Driving a tank was probably one of the top spots on a list of every child who had ever played war with their friends. When we were kids, we had to make do with our imaginations and whatever playground equipment to imagine epic battles between heavy war machines.
Thankfully, now we can sit behind the steer of a tank without making fools of ourselves in front of kids. Plenty of video games offer the players a chance to drive different types of tanks.
World of Tanks
Without much ado, let’s start with the game that’s probably the best tank game in recent history, or at least the most popular one.
If you’ve ever watched any youtube video, you might’ve seen an ad presenting tanks barreling down battlefields, firing cannons at enemy units.
This is World of Tanks, a free-to-play MMO vehicular combat game developed by Wargaming Minsk. As a part of Wargaming’s vehicular combat game series, World of Tanks lets the player join the combat as tank crews from different countries, fighting online battles against other players. The game offers various modes – from random skirmishes and team-training battles to virtual reenactments of historical tank encounters.
WoT’s main feature is the large roster of playable vehicles. The player can choose from a variety of tank models, divided by categories. Each tank is modeled after its real-life counterpart – on the battlefield, you will see anything from American Shermans to German Tigers. The tanks can be customized with different colors, emblems, and other markings, allowing the player to create a garage of personalized vehicles.
Fans of the EA DICE series know exactly why the fourth installment of this multiplayer FPS classic ended up on our list.
Battlefield’s vehicular combat is one of the trademarks of the series. At any point during the match, the player can enter one of several vehicles located around the map. One of the types of vehicles the player can use is, of course, tanks.
The tank gameplay has gone through multiple changes throughout the series history. In BF 4, the player can use various modern tanks, equipped with different types of ordnance: main cannons and machine guns, among others. Main cannons have a limited round capacity but can be quickly reloaded from the in-vehicle rack. The player’s tank looks can also be customized with different camouflage paint – an excellent option if the player wants to set an ambush for a less observant enemy.
ARMA 3 is a tactical shooter that allows the player to participate in highly-realistic combat situations, completing various solo or multiplayer missions.
Some of these missions require the player to operate a vehicle, tanks included. Thanks to the realistic approach to gameplay presentation, the player might feel like they are actually driving a powerful war machine.
ARMA 3’s realism comes at a price. While previously mentioned battlefield would often let go of the laws of physics in favor of cool gameplay experience, ARMA 3 does no such thing. Tanks are heavy and slow, which makes them hard to maneuver at times. But when the player figures out the intricacies of driving them, they will have at their hands a nigh-invulnerable killing machine, capable of destroying enemy teams within seconds.
Company of Heroes
Unlike the previous action-packed games from our list, Company of Heroes’ RTS gameplay mechanics encourage the player to plan their moves tactically.
The game takes place during the Battle of Normandy, with the player in control of American army units fighting to liberate the region from the Nazi’s control.
Throughout the game, the player will be able to control various units, including tanks. During the campaign, the player can control only American vehicles. However, multiplayer mode lets them choose a side of the conflict and operate heavily armored German machines. Multiplayer offers several gameplay modes, including Victory Point Control and Annihilation, allowing players to enjoy the game under various conditions.
Panzer Corps 2
In this turn-based strategy, the player can choose one of several European superpowers involved in the conflict and lead them through the war to ultimate victory. The game features different scenarios, depending on the army under the player’s control, leading to unexpected outcomes.
The gameplay features include a large number of units the player can deploy against their enemies and unique mechanics that make each decision count. Throughout the battle, the player will have to deal not only with tactically advanced enemy AI but also random conditions on the battlefield. The player’s units might get stuck in the mud caused by heavy rainfall, making them an easy target for the enemy. The game offers a multiplayer mode in which the player can take on players solo or in co-op with a friend.
Valkyria Chronicles 4
Sega’s Valkyria Chronicles 4, the newest installment in the series of classic tactical-RPGs, takes the player to a fictionalized version of early-20th century Europe. Claude Wallace, the protagonist of the game, joins the Federation army along with his childhood friend Raz. Together with Leena, a young woman searching for her brother in disguise, they form a squad sent into the fight against the Empire.
The gameplay of VC 4 puts the player in charge of Squad E, made of Claude, Raz, and Leena. The player can give commands to other units using the game’s BLITZ system. These units are comprised of foot soldiers of different specializations. Making sure to strategically place soldiers and maneuver them around different battlegrounds is key to victory. Tanks play an important role in the game – they are powerful units that can decide the fate of battle but also need to be protected from receiving too much damage. If the player’s main tank is destroyed, the battle is over.
The scourges of battlefields
Games featuring tanks in some capacity are plenty, and naming them all would take a whole day. Our list presents what we consider to be the best titles for the enthusiasts of combat vehicles. Among them, you will find action-oriented games that have little to do with real-life vehicular combat and ones that require the player to finish a tank driver’s course.
But most importantly, all of these games deliver on the sheer fun of driving (or commanding) a powerful war machine capable of leveling buildings and wiping out units with ease. Nothing gives a better power trip than blasting through the enemy ranks with a 120mm cannon.