world of tanks
Giving tanks for the memories with World Of Tanks’ single-player, alt history War Stories campaign
War is hell, I’m told, but if the approximation of conflict in World Of
Tanks is anything to go by, it’s also ridiculously good fun as well. Here in the game’s new-ish single-player campaign, I’m getting a taste of what it’s like to take the infamous M4 Sherman tank into the cauldron of the Eastern Front. It lacks the cinematic polish of
Call Of Duty WW2 or Battlefield 1’ s armored tales for sure, but you can’t knock developer Wargaming’s eye for sheer authenticity.
Rolling across Romanian hillsides, the mean-looking cannon on our mobile armor roars with every blast, a shell detonating on a distant enemy tank while the crew within our battered hull reloads with a satisfying yet purposefully protracted set of clunks and bangs. Fields of wheat sway as winds whip across the rural landscape, an awe-inspiring panorama that almost gets me blown to smithereens as a phalanx of enemy armor lob cannon fire at me.
I’m rolling my way through the first of War Stories’ solo/co-op campaigns, the 1944-set Brothers In Armor, as I prepare to lock horns with the firepower of the Axis in the oftoverlooked Battle of Romania. It’s a brief skirmish, a tutorial of sorts to get me familiar with the minutia of
World Of Tanks’ vehicular combat, but the real fun starts when War Stories breaks away from the facts…
A war game devoid of factual accuracy? Alternative history? I’ve never seen the like! Okay, we’ve all seen the alt history take a fair few times, but not in the way Wargaming approaches the far meatier ‘Flashpoint Berlin’ mission that follows. Pushed into the Cold War, I’m dropped into the infamous Berlin Blockade. In real life, the Soviets attempted to block the rest of the Allies from reaching key sections of the fallen German capital, leading to the ‘Berlin Airlift’ where 200,000 flights helped resupply the strangled citizens within. However, in this timeline that airlift fails, so it’s up to me and some other British steel to accompany a supply convoy into Soviet territory. It’s certainly not as tough as the PvP meat and potatoes of the core World Of Tanks experience, but then it isn’t trying to be. It’s both a taster session for the shell-exchanging, building-demolishing deathmatches found on its online servers and a vanguard for the game’s evolving future. And it’s so much fun. The alt-history angle works really well, and with five different campaigns already added to its library, WOT has finally given its rigid online shooter template a much-needed sense of diversity. It works best in co-op, using one tank to draw enemy fire while you sneak around to flank them. Shooting out tracks is endlessly satisfying, especially when facing a heavy tank beast, waiting as my crosshairs begin to shrink, those precious seconds bringing me closer to a killing blow— while opening myself up to the same.
War Stories certainly isn’t that cinematic by design—it’s really just some VO, some comic book-style intros and some new environments— but it’s how I tell that story that feels so much grander. Killing other tanks and claiming strategic points is standard WOT fare, but it feels that bit more special when you’re carefully hunting through the ruined streets of Berlin and London, waiting for the inevitable ambush in a history that’s been twisted in a new direction.
“It works best in co-op, using one tank to draw enemy fire while you sneak around to flank them”