|Now why would they think that...?|
When you start the game, you will be given a short tutorial explaining the basic controls before being let loose to cause some low-tier havoc on your fellow newbies. After getting used to flying, more and more details will reveal themselves to you such as effective evasive maneuvers and where to aim at an enemy craft to do the most damage, making the learning curve for War Thunder both comfortable and steady. Soon, you will understand how to fly without spinning out of control or causing your pilot to blackout. You may even become good enough to be an ace, confidently and consistently winning dogfights.
Essentially, your experience should turn into a hectic battle of wits and positioning as you destroy as much as possible without getting destroyed yourself. After all, even if you get shot and someone takes out your fuel source, you can still conceivably land back at base and get repairs.
|Like this but on an airstrip.|
War Thunder has three different difficulty modes available for every type of play. Arcade Battle, Historical Battle (HB), and Full Real Battle (FRB). Arcade mode is basically easy mode, your plane being easily controlled using just your mouse. In addition, which country you're playing as doesn't matter and you will always start the game in the air. Historical seems to be closer to how the game was meant to be played, as handling of the plane gets significantly harder. You can lose control of your aircraft if you aren't flying properly, fuel becomes a thing, and the country you chose becomes important. More controls than just the mouse start to come into play, and weapons do more damage.
|In other words, your plane went from cardboard to tin foil.|
Crew System: Interesting
Each country starts off with three "hangars" for slotting in different planes (you can buy more slots using Lions). Each hangar has it's own "crew" who are independent to the planes put into the hangar and as you use the planes slotted into a given hangar, that crew will gain training points. Training will help your crewmen, including your pilot and gunners, perform better. All there needs to be is an option to give your pilot a name and we would be all set. You can change the voice of your pilot in the options menu, but a little more customization or personalization would be nice.
Mission Mode: Nice Addition
As mentioned before, there are a bevy of non-PvP missions available. These are modeled after historical battles from various time periods and you can play them in a party of up to four people. They are actually pretty well constructed, though perhaps a bit on the easy side. Since you don't use your own plane in these battles, these missions can give you a good preview of the aircraft you will end up piloting later on. Along with normal missions, there is also a "dynamic campaign". The dynamic campaign plays you through a string of missions based around a particular war, though it seems to be missing a save feature.
If you are feeling creative, you can also create your own missions through the mission editor. Options are a bit scarce, in my opinion, but with time it might become more advanced.
As you play, you will of course want to get something better than the crap you start off with. You acquire "Lions" and experience for things such as hitting/destroying targets and finishing matches. However, while gains start off fine, they can a bit slow if you are trying to reach the faster, stronger, fancier aircraft. This is remedied through the use of cash (or "Golden Eagles") which can be directly converted into Lions and experience points. Cash isn't essential, just keep in mind that you won't be starting the game immediately on the wings of angels. Not for free anyway.
|Died less than three seconds later.|
While prices start off fine, repairing higher tier planes can be a bit crazy. I don't know much about this firsthand, but multiple players have complained about certain planes costing more to use than they earn on the field. This, hopefully, will be something that will be fixed soon, but I feel it deserves mentioning.
Final Score: 4.5 out of 5
Sufficed to say, if you love flying you will love this game. It has its occasional hiccups, but the gameplay is very deep and satisfying. War Thunder may seem a bit slow when you start, but put some effort into it and it all becomes very rewarding. Give it a whirl, it won't disappoint.
|Bonus! Mission mode. I still managed to crash. :(|
- There is bullet dropoff.
- There is a limit on the rewards you can get from single player missions per day.
- Bring a joystick! War Thunder supports them.
- Planes are fragile. Avoid getting hit by anything.
- Each country gets double experience for their first win every day. Make sure to branch out.
- You can leave a match midway through. You will still receive awards based on your contribution when that match finishes.
- Up to 32 players can be in the same room.
- You can modify a couple plane parts after you have used them for long enough.
- Expect a large playerbase.
- Read the in-game encyclopedia.
- Play through the tutorials. Golden Eagles are given for completing the three basic ones.