Game Review: 'World of Warplanes'

World of Warplanes fighter.

When's the last time one of your friends asked you to join them in a combat flight simulator? I can't remember either. The golden days of flight sim games seem to have come and gone, but Wargaming.net has taken a stand and revitalized the withered genre with "World of Warplanes." By building off of the core ideas that made "World of Tanks" a runaway success, "World of Warplanes" provides intuitive and engaging gameplay while imbuing as much realism as possible.

The first concern gamers may have is that a warplane simulator is very different from a tank simulator. This is true, but what carries over from Wargaming.net's previous title are the core tenants of fun, accessibility, and realism. The "World of" games aren't meant to be strict simulations, otherwise they'd be impossibly difficult, nor are they meant to be arcade-style shooters. The designers took each warplane and ensured that its in-game performance matched its historical role within the context of the game's engine.

World of Warplanes attack plane.

If you have limited experience with flying games, and being a master Banshee pilot doesn't count, then you'll have a fairly steep learning curve to tackle. "World of Warplanes" provides an excellent tutorial that gets new players well-situated, but the complexities of aerial combat are unnatural. Any competitive multiplayer game will require players to practice for hours to become truly skilled, but "World of Warplanes" requires a little extra effort, especially in our FPS-soaked market.

Although the nuances of playing as a fighter pilot might take a while to learn, once you do have the basics down the game is engaging and fun. Unlike "World of Tanks," "World of Warplanes" requires players to be in the thick of fighting at all times. Even heavier planes designed to take out static ground targets need to push through lines of enemy fighters to reach their objectives. If you're frustrated with players who like to turtle or sneak, "World of Warplanes" offers nothing to hide behind. The only approximate strategies a warplane can take are to out-climb, out-maneuver, or out-pace an opponent, but none of them will stop a bullet.

World of Warplanes German plane.

If you're turned off by the idea of fast-paced dog-fighting, don't fret: "World of Warplanes" offers a few different classes that provide different playing experiences. The fighter classes tend are the most maneuverable and require classic plane-on-plane combat. The heavy fighter class in turn requires a similar style of play, but its increased armor and firepower lower its speed and maneuverability. Lastly, the attack aircraft class lets players relinquish, to a point, air-to-air combat as it comes equipped with plenty of ordnance for blowing up ships and anti-aircraft turrets.

Two aspects that make "World of Warplanes" fun are its monetization system and tree of unlockable content. "Warplanes" features a very similar upgrade system to "World of Tanks" which lets players choose different types of ammunition, special weapons such as bombs and rockets, and more. Each warplane is a node on the upgrade tree, so once you've researched the right features, the next plane on the line becomes available. If you enjoy the way "World of Tanks" handles this feature, then you'll feel right at home with "Warplanes."

Whether you're a gamer or history buff, "World of Warplanes" plainly offers a fun gaming experience. The online community is already millions strong so you won't be short of opponents, nor will you have trouble finding players who are about as skilled as you. There are plenty of online resources to help you navigate the complex world of aerial combat, and Wargaming.net is dedicated to each of its games with continues fixes, tweaks, and expansions. The game is free to play, so at the very least, go finish the tutorial, play a few matches, and revel in the golden age of airplanes.

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