Get ready for massive dogfights and aerial shenanigans as you and others battle it out to become the “Toruk Makto” of the skies of old! For the first time, developer Gaijin Entertainment brings the popular military MMO franchise War Thunder over to the console side of the force.
War Thunder is an arcade-style multiplayer flight simulator that features an impressive fleet of elite WWII and Korean War era fighter planes and tanks. Now, I use the word simulator very loosely, because this game does a very good job at breaking the traditional mold of what a flight simulator is. At first glance, its style may seem like a run of the mill sim, but that’s where the comparison ends. Gaijin did a great job of transitioning War Thunder over to the PS4, because it feels and controls like it was born and bred on the console. It features a solid level-up ranking and unlock system, similar to what you’ll find in CoD and Battlefield. Where it shines though, is in the deep customization options available for each aircraft. You can customize and upgrade everything from performance parts and decals, to specific ammunition loadouts and even crew members for each of your chosen planes.
Oh, and did I mention there are a TON of vehicles to choose? From fighters and bombers, to dive bombers and floatplanes all the way down to ground force tanks. Between the 5 factions there are well over 150 instruments of war to try out, each with its own characteristics and style of play. Online arcade modes support up to 32 players at a time on huge maps, with game objectives varying from destroying bases and ground forces to all-out aerial mayhem!
It’s easy to tell that War Thunder’s main appeal is dedicated to it’s multiplayer portions. But fear not, all ye non-social introverts out there! War Thunder does sport a healthy dose of single player missions for you to dive into, which add aspects and experience you won’t find in the multiplayer. There are also two historical campaigns which are based upon the real battles between the US and Japan. However, fun as they may be, they pale in comparison to its robust multiplayer offerings. As a matter of fact, the biggest issue I had with the game was how overwhelming navigating the various menu options can be.
Once at the main menu, it’s very easy to get lost in just how much content Gaijin has packed into this game. They do a fair job at introducing you to the basics of gameplay, but offer little guidance when it comes to maneuvering through the very PC-like menu. Now for most seasoned vets that’s probably not an issue, but for novice players it may be a tad off-putting. Also, with this being a fee-to-play title it suffers from the same pay-to-win dual edge syndrome as others in its category. Leveling up is a pretty slow process and the starting options aren’t very good. Which can leave you at a hefty disadvantage if you come into the crosshairs of someone that just shelled out a few bucks for the top tier death machines.
Aside from those minor dings, War Thunder easily stands atop as one of the best free-to-play options currently available for the PS4. Its visually attractive environments, extensive customization features and arcade-style combat are definitely worth a shot. With the summer gaming drought almost upon us, War Thunder is a highly recommended addition to your survival cache!