World of Tanks (XB1) Review

Tanks for the memories.

World of Tanks is certainly nothing new. The game has been around on Xbox 360 for a while now and even longer on the PC. Now developer Wargaming is bringing the free-to-play title to Microsoft’s newest console with improved visuals and a more refined tutorial on how to enjoy the game.

For anyone who has never experienced the game, it is far removed from a typical action shooter. This is no Call of Duty, and players have to carefully plan their moves and position when heading into battle. Run and gun tactics will end in disappointment. That is why the new tutorial for the Xbox One version is a game changer for console players.

MRSP: Free-to-play model
Platforms: XB1, 360, PC
Price I’d Pay: $39.99 without F2P model

Proving grounds takes players through a series of matches with AI opponents, teaching the basics of each game mode. It gives tips and hints on what to do in certain situations. On Xbox 360, players simply had to experience trial by fire. This can be frustrating, especially in a free-to-play game where earning upgrades and new tanks takes patience and grinding.

There are a slew of modes to be found in World of Tanks. The core mode is team deathmatch, but there are also capture the flag and race style modes. Racing may sound out of place, but it is actually a lot of fun. Imagine trying to race plodding tanks while others are firing at you. I still found myself gravitating more towards the capture modes simply because I enjoy the strategy involved, but there is a little here for everyone.

Given the namesake though, the true focus here is on tanks. There are a ton to choose from and not just standard machines either. There are specific regions, styles such as light, medium, and heavy, and so many ways to upgrade and customize. This is the meat of the game, and of course where the free-to-play aspects come into focus.

The game does a great job of drip-feeding tanks at the outset. A few matches in, a few more tanks unlocked. Currency drops into my account constantly after matches. It hits that pleasure center of my brain. Then things drop to a crawl, which is where the real decision lies; spend money to progress, or slowly grind for that awesome death machine. I found myself enjoying matches, but hitting walls when players would appear that would decimate me at first glance.

Grinding up to these levels would require an immense amount of time, which the game definitely plans for. World of Tanks is not a respawning-style game. After death, players are done, so what else to do but exit to the garage and begin a new match. It is designed with this in mind, and it works, but hitting the upper echelon of tanks takes so long that just hitting that purchase option looks more and more attractive with each death.

Visually the game is a mixed bag. On Xbox 360 it was rough, and on Xbox One, it definitely benefits from a higher resolution. The tanks are crafted with pristine detail. They look amazing, and the game runs relatively smooth. On the other hand the environments are not super detailed – lots of muddy textures and other inconsistencies that really stand out next to the superb tank models.

World of Tanks is definitely fun. I spent countless hours engaged in its more strategic battles. The progression system definitely slows down as things get more interesting, but being free-to-play out of the gate gives players a chance to see if it is something they want to invest time, or money into. I see no reason not to give it a shot if you enjoy action-based multiplayer. Just don’t go in expecting a Call of Duty-style experience. Plan your actions, think strategically, and a lot of fun can be had.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Lots of tanks to unlock
  • Methodical combat
  • Free to check out
  • The grind is real late game
  • Free-to-play model hits hard
Written by
Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.