Gratuitous Tank Battles: Western Front Expansion – Review

Gratuitous Tank Battles: Western Front DLC

developed by Positech Games

Let me start off by saying that I had the opportunity to preview Gratuitous Tank Battles some time ago.  You’ll pretty much get the gist of just how much I enjoy the game and everything it features by reading through that preview, if you haven’t already done so.  With that said, it should be noted that Gratuitous Tank Battles – referred to as GTB from here on, has been updated at least half a dozen times since it’s release, and while most of the core gameplay has been left intact, a number of tweaks, enhancements, and unit balancing has been implemented along the way in order to make GTB a more robust and ultimately satisfying experience.  Now that the Gratuitous Tank Battles: Western Front has been released, I’ve been given the opportunity to take it for a spin and review it.Gratuitous Tank Battles is an innovative spin on the Tower Defense genre.  Not only do you play the part of the defender, who must fight of a swarm of oncoming attackers, but GTB allows you to play the part of the attacker as well.  This potentially gives you a game with twice the amount of replay value.  If you enjoy Gratuitous Tank Battles, or Gratuitous Space Battles for that matter, then you’ll kind of know what to expect with GTB: Western Front.  The gameplay itself hasn’t changed much, but with the addition of a new WWII scenario, an all new singleplayer campaign, 8 new maps, 5 new unit components to unlock, and 16 new tank units in total, GTB packs a lot of punch in this affordable add-on.

This time around, you’ll take control of the patriotic Americans, or the German war machine. Unlike the main game of GTB, Western Front starts off in a more realistic setting of WWII but slowly ramps up to include the fictional sci-fi hardware found in the original game.  You don’t get to start off with Mechs or laser beams this time.  Western Front makes up for it’s heavy metal in the form of thunderous WWII tanks and mobile weaponry.  These new tanks look more authentic to the era and resemble the steel beasts they’re based off of.  These additions aren’t gratuitous, but they certainly add an extra layer of supplementary depth to the gameplay, increasing the amount of explosive good fun that GTB already contains.

The new campaign features a somewhat forgettable narrative in story terms, and that story doesn’t really require the players attention, but if you have a sense of humor you’ll definitely appreciate the extra mile that Positech Games has gone in adding the humor behind the story, which is based on a  somewhat exaggerated version of the events of WWII.  It’s tasteful fun that the game pokes at itself, and it shows that although GTB is based off a WWII setting, the gameplay is never meant to be taken too seriously aside from it’s strategic aspects.

The real meat of GTB and Western Front is in not only it’s strategic gameplay, but also it’s unit customization and the players experimentation with the various components that can be unlocked throughout the game.  It’s a unique blend that you won’t find in other Tower Defense games, and it’s what sets GTB apart from the rest of the genre.  This, and the fact that you can play as both offense and defense, will give players an incredibly absorbing experience unlike any other Tower Defense game out there.  With the addition of the Western Front expansion, players get more of what already makes GTB a great indie game experience all-around.

The graphics and sound are very similar, with a few extra coats of paint in the form of new tank units, but aside from that it still looks and sounds like GTB.  The cosmetic side of GTB doesn’t need to change very much if the gameplay represented doesn’t warrant it, but Western Front does expand on these features ever so slightly to separate itself from the main game.  If you like the graphics of GTB then you’ll still like them in Western Front, if you’re not really a fan of the graphics in the original game, then the expansion won’t really turn you into a fan.Conclusion:
Gratuitous Tank Battles: Western Front, packs just enough gameplay to satisfy returning GTB players while enticing newcomers with it’s Steel mammoths and their powerful cannons.  The new campaign and extra goodies are being sold for an affordable and fair price.  This expansion will extend the gameplay by a good 4 – 5 hours if you enjoy challenging yourself to the different difficulty settings while using both the attackers and defenders, but gameplay could easily be extended into weeks and months, especially if you enjoy customization, experimentation, and the strategy involved in applying these features.  Pair that with the fact that you can download new player made maps, modules, challenges, and online features, and you’re left with a significant amount of gameplay that could have you coming back many times, even a couple of years after buying the game!

You can purchase Gratuitous Tank Battles and the Western Front expansion by clicking on the respective links and going to their website.  I strongly urge you to pick up this strategy game especially if you’re a fan of the Tower Defense genre.  If you’ve been interested in the genre but have not yet taken the plunge, then there’s no better game to start with because once you learn GTB you’ll be able to run circles around other games within the genre.  You might also like to know that you can purchase Gratuitous Tank Battles and it’s expansion via Steam.  If you’re still undecided then be sure to strap up your boots, put on your helmet, and give the free playable demo a try!

[ 8 / 10 ]


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