Well, after a long grind of like 5 months and some extensions of BPs which meant I didn't have to whale I finally got the final BP reward, the ZTZ-20. After playing it a few times I found it pretty insane, especially in the armor departmen, so here a quick and dirty review.
Well, let's start with the survivability. Let's just say it's pretty insane. Especially against AP. Even the best AP with 950mm penetration (Panzer 87 AP) cannot penetrate this tank frontally when on even ground. You will see a weakspot to the sides when you angle to around 60 degrees. The rear quarter of the tank can be penetrated quite easily, so try to not show too much of your sides. Reference the following screenshots:
So how is the surviviabilty against heat then? Well, still good but slightly less good. On even ground relatively weak HEAT, like the K2's HEAT with 920mm penetration can penetrate your lfp. However this time around you can show a lot more side armor. Although the rear part is still weak. You can show about 45 degrees of angle before your sides start getting weak. And if you have truly high pen HEAT like the AFT's 1400mm atgms, the front gets very weak. Reference the following screenshots:
So how do I actually take such a vehicle down when I meet it? Well, as you could've guessed you should switch to HEAT and try to pen the LFP. This also regularly takes 1 or 2 crew members with it. Shooting up into the LFP also seems to work quite well. Furthermore PISH works wonders against this tank and often takes down a bunch of crewmembers and modules with it. (As can also be seen on the screenshot that follows this text block.) Also especially in PvE you can have issues with your gun being shot off, especially by snipers for some reason.
But really all in all the armor is really good and you can get insane blocked scores like the following, which was just done in a regular Desert Fox game:
Not only the armor is good, the turret is also unmanned and you have a decent hardkill APS with 30s cooldown and 8 charges. Not the best in the world, but it will surely do it's job. It doesn't have APS softkill. It has 3400 hitpoints, which is on par with something like the Type 99a2 or K2. It also has smoke with 16 charges for some reason. It's inside a 2-smoke mag with a 3 second reload between both smokes and a 25s reload for the mag. This is very good for an mbt, although I have 0 reason why it deserves it.
This vehicle is quite special in the fact that it has the option to choose from 2 guns. The 125mm that can also be found in the Type 99a2 and the 140mm that can also be found in the Type 99a2-140. The stats of the 125mm are as follows:
So it has a 720 alpha AP shell with 825mm of pen. This pen is quite low for the tier, but very workable. You also have a HEAT round with 930 alpha and 1000mm of pen. This is the same insane HEAT round as can be found on the Type 99a2 and it's very good. With a rammer this will give 7170 dpm using AP and 9261 dpm using HEAT. I will come back to the ATGMs in a second.
The stats of the 140mm are as follows:
As can be seen, you have slightly more pen on the AP rounds, with 945 alpha to spare. Your HEAT rounds however have slightly less pen with 950mm, but a higher alpha with 1181. This is however still very workable. The dpm is slightly less than using the 125mm gun with, using a rammer 6775 AP dpm and 8467 HEAT dpm.
Now the atgms, these are WP atgms which means they give WP damage like on arties. They have a 25s reload time for 4 atgms, with a 1.5 intra-clip reload and partial reload. This ATGMS just in general feel like they are pretty bad and get about 200 damage a missile from WP damage. The launcher has horrible elevation and depression angles, which can mean that atgms might go into the ground right in front of you. All in all, this feels like a pretty meh gimmick and totally not worth the tradeoff of not having HE rounds.
Now, I haven't yet talked about depression and elevation agnles, like the 99a2 series this is 7 degrees of depression, which can be quite awkward at times. And 14 degrees of elevation, which is fine. However, while playing spec ops you run into issues with difficulties killing infantry that is located far above you.
To compare the mobility with a few other t10 MBTs we have the following statistics: (note that all these statistics are using filters since you apparently cannot compare the stock build on premium vehicles)
This means that the ZTZ basically has 99a2-140 mobility. Second only to the Object 640 in practice. While playing it, it felt a bit slower than the Type 99a2-140, going only around 80 km/h on flat ground, but the statistics don't lie. All in all this is very good mobility and nothing to get dissapointed about.
We again compare the same tanks, now on the camo and spotting categories. Note, that there have been coated optics applied for all these vehicles:
As can be seen, this means that the ZTZ basically has the second highest VR in the t10 mbt category, with 400m with optics. Only the K2 and Type 10 have better view range, beating it by 10m. The ZTZ has 27% camo for some reason, atlhough you won't notice this much in practice, since this will drop to almost 0 while moving and firing the gun anyways. Although if you wish to, this means you will be able to make a meme Erin camo build.
All in all this vehicle is a 11/10 would recommend. The armor, especially in PvE is just that insane. The gun is very good as well, since they are shared with the Chinese mbts, which have had one of the best guns for a while now. Sure it doesn't have the extra AC of the other new BP mbts, but the armor more than makes up for it. It feels pretty similar to a 490, although having an HEAT weakness instead of a AP weakness like the 490, but no other tradeoffs in the mobility, VR and the gun like the 490 has. The mobility is also really strong and you have good VR, good smokes and a decent APS system. Honestly the AW devs have done a good job and made the final BP reward OP again.
In general I would recommend the 125mm gun over the 140mm simply because it has better DPM and less alpha which means you lose less dpm finishing off low-health targets. However this gun has one weakness, it has just 41 rounds, which using 20 AP and 21 HEAT rounds gives a potential damage of only 38,310. Which gives issues in spec ops, especially war. In this mission I would therefore recommend either an ammo commander like Alisa or using the 140mm gun, which also has 41 shells and therefore a potential damage of 43,701 using the same ammo loadout, which is slithly better.
Any mbt commander will work, just use the same commander as on the Type 99a2 since the vehicle is very similar. Although you will need an ammo commander like Alisa sometimes. Recommendations go to Ophi, Douglas, Cortez, Sabrina or whatever you feel like. It really doesn't matter all that much.
Honestly up to you, but the same with all mbts. I would personally use:
- Gun Rammer - more dpm is always better
- Optics - More VR is always better
- Filters - Better acceleration is always better
And the last slot is up to you, you will probably want to improve your repair speed or your hull traverse speed.
- Off-road driving
- faster repairs
- more traverse speed
- Faster turning of turret
- Up to you
Whatever you normally use on an mbt. You don't really need a fire extinguisher, but you can be set on fire occassionally. However not enough to bring an extinguisher. A medkit and repair kit is recommended however since you occassionally lose modules and/or crew members. You don't have a loader, so an energy drink isn't that useful. Furthermore your vehicle is fast enough that you don't really need oil.
Some bonus statistics of my play sessions. You surely won't get a blue star every time competing against ACs since you have low-ish dpm, but you will surely end up on the top half of the scoreboard and have fun: