Sometimes, an honest, eager person gets on your good side a lot quicker than any attempt of another guy to pander to you. Between two people selling you something, I find it much easier to believe people that are showing me directly what I’m going to get rather than those that leave some details left to be filled by my imagination. Like how you’re more likely to buy food off someone offering samples than somebody who keeps promising that the food is actually good. ‘Girls und Panzer’ produces a game and runs up to you like an eager promo girl and doesn’t appear to be hiding anything behind what they’re initially selling. This straight up honest approach made it that much easier to be on board despite how I regard media from this kind of genre.
Girls und Panzer Dream Tank Match (GuP DTM) pretty much takes whatever the anime is and applies what they can to what most would probably refer to as World of Tanks. Is a fresh coat of anime girls, along with a few mechanical twists, going to make a tank game any less enjoyable? To my surprise, perhaps not. Let’s break it down with what we first might find appalling, the look.
Production (3 / 5)
GuP DMT doesn’t really do anything revolutionary on the PlayStation 4. Generally some level of refined cell shading and modern modelling techniques is pretty much all the title needed, considering that the most action the girls will do is basically stick their heads out of a tank’s top hatch it, it appears to be appropriate. The tanks themselves look pretty convincing to be in anime form, moving rather clumsily and in such a way that you can feel their various bulkiness and weight. On the other hand, maps don’t seem to be given quite the same level of attention to detail as they don’t have much to show in terms of detail and features. I was more likely to refer to them in terms of their layout rather than their look.
Girls und Panzer tries to keep it simple when it’s not going to be about the tanks even when the focus are the girls themselves. Presenting conversations in what some may see as the ‘VN format,’ some might think it could have done better. It does help, however, that a lot of every conversation has been voiced, which is a fair thing to enjoy if you’re not in a rush to get to the next point of the game. Also, while not exactly original, much of the catchy marching music has been brought in. Exactly what plays depends on who’s on screen as usual, and personally I’ve taken a liking to the Russian themed one, but I digress.
Mechanics (4 / 5)
I mentioned earlier that this title plays out a lot like World of Tanks and it does, along with kinda jank tank controls. With the usual problem of the direction you’re facing not matching which direction is forward for a tank. Now while this can be annoying, it can also be taken as what it actually takes to handle a tank. But what it adds on top of this is what makes Girls und Panzer a little more about the girls.
Completing matches, missions, or other play modes in this game will net you one of two things. A crew member for your tank or an entirely new tank itself. Now if tanks were to set the base stats of how the vehicle will perform, the crew will modify the stats of the tank and even present their own abilities which either further strengthen the stats or present some sort of unique passive such as faster reload speeds or making it harder to get detected. Then there are the captain abilities that can only be used once the tank’s special bar is full. I’m actually not entirely sure what it does but it does seem to buff up the tank’s stats or at least make it tougher while also activating the tank captain’s ability, which differs per girl. In fact, getting certain combinations net you additional bonuses, making mixing and matching tank crews a very tempting prospect for those who like to min-max whatever they have.
While the controls are a little difficult, generally how most of how the game works is pretty easy to pick up, allowing me to focus more on how I want to play rather than figuring out which button does what. Most of how the game works is pretty easy to catch onto while simply playing it and that just lets you focus on what might be in store for us next.
Content (4 / 5)
Most of the missions present in Girls und Panzer Dream Tank Match appear to be based on events from the anime. From there you’d think there’s not much to find, but there was actually a lot of variety in what to do from the story missions. There’s also a clear idea of how each mission would pace the challenges ahead for the player.
Yes, there’s a lot of VN scenes before and after each mission which you don’t have to necessarily watch each scene as you rarely need the context of their conversation to actually understand what you have to do.
Whether it’s doing a sniping battle, hiding or surviving from a pursuing force, getting through a strict driving course, or just the traditional brawl. GuP DTM gives generous offerings.
Each tank is either a slight modification or a huge departure from your typical tank. Some can’t even turn its turret around, or even have an actual cannon, while others try to put as many guns on it as possible, to the point that there’s not enough buttons to map them all. Even how they move, turn or stand up to damage are all also unique to every tank. Having so many of them within the game makes it a bit exciting to find out just what each tank is capable of. Which is a bit of a personal gripe for me, while there is the fact that there is none of the reviled micro-transaction scheme here, the sheer amount to unlock is quite staggering. As there are at least a hundred tank types, multiply that by 5 for the tank crew, then assume each of them has at least rarity types. It hurts a little that there doesn’t’ seem to be a reliable way of farming for better crew cards or just focusing on getting tanks, but hey, at least it’s free. Maybe if there was a default set of tanks already available from the get-go or you can unlock more than one of them at a time would make the idea of unlocking all of them a little less daunting.
Features (3.5 / 5)
Online play seems to be a focus of GuP DTM as it generally works easily and you can bring your custom tanks to battle to see how well you can pulverize the opposition. In the few times I managed to get a match out, I learned that it’s possible to shoot out tank shells as if you were just using a handgun. So yes, the Japanese players seem to have quite the builds in this game already. So maybe you’d rather go with private lobbies first. On the flipside, I could tell that all the punishment I was receiving for daring to step into online matches unprepared was pretty much real time, and not coming in a bulk of lagged tank shells that I had yet to receive, so kudos to net code!
You can also customize the look of your tank by finding and shooting teddy bears found hidden in the various stages of the game. While you can’t customize your tank’s base color (from so far as I can tell, all I ever got were decals), pasting your favorite girl’s face on the tank might motivate you to get hit a lot less in battle.
Girls und Panzer Dream Tank Match is a game with quite a bit of fun to be had with. That is, if you’re willing to risk the silent judgment of your mom once she catches you playing the game. Thankfully it never seems to cross into riskier territory in terms of what the girls do.
If you allow it to do it’s thing, you’ll soon find yourself with the same problems as what most fans of do. Which girl is, indeed, best? Tanks included.
Somehow managing to balance various elements of the game, it’s quite satisfying you actually get what was advertised on the box. A tank battle game featuring girls and their tanks.
Girls und Panzer Dream Tank Match rides out in high spirits, scoring a 3.7 / 5.