Armoured Warfare is an online multiplayer Tank War Free-to-play title currently in early access and coming free-to-play on its full release on the 20th of February 2018. Developed by Obsidian entertainment with my.com taking over as the new publisher for the title prior to its PS4 Release. To clarify this review is purely based on the PS4 and not the longest running PC version of the game I have not and probably will not play the PC version anytime soon although I am aware of it history on other platforms as I have had a keen interest in this title for some time.
So let’s dive right in, Armoured warfare fills a gap many World of Tanks players have been crying out for almost since its release, Modern Tanks the M1A1 Abrahams, the warrior, challenger 2, Leopard 2 and the T90 just to name a few, there are so many iconic tanks on today’s battlefields and many many more that have changed the very concept of how a tank battle would play out. It has left us gamers asking what would win the polish concept PL-01 light tank or the mighty XM1 Main battle tank from the states, Obsidian seen this and took the opportunity to fill that void for us and created a masterpiece.
“A Master Piece You Say, Hu?”… Yes, and I will elaborate why. Armoured warfare is visually great the movement of the vehicles and the constraints applied to the feel very realistic making the game balanced, enough realism to make you feel as if you’re actually in command of a 60 ton MBT (Main Battle Tank), and just the right amount of arcade style gaming that a single tow missile from a hidden AFV (Armoured Fighting Vehicle), doesn’t send your tank and crew to the great battlefield in the sky, it’s not just the general gameplay either, Armoured Warfare has given its players a range of gaming modes each of whichhase a unique feel to them and we will touch on these further below.
“Whats The Big Deal With The Game Modes Then Guy”…. Well there are three game modes available Global Operations, Missions and Battle.
Global Operations PvPvAI
We’ll start with Global Operations the most unique mode on offer it PvP (Player vs Player) vs PvE (Player Vs Environment), The principle is you have two opposing PvP teams with the same objective control the battlefield where strategic points on the map need to be captured and defended, each team begins the battle with a set amount of points if the enemy team hold more position your point decrease and once your team hits zero you have lost the encounter regardless of how many enemies you have killed. But hey plot twist, there is a local A.I commander who send his own tanks to strategic locations to defend the objectives and as bash full as the A.I appears they can change the tide in your favour or end your life before you know what’s happened.
Ok so you figured that it’s A.I and not worth your time killing you rush to Capture a point and a local Swingfire Tank has just hit you with two missiles the enemy is approaching and you have less than half your hit point left, the inevitable happens and your tank is a smouldering wreck….GAMEOVER….. Well no not really you can now respawn, there is a delay that increases slightly with each death but your just a few second away from jumping in a fresh tank, about to load your gun and get some sweet revenge on that Swingfire before taking the capture point back, (Honestly not once have I seen the A.I bumble around a figure there not worth killing only to have the back of my tank left open to an A.I Swingfire who proceeded to almost kill me… ok ok maybe it happened Once.. ok Twice but I have learned). Also as the battle progresses other environmental elements come into play, around the map new mini objectives spawn from UAV’s that patrol an area marking enemies, to the pillar box, armed with rapid firing missiles giving a denial of area to the opposing team and my personal favourite the bombing run, the air raid sirens sounds as the stealth bomber hurtles toward the area you marked before delivering the indiscriminate payload, yes bombs don’t care who’s team you’re on, if a bomb hits you or a team mate it will do significant damage. Although your team is alerted to where the air strike will hit and its direction of travel, so pay attention to the mini map people. Obviously there is risk vs reward with the mini objectives to collect them you must leave your objectives undefended and the objective being captured is highlighted to the enemy team giving away your location.
Missions are purely PvE, where two main style of objectives are used Capture or Defend an area or area’s depending upon the map and secondary objectives that are random in location and type, these secondary objectives are usually a good distance away from the main objective and also have the risk vs reward tied to them, there is an overall bonus if the secondary objectives are meet but it also mean one or more tanks have to split of reducing the effectiveness of the main fighting force, and the main objective is key to the outcome of the battle.
Missions also have difficulty ratings easy, medium and hard. Easy missions have the lowest possible outcome providing small credit and reputation bonuses these increase with difficulty and easy is a turkey shoot, the A.I bumble around occasionally firing at you usually doing little to no damage as long as you’re using the armour correctly, it’s a good place to learn the basics of your tank.
