War Thunder: The Sky on Fire

The pilot enters the battlefield at about 3900 meters (12,795 feet) and begins to climb. The plane tops out at about 4200 meters (13,780 feet) when the brawl below begins. Spitfires, Me 109’s, P-40’s, and hundreds other planes begin to tear each other to shreds, each like a desperate, cornered animal fighting for survival in this unforgiving world. Carefully, he guides his A-20G Havoc above several ground targets and begin my bombing run. In the process, he loses about 1000 meters (3,280 feet) and enters the realm of chaos.  Almost immediately the plane comes under fire from enemy fighters, AA guns, and even the ground forces below. Bombs dropped, the pilot turns away, only to be confronted by a spitfire and an unforgiving barrage of flak…..

War Thunder, like many fighting flight “sims”, is full of action and adventure, placing the player into random situations, the outcomes of which are never certain. But all good games have an origin, be it a previous game in the lineup or an ingenious idea that sees the light of day. Where did War Thunder get its start? I mean, it had to come from somewhere. It didn’t just magically spawn from the internet or crawl out of some crevice in the ground.

Set the wayback machine to about 6 years ago. Gajin Entertainment, in conjunction with 505 games and 1C Company released IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey for the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC, with handheld variants for the DS and PSP. It was one of the greatest combat flight sims released for the PS3, and had a wonderful user interface, difficulty settings, missions and a sandbox mode that allowed you to simulate a battle that you wanted; I had lots of fun pitting a Me-163 against a whole bunch of Stukas in an area filled with AA guns. In fact, when I have time (i.e. not doing homework, watching YouTube or playing games from my ever increasing library of Steam games) I will break out Sturmovik and relive memories of playing this game for the first time. Sturmovik was a personal favorite of mine and, if you still have a PS3, I highly recommend you get it. But I digress. You were wanting to know the origin of War Thunder? Well, that is the origin.

 

When I first played War Thunder, when I entered a battle for the first time, I felt an extremely strong sense of Deja Vu. I could not place my finger on it for a while, and I had a nagging feeling that I knew I had seen the name Gajin Entertainment before. I made the connection by accident, actually. I had played War Thunder earlier one day and decided that I wanted to fire up the  PS3 and play something on it instead. As I was going through the games I have for the PS3, I picked up Sturmovik and was about to put it in when BAM! I saw the Gajin Entertainment logo and knew that the games were linked. War Thunder has an almost identical user interface to Sturmovik and, heck, they even reused many of the models from it as well.

They even reused the A-20G model, my favorite ground attack aircraft, in WT. War Thunder contains waaay more planes in the Fighter, Heavy Fighter and Ground Attack areas, even adding a Bomber category and Naval Fighters to the line up. Planes range from the obscure B-50 to the well known Me 109, each with their own unique flight characteristic and ability. I personally am fond of Ground Attack and Bomber aircraft. There is a thrill in being able to single handedly change the course of a battle, evading enemy fighters, dodging flak and running the gauntlet of mobile ground units to destroy valuable ground targets. Fighters are fun as well, but air combat generally moves a bit too fast for me, sending me into a whirling, evolving, deadly zone in seconds with no time to prepare or plan.

Although many things are similar or exact on both games, there are several major differences. One thing off the bat is that War Thunder has a Tank mode. You can play as a tank or a plane in the same game, and that for one, got me really excited. You see, I also play World of Tanks and World of Warplanes, and one of the things that I, alongside many others, wished for was that you could have tanks and planes in the same arena. While you can’t exactly have that in War Thunder, it comes really close. There are air battles that go on above tanks, in which you can join if you have taken out enough enemy tanks. There are also ground battles that go on below planes, in which you can be the deciding factor.

War Thunder is a revolutionary game which strives to be as accurate as it can be. It is probably the most historically accurate and the most realistic game in its genre. It sets the benchmark for other companies to top, who’s biggest competitor at the moment is Wargaming, with their hit games World of Tanks and World of Warplanes. It has a more diverse set of aircraft that World of Warplanes does, which is what got me into War Thunder in the first place (I wanted to play as a medium bomber in World of Warplanes, but as that aircraft class does not exist, the closest I could get is a Russian ground attack aircraft). It has an ever expanding set of tanks that are continually polished and updated, increasing historical and graphical accuracy.

This game is a must have for everyone who likes World of Tanks, World of Warplanes or who is interested in combat flight sims. It is an amazing game, made even more amazing by the fact that it is FREE TO PLAY! That being said, it is not one of those FTP’s that are Pay To Win. It takes a little bit more time to get things, but you can have the same opportunities as anyone else. What really matters is skill, and even if you are novice, you acquire it quickly and in spades. The skies await!

gareth.fuller
I am a High School Student who, amid his scrambling to overcome the oppressive forces known as procrastination and AP Course Work, has come to love writing game reviews. If you want to ask me a question, suggest a game for me to review or simply want to talk, ping me at any of the sites I have linked here.

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