Girls und Panzer: Dream Tank Match (PlayStation 4)

  • Gameplay
  • Story
  • Visuals
  • Audio
  • Entertainment
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Review written by Stephen Deck; originally published 10/27/2018 on Teacher by Day, Gamer by Night

Girls und Panzer: Dream Tank Match is a tank combat game based on the anime film, but since my first time hearing about Girls und Panzer, in general, was when I impulse bought this on Play-Asia, so I’m going to ignore that for the most part.  The story, unfortunately, is more or less completely incomprehensible if you’re not familiar with the source material.  It’s told in a flashback sort of manner; there’s some festival following a big tournament of some sorts that was depicted in a movie, and the girls who participated in the tournament are telling stories of their experiences, and those stories are told through the game’s levels.  After the third level, though, I gave up on having any idea what was going on other than “Cute anime girls blow each other up in tanks to learn how to be good women, wives, and mothers.”  But there is, at the end of the day, lots of cute anime girls blowing each other up in tanks, so do you really NEED to understand what’s going on?

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The game’s different stages have different objectives.  Some levels require you to destroy all of the enemy tanks, some will require you to reach a certain area, some will require you to survive for a certain amount of time, etc.  Between the varying objectives and the variety of tanks that you’re made to use, the levels are different enough from one another to keep from becoming stale.  Unfortunately, while the game doesn’t become stale per se, it never really “grips” you, or at the very least, it never really gripped me.  The gameplay is fun enough, but because familiarity with the source material is so important to understand what’s going on, it’s hard to get into the game.

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The visuals and sound design are about what you’d expect from a run of the mill weeb anime game – decent.  They’re not great.  They’re not terrible.  They’re just decent.  The graphics push the PS4’s capabilities in no way, shape, or form, but the models are smooth with nice animations.  The voice acting is good, and the soundtrack is fine.  That’s the problem, though – nothing about the game’s presentation ever surpasses “fine.”  It’s entirely dependent on the concept of cute anime girls blowing each other up with tanks.  Which, in fairness, is exactly why I bought the game, so job well done at hooking your target demographic, but the actual overall quality of the game?  Eh.  It’s fine.

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With my affinity for games revolving entirely around anime girls, I really want to love this game.  I want to say that it pushes the envelope of what thirsty neckbeard gaming can be.  I want to be able to recommend it not just to forever-alone types like but to gamers in general.  Unfortunately, I can’t do that.  The gameplay itself is fun enough, but I can’t say that it’s fun enough to recommend.  Given that the only English language release is an Asian import, it’s not exactly a bargain bin game, and the game’s overall quality is solidly bargain bin.  It’s on the high end of the bargain bin, sure, but it’s still bargain bin.  Truthfully, I wouldn’t pay more than $15 for this game, and I doubt we’ll see the price drop that much.  Unless you’re already a fan of Girls und Panzer, I just can’t recommend this game.  If you are a fan, then maybe there’s something here for you, but for newcomers to the IP like me?  Pass.

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