War Thunder review (PS4)

AshHD | 188d ago | User review
Reviewing: War Thunder
Soaring Majestically or Plummeting Uncontrollably? A Review of War Thunder.
From the limited number of combative-flight games that I’ve played, no game has ever truly captured the sheer grandeur that surrounds taking the helm of a winged automaton and dogfighting for dear life.

But as you clear the canopy of clouds for the first time and enter the vast aerial expanses of War Thunder, be they snow-capped peaks or rolling fields, you get the sense that this isn’t just a game about dogfighting, but about everything else in-between.

From the roar of an overheating engine to unique bullet damage and the fight that comes with trying to keep your smouldering husk afloat in the air, War Thunder brings the nuance of realism to the console for the first time without ever sacrificing the unparalleled joy associated with knife-edge flying and pulling barrel rolls.

In this sense, War Thunder is as much for the purist as it is for the casual flyer.

And that broad spectrum of appeal (coupled with its current iteration being completely free, of course) is what brought me to the world of War Thunder in the first place, and it was with gleeful expectancy that I entered the tutorial and took flight for the first time.

At first, you may feel like you’re in control of your airborne rust-bucket and have therefore already aced the tutorial, but as this introduction to flying fails to explain, in the heat of the moment, the planes usually don’t perform as you’d want them to. And that’s a good thing, because it really heightens the need to master flying so that you give yourself the best possible chance against enemy combatants.

The true task of War Thunder however, is not to learn to fly, but rather to learn to stay in the air.

Thankfully, the alignment of the dualshock sticks is perfect for the job. Using the right stick to roll the plane and the left stick to rotate it, you have pure control over each movement that your aircraft makes. In the same way that the FIFA series lauds its 360-degree player rotation mechanic, War Thunder’s intuitive and responsive controls allow you to move deftly or deliberately, sharply or astutely, and depending on what plane your flying, move gracefully or lumber heavily.

But that still doesn’t mean you’ve learnt to fly just yet, for there are many perils other than just enemy fighters to battle against when you’re gliding through the skies of War Thunder.
Too sharp a turn, and you’ve rolled it. Too steep a dive and you’ll black out. Too sharp a climb and you’ll black out again. And if you’re pursuing another pilot and you push your plane too much, you even risk an engine failure. Such is the delicate balancing act of War Thunder piloting, for if it isn’t your plane at risk of failure, it’s you.

Through consistent flying though, you can quickly get a sense of the controls at large, and after you have developed your pilots ‘clutch’, things start becoming a little easier.
Once you get to grips with the perfect way to angle your plane into a left turn that doesn’t result in a roll or the best way to ascend without blacking-out, everything else such as shooting down enemy planes and performing strafe runs on ground targets all falls into place, for if you master the core art of flying, then you’ll be a crack pilot in no time.

And if you ever feel the need to fine tune your rapidly progressing skills, why not take yourself out of your comfort zone and experiment with a whole range of other planes across 5 different factions that encompass everything from whippet fighters to heavy-set bombers.

In every way you’d expect, War Thunder succeeds, but after several paragraphs lauding the perfect control scheme and intelligence behind its difficult yet rewarding design, it almost seems a shame to mark this game down when it comes to its menu’s.
Don’t get me wrong, War Thunder’s user-interface is relatively clean and easy to understand, but it’s the shoehorned touchpad technology of the dualshock controller that lets it down.

In order to navigate the menu’s you need to use the touchpad. There’s no optional touchpad control scheme, rather your entire navigation governed by it. It’s slow, it’s obtrusive, and it’s downright forced and has absolutely no purpose in the game. Maybe something more practical, like an in-game adjusting of your planes stabs, or maybe even reloading of your ammunition belt would’ve been a more symbiotic choice for touchpad integration, but it sure as hell doesn’t hold a rightful place in being the only way to traverse the menu’s.

And as annoying as that is, the lengthy amount of time that you’ll spend in the menus only ever makes it even more insufferable.

From the main page, you can buy new planes and customize existing ones, with both of those options behind a ‘research’ mechanic that acts as a cool-down timer for planes and parts that you’re interested in. This means that you won’t be able to immediately change your aircraft, instead being made to wait for around 5 multiplayer matches before it’s ready for purchase.

With a finite amount of planes to offer, it’s easy to see why the guys at Gaijin Entertainment chose this option, and as well as giving you the chance to opt for a different plane before you complete your research, this is an interesting take on the usual practice of simply giving you a set item at a set level.
The meticulousness of the customization system is something special, as through both choice and content it’s remarkably in-depth for it being only a beta, but if the research timer is moving too slowly for your liking, then you’re welcome to speed it up to completion and use a microtransaction payment for that new piece of gear.

And unlike Warframe before it, the prices of War Thunders in-game items aren’t heightened to the point of being completely out of reach. Planes cost reasonable amounts of money as do parts, and although you can buy things with actual money that would be otherwise out of your reach, there’s little emphasis on ‘the grind’ and everything in the game is entirely obtainable without ever spending a cent.

