At the Microsoft after-party on Monday night, we checked out the recently announced Xbox 360 version of World of Tanks. A massive hit on the PC, the game is an MMO that features armored warfare with 15 players per team fighting it out in a variety of game modes. Though we saw some game footage during the Microsoft press briefing earlier in the day, we got some hands-on time with it at the after-party.
The first noticeable thing was that tanks seem to handle more nimbly and move more quickly than their PC counterparts. The idea is that the gameplay will have a faster pace, yet still follow the same mold as the PC version. All of the features present in the PC version, such as mounting different equipment or fretting over which crew skills to pick, are all making the jump to the console version. When asked, the developers told us that nothing would be cut from the game, and instead of being a port, the game has simply been redesigned with the console player in mind. The GUI has been designed around the "10 feet" mentality to allow players on the couch to easily see their ammo counts and make sense of the minimap.
The game uses the same server back-end as the PC version, although there will be no cross-platform play in any capacity. The console version is effectively its own game, although the goal is to keep both of them at roughly the same patch level so there is cohesion between the two. While there is still the gold premium currency that can be purchased with real money and used to acquire premium tanks, the premium account mode does not exist on the console version. In addition, there are no limitations on how many people you can platoon with, other than simply how many people you have in your Xbox Live party.
As someone who is familiar with the PC version of the game, I felt that the gameplay was right at home in World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition. Tanks take component damage, their mobility affects their accuracy reticle, and overall, it was easy to see that the console iteration contains all of the gameplay functionality from the PC version. We were told that the game will be going into open beta relatively shortly, with an actual release coming about a month after that, and the game will be free to play. For people who haven't yet gotten in on the action, Xbox 360 owners can check out World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition this summer.
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