War Thunder Overview
War Thunder is a war game set in World War II. The game offers you a variety of historical warplanes to choose from, each with their own strengths and combat ability. The game’s damage system is quite complex, wherein a simple machine gun can cause significant damage if targeting the right area of an opponent’s plane. The instant action feature of War Thunder will ensure you get a quick experience, without having to wait for other players to join your game or create their own.
War Thunder Screenshots
War Thunder Featured Video
War Thunder – First Look
War Thunder Review
By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor)
Wars can be fought in many ways, on the land, in the water, and high up in the sky. War Thunder is what Gaijin Entertainment self-proclaims ‘a next generation MMO combat game dedicated to World War 2 military aviation.’ Now I have always been a big fan of planes, and the Second World War prior to all the fancy computer auto-targeting is probably the most intriguing era of aerial dog fighting. So I went to check out whether or not War Thunder could legitimately label itself as Next Gen, a phrase thrown around so much lately it’s starting to lose meaning.
When we were young everyone had their toy of choice. I personally went with war toys and the variety of planes was a driving factor in my later interest in history. The impact aerial dog fights in World War II had on the overall map of Europe created ripples in time that continue to shape the world as we know it. Brave men stepped foot into battles by a new set of rules, abandoning tactics honed by our species for thousands of years to venture into an unknown frontier of battle. The thoughts of being in those historic shoes and flying recklessly into dog fights with maybe a 30% chance of survival at best easily gives an adrenaline rush. I have nothing but good things to say about its implementation in Battlefield titles as well as World of Warplanes, and perhaps brought an unprofessional level of enthusiasm as I clicked ready in my War Thunder starter plane.
First of all I want to mention how beautiful this game is; not only is it the best looking title in the free dog-fighting genre, it may be one of the most beautiful titles I’ve reviewed period. Each landscape you will fly through is absolutely mind blowing. The detail you will find on each hill, town or even river is artfully crafted, and even on the lowest graphics the game will constantly distract you from gameplay with one scenic vista after another. Each plane stands out from the pack as a unique snowflake. This is quite an accomplishment with five playable nations each offering a diverse set of plane styles. Beyond just looks, you will find the planes feel functionally different as well, but more on that later on.
Beyond a shiny paint job, War Thunder brings realism in heaping helpings to set itself apart. The impact a single bullet can have on impact with your plane is surreal. See your plane has multiple hit boxes, and each bullet type brings a different type of damage depending on where it hits. Shooting fans that prefer kill shots over drawn out gun battles will be happy to know that two hit boxes are almost always kill shots. The first is the engine; after a few battles you’ll learn to dread the sight of your engine smoking as once it lights up on fire, your match is over. That is unless you can escape your pursuer and find a soft landing spot between the trees in the nearby mountains (yea, good luck with that!). One hit box is even worse than the engine, and that’s the pilot himself. Once he is hit, the lights will go out and you are not able to control your plane anymore. The rest of the hit boxes however do have an impact on how your plane will maneuver. Even if they are only slightly damaged, you will notice this while ascending and descending. You will go slower, you will have trouble keeping airborne, and eventually if you take enough damage, you’re going down. Once any component on your plane is completely destroyed, you will have to make a crash landing, and it takes some serious practice to accomplish this feat.
Steering your plane is easy and won’t take actual military training to figure out. The mouse acts purely as a steering device. It can also double as your thruster control via the mouse scroll wheel, though this can be accomplished with the W and S key instead. Besides that there is always a way to put your landing gear down, and to change your flaps. But as a new player you should probably not try to use these at all at first. I still remember my first try at landing; let’s just say I was better off hitting the water. Flying in War Thunder is an easy job to do, but it takes a veteran player to be able to land.
There are three different battles that you can start. The mostly played Arcade Battle, where you will duke it out with a team against another team and you’ll have to do objectives to win your game. Historical Battles are another choice where you will fly in recreated regions where famous aerial battles took place. Finally there are the major leagues known as Full Real Battles where tons of players fly in but you only have one life to live, so make it count!
Now onto the planes themselves, each playable nation has its own research tree of available planes that you can choose from. There is basically a lot of different plane types, but the most known and used ones are the Fighter and the Bomber. As you can imagine, the fighter is the one who will go head to head with the other air planes, while the Bomber focuses itself on the ground targets and objectives. Unfortunately, just like in real life, your plane will have to reload, and this is the only negative thing of this game. Each helicopter is equipped with a different type of gun, and along with that you can also choose your type of special ammunition, that gives bonuses to either planes, or more heavier targets. Some of these guns are really strong, but barely have any rounds in the magazine. And for bombers, well they will have to wait a while before each bomb is loaded in again.
I have been playing this game on and off for a while now, and I keep coming back for more. The gameplay itself has been well honed since my initial time playing; and offers incentive for players to put in the effort to perfect a certain plane type to overcome inexperienced foes. Being a better pilot means a whole lot in this realm. Each nation, each plane has its own unique set of skills, and you can always switch between them to keep gameplay interesting. The full package that War Thunder has to offer is just phenomenal. Of all the titles throwing around Next Gen, this is one of the few deserving of it. As a big fan of planes, and the Second World War, I can tell you War Thunder has all the elements I need to stay hooked.
Playstation 4 Launch Review:
By Jason Parker (Ragachak)
The Red Baron Strikes Again
I have played a myriad of war games in my day, though my personal favorite will always be Wolfenstein, if that counts. I was never very good at flight simulators or combat games when utilizing PC controls. I am just dreadful for some reason, and all I do is take off and then crash again. So when I was given the PS4 Beta for War Thunder, I was pretty excited. Using a controller, surely I could take to an aircraft and defend Russian skies! Oh, how wrong I was. I did however manage to drive up fuel costs across the Soviet Nation, I’m willing to bet. War Thunder is a unique war game, unlike World of Tanks, as it also offers aerial combat (which in my opinion is the core gameplay. Ground-based combat isn’t bad, but it doesn’t yet compare to the dogfights). It does not focus solely on World War II, which is far overdone, but the bulk of vehicles are from the WWII era.
Roughly the same concept.
Though the beta does not feature them, there are possible micro-transactions, such as purchasing some of the vehicles or the “Pro” service, which gives boosts to currency and experience points. These are not necessary in the least, and one can easily enjoy the game playing it for what it is, a free PvP shooter. But the Advanced Pack does include the Campaign, which is one of the big draws to this title. In addition to simply doing battle in dogfights or ground-based tank battles, there are a series of campaign missions, dynamic and changing that take place across the battlegrounds in Europe. Better yet, they offer a large focus on a portion of the war that does not get a lot of video game coverage: The Pacific Campaigns.
There is so much to see and so many beautiful areas to explore; if you can avoid bullets and rockets long enough, you can admire the world that the fine folks at Choice Provisions brought to War Thunder. The game is fairly true to life, which I certainly noticed as bullets sheared off wings to my planes; moving up too high too fast caused enough G-forces to make my pilot black out and crash; tanks being stuck in ditches and unable to scale hills that are too steep; and blasting fuel lines so tanks and planes alike erupt into a column of smoke and flame. It’s a beautifully crafted game and this beta brings with it some fascinating, and wonderful news: the PS4 version is able to be cross-played with people on the PC! Now if only we could get this on more titles. However, there is a drawback to be had here, one minor caveat if you will. Your account for the PC version does not transfer to the PS4, you have to make a brand new account. This is not a big deal to me because I did not have a PC account, but many of my friends do, so now I can play with them on a format that suits me better. Kudos, War Thunder team! There are benefits for the PlayStation crowd, such as 15% off the premium service for PS+ members, and also an exclusive DLC with US attack plane A26-C Invader.
Hunting for Red October
Going into the game, I expected only a handful of aircraft, and not to be able to fly as Italy or other major powers. However there are at present 350 aircraft and 70 ground vehicles in the game, with more on the way in future updates. So there are tons of choices, and you really cannot go wrong with whatever you choose. Granted, though your starting craft (if you play for free) will probably be uninteresting, patience is a virtue. Eventually you will have slick fighters that pack rockets, or heavy, swift armored tanks with shells that shred anything in your path. The tutorial will help immensely, giving you missions to learn how to fly and fight, appropriate distances, and target the enemy. It will go over many important things to make the game easy, and I for one am glad that I went through them. It will make you aware how planes function differently from each other, and how to use different views from the cockpit, which I really enjoyed.
Personally, I found tank piloting to be a bit of a chore. It is well designed but incredibly clunky, much like a tank is. Many of the missions I piloted a tank in I found myself caught in ditches, trapped against rocks or hills, and unable to progress without leaving the vehicle, meaning it cannot be used further in that battle. It was troublesome, and I really feel aerial combat is fleshed out better, but the developers are constantly working to make the game better, so I feel this will only get better with time. While there aren’t dozens of different mission types in PVP combat, each time I took the skies or the ground I always felt like each mission required different approaches and strategies, because players will always react differently. A lot more thought went into battle than I initially expected.
Another core mechanic that should be addressed is Research. You research new technology or upgrades to your current technology that you can use in combat. You simply do not get to start off with an M1 Abrams tank or anything like that. You gain Research Points or RP by going into battle against other players. The amount you get after a battle is the result of several in-game factors such as victory or defeat, activity (were you with the squad, or did you just crash and burn immediately?), first victory of the day bonus, and whether or not you were actively completing objectives (blowing up ground targets, holding choke points). Premium accounts also gain more RP in addition to all other factors.
