For a while, I have seen ads for free-to-play tactical shooters on various gaming websites, every time I saw those adds I wondered what it would be like to jump into a game that lets me take control of my own tank and blow up the competition. It wasn’t until that I got the code to try Armored Warfare on the PlayStation 4, did I finally understand the appeal of tactical tank shooters.
Armored Warfare is a free-to-play MMO tactical tank shooter developed by Obsidian Entertainment and published by My.com. The game was originally released back in 2015 and is available on PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Android and iOS. The game only recently made its transition to the PlayStation 4 in February of 2018.
The plot of the game could be considered cliche: Armored Warfare is set in the 2030’s and the world is in ruin. The economic and political chaos has given rise to various power-hungry companies who create tanks. These companies hire mercenaries to pilot these vehicles in order to control various territories in this war-torn future. Of course, players don’t come to Armored Warfare for the story, they come to blow stuff up.
There are five distinct classes of vehicles in the game, Main Battle Tanks, Light Tanks, Tank Destroyers, Armored Fighting Vehicles, and Self-Propelled Guns. Each tank class has its own strengths and weaknesses. The Main Battle Tank, for instance, is slow, but it provides a large amount of armour and packs a lot of firepower. Armoured Fighting Vehicles are a scout class within the game. They are fast and their main purpose is to let their teammates know where the enemies are. The Self-Propelled Guns are the literal definition of “walk softly and carry a big stick.” While tiny, these tanks are able to shoot explosive shells at long distances. Think of them as a sniper in other FPS games. They might not look at intimidating up close, but when they spot you, you had better run. One of the main draws of Armored Warfare comes from its over 150 collection of classic and modern tanks that players are able to buy with in-game currency. Or If players don’t feel like waiting that long, they are able to purchase credits through microtransactions.
There are four distinct game modes for players to test their skills. Player versus player is self-explanatory, player versus environment is when five players are pitted against AI’s to complete a selection of missions, and global operations (Global Ops), the newest game mode to come to Armored Warfare. This game mode is similar to player versus player, but the difference is, when you die, your team loses points. Players must also capture objectives in order to score more points for their team. In order to gain an edge in this game mode, players can also get special abilities like calling in a UAV drone to scan the area or summon an AC-130 gunship to rain a storm of bullets on the opposing team. The last game mode is customization. Players can customize their tanks and set specific rules that allow for a change of pace.
Of course, many of you are wondering how the various tanks feel within the game. Armored Warfare gameplay is something you would expect from a tactical tank shooter and does not really differentiate itself from other other games in the genre. The main difference between this game and the competition comes down to the selection of vehicles available. In Armored Warfare, players are able to purchase and pilot a much more modern selection of tanks. Whereas in other offerings players are given access to tanks that were used in and around the Second World War.
The first hour playing the game will be primarily tutorials and learning about the game. Armored Warfare teaches new players about various games modes, purchasing and upgrading tanks and ammo types. The most confusing part of the tutorial was the explanation of ammo types, or should I say the lack of it. I understood that different ammo types had different effects on different vehicles, but a lot of it was a lot of trial and error to test which ammo type worked on which type of vehicle. At times it was frustrating to test a shell on another player, only to see that my shot had no effect on the enemy at all. It will take some time to understand the mechanics, but once it all clicks, it works well and further points to the depth the game offers should you invest the time.
Aiming in Armored Warfare can be tricky if you do not know where to shoot. Each tank has weak points that can earn you the win should you find them. It is a fantastic feeling to hit a tank in the perfect spot, earning your team the victory. There are other times when you fire a shell and the shot does almost nothing to the enemy. This forces you, the player, to take their time and plan out their attack. This is made even harder with the slow reload times. Tanks are large vehicles and reloading them can be quite a daunting task, this represented in the game as well. After each shot, players must wait at least five seconds before they shoot again. This reinforces the idea that players must plan out their assault shot so they are not waiting out in the open and being completely defenceless.
I do applaud Armored Warfare, however, as it tried to make sure that no tank is truly overpowered. When I originally got the code to try the game, I received a secondary code that gave me access to a rank six tank. Before I understood about upgrading and improvements, I tried to take this tank out for a spin to see how overpowered I was. To my surprise, my rank six tank was not the most destructive war machine on the battlefield. The game ensures that tanks are balanced and that the class of tanks actually have an impact on the various play styles. If you are a big lumbering tank, then you can be sure that you are going to move very slowly and you will be easy to hit. This is balanced by its massive amount of armour, however. When entering into a match, you must think about what kinds of tanks your teammates are using so that you can best assist your team and their playstyles.
Being a tactical tank shooter, the game prioritizes planning your approach so that you can best the other team. Those who decide to go in guns blazing will find that they will get shot down by the enemy (yes this did happen to me).I found that when I did stay with my team and assisted them, we would become a force to be reckoned with.
Unfortunately, out of the matches I played, I did not see the variety of maps I would have liked. The best way I can describe the maps I played would be bland. One map consisted of an airfield in the mountains. In the middle of the map were buildings, a radio tower and a crashed plane. These elements are something I would expect to see in any type of war game. It felt like the area was covered in a greyish hue, with trees, a plane runway, and a few buildings. While the game looked good overall, this lack of variety held back the experience, making some aspects feel dated, especially in today’s modern gaming landscape.
Though my time with Armored Warfare I got to understand the appeal of the game. It is fun to play, forces to think about your strategy and team composition, and managed to eat up countless hours during this review. While it is not for everyone, if you enjoy the tactical tank genre and can look past some bland maps, Armored Warfare is well worth your free-to-play hours.
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