Medium is pretty obvious really the tanks are stronger the A.I a bit smarter what was a turkey shoot now poses some challenge and requires a little team work to get through, Now hard mode is where missions really come into their own the A.I will use cover, they will focus fire on a tank and going for the secondary objectives is a risk. Looking out for yourself will typically end in a failed mission on hard missions, team work is key and also very rewarding when you are successful as you will be overwhelmed by the volume of opponent that are in higher tier vehicles than yourself. (**TOP TIP** there is a PvE only consumable you can fit to your tank that will respawn you once in a mission, fit this to your tank nothing is more frustrating than getting to the final objective seeing every other tank get destroyed and fail when the PvE consumable used by just one player could have turned the tide if only they respawned.)
Battle PvP is a 15 Vs 15 large scale warfare, a classic online gaming mode but seemingly unpopular mode currently on console Battle PvP is player only no AI battles I Would love to go into more detail but as of writing I haven’t managed to get a game on Battle PvP. The majority of player run Missions PvE or Global Operation PvPvAI.
Tanks Types and their roles
Ok so I have mentioned some tank types but what are they and what do they do. There are five main types of tank MBT, AFV, Light Tanks, TD (Tank Destroyer) and SPG (Self Propelled Guns)
MBT are the focus of most players they have the strongest armour, high powered guns and are at the forefront of all engagements with the enemy (or at least they should be). They are however the least mobile and if left undefended can quickly be subjected to damage from flanking by light tanks AFV and TD’s To be effective in a MBT you must know your week points and how to defend them. Hers some general rules. MBT are strong frontally the main week points are the lower plate and the turret ring both generally difficult to hit. The sides and rear have minimal armour and most guns will penetrate and cause damage.
How to defeat a MBT, flaking is key particularly if you are using a light tank or TD their speed and mobility will allow for easy penetration and tracking a MBT by hitting the front or rear drive wheel of a MBT will leave it exposed. Armour Piercing rounds are generally best to use as higher tier MBT usually have ERA (explosive Reactive Armour) preventing most High Explosive ammo from doing damage)
AFV there are two types of AFV’s Light and Heavy. Light AFV are scouting tanks with the best view range of the game and the highest camo rating allowing them to spot without being spotted usually equipped with small calibre auto cannons and ATGMs (Anti Tank Guided Missiles) that have high penetration and high damage but require you to keep the target in site leaving you vulnerable as usually firing will alert the enemy of your position. Light AFV have poor armour and can suffer high damage from HEAT (High Explosive Anti-Tank) rounds usually resulting in fires. Heavy AFV’s have lower mobility and camo ratings swapping them for some armour protection although the armour is still very weak. Most AFV are wheeled vehicles
TD’s Tank Destroyers form two kinds ATGM and Gun TD’s, the ATGM much like the AFV have weak armour but a much higher damage output they generally have long reloads with some having low calibre autocannons as back up weapons. Gun TD’s are the snipers of the Tank world High powered guns with high accuracy but have no back up weapons leaving then vulnerable while reloading. Typical play style hidden behind main force or flanking fire. Can easily be defeated with most High Explosive type ammo for maximum effect.
My personal favourite, light tanks have strong guns with high penetration and good accuracy even while moving they have fast firing guns or auto loaders (small clips that have very short reload times). Their armour is moderate MBT and TD will usually penetrate then where are they will provide good protection against autocannons. Light tanks are used to hunt hidden TD’s and AFV’s they can be very effective flanking heavy tanks but in a frontal engagement the MBT will overcome purely through blocking damage and having a much larger hit point pool. Always be aware of light tanks flanking ability and low armour.
Last but not Least SPG (Self Propelled Guns) artillery essentially and only playable in PvE game modes, the weakest armour of all tanks the longest reload times generally very slow and poor accuracy, also has by far the highest damage per shot of any tank, higher tier SPG can also provide smoke screens for allied players making them multi rolled a defensive and offensive weapon. Typical play style stays hidden if seen is usually destroyed very quickly.
Armoured Warfare vs World of Tank
Ok so we know about the game modes we know about the tank classes but that question still looming over its head like an ancient executioner ready to remove it head and end its existence in a single swing its name is World of Tanks, which is better, how will armoured warfare entice players over?
Well its Free-to-Play so there is nothing wrong with giving it a try it will cost you a little time to make your own judgment, it’s cheaper to run a premium account and the cost are clear, one thing I find annoying with WoT is you have to buy gold to by premium time always leaving you with spare gold, tempting you to spend it on other in game items, Armoured warfare let you buy premium time at an actual cost 30 days is £8.99 and that’s it no spare gold to waste, also there are no premium rounds in armoured warfare, yes the tanks have a range of ammo available depending on the gun they have but you cannot buy ammo which is over powered and that I love.
