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War Thunder: Ground Forces Review

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Behind the developer

The developer of War Thunder is Gaijin Entertainment, a company that has another open beta MMO which was released lately which is Star Conflict. Gaijin Entertainment are a Russian game developer who are most well-known for creating IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey, Birds of Steel and Blades of Time. The company seemingly revolves around aviation and air combat so they know how a plane should handle and are one of the most experienced developers in making games about air combat.

Gameplay

The game play doesn’t differ from single player to multiplayer except in difficulty and to me this was quite a large difference. Now this difficulty could be from either me getting matched up against people who are much better than me (which is probably the case) or the game was designed to be a more sudden death type game in multiplayer, but in either case I would get shot once to twice before sustaining critical damage which meant that I was then going to become very intimate with the floor.

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Now this could be due to a number of things like the opposition being in a better plane, or them being more skilled at knowing how and where to shoot to critically hit me, it could also be down to me not having an effective evasion maneuverer and I never will know unless I was a pilot or invested a lot of time into the game as it does not teach you these things as you learn about the game.

My tutorial consisted of an admittedly good tutorial which teaches me how to dive and avoid the floor and how to aim at air targets, after which there was no follow up for any other tutorial, but there was a large enticing button that said play battle, so I guessed because the game was so similar to World of Tanks that they might have a lobby set up for people new to the game so that they couldn’t get instantly turned away by a massive skill barrier. If flew into the lobby in a couple of seconds and selected my first plane, to which I spent about 3 minutes with the rest of my team flying towards the opposition, upon reaching my target I was instantly shot down.

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No matter I will change my tactics and attack them from behind, as I administered this tactic firing my cannons into the back of a for, I realised I had got many more hits on the enemy than they had on my when I first died… why? I’m still bewildered by this whether it’s the luck of the draw or not, and I still haven’t managed to get a single kill on the multiplayer.

Single Player

Single player is much simpler than multiplayer because the AI does not fly erratically, but this still doesn’t change the fact that I can hit them 5 times and they still aren’t crashing. It’s at this point that I realised that this game was not targeted at someone like me, and neither am I good at it.

War Thunder allows players to do single player missions that have objectives that you need to complete, upon completing the objectives you are victorious.

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Multiplayer

The multiplayer is the biggest focus of the game besides the physics behind the planes. Multiplayer game modes consist of a domination style capture and hold territories to gain points, and a destroy all reinforcements type game mode, both these game modes also have a team death match mode intertwined in them where you lose victory points upon death. When preparing to fight in multiplayer games make sure you have a good group of planes that you wish to use, but beware that you can only use each one once, if it gets shot it will be destroyed for the remainder of the battle, this also means that if you have too few planes then you will become a spectator when you run out.

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Tank Battles

While trying to navigate the main menu I found that the game also has tank battles, so I waltzed into the queue… in which I stayed for 10 minutes. 10 minutes without any match being found is a little poor but when the game’s main focus is the plane battles it’s obviously going to have less people playing the tank battles. It is a shame that I couldn’t get into a tank battle as I would have like to see their spin on it. Never the less I test drove one of the tanks to see how the physics behind the tanks are, and I can say that I did enjoy the view and distance finder. When zooming in to a distant target the game takes into account that the projectile will drop due to gravity, and a marker appears on any target where the projectile would hit. I cannot say whether this would happen on moving targets, but I can’t imagine it would.

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Graphics

My computer is not a gaming rig, so I am unable to see if the game has graphics that could compete against the current gen’s graphics, but from what I saw on the second lowest setting the game does well with its optimisation due to there being no frame drops.

Each battle is set on a massive battlefield that usually has a large island and the ocean surrounding it, and planes sustain realistic damage like holes shot in wings and can cut each other’s wings off with their own wings (yes I’m referring to that animated gif) so Gaijin entertainment aren’t exactly skimping out on things to render.

Sounds of war

War Thunders’ soundtrack consists of most battle songs from around the era’s that the game is focused around, which is great seeing as the game is a recreation of those era’s so it makes the game feel complete. One thing I love about War Thunder is the choice in music, as it is so apt and gets you pumped for each battle (or in my case skirmish) and it really makes you feel like part of a squadron who is going once more into the fray.

Most of the orchestral pieces you will hear will be in the main menu when you queue up to jump into a game, or not in the case of tank battles, but once you get into a battle the war music takes a back seat. After playing a few games you’ll come to realise that this was done to help you realise what’s going wrong with your plane, because it will experience difficulties as you carve your way through your foes. As you get shot up you will hear your plane losing speed, or not being able to start the engine and these sounds allow you to get sucked into the game even more as you try desperately to get them fixed before either becoming cannon fodder or burying yourself 6 foot under in an extremely expensive coffin.

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Conclusion

War Thunder is a well-made game with few flaws in terms of gameplay, but then it is aimed at a very specific audience, and anybody outside of that audience may have to take some time to get used to the game and do some extra-curricular learning.

Graphics are well done, but I have not been able to check personally on my computer. Through looking at replays I can safely say that at least the cinematic mode is well done.

The biggest flaw with the game, beside the lack of players in tank battles, is how the main menu is laid out. There is way too much information on one screen for someone who is just started; there is no digested information and no tutorial on where to look. To say it throws you in the deep end is saying it a bit too lightly.

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Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.

Rating:
3/5
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