map to destroy all of your opponents or capture their base before they nab yours. A diverse range of terrain layouts in each battlefield create natural choke points that speed you along toward the opening volleys of cannon fire, and once things get crazy, it's rare that a match bumps up against the 15-minute time limit before one side is declared the victor. This streamlined pacing helps counteract the sluggish nature of the many tanks you'll command. Sure, you might move along at a slow pace, but you're never very far from the action, and that's a great thing.

World of Tanks isn't much of a looker, but that's OK: you're gonna blow everything up anyway.

Getting killed is serious business, however, since the annihilated tank is unavailable until the match is over. This prevents you from immediately using a tank that gets destroyed, which is a minor pain at times. The upside is that you're free to grab another available tank in your arsenal and dive into a different match in the meantime. It's a mechanic that gently pushed me to experiment with other tanks I was initially less interested in, broadening my armored horizons in the process.

The balance between simulation-level tank geekery and accessible arcade-style control is carefully tuned here. Each historical tank sports an authentic visual design, and everything from how tanks handle to the way taking damage impacts their performance is realistic enough to satisfy most serious enthusiasts. Get a tread blown off, and you're either hamstrung or immobilized, depending on the damage level. Take a direct hit from an armor-piercing round, and your gunner might get killed, leaving you prone and unable to fire. This unpredictability is refreshing and plays nicely into how tactics unfold. At the same time, it takes only a few minutes in the short tutorial to get a feel for maneuvering and firing. Swapping between a third-person view for short-range combat and a first-person, down-the-barrel perspective for long-range aiming is as speedy as it is seamless. With less to fiddle with on the control front, you have more room to focus and react when it counts.

See?

Rather than being a chaotic free-for-all, World of Tanks takes a more deliberate, strategy-minded approach that favors tactical prowess over outright brazenness. Barreling headlong into the middle of a firefight with your cannons thundering--even in a more heavily armored tank--is a quick way to end up a pile of smoldering scrap. Instead, thoughtful planning prevails more often than not. Using the terrain to your advantage, you can hide behind bushes for camouflage, use hills and buildings to hamper incoming artillery, and position your tank at an angle to spread out incoming fire and increase your chances of survival.

Stealth is another important element that can boost the fun. Keep from being spotted, and you can skirt around just outside of the action and flank your foes for an ambush or make a beeline for their base when the path is clear. It works both ways, though, and scouting ahead and spot-marking enemies for your group to swoop in on is equally important.

All of this emphasis on thinking on the fly over outright reliance on twitch reflexes makes for slower-paced gameplay, which might not suit some players. But the strategic flexibility and large-scale team collaborations keep matches from stagnating--even when you're playing the same cycle of maps over and over again. World of Tanks can get repetitious until you open up more tanks and more territories to fight on. Fresh maps pop up at a reasonable pace, with new areas unlocking as you work your way up in rank. That said, expect to see lots of the same terrain over and over again for spells.

Thankfully, your fellow squadmates and their behaviors also ensure that few matches ever play out the same way. Using a headset is the simplest way to work alongside your team efficiently, though basic communication presets also let you issue orders to your teammates. Whether they follow them is another story. But it's a handy system and, like most areas of World of Tanks, it's easy to use.

The balance between simulation-level tank geekery and accessible arcade-style control is carefully tuned here.

The sheer tank variety and absorbing progression system ultimately trump some of World of Tanks' minor grindy moments. Spread out across three different countries, each with its own branching trees of vehicles and upgrades to unlock, the breadth of rolling thunder available is staggering. There's a huge assortment of light, medium, and heavy tanks that are also bolstered by a mix of tank killers and vehicles specializing in long-range artillery. Each looks and handles quite differently, and you can use experience and cash earned from your performance in battles to upgrade their firepower, maneuverability, and other critical stats.

