I have to admit, I am new to this tank so I am definitely no super expert on it. Regardless, the first issue that stands out bad is the gun. I mean its pretty much a cold hard fact that the gun is rather crappy outside of the damage it can deal. First you have to make it pen, and at that point it has two things constantly working against it. Low pen on the Ap, and the accuracy is also pretty bad.
To make the gun really perform you are going to have to rely on premium ammo to compensate for the thing not being able to hit the mark well. It's aim is almost on par with derp guns. Whats rather shameful is that after getting this tank I went back and looked at video reviews and saw that prior this thing had more pen on AP. At one time it was a halfway decent gun due to higher pen.
You couple this with long reloads, crap gun depression, and a low HP pool for a tier 10 heavy, and that ends up providing you with a pretty unforgiving tank. You can't afford to make mistakes in this thing, or let your weak spots be exposed at all. Get even slightly sloppy and your HP wont last. This thing is prone to ammo racking just like the IS-3 was, regardless of safe stowage or wet racks (I think Jingles review covered that issue, and in my own experience I have found it to hold true). You wont be able to out DPM most other tier 10 heavies unless you do a lot of bouncing of their shots due to your low HP pool.
I honestly don't recommend this tank to anyone that was not able to make the IS-8 or something like the VK 45.02A work. This tank is much like those, in that it is not forgiving. If you are a average player you will get meh results and probably get frustrated. If you are below average then you will fail hard in it. Going up to tier 10 shouldn't mean tanks should become steadily worse, but in all honesty the IS-8 was a bit of a letdown coming from the IS-3, and the IS-7 seems to be a bit of a letdown in some ways too, coming from the IS-8.
Its like a steady descent into mediocre performance concerning certain aspects of each tank, so you need to be a good enough player that you recognize those faults and know how to make up for them. I would have a pretty hard time truly ranking the IS-7 as better over the IS-8, because it really isn't a serious step up from it. To me both are different but equal, in that neither is terrible, nor amazing, but both can perform.
Sure the IS-8 had laughable hull armor, and it handled like a 1970s Bonneville, but at least it did have good speed when going in a straight line, even with the stock engine. Add that the turret was pretty good, and the gun had good accuracy, good pen on AP ammo, and good damage. With the IS-7 you trade out that speed for better upper frontal armor, and some side armor. Pen and accuracy is tossed aside in favor of slightly higher average damage per shot, and you get just slightly more HP. Neither tank is forgiving, and yet, in the hands of a good player who knows how to exploit strengths and hide weaknesses, both tanks can rock.
Do I hate the IS-7? No. Am I in love with it? No. I will make it work though, just like I made the IS-8 work for me, and I don't regret grinding to it after putting some time in with it the past couple of days and seeing what I need to do to make it perform. I have a habit of taking tanks people seem to hate a lot and making them work. In all honesty though I see this tank really excelling in a platoon more then in solo play. As is I have been able to squeeze out an average damage per match of 2,413 with it according to vBAddict, regardless of not platooning with it.
Edited by FatLeeAdama, Sep 24 2014 - 08:34.