World Of Warplanes Review

Combat1Soaring high above a world filled with tanks, World of Warplanes brings aerial dogfighting to the Wargamming universe. Weaving between your foes, dive bombing targets and engaging in aerial competitive ballet in a game where the physics follow George Lucas’ laws more than Newton’s seems like it might just be the best thing since the 10 man raid. Does World of Warplanes barrel roll over the competition, or does it go into a defensive spiral? Let’s find out!
Audio Version:
Pros and Cons
Flying high above the earth, the beauty of World of Warplanes is immediately striking. From great textures used in the world to the puffs of cloud in the sky, everything jumps out at you and draws you into the epic battles taking place.
The combat itself is a wonderful homage to the days of Combat Flight Simulator 2. I would play CFS2 for hours on end with my dad, fighting battles in the skies of Europe to see who would have to do the chores that day. World of Warplanes has the same action movie feel that Combat Flight Simulator 2 did, with just enough reality in the physics and control to make it feel like you’re actually flying the plane, and ignoring enough reality to make you feel like you’re in the best action sequence ever.
With simple controls and no throttle save for a boost that increases your speed for a short duration, you can find yourself absorbed in the action from your first battle without having to fight to keep the plane in the air. The battle starts in the air, and you never have to worry about takeoff, landing, or any other technical aspects of keeping the plane aloft.
There are four different control schemes that you can use: mouse and keyboard, keyboard only, gamepad and flightstick. While each of these works acceptably well, I found that the mouse and keyboard gave me the best experience, with the gamepad a close second. With the action nature of the game, which I’d definitely classify as action and not simulation, the flight stick felt too slow, as did the gamepad. Each is very serviceable though, so I encourage you to try each option to find which works best for you.
In the air, each team starts in small squadrons on each end of the map. I mention the rough squadron formations as you’ll want to try to stick with a team as much as possible. Most of my battles were fought in fast dogfights between many planes, and I never had success where I was facing of against more than one enemy alnoe. As much as I tried to get away, when facing large numbers of foes, I knew that I was really just delaying my inevitable death.
Battles are won either through killing all enemy planes or through gaining supremacy by destroying ground targets which include anti-aircraft emplacements, hangers and HQ buildings. I had a great deal of fun decking out a plane as a ground pounder and snaking through the geography to take out enemy buildings.
At the time of this review there are nine maps in the game, but my favourite has to be Bay, where you above in San Francisco Bay. There’s nothing quite like dodging under the Golden Gate Bridge to escape your enemies to get your blood pumping. The maps, which range from European countrysides to Pacific island chains, are all varied and lend themselves to vastly different experiences when played.
The planes are arranged into different tiers, from biplanes in Tier I to early jet fighters in Tier X. The matches are arranged around these tiers, to keep the battles fairly even. I was given a press account from Wargamming, but I also played with my own free to play account as well to get a feel for the monetization scheme. With both, I found that the most fun was to be had in the Tier V – Tier VII range, as I would sometime be fighting against the mighty jet fighters, which tended to kill me quite quickly, and then some of the lower and mid tiered prop planes, which tended to be more evenly matched. Most of the time though, the matches where fairly even, with a good mix of planes in the tiers above and below mine.
When using some of higher tiered planes, the wait for a match could sometimes get to the 5 minute mark, but this was not the norm, and definitely not the case for the lower tiered planes, where most of the community seems to be.
A large part of the game, though, is spent upgrading your planes and your pilots. You start with a stable of planes from the four different nations that are represented in the game: England, the US, Japan and Russia.
For your planes, your upgrades cost Experience and Credits, which are both gained through the many battles that you will fight in the skies. You use experience to research upgrades for your starter planes, which include engines, airframe, guns and bombs. Once researched, you then spend Credits, to purchase and mount your upgrades. After you’ve fully upgraded your plane, you can then spend more experience to unlock the next plane on your upgrade tree. With over 100 planes to explore in the end, you won’t find yourself lacking in options.
Your pilots are like characters, and can train them in up to two different skills. These skills range from Increased View Range, which lets you spot enemies from farther away, to Bombardier, which will increase your accuracy when using bombs or rockets. These pilots can only gain experience from the battles that they fly in, so finding a plane that you like and sticking with it is definitely helpful.
As a free to play game, you can earn all of this through currency that you gain in game. There is, however, another currency called Gold, which you can use to buy special planes that are fully upgraded from the get go, and are not part of the regular upgrade tree. You can also convert Gold into Credits, but not into Experience.
You can also purchase premium account status, for about $13US a month, which will grant you a bonus 50% XP and Credits per battle. You’ll also get a special hanger, and with the unified premium account structure that Wargamming recently put in place, the premium status applies to all of their games.
I like the way in which these different currencies interact, in that spending real world money does give you an advantage in that you can purchase more powerful planes without having to earn them, but you are unable to make your way through the regular upgrade tree without spending time dogfighting in the skies.
Along with the upgrades to your planes, you can also purchase different types of ammunition and several different consumables for use during the battles to gain small moments of advantage during the fights. These include fire extinguishers to reduce the damage done by fires, better fuel to give you more boost power during your flights and repair kits to well, repair your plane.
My experience in World of Warplanes was both a grand adventure through nostalgia and at the same time the best experience in a flight game that I think I’ve ever had. From flying high above my foes, banking and diving to take them out from above, to skimming mere feet above the ground as I approached ground targets, World of Warplanes make by heart pound and my hands shake with excitement. If you want the best action flight game around, then go check out World of Warplanes. You can thank me later.
It’s the little things:
The exhilaration of diving to escape a foe and using the geography to live to fight another day.
You will die. A lot. If that’s frustrating for you, then you might want to pass this one by.
Most planes feel fairly unique in the way in which they handle.
Rating:
5/5 – Critical Hit. World of Warplanes does almost everything right, and its few faults can’t diminish the sheer amount of fun that I had while playing this game.
 
Our Ratings:
5/5 – Critical Hit:  A perfect or near perfect game who’s minimal flaws are far overshadowed by its amazing fun and playability.
4/5 – Solid Strike: This is a great game that has just a few too many issues keeping it from greatness.
3/5 – Hit: It connects, but it doesn’t shake the earth. Well worth playing if you like the genre, setting and playstyle.
2/5 – Miss: A game that doesn’t fall apart while you’re playing, but definitely misses the mark in many significant ways.
1/5 – Critical Miss: Winding up for a hay-maker, this game swing and misses and falls all over itself from the effort. Not worth looking at unless you’re quickly trying to get rid of your laundered money.

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