At a glance...

Previewer Platform Publisher Developer Players Release Date
Matt Bailey PlayStation 4 Gaijin Entertainment Gaijin Entertainment 29th November 2013

War Thunder preview

One of the biggest surprises for me at the Sony conference at Gamescom was the spotlight shown on War Thunder. Whilst it had already been announced for the next-gen console back in May, this was its first showing on a highly public stage. I was therefore delighted when I got to try my hand at the game, which is currently available in alpha form from their website, as well as get a sneak peek at the upcoming PS4 release.

War Thunder is a free-to-play, massive multiplayer war game set across vast regions of land in numerous World War 2 settings. Players will be able to pilot many historic planes, tanks and ships in multiplayer games similar to the World of Tanks series. It isn't just deathmatch either; whilst a major part of the games involves team on team battles, many of the current maps involve other objectives too, such as having two armies of ground forces approach each other, with the planes in the sky helping take out the opposing land forces. As it stands today, War Thunder features the air combat only, but with well over 100 planes (including bombers, ground attack planes and fighters) and 17 locations, there's plenty for players to get their hands on already. There's also over 3 million registered players already, so getting into a match takes no time at all.

War Thunder

War Thunder

This autumn sees the release of both the PlayStation 4 version of the game as well as a major content update in the form of tank combat. Looking at the tank combat first, the developer has certainly put in a lot of effort to ensure the quality of this new combat mechanic matches the existing air support. Rather than the air-to-ground based objectives of the air battles that are currently available, it looks like the tank content will see more types of games added to mix. I saw what looked to be point capture objectives in the small snippet of gameplay that was shown. On top of this, what makes War Thunder a little different to what's out there at the moment is that plane, tank and, eventually, ship combat will all take place in the same match. The example I was shown behind close doors was a section of tank combat where two tanks sat across from each other down a wide valley. The opposing tank got a lucky shot and had taken us out, but instead of jumping into another tank, the player I was watching switching to a plane and took out the tank from the sky. It's this mix of varying combat styles that should make each match feel exciting.

Whilst I didn't get to see the PlayStation 4 dev kit it was running on (Sony are keeping those tightly under wraps), I did get to try the PS4 build of the game. It played very similar to the current PC version of the game, and after a few moments to get acquainted with the nature of a gamepad based controller scheme, I felt right at home. Talking specifics about the build I played, I was pleased to hear how much Gaijin Entertainment enjoyed working with Sony. Despite having the PS4 dev kit for only two months, the build looked fantastic, on par with the visuals of the PC version. The team are keen to integrate some of the console's social feature, but other parts of the platform, like remote play, are currently not a priority. In what is becoming a common theme, Sony have been very cooperative in supporting this type game; not only will the game be cross-platform with console players fighting with and against PC players, but updates will also be released simultaneously for both PS4 and PC. Finally, PlayStation Plus users can look forward to bonus content when the game is released.

War Thunder

War Thunder

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