War Thunder has been around for a while, since November 2012. The free-to-play model has been around for a large amount of time, and has now finally arrived upon PS4. With nothing but a broken copy of Thief to entertain me, plus the generous donation of the Ultra Pack (much obliged Gaijin,) adding the fact that my old graphics card has never been able to handle the PC version convinced me to finally pick up and see whether I could handle a Spitfire. It turns out I cannot; yet this is a wonderful hidden gem of a game which has made a healthy transition to PS4.
The transition to console has really done nothing major to the interface. In the hub you pick your planes or tanks and launch yourself unto a battle which is conveniently attached to the square button. There are a range of game types from domination to ground attack; with some that can have both Player tanks and planes on the same battlefield. However a lot of the time you will just hit square, appear in a battle and just go have fun. While multiple modes exist in increasing difficulty, only the hardest of the hard go out of arcade mode. Accept the huge learning curve and disadvantage you will have playing on consoles now, before entering any match.
The battles are wonderful fun. Planes sound wonderful and bass-filled; flying around a battlefield sounds fun as engines roar and planes whiz pass. The PS4 controller is a good substitute for the keyboard and mouse and flying or driving around isn’t too confusing and is essentially done on the analogue sticks; however the hardcore will notice the lack of precision a lack of mouse gives especially during cross-play with PC users. Matches are 16 V 16. So there’s plenty to shoot and avoid. With some maps spanning 200km2 there is definitely ground for mighty impressive air battles. Physics may break sometimes, and you are likely going to at some point get busted out of the air with no reason why. However this will be marred by the thousands of deaths you will never explain, such as pilots being knocked out or getting a wing sheared off.
The biggest problem with War Thunder is when you leave the battle. While anyone who is transitioning from PC for some unknown reason will have no problem new players will have no idea what is going on. Menus don’t get explained and I sat there staring at research tables and other confusing stats with no idea what to do. Things like changing research and upgrading crews and aircraft take far too long and I became permanently unsure whether I sucked due to my lack of skill or whether I needed to upgrade or train something. This is in stark contrast with the mission HUD as in missions you have a sparse HUD with little to keep an eye on. If you seriously wish to play War Thunder for long periods of time you have to figure out what all these menus mean.
The other issue is the money. There are three types of currency. All I have figured is Gold is important, silver is less so and there is also another type I’ve never used. Gold is normally purchased from the War Thunder shop and Silver is gained from games. However the game is rather generous giving you stuff for free at a moment’s notice on the top of it being a free game, so if you enjoy it don’t be afraid to spend a little money on a bit of gold to get you a head start.
War Thunder, for a free game is a good deal of fun and has an impressive amount of quality. Its transition to the PS4 is not a horrendous pile of rubbish. While the siege of menus is somewhat overkill and the lack of movement precision will convince the PC gamers to stay on PC; PS4 users now have a marvellous free-to-play to go nuts upon. The gameplay is spot on; the menus less so.
This game gets a 4.0. If you don’t enjoy free-to-play games this is not going to change your mind. But if you’ve just bought a PS4, or have nothing to play for a little while then this is definitely worth checking out. This is a game which gets people hyped up and be prepared for conspiracy about Russian planes being overpowered. Some people think it’s the worst game ever. I think it’s a good laugh.
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.