War Thunder is a free-to-play MMO combat game that lets players take part in major battles from World War II and the Korean War on land, in the air and at sea, fighting with real players from all over the world in a developing environment.
Aesthetically, War Thunder is breathtaking. The planes are all expertly crafted and historically accurate, which makes it all the more satisfying when you unload machine gun or cannon fire on an enemy fighter and watch it burst into flames as it falls out of the sky. The sound design is also very strong in this game with bullets, cannons, bombs, rockets and flak all realistically loud.
In this free-to-play online game, players have the option to partake in either aerial or ground combat, with more than 350 aircrafts and 140 tanks to choose from. The maps vary from the decently sized 65 km x 65 km to the almost frustrating 200 km x 200 km and are modeled after real WWII stages, like Stalingrad and Palau Chain. There are three types of gameplay: arcade battles, realistic battles and simulator battles.
War Thunder is less of a game and more an experience. The attention to detail is phenomenal, with interesting physics and mechanics, some beautiful views and constant improvements being made. This game is worth your time. And to think, it’s free to play!
Arcade battles are the simplest and fastest game mode. This supports up to 32 players split into two teams, matched by battle rating. The game’s mechanics are simplified, complete with easier physics, automatic reloading, multiple view modes and an aiming assist, making this the recommended more for beginners. Once this is mastered, players can try Realistic battles, which require players to return to base to reload while imposing more realistic physics, aiming and limitations on aircrafts and tanks. Each side can only use vehicles from the side they are fighting on. Finally, Simulator battles are for the players that crave a true war simulator experience. Only first person views are available and each vehicle has unique attributes based on its real world equivalent. Plus, the controls are completely different. Players must use a joystick, gamepad, or “mousejoy” rather than the mouse-aim style avaible in other modes. Matches can last anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes, so this free online game can keep you coming back for more much longer than most World War II simulators.
Despite being extremely polished all around, the social aspect of War Thunder is somewhat short. You can only have 4 people in a squad, which while historically accurate, does mean that you can’t play the game with a large group. Other than that, there are the normal features present everywhere including friends, clans, messaging in-match and out-of-match.
Even if free war simulator games aren’t your thing, Gaijin’s work is seriously impressive. For example, if you try flying straight up while your afterburners are on, your pilot may pass out from all the G-force and leave you frustrated and defenseless. The realism of the game will leave you on edge and more often than that craving to go again until you’re a tactical mastermind.