Premium tanks have always been an issue in WoT with newly release premium tanks being overly powerful and then getting nerfed to hell after wargaming made their money selling them by the ship load, most of Armoured Warfare’s current Premium tanks are identical to a fully upgraded existing tank like the OP-40 ICE it’s a OP-40 with a paint job, the Merkava IID has no equivalent tank and a tier 7 playing against it I wouldn’t say it was over powered yes it has good frontal armour but its sides and back are week it’s no different to fighting any other MBT other than it has a 4 shot auto loader as opposed to the usual one shot reload on MBT and ATGMs that the T90 line has. Its Damage per minute output is in line with a tier 7 MBT, but this is on early access so only time will tell.
No SPG in PvP, there is a love/hate relationship with SPG in WoT due to the one shot capabilities of them, Armoured Warfare has avoided this but allowing SPG into the game but restricting there play time to PvE only.
Ok so I get it this review is overly glowing towards Armoured Warfare and yes I am really enjoying the game so much so I haven’t played anything else since its release including WoT that I have played about 10k games on the PS4 alone but as a game it really is that good. Ok it’s not as polished as WoT but given time I’m sure it will match if not surpass it, WoT is almost a different game compared to its original release. But it’s not without its flaws there is some crashing issues they are few and far between but they happen, occasionally it will not allow you to change ammo types mid game again a rare occurrence but more of a teething problem not a huge issue (**quick fix** is to pull up the map using the touch pad and close it again).
There is also the play style im sure many would agree that Armoured Warfare has found a great middle ground between WoT arcade tank battles and the Hype relistic of War Thunder, an example its heavily armoured tank is coming for you on WoT what do you do? ” shoot the lower plate of the commanders hatch” correct, but not in Armoured Warfare, the commanders hatch much like in real life is not a weak point and hitting it will do minimal damage (about 10% of your normal damange) this goes for some of the AFV and TD’s that have unmanned turrets yes you can hit it but thee nothing there so litte damage is cause. no more one shot vehicles, SPG and FV215b 183s have no equivelent in Armoured Warfare so you can dare to flank without risking that rage inducing one shot from the infamous “DEATH STAR”.
In all honesty, I prefer Armoured Warfare it fell real enough but still fun to play, no money induced advantages like premium rounds and well its different and the respawn golbal ops PvP reall gives you fredom to push and not end up with the classic two teams bunched up around a corner from one another on WoT.
There is one issue that the developers really need to address and that is region lock, the EU and Asia seem to connect on a single server and the USA and Americas on another. Many of the potential player base is WoT players and most of my WoT community are transatlantic we play on EU when its busy or NA when EU population is low. Not having that ability to play with friends developed over many many tank battles is a deal breaker for a lot of players, coupled with the population in regions at different times. Try playing on EU at 2am on a Wednesday morning you cannot get a match for love nor money, where as the NA server is pretty populated and vice versa.
If there are latency issues fair enough most player can understand this, it’s the not knowing that open question that annoys the player base. There may be other communication channels that I’m not aware of besides twitter, Discord or the official AW forums.
Armoured Warfare is a great game with huge potential, Public Relations and Advertisement are lacking deeply many players are not aware of the games launch and the forums are littered with questions that go un answered, with it being new to console I expected more from the development team even if it was a generic document highlighting the most frequently asked questions. Granted this seems to be the case with most game developers and answering every ones questions could be full time job.
I will on behalf of the community take this opportunity to ask the only reported issue on the forum that is really relevant, about the region lock with North America and EU seaming to be the two, why is this lock in place? and is it something the can, could or will be removed at a later date?
Game Score 8.5/10
AW VS WoT Currently WoT if regions are unlocked and the full release brings in a bigger player base AW, I genuinely believe that AW has the potential to win the crown on console our demands are small, acknowledgment of our feedback and open regions.
I Will be doing some live streams of the Armoured warfare over the next week with audio my new Twitch Channel, I’m a busy guy with real life to deal with so no set schedule as of yet but most evening there should be some tank action going on. Twitch thehivehound see you there…(Please note that this is a live stream and the likelihood of profanities being used is high, young viewer and though sensitive to use of such language should not watch)