Unlocking all that World of Tanks has to offer is a slow but satisfying pursuit that helps to cement long-term interest in diving back into the fray. You start with a single tank from each country, and a limited number of bays to add new vehicles to your fleet. Aside from a few special tanks that cost a bit of real-world coin and pack a mighty powerful punch as a result, you can eventually access everything without spending a cent. If you do feel inclined to drop a little actual green to buy power-ups, tanks, and other perks, the good news is that a little money goes a fairly long way, provided you don't want to get immediate access to everything.

Ready... set... roll!

Match structuring and tank types help provide necessary balance, keeping things from devolving into a pay-to-win situation. Even among the higher tiers of tanks at your disposal, the strengths and weaknesses of each vehicle keep any single player from being too superpowered. The way matches are populated by a range of vehicles from different ranks within a range of similar tiers further keeps battles from being too one-sided. It's not so much the size of your tank, as it is how well you use it and how cohesive your team is.

World of Tanks has some room to grow until it mirrors the heavily updated PC version, but the smooth transition to the Xbox 360 is off to a great start, offering tons of tanks and a strong online player base to dive into. The strategic large-scale tank battles pair with a deep progression system to give everything a greater purpose and deliver a real winning combo.

The Good
Great balance of realistic authenticity and accessibility
Huge number of tanks to unlock and upgrade
Strategy-centric battles prove rewarding and unpredictable
The Bad
Progress is a bit grindy
8
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for World of Tanks

About the Author

After taking to the skies in World of Warplanes, Nathan found that a more grounded approach to combat fit the bill nicely. He battled extensively through World of Tanks' freebie and paid content for this review.

Discussion

31 comments
eeiven
eeiven

I love this game - it reminds me of COD's early days with the United Offensive expansion pack and the massive tank battles that used to go on.  However, go into it with your eyes open about the money you can quickly drop buying gold items - yes it is free to play but there is definite temptation to snag all the goodies and packages that are available as premiums.  Some are worth it - some not - you decide.    Gameplay is outstanding - just need more maps.

TerBear55
TerBear55

I like this game a lot too. I have a bunch of time in and I wish I had a super fast heavily armored speedy 360 turning turret with miles of firing range and incredibly powerful one-shot go boom shells.

Gebatron
Gebatron

I also do not think its "pay to win" I have yet to put a dime into it and am more successful than unsuccessful. Furthermore, there are people who worked hard and are still working hard to make this game as enjoyable as possible. Dropping a few bucks to support this game and the people who made it possible shouldn't be a big deal.

Gebatron
Gebatron

I see a lot of "matchmaking" complaints on here that, I believe, stem from a misconception of the system as a whole. The belief seems to be that any tank should at any time be able to destroy any other tank at any time. This simply is not the case. You may as well throw out the idea of tiers in the first place and think more about your tanks role on the battlefield. For example: a tier IV light tank will not cause much damage to a tier VI heavy tank head on, but the light tank is harder to spot (especially if in camo, behind cover, and sitting still), more manuverable, and has a greater view distance. The light tanks role is not to destroy the other tanks, but to show his team's bigger guns where they are so they can destroy them for you. Once a path has been cleared the light tank can once again use it's speed and maneuverability to hit the rear area where the enemy's SPG's are. The light tank will have a great time taking on the enemy arty with their slow traverse speeds and long reload times.

I am frequently outmatched in my light tank and still have successful battles because I play to my tank's strengths and am aware of my tank's, and my enemy's tanks, weaknesses.

stevenhearnn
stevenhearnn

Its a great game, I love playing it. Hopefully more of those concepts will come to Xbox One and PS4.

Dan11223344
Dan11223344

Yeah this is a great game, not pay2win at all. You CAN pay to rank up quicker or get 'gold ammo' but the matchmaking system is good so you never get put against anything too hardcore, and gold ammo can miss/not penetrate just like any other round (albeit less frequently) but they're rarely used anyway because people tend not to want to shoot their money at people.


The only issue i have is the small party number, id like to be able to have a squad bigger than 3. And Russian tanks would be a nice addition (i think the PC version has them).


