Armored Warfare impressions piece provided on account of early access key provided by the My.com. The Vehicle MMO is currently available to play via early access on PS4 ahead of its full release on February 20, 2018.
Perhaps more than anything else, the first thing you notice about Armored Warfare is just how physical everything feels. As I carefully guided my PT-76 light tank through one of the few patches of undergrowth that were strewn around the urban metropolis turned warzone I found myself in, the crunch of the grass and vegetation beneath the rugged tracks of my tank was palpable.
Going further than just the mere incidental interactions you have with the world around you, the feeling of physicality when you fire off a shell and it rips out of your cannon, shaking your tank and spreading smoke in its wake is also something that only Armored Warfare can lay claim to. That feeling of heft and weight, however, is just one part of the formula that the developers behind Armored Warfare have employed to ensure its success.
Armored Warfare impressions – a deft marriage of fury and tactics
Unlike its genre contemporaries in both World of Tanks and War Thunder, Armored Warfare puts its right foot forward straight away by easing the player into its fold, not by bombarding them with screen upon screen of menus and stats but by providing a simple, interactive and effortless tutorials that do a commendable job of getting the player to learn the ropes.
Beyond the basics that the hand-holding tutorials teach you, actual combat in Armored Warfare reveals itself to be a deceptively deep and satisfying pursuit whereupon success is gained as much by twitch action skill, as it is by careful planning and tactics. In the PVE mission mode, where you can team up with fellow players to take on opposing AI enemies and complete objectives, collaborative tactics aren’t just a nicety; they are a necessity. Whether you’re coordinating a pincer flanking manoeuvre to finish off a particularly resilient foe or creating choke points to guard routes of egress on an escort mission, Armored Warfare is all about marrying reflexes with tactical acumen.
Beyond the additional tactical possibilities afforded by the presence of friendly units, Armored Warfare also rewards players who know both their vehicle and the environment that they are traversing over in equal measure. Each tank for example, is capable of firing certain kinds of munitions that in turn have varying armor penetration properties and cooldown ratios. Likewise, other types of vehicles such as reconnaissance class vehicles are required to fulfill a different role in battle; to stand from afar spotting potential dangers for the more capable tanks while occasionally peppering unsuspecting foes from with support artillery.
In terms of the environment, it really does pay to know your surroundings. In addition to the obvious strategic benefits proffered by attacking from elevated positions such as atop hills and mountainsides, it also behooves you to make the most out of the various man made buildings and infrastructure which litter across each of Armored Warfare’s sprawling maps. With that in mind, caution is advised; though a set of buildings might seem attractive to commandeer as a bulwark against incoming attacks, such structures are not indestructible, and thanks to Armored Warfare’s detailed building destruction physics, it only takes one or two shells for your cover to be literally blown.
Away from the PvE modes and the handful of missions that are currently available in the early access build of the game, it’s actually in the all-encompassing Global Operations PvP mode that Armored Warfare arguably showcases the lions share of its considerable promise. Most similar in concept and execution to the Galactic Conquest mode in Star Wars Battlefront II, or the evergreen Conquest mode seen in EA’s mainline Battlefield franchise, Global Operations pits players against one another in an epic mini-campaign where each map dynamically increases in size and AI bots fill in additional numbers to make the scope of the battle feel that much more epic.
Clearly the centerpiece of Armored Warfare, Global Operations not only introduces a number of changes from the PvE Mission modes such as infinite respawns and specialized objectives, but it also brings the concept of ‘Wildcards’ to the table which can adversely affect the outcome of any Global Operations game. Once captured by driving your vehicle into the Wildcard capture zone, each Wildcard effectively acts as a special support unit that you can deploy on the map. From Pillboxes that harass your enemies with devastating ATGM projectiles and supply zones that repair and restock your vehicle through to drones that can provide highly useful surveillance on the location of your enemies, each and every Wildcard that you collect has its purpose and should be leveraged accordingly.
Away from the selection of modes that Armored Warfare presents players with, it’s also crucial that we touch upon the manner in which game goes about implementing its progression and monetisation model, because this is a free-to-play game after all. In Armored Warfare there are two currencies, Credits and Gold. In the case of the former, Credits are mostly earned from battle and the quantity that is awarded to the player is tied entirely to their contribution to the battle in question. In terms of that contribution, players can boost their Credits haul by damaging enemies, destroying enemies, spotting enemies and completing objectives to name just a handful of the ways that Credits can be gained. In addition, players can boost the amount of Credits that they receive by scooping up login bonuses, supply crates and daily challenges, too.
Thankfully, Credits are used to purchase just about everything you’ll end up using in Armored Warfare. Including everything from ammunition and vehicles, to consumables and vehicle upgrades, the wide use and appropriation of Credits in Armored Warfare ensures that players who don’t want to spend a dime of real-life money can do so and still get a whole lot of progression and value from the game.
Gold, on the other hand, is the premium currency of Armored Warfare that can mostly only be bought with real world funds (with the exception of the occasional event or login reward), and is used to purchase premium items or to accelerate progression. Not obtainable with Credits, premium vehicles can be purchased with Gold and though they technically aren’t superior to other vehicles of a similar class, they do provide a substantial buff to the credits and reputation that you earn whenever you use them in battle.
Elsewhere, not only can Gold be used to ‘Battle Harden’ non-premium vehicles to boost their reputation and experience gain, it can also be splashed out on a Premium Account membership which provides an additional credit and reputation boost on a per match basis, too. Finally, and functioning very much how the paid progression model works on games like EA’s Battlefield 1, Gold can also be used accelerate progression by allowing the player to gain additional Reputation which in turn can be used to unlock new vehicles and upgrades. Speaking of Reputation, though Armored Warfare’s sole means of unlocking new vehicles and upgrades can be bought with currency, it’s important to make clear that Reputation is still largely earned on the battlefield, much like Credits, by spotting enemies, destroying enemies and completing objectives.
It also doesn’t hurt that, even at such an early stage in its development, that Armored Warfare makes a good technical impression as the developers are clearly making the most of the CryEngine3 middleware that underpins its visual presentation. Certainly, on PS4 and PS4 Pro alike there are some detailed tank models, nice incidental graphical effects and most importantly of all, a stable and rock solid framerate that ensures the whole experience runs at a smooth clip on both PS4 and PS4 Pro.
As it is, Armored Warfare is an impressive and ambitious take on vehicle warfare. Though we’re still in early days with the game, the robust player support and content road map that the developer has in place is hugely encouraging, and just on the evidence of this sample alone, Armored Warfare is shaping up to be real contender for the online multiplayer battle crown.
If you enjoyed these Armored Warfare impressions, why not take a peek at our interview with the developers behind the game, My.com.
Armored Warfare is currently in early access until February 20th whereupon it will enter general release. Folks who own Founder’s Packs can access the early access version of the game right now, while those that don’t can check out our article about the Founder’s Packs, here.
To pick up a Founder’s Pack, or to find out more about Armored Warfare, check out the official site.