For with the games cogs all turning in sync, the process of fighting in a plane you don’t like, completing objectives, researching other aircraft and then finally getting your hands on your new aircraft is remarkably satisfying.
But this isn’t a game about a group of lone wolves all buzzing around the sky in a shambles and getting absolutely nothing done. This is about being part of a team, and be it through successful hits on enemy aircraft to destroying some enemy artillery or taking down a plane on the tail of a teammate, War Thunder rewards positive flying in the best possible way.

Earlier on, I mentioned of how this game is one that isn’t just about flying, rather “everything in between”, and through the core flying mechanics which themselves are awfully impressive, great customization features, terrific environments inspired by those which encompassed real-world conflict, an emphasis on destroying ground targets as well as aerial ones, the music, the sights, the sounds and the unparalleled splendour that entails turning a fellow aircraft into a careening fireball all add up to make War Thunder one of the most impressive games I’ve played on the Playstation 4 so far.

And this is all from a game that’s still in its beta stage, too. In early December, Gaijin Entertainment began its closed beta for War Thunders take on tank combat, and with the promise of naval combat on the horizon, we could be gearing up for the three-pronged military combat simulation that has been nothing but a tantalizing prospect up until now.

War Thunder looks superb, it plays fantastically and it has hooked me like no other beta ever has. This is a game that makes you feel less like a simple pilot, and more like the last-line of defence in a conflict that’s bigger than just yourself. The War Thunder brand is definitely one to watch out for in the future, but for now, it resides solely as the best air-combat sim that I’ve ever played.
Ups
The Magnificence of Flight
Wide Selection of Aircraft
Beautiful Locations
Downs
Some Microtransaction Elements, Like Vitality.
You're Booted From a Lobby After Every Game
Other Players Deliberately Flying Into You
Score
7.5
Graphics Some muddy textures the nearer you fly to the ground, but the crisp clouds and detailed peaks look superb.
9.0
Sound The whirling of the rotor blades, the muffled sound as you're about to lose consciousness due to an overabundance of 'G' Force...The sound of War Thunder is impeccable.
8.5
Gameplay Hard to learn, even harder to master. Still accessible though. You're rewarded for sticking with it and persevering.
8.0
Fun factor I don't think I've ever had this much fun living solely off of 'kill assists'. You're just a fighter, a cog in the machine, and it's never been more fun.
7.5
Online Some problems with the lobby system need to be rectified, as do the level of the games that you enter. Using a level one plane, customized or not, should not mean you enter a level two game.
8.0
Overall (out of 10 / not an average)
caseh  +   187d ago
Great game, spending a lot of time on this at the moment.

Several issues that need to be addressed though:

Can't select type of game mode (ground strike, domination etc) and you go back to menu after the match ends.

Lack of 'status' within squadrons, when you team up with fellow squad members the leader puts you into a game. Problem is you accept an invite then find yourself sat in a lobby waiting aimlessly as you can't tell if your squad are in game or AFK.

Complete scrubs that deliberately fly straight at you and make no attempt to avoid a head on collision. This becomes less common with skilled players but anyone carrying advanced ammo will think they are invincible and go head on. Simple solution to this one, punish both players by stripping RP/Lions.

Impending 'cross-platform' patch i'm hearing about which could potentially ruin this for PS4 players. Game has been available on PC for well over a year which means far more players with tier 5 jets raping up and coming players. on top of that, PC players have the option of keyboard, mouse, joypad and flight sticks. In my opinion, bad idea mixing the two platforms.
AshHD  +   186d ago
Thanks for the comment, agreed with all of the above.

First I've heard of the PC merger. I'm not even confident enough to willingly head into a level 2 lobby, so I imagine I'd be little more than cannon fodder for any PC players.

Love the game though, warts and all. This is only a beta right now, and it's already in a better state than some AAA games (cough, Battlefield 4) so the future's bright for War Thunder.
caseh  +   186d ago
Sounds like they are just trying to get future build updates released simultaneously on both platforms. Once they can do it in a timely fashion they will add the cross-platform in a patch:

http://forum.warthunder.com...
TooTall19  +   186d ago
When my plane is badly damaged I'll deliberately fly into the enemy...
robtion  +   186d ago
Can you pilot from inside the cockpit, or is it only 1st person?
caseh  +   186d ago
By default it's 3rd person but planes have multiple views you can use. So bombers for example allow you to view from rear gunners position and bombers view so you can setup for a bombing run without worrying about who is flying.

I wouldn't really recommend cockpit/1st person anyway. You have no awareness of friendly planes flying close to you. May not seem an issue but when you have 2-3 people chasing down the same plane you'd be amazed at how often people will crash into each other (and damage friendly planes) just to get a take down.
#4.1 (Edited 186d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
robtion  +   185d ago
Just wondering for my grandfather. He is 86 and plays old school cockpit view usually. He loves flight simulators. He plays their previous game Sturmovik so would probably like this.
robert  +   185d ago
yes you can, when in game just press triangle and alternative views will be accessed.
robtion  +   185d ago
Thanks, I will download this on my ps4 and give it a go ;)

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War Thunder

Average Score 8.2 Reviews(8)
Release Dates