But i cant understand people getting angry over this game when its free. Even if you believe its pay2win, you don't have to pay or play and therefore haven't been ripped off or wronged in any way. So why all the anger and hate towards this game and the people who play it? 

draken2533
draken2533

Having a blast with this game. Since it came out my X1 has been collecting dust that is until titanfall. Ps4 has been doing the same since launch Infamous is coming though.

guardianofhonor
guardianofhonor

User reviews are being blocked...looks like gamespot sold another review. As if its not obvious from the "reviews" strange omittance of all the things wrong with this game. Yeah a "bit gindy" lol understatment of the century.  This site is such a shill

nicecall
nicecall

i quit the pc version not long ago.. I got tired of constantly being matched up against tanks 1-3 tiers above myself.  Even being matched against a tank 1 tier above your tank you may as well give up, the best you can hope for is damaging the tank enough to knock off its tank treads for an ally tank of higer tier to destroy it.

Sometimes you even see a tier 1 getting matched in against a tier 4 or 5, its the worst matching system i've seen... the only benefit of this careless matching is you almost get into a game instantly with no waits, but if your matched against tanks you can't even scratch, its a waste of time to even be there.


I'd rather wait a few minutes for a quality match between equal tier tanks instead of completely one sided battle either for or against you.

guardianofhonor
guardianofhonor

No mention of the long pianful grinding to unlock higher teir tanks. Also calling this game "Strategy-centric" and "battles prove rewarding" is a joke, damage and penetration is decided by a random number gen so sometimes you one hit kill a tank other times your shot doesnt even go through its mostly up to luck unless you buy an OP prermium tank which can be 20$ for just one, yes 20$ for a single tank, and the aiming system is so arcady its near impossible to target weak points on tanks on the 360 version. The maps are small and bottlenecked which makes for the game being full of campers. Sorry I dont consider camping "Strategy-centric."

And "rewarding?" To get past tier 4 you will need to grind for hundreds of hours and it can takes a rediculous amount of time just to even unlock a new engine or gun. I hardly call that "rewarding."

Did this guy even play the game through or just spend a couple hours scratching the surface before writing this review?

8 is only the score a person who only played the lower tier parts of the game would give and even that seems too much, once you get into higher tiers it is a pay2win as earning enough credits and XP is near impossible without paying money towrds this game and they ask for a lot, this is an unbalanced, grinding shitfest that you will not have fun with so much as make you want to throw your controller at the tv and kick yourself for wasting your time.

eze_sl89
eze_sl89

sorry is this a ps2 game? 


cause the graphics sure look crappy 

NoahRoalson
NoahRoalson

Seems a bit too simplified on 360. Also, I hope they have plans for next gen or they are seriously loosing a ton of sales....

Zacmaccraken
Zacmaccraken

Excellent game. I really dig the slow paced and strategic combat.

franken_stein
franken_stein

@Dan11223344 How much time have you actually played WOT on the 360? And while its free2play you still have to pay to access it (you pay for Gold and you cant play WOT without having a valid Gold subscription). And the matchmaking while early on was ok has devolved into being occasionally totally unbalanced. I have been in tier 3 tanks and been pitted against a Tier 5 and 6 tanks. I couldn't do anything, shells wouldn't penetrate even weak spots on them, I could just run and eventually get one shot destroyed.



That is happening more and more in the matches I have played recently. I'm seeing higher and higher tier tanks being pitted against low tier tanks as a way to try and fill out matches. There are more and more high tier tankers but still the newbies and low tier tankers far outnumber them. So it's forcing unbalanced matchmaking. Even after you unlock better higher tier tanks you will still get outclassed by people who will pay and by boosters. The game exists off of people paying for an advantage, If you couldn't buy an advantage or the paid options didn't offer any real battlefield benefits no one would buy them. They do offer advantages that in most situations no matter your skill, your immediately at a disadvantage to a paid player.

