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Reviews: War Thunder and Are You Playing It?

Last Updated on September 20, 2019 by Michael Brockbank

Over the years, a lot of games used World War II to set the stage of play. Among them, War Thunder is one that has been around for quite some time. And although it doesn’t have the following it did in the past, it’s still one title I like to actively play.

I just wish Gaijin Entertainment would do more to expand what it offers.[template id=”145″]

What is War Thunder?

War Thunder is a culmination of both air and tank battles. It combines two of the most prominent elements of war in a single game. This is in contrast to developers who create a single game for air and one for tanks.

You have instant access to choose whether you want to play aviation or tank battles. At the same time, you can switch which country’s hardware you want to use.

And if you buy the naval expansion, you can play some of the sea battles as well. However, those will cost you extra money. And the Naval packs can reach in excess of $30 each.

A bit steep considering how I can play World of Warships for free.

What Kind of a Game is War Thunder?

War Thunder pits you against other players from around the world. If not enough players are available, the game fills the empty slots with NPCs. However, the NPC pilots and tank drivers are quite limited in ability.

You’ll earn experience and “Lions” you can use for in-game currency. You buy your parts, pay to upgrade your vehicles and train your crews.

It’s free to play, but does have options to buy golden “eagle” tokens to pay for different elements of the game. For instance, you can use the golden tokens to pay for decals on your planes or tanks.

You can also use them to buy elite vehicles, expand the number of crews you can have and other bonuses.

Where Can You Get War Thunder?

I installed War Thunder from the Steam store. You can create a separate account for Gaijin Entertainment or use your Steam credentials to begin.

You can also install it directly from the War Thunder website.

This game is also available for Xbox One, PS4 and Mac computers.

What Are Some of the Most Notable Features?

This game has quite a few qualities that make it enjoyable to play. However, not everything is perfect. But as the game is free-to-play, you really don’t lose anything but time by trying it out for yourself.

Huge Selection of Vehicles

War Thunder has a long list of hardware from various countries during World War II and beyond. As you grind out the experience to upgrade, you can find yourself piloting some of the most fierce vehicles of the time.

In-Game Currencies

Although some things are locked behind the paid currency, you don’t need to invest money to unlock most of them. However, you will need to grind out achievements if you want to access certain elements.

For instance, I can spend the cash to get 200 golden eagles to unlock additional crews. Or, I can exchange my earned lion tokens into eagles and buy them that way.

Full Games of “Players”

I like how War Thunder will fill in the empty slots with NPCs rather than have a two-on-two human arcade game. However, something needs to be done with the AI. The NPCs don’t offer anything more than a turkey shoot.

Various Ways to Play

While I spend most of my time in the arcade version, it’s nice to have access to various ways to play. You can compete in campaigns, tournaments and fly in realistic battles where you only have first person views and need to monitor things like gas and ammo.

It Can Get Grindy

If you don’t have the money to dump into War Thunder, it can feel quite grindy and tedious at times. Personally, I don’t mind the grind, so it’s not a deal-breaker for me. However, I know a lot of people who hate games that require excessive play to get anywhere.

Nice Detailed Graphics

The details on the planes and tanks are amazing. I can’t attest to the ships because I don’t have the money to throw at the naval packs. But the overall appearance of the vehicles is quite beautiful.

Less Personable

This point is kind of nitpicking. One thing I truly love in World of Warships is how your fleet commanders have real names and ranks. You don’t get that in War Thunder. For instance, my best pilot is named “Crew #3.”

It would be fun to give these guys names and ranks based on crew level. But that’s pretty much a cosmetic complaint.[template id=”505″]

How’s the Repeat Playability?

There is quite a bit behind War Thunder. I highly doubt you’ll be able to play every aspect of it inside of a week. Between the different styles of games, countries and vehicles, it’s one of those games you could sink quite a bit of time into.

The only issue I have with playability is actually competing against real human players. Bots fill the ranks, but don’t offer a real challenge.

Mismatched Competition

I’ve read in many reviews how War Thunder has a match-making problem. Lesser vehicles are pitted against far more powerful opponents. And I’ve seen a bit of this happen while playing myself.

It’s not uncommon for a far more powerful tiered vehicle get added to the list of players.

The only thing I can think of what causes this is the overall lack of a player base. Perhaps they mix in anyone they can just so humans can play against each other.

Then again, it could be a base problem in how match making works in War Thunder in general.

Is it Worth the Price?

As this is a free game, it’s definitely worth the value. And it’s not like a lot of other games that lock all the cool stuff behind an absolute pay wall.

True, you have to spend some money if you don’t want to grind out the lion tokens. But it’s not required to exchange for golden eagles to buy those better options.

Even if you don’t care about the special content or vehicles, there is still quite a bit to do in War Thunder without spending a single dime.

What’s the Bottom Line?

If you like World War II flight and tank simulators, War Thunder is a decent game to add to your library. But like I said earlier, I really would like to see more human opponents over simple AI.

But for being a free-to-play game, it has enough content to keep me coming back for more.[template id=”543″]

Michael Brockbank
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Michael Brockbank

Michael developed ColoradoPlays to help various charities through his favorite pastime. Since then, the blog and Twitch channels have donated several hundred dollars to Extra Life, Geeks of Grandeur and Operation Supply Drop to name a few.