Last week was pretty intense and not much time was left for gaming. Not that I didn’t want to, but at the end of the day I was pretty tired and couldn’t decide which game to chose. Have you ever been in this situation – you have an hour or two free, which you know you would love to spend with a good game? You sit in front of the PC/TV, intend to play, and you end in two hours just reading forums/sites, watching Youtube and knowing you should go to bed right now because getting up for work (school, college, university) is slowly turning into next episode of Mission impossible or Die Hard. Next day comes and goes and same stuff happens again… But just aside on the shelf you have a plethora of games – some you have finished (may be couple of times), others you’ve started but for known or unknown reason you are just half through and some – which you’ve bought but never ended playing. And first world problem repeats itself on the next day – what should I play?…
At the end I’ve decided to stick to a game, which I can pick up for a round and two, both lasting not more than half an hour. And as I currently cannot afford Call of duty, I’ve picked up War thunder. The game is WWII plane simulator by Gaijin Entertainment, rival of World of war planes. World of war planes and World of tanks are famous, and many players are still active on their servers. I must say – for a free game, it looks gorgeous! Every single aircraft has a detailed and animated cockpit, sounds and handles like the real life planes (at least if you set the difficulty to realistic) and every plane is really different for their rivals in the different country tiers.
War thunder is still in open beta and looks like it would make it also to Steam and already has been approved. It is totally free to play and accepts micro transactions and purchase of additional content – campaign missions, skins for your planes or just buying ingame currency. Currency is used to buy new planes, upgrades for the existing in the hangar or can be used for rearming/refuelling and repairs. However no one is forcing you to give real money and at least in the lower tiers of aircrafts repairs are fast and with a single win of a mission you can cover it. Which might not be the case once you unlock the most advanced machines.
But first things first – countries available to chose planes from are the USA, UK, USSR, Japan and Germany. Some of the countries like Germany for example have Italian planes in their tanks, UK – such from Australia. The plane “trees” of advancement are fulfilled of 3 kinds of planes – fighters, bombers and attackers (infantry supporting planes and tank/ship destroyers). While playing you get a pilot experience (“your own”), plane experience for the plane you’ve played with (needed for further tuning and upgrades) and country experience. In order to buy a better plane you should be the needed level for it. Leveling is slow but the feel of accomplishment is good.
I’ve decided to start with the Germans – not because I’m a nazi, but because I always thought they had the best war machines for their time. I’ve slowly progressed to level 4 and unfortunately mist machines I could afford were either pre-war biplanes or some Italian engineering “disasters”. Game has a pretty good match-making (in arcade you fight with mixed groups and it is not strictly contry-based) and most of the times you are put to counter same tier planes. However this early tier of the German tree offers mostly lightly armoured, not maneuverable and armed only with machineguns planes. Fighting against same tiers, which are far more fast, armed with rockets (amazing for ground attacks and close combat against bombers) and cannons is far from enjoyable. Still, I’ll stick to them as soon I would be able to get my first Messerschmitt Bf 109, which I think would give me a slight chance. Germans also get first hand on the jet fighters – far superior, faster and better planes, however costing a small fortune to buy, upgrade and repair.
Second I’ve decided to give the Russians a chance. They first tier with an upgrade you can buy straight before you get any experience is a biplane with 4 machineguns! A really stable and maneuverable biplane, which in close combat turns into a real predator. I’ve forgot to mention but these first tier planes are free to rearm and repair and if you chose to fly only with them you won’t be placed to fight Messerschmitts, Spitfires or jets in the arcade battles. To be honest so I got my most kills as I felt it is pretty balanced to be placed against even rivals.
Game offers a lot for everyone – arcade, simulator or realistic battles, dynamic campaigns or single missions, coop against AI or real full scale air combat battles and you can even personalize your bird of steel with unlockable decals and paints. In arcade at least it is perfectly playable with a keyboard and mouse but if you decide to play it with a joystick I think you will do even better.
Now, logging in to lay waste on the battlefield. And before I tell you to watch your six have this friendly advice before you start the game – in crew option firstly upgrade your ground services for a faster and cheaper repairs (in later tiers if you do not pay for instant repair you can wait minutes, hours or even days for some particular planes to get fixed) and when you charge face to face somebody, always turn before the last moment as it is full of rammers who crash kamikaze style their lower tiers planes into yours.
P.S. Oh, I almost forgot – game has an amazing soundtrack – Jeremy Soule is the composer and performance by Baltic Symphony Orchestra.
And my small plane gallery: