It’s been a quiet start to the gaming year; a bit of Borderlands 2 DLC, the odd World of Tanks battle, an ongoing bid for world domination in Civ 5, but nothing much new for me apart from SongPop, a sort of Facebook version of Name That Tune (only with less Lionel Blair). A piece on Rock Paper Shotgun’s always splendid Flare Path caught my eye, though, about War Thunder.
It’s a sort of Massively Arena-ish Drop-in Flight Sim Type Thing (that well known MADFSTT genre), rather like World of Tanks but with planes; indeed it used to be called World of Planes but changed name about a year ago. I’m not sure how I missed it, it’s right up my proverbial street, and really rather fun; I don’t think the new name helps, War Thunder is very generic, a bit “pick two vaguely military words out of a hat” without the meme-worthy silliness of Warface. Like an anti-tank shell off well sloped armour it’s the sort of name that glances off my brain without penetrating, so even though it’s been mentioned on various blogs, sites and forums it had been flying under my radar, as it were (an easier task in one of the biplane starter aircraft). Apparently one reason for the name change is that they’re broadening the focus to eventually include ground and sea combat, so it’ll be an interesting head-to-head battle with wargaming.net’s World of Tanks/Warplanes/Warships triumvirate.
War Thunder is from Gaijin Entertainment who have some flight sim pedigree with games like Wings of Prey, which has given them a bit of a head start in terms of available aircraft; you can choose to fly for the Soviet, German, US, Japanese and (most importantly) British air forces, so I’ve been pottering about in Gladiators and Hurricanes grabbing my eggs and fours and getting the bacon delivered. There are plenty of types of aircraft available, and maps generally have overall objectives such as ground targets to destroy or objectives to capture; if shot down you can switch to another plane from your hanger, so I’ve also been doing a bit of level bombing from a Blenheim, and developed quite a nice line in torpedo attacks from the Swordfish and Beaufort where shipping targets are available. There are a few game types, including some historical options with realistic controls and accurate combatants, but I’ve been sticking to the arcade mode while getting used to things.
All in all, well worth a look. You can even customise your aircraft with decals; don’t blame me, though, I was just picking from the options they give…