Heading into the Danger Zone
There are tons of aerial shooters, and many more that are devoted to World War II. But what makes this one in particular stand out? The primary theater is that of the Pacific, the US/Japan battles out in the East Seas. Instead of the usual European theater (which is still there, the first missions I did were as a member of the British Royal Navy), there are many new and intriguing places to do battle at and blow stuff up around. I do not feel the Pacific theater of operations gets enough attention as a part of World War II, because everyone wants to shoot Nazis. Not that I think this is a bad thing. For those who are unfamiliar, a “theater” in this instance is the place where combat is taking place, aka a military operation. There are two single player campaigns available here for those who purchase them (and they come highly recommended) and there are also really amazing cutscenes using real WWII footage; kind of felt like I was interacting with the History Channel.
There are also other scenarios and campaigns that can be completed alone, or you can bring up to three friends with you to compete with/against. Again, you can play with people who are on PC and Mac, but you cannot use your PC/Mac account on the PS4 edition of the game. The social tab is where you can add their nicknames and invite them to join the chaos with you. What makes this particular war game so interesting is that unlike other shooters, such as Call of Duty and Battlefield, you have a limited number of tries to go into battle. If your hangar only has say, four slots for aircraft, and all four get shot down, that’s it; your tour of duty is over. You can use in-game currency to get a few more slots for tanks and airplanes, but be aware that you do not get infinite tries. I sort of liked this because it really gave me pause to consider what aircraft I was going to use, and to try not to fly off on my own like I was in Top Gun.
Use The Boost To Get Through!
Did you really think I would review a game about aerial combat and not stick something about Star Fox in there? All in all, I really think this title is doing a bang-up job of providing realistic combat; sometimes too realistic and that can be infuriating, but sticking to one’s guns is important. I do feel like the purchase for the campaign might be stretching, but after playing through a chunk of it, I feel it was certainly worth the purchase. They are working hard to add more content and more interesting designs for their ships, and with any luck, they will expand before and after the WWII/Korean War era. It’s a lot of fun, and I think just about anyone can pick it up and have a good time.
This game is beautiful. There is not enough I can say about this game; it is stunning, and everything about it is just crafted fantastically. I can see the smoke billow from the damaged parts of my vehicles as bullets whizz into them. Each map is well designed, and I occasionally get distracted by how delightful it looks. Each vehicle is unique and true to form from its historical counterpart, and the cut-scenes of the WWII combat are tasteful.
Most of the controls are pretty easy to use in War Thunder. Not a big fan of the tank piloting again, and found myself struggling to get to the objectives. Combat with a tank was incredibly gratifying, and sniping another tank from a jungle of trees and bushes felt so very, very good. The controls are a little weird to get used to, but the tutorial helps you acclimate yourself a great deal.
There are not many different modes to play on, but they are all well-fleshed out and fun to play. The campaign is a blast, and though I do not have many friends that I play with, I love the notion of being able to play multiplayer campaigns. That is a huge draw for me, and I really enjoyed every game type I played.
The sounds and music of this game are pretty great, but can tend to drone on after a while. I need a little variation. But I love the sounds. The whirr of airplanes, the chunk! of tank shells blasting into metal armor, and the violent explosions of crashing airplanes were so impactful. There are a lot of things to hear, and the constant changing stimulus is pretty fantastic, even if a little distracting.
War Thunder Links
War Thunder System Requirements
Coming Soon. . .
War Thunder Articles
- War Thunder: Revenue shared UCC coming soon - Posted on August 8, 2014
Gaijin Entertainment has announced an exciting new addition to their WWII MMO mega-hit War Thunder with the introduction of its revenue share initiative.
- War Thunder: Ground Forces Review - Posted on August 4, 2014
Ground Forces is an extension of the air combat game War Thunder, by Gaijin Entertainment. The above scenario is something that has happened to me on my playthroughs in the open beta.
- War Thunder – Cross Platform Play Comes to Nvidia Shield Tablet - Posted on July 22, 2014
Award-winning developer and publisher Gaijin Entertainment announced today that they will support the NVIDIA SHIELD tablet – the ultimate tablet for gamers – with their mega-hit War Thunder.
- Gaijin Entertainment Brings More Firepower to War Thunder - Posted on July 18, 2014
Gaijin previews War Thunder's 1.43 patch, adding new multi-turret ground vehicles.
- War Thunder PS4 Launch Review - Posted on June 6, 2014
All in all, War Thunder is doing a bang-up job of providing realistic combat; sometimes too realistic and that can be infuriating, but sticking to one’s guns is important.