Cute girls doing cute things in tanks, that is what sums up Girls und Panzer as a franchise. A weird combination I know, but it just so happens to make good money. With how big the franchise has gotten since the anime in 2012, making a game is a logical step to keep fans sated. They already released one in 2014 but that was on the PSVita and a Japan exclusive. Fast forward to 2018, here we are with Girls und Panzer: Dream Tank Match on the PS4 and you can get it in English if you live in Asia.
Dream Tank Match does not have the semi-realism that World of Tanks and War Thunder have, which is not the aim of the game, but it tries to keep some of the nuances of tank combat in the gameplay. You can still knock out the tracks immobilizing the enemy tank, the player must angle their armor to mitigate damage, side and rear shots do more damage and each tank comes with their own weak spots. The “realism” ends there and comes the arcade experience. Gone are specific armor zones, different shell types, so on. Overall nothing was lost from not having those realistic aspects, and it makes for a good arcade experience.
Platform Reviewed: PS4
Platforms Available: PS4
Developer: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Release Date: February 27, 2018
This review is based on a review copy provided by Bandai Namco Entertainment.
Dream Tank Match’s story is a recap of Girls und Panzer der Film under the guise of creating a promotional video. That said, compared to most recaps which are a 1:1 copies, the game does put effort at being a commentary on the events that happened. Characters would talk about their experience and struggle in a visual novel presentation (wall of text) and it’s a godsend that everything is voice acted even if it is in Japanese. It’s a fan service game, what were you going to expect? I do wish though that for certain scenes they would have just ripped footage from the movie rather than rely on still images. Still, it does strike a nerve at how throwaway the story missions are and it does not help how scripted the missions are and how brain-dead the AI is. I will not kid you when I say you can drive circles around the AI and they cannot fight back.
Aside from Story missions, there is Domination, Extra Missions, Free Match and Multiplayer. Domination is a mini-campaign that lets you play as any of the introduced school from the series, Extra Missions are additional missions with dubious difficulties, Free Match is the custom arena the player sets up and when you get tired of shooting fish in a barrel, Multiplayer.
Multiplayer has two game modes: Annihilation and Flag Battle, both of which are also the modes used throughout the franchise. Annihilation is team deathmatch with limited points used as respawns, and whoever has the most points remaining wins. Flag Battle is a bit different with 1 tank on each team appointed as the flag tank that must be destroyed to win. Honestly if you want to have fun with this game, go play the multiplayer. Just the fact that your opponents think and react makes it so much better. It is a shame that the mode only supports 3 vs 3, but it has so many possibilities. Why it does not even support the bare 6 vs 6, I do not know. Do note that I believe Multiplayer is peer to peer due to obvious lag from other players, so your mileage may vary
Dream Tank Match is a game for fans of the series. I would recommend watching the anime and movie first before buying this game, but I cannot stop you if this is your thing. For what it is though, the game does what it was supposed to do competently and has its bright spots. If you really want to play a proper tank game, I’d point you to World of Tanks and War Thunder (you can mod your tanks to look like the Girls und Panzer tanks), but if you are that super fan this game is for you. Nearly forgot to mention that you can decal your tanks all over with your favorite characters.