WGA_Jasysae_PL
WGA_Jasysae_PL

@bonniehughes  Hello :) 


Great to hear that! 

Thanks for being with us!;) 
Good luck & have fun in game.

Regards.

Wargaming English Ambassador - Jasysae


Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@guardianofhonor  

Your statement of user reviews being blocked is likely incorrect. I am seeing user scores being entered, albeit a few.

competetodefeat
competetodefeat

@guardianofhonor Hundreds of hours to get past tier 4?  You really are bad at this game aren't you?  Also this isn't COD, you strike me as the type that expects this game to play like COD or Battlefield.  What you call "camping" is actually called strategy in a game like this.  I don't have hundreds of hours in this game yet and I have a bunch of tanks ranging from Tier 5 to 7... Sorry but if it's taking you hundreds of hours to break past tier 4 then you're just bad at the game or just down talking it because it's not CODlike in it's gameplay, simple as.

sammoth
sammoth

@guardianofhonor

1) The game has always been a grind. PERIOD

2)  It's not a FPS but, more of a strategy type game. Hit rolls have always been like this even on the PC version.

3) Premium tanks are the bread and butter for the developer. The game is FREE and you don't need them to win.

4) Camping is part of the game this isn't COD or Battlefield.

5) Wrong about paying money to win. your problem is you need to learn how to play.

guardianofhonor
guardianofhonor

@Gelugon_baat

Yes it is being blocked because gamespot knows this review it BS and WG is probably paying them.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@sammoth  

It's more likely a case of a person going into a game with clashingly different expectations that arose from not doing research about the game.

guardianofhonor
guardianofhonor

@sammoth

1. I was not comparing it to the PC version which is slightly better but still has most of the same problems.

2.Camping is not a strategy its a cheap and boring way to play the game and doesnt help the maps are disigned for it, its just another reason this game is crap.

3. I know how to play that doesnt change the fact this game is crap, no matter how good you are you cant win when you have to go against tanks your gun cant even damage and tanks with twice your viewrange, so its either pay money to get your tanks upgraded or lose a thousand times wihle grinding to get your next upgrade. This game is one of the biggest pay2win scams out there,

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@guardianofhonor 

Oh, I - who have been around for years - don't know GameSpot's "reputation".

Bah, you and your self-righteousness.

guardianofhonor
guardianofhonor

@Gelugon_baat

Id rather wear a "tin-foil hat" than bury my head in the sand, or maybe you dont know gamespots reputation.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

I suppose in this day and age, there are still people who think that they are always right.

But then, there is is the Tea Party, isn't it? :P

guardianofhonor
guardianofhonor

@sammoth

1. How the hell do you know how I play?

2.The game is shit, you are just mad becuase you know Im right about it but this pay2win scam has sucked you in like it is made to do to stupid people so enjoy your pay2win, unbalanced, camper-infested grindfest, crap game.

sammoth
sammoth

@guardianofhonor


1) I wasn't either. I know the PC version is better.

2) Opinion not fact.

3) Again opinion and you need to learn how to play. If you're having that bad at time to damage tanks then yeah it's you. You don't take a light tank and go after a heavy head on. you don't shoot Tank destroyers in the front where they are heavily armored etc. everything in this game has a way to beat it or overcome. It actually help to have some teamwork as well.


Pay 2 Win no. There has been long debates about this a long time ago on WOT forums. You might want to read up on it sometime and read some tactics while you're at it.

World of Tanks More Info

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  • First Released
    • PC
    • Xbox 360
    World of Tanks is the first and only team-based massively multiplayer online action game dedicated to armored warfare.
    8.1
    Average User RatingOut of 773 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate World of Tanks
    Developed by:
    Wargaming.net
    Published by:
    Wargaming.net, Deep Silver, Navarre Corp, Microsoft Game Studios
    Genres:
    Shooter, Third-Person, Free-to-Play, Tactical, Action
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Mild Violence