There’s something absolutely fascinating about tanks, isn’t there? There’s a World War Two Sherman Tank parked outside of a historic armory near where I live and whenever I drive by I always have to take a second to admire it. In some ways, tanks—even the outdated WW2 versions—feel like the ultimate machine of war. So it’s only natural that video games would want to emulate the experience of sitting huddled inside of one exchanging fire with enemy tanks or suppressing infantry units.
Sadly, games that feature driveable tanks are few and far between—even more so if you’re looking for good games. But with World of Tanks, hot tank-on-tank action (don’t Google that) is better and more accessible than ever. But being a free to play game, World of Tanks can also be excessively grindy. That might turn you off, or maybe you’ve just sapped all the fun you can manage out of World of Tanks and want games that offer something similar but with their own unique twists. If that’s the case, here are four games like World of Tanks!
Here at Games Like, I try my best to recommend games with a balance between familiar concepts and new ideas. Sometimes I venture off into really weird territory based on a hunch I have. Other times, such as this, I recommend games that are pretty much just the same game. Armored Warfare isn’t “just like” World of Tanks, it’s practically identical. And no, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The biggest difference between the two games is that World of Tanks employs the use of tanks that were in service around and during World War Two. Armored Warfare, on the other hand, is all about modern tank warfare. While many of the motions (and controls) will feel overly familiar for fans of World of Tanks, Armored Warfare also makes some significant departures from the multiplayer only battles of the former. Instead of always being locked into battle against human opponents, Armored Warfare has various co-op missions you can undertake according to which vehicle you are currently using. It’s a unique concept, but don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s a perfect supplement to the player-versus-player battles. At the end of the day, Armored Warfare is, like World of Tanks, ultimately a game about blowing up your fellow man.
Being set in the modern era also allows for some nifty twists to the formula of World of Tanks, chiefly in the technology you can make use of while piloting your fancy modern-era machine of death. You’re not just reliant on communication and plain eyesight to identify your targets, but can make use of thermal vision, UAV drones, and more to help give you an edge in battle. Of course, your opponents will have the same technology at their disposal.
Finally, while World of Tanks is still a great looking game, Armored Warfare makes use of a modified CryEngine to stunning effect. The visuals are gorgeous and the game knows it. If that matters to you, it might help sway you in this particular direction.
Armored Warfare is currently in open beta, so you can jump in and play it now without much hassle. You should do that, the game is nifty.
If you’re looking at the WW2 multiplayer simulator space, the other big game game like World of Tanks is War Thunder, which does what World of Tanks does but with planes (it’s also worth noting that Wargaming have other games in this genre, namely World of Warplanes and World of Warships. That’s a lot of worlds). But here’s the thing, War Thunder wasn’t content in ruling the skies, and so they created a massive expansion pack that now includes vehicular ground combat in addition to its already stellar combat flight sim. That’s impressive.
One of the more unique features of War Thunder is the way it segregates the game between different levels of authenticity. If you’re a die hard pilot or tank driver (is that what they’re called?) and you want the most realistic experience possible, that is available to you. For us whelps who just want to make things go boom and not have to worry about all that fancy mumbo jumbo realism, there’s more casual game modes you can play that scale back on the hardcore elements.
But like World of Tanks, War Thunder is free to play and isn’t afraid to make you work for your upgrades. Sure, you can purchase stuff to help skip the grind but if you’re like me and would rather die than part with your money, you’re going to have to expect a very big investment before you start to unlock the coolest planes and tanks in the game.
While World of Tanks is certainly popular, War Thunder feels like a much bigger game in some respects. The combined land and air battles are suitably epic in scale and they mesh together extremely well. If you’re a WW2 buff and want your vehicular combat fix, War Thunder is the place to be.
But what if you love all the technical, slower paced play but just aren’t that into historical or even modern eras? What if you like World of Tanks but prefer if the tanks had legs instead of treads, and fired lasers instead of artillery shells? You should probably be playing MechWarrior Online then, because it is exactly that.
Set in the expansive Battletech universe, MechWarrior Online takes the thrilling and tactical mech combat and drops you right into the pilot seat of your own hulking mech. Like World of Tanks, combat is slow paced and rewards teamwork and communication very well.
One of the biggest aspects about MechWarrior Online that I love is the way the game treads similar water to EVE Online with its in-depth customization options that allow you to tweak the setup of your mech. If the idea becoming a giant robot mechanic sounds fun, MechWarrior’s garage mode will be perfect for you.
When it comes to gameplay, there’s really only two different modes you can mess around in. There’s the basic matchmaking, which will group you into teams on a random assortment of maps and different game modes that everyone in the match will vote on beforehand. Secondly, there’s the community (or clan) warfare, a persistent war between in-game clans to control various planets. For starters, the basic matchmaking is much more approachable for those who haven’t invested a ton of time into the game, with community warfare being much more of an endgame.
Like World of Tanks, MechWarrior Online is extremely dependent on positioning, communication, and precise targeting. Every mech has different hard-points and weaknesses, with each part of the body taking damage individually. You’re able to destroy arms, ammo packs, or just go straight for the cockpit for a vicious headshot.
Also like World of Tanks, MechWarrior Online can be a huge grind, which is no fun. But if you don’t expect to own every mech in the game, there’s still a really solid foundation to have a ton of fun with. And even the starter mechs can devastate when used correctly.
Unlike others on this list, PlanetSide 2 isn’t nearly as concerned with realism. Its mission is to deliver epic sci-fi battles on alien planets. The good news is that it succeeds marvelously. Being the only game on this list to focus more on infantry combat than vehicular (though they are still massive components of the game) PlanetSide 2 is still a fantastic game for those who appreciate incorporating tactics into their play.
PlanetSide 2’s massive maps and battles are best enjoyed as part of a squad with other people. If you’re willing to communicate (or even lead), the experience becomes much more satisfying than running around as a lone grunt trying to capture objectives and push the enemy back.
The sheer scope of the game can be really enchanting too, especially when squads work together to form massive armies that clash against enemy forces. Because PlanetSide 2 is more of an MMORPG than most games like World of Tanks, which operate more like a traditional multiplayer game with isolated matches, battles can sometimes last hours as you struggle to attack or defend the various fortifications found on the alien worlds.
Though it might lack the depth of being able to target specific areas of a vehicle to deal damage, there’s still a ton of customization to every gun and vehicle in the game. And, just like War Thunder, there’s a blend between land and air warfare that mixes beautifully with the infantry combat.
Like World of Tanks, PlanetSide 2 is also free to play, but it’s actually far more friendly in many ways than most of the games on this list. For starters, it’s well known that the starting guns you receive are usually the best ones for that class. The alternatives you can purchase for in-game currency (or real money) aren’t better, just different. PlanetSide 2 doesn’t feel nearly as stingy with its upgrades either, especially early on. If you’re smart and save up, you can easily buy most of the augments that’ll help increase your survivability in the field. And as always, being a good shot will win you battles more often than having a fancy gun.
If you’re a gearhead who loves the idea of driving machines of war across big, open maps, any of these games mentioned above are going to do just the trick. The fact that all of them are free to play means that trying out any of them comes virtually risk free, even if their best goodies are locked behind paywalls or steep time investments. What are some of your favorite tank or vehicle warfare games? Did we miss anything awesome on this list? Let us know in the comments!Related: Armored Warfare, Column, Games Like, MechWarrior Online, MMO, Planetside 2, Vehicle Combat, War Thunder, World of Tanks