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Review

World of Warplanes Review

  • Game release: November 13, 2013
  • Reviewed: December 3, 2013
  • PC
Robert Handlery on Google+

Flight of fancy.

by

With a fuselage chewed up by bullet holes, an injured pilot who's bleeding out, and smoke trailing out of your engine, few things are more gratifying than ramming your doomed fighter headlong into the jerk who put you in such dire straights to begin with. World of Warplanes makes as much room for tactical sneakery as it does fancy flying, which gives your likelihood of surviving an exciting air of uncertainty. When the skies are swarming with fighters, dogfights spill into one another as you rocket through waves of antiaircraft fire and near misses. Layer on top of this an exhaustive list of unlockable planes and part upgrades to tinker with, and you have a game that is far more enjoyable than its repetitive nature might suggest.

World of Warplanes is a streamlined arcade-style experience built for easy accessibility. It takes only a minute or two to come to grips with the simple controls, and after a quick piloting tutorial, you're booted right to the battlefield with minimal handholding. It's a whirlwind introduction to be sure, but the flow of battle quickly becomes a familiar groove once you get a few missions under your belt. The fact that there's only one competitive player-versus-player mode to dive into helps you get acclimated quickly, though that limitation is ultimately to the game's detriment.

Hang in the hangar for tinkering fun.

Matches pit opposing squadrons in 15-on-15 battles for air supremacy over massive square maps. Victory is achieved by dealing enough damage to your opponents' base or by blowing every enemy bird out of the sky. The latter tends to be the deciding factor in nearly every battle simply because aggressive players are always on the hunt for the next potential kill. This doesn't make bombing and air-to-ground strafing runs any less useful, since you still gain experience for them, but it does keep matches short. Most games rarely bump up against the 15-minute time limit because there's no one else left in the air at that point.

Given the flight speed of the zippier fighter craft, it isn't long before squads clash in explosions of gunfire and chaos. Whether they unfold high in the clouds or closer to the ground, the inevitable dogfights that erupt are a thrilling highlight. Jockeying for position as you dive and climb or circle around to flank a foe--contending with antiaircraft flak and dangerous mountain terrain all the while--makes for some exhilarating moments. Taking damage to key areas of your plane and getting your pilot injured can severely impact handling too. That usually draws enemy fighters to you like hungry buzzards eager for scraps, but it's pretty awesome to land those last few kills when you're limping along.

World of Warplanes' maps are packed with beautiful scenery both at ground level and in the skies.

Things are just as exciting near the ground.

Speaking of explosions, your time on the battlefield is often short-lived, at least until you sharpen your piloting skills and unlock better gear for your planes. The experience and cash rewards for making it through a match intact give you a big boost, although death is only a minor bummer thanks to the way missions are handled. Get blown up, and you can still stick around as a spectator to see how things play out, though hopping instantly back to your hangar lets you grab a different ride and start a new game. At first, it's a nuisance that planes are tied to each match you initiate, forcing you to wait until a match is completed before you can free up the plane again. But the upside is that this encourages you to try lots of different craft and gradually improve your whole fleet rather than rely too heavily on one favorite.

The depth that World of Warplanes lacks in its sparsity of modes and short-lived air battles pops up in the huge number of craft you can unlock. With hundreds of planes arranged in class tiers across five different countries--USA, USSR, Germany, Japan, and the UK--there's a lot of sweet military hardware to dig through. You'll find everything from old biplanes and burly bombers to more modern jets, and each craft looks outstanding. Gaining access to them is a slow but satisfying process that makes each match you play, no matter how short or long, feel like it's contributing to your overall progress.

Your first few aircraft are flimsy and get torn apart quickly in direct fire. Spending accumulated experience earned with each craft lets you access new planes and upgraded parts for each one, ranging from engines and guns to armor and special bullets. That's when they become a lot more formidable and fun to fly. It's a two-stage process, however. Once you spend experience to gain access to each additional ride and extra parts, you have to shell out accumulated in-game cash to actually buy and equip them. It's a grindy system, albeit one that lets you get a lot of cool stuff without having to pay actual cash.

Bombing runs are a nice break from dogfighting.

Spending real money on gold currency is needed if you want to expand your hangar to hold a larger number of planes at once, or to speed the whole process up, but you have a good amount of starting space to work with. A small handful of souped-up planes can only be obtained with gold. Aside from being a bit more powerful than their non-premium counterparts within the same class, these craft are not necessarily the absolute best you can fly, but they don't require research and they give you a boost in earned credits and experience. Elsewhere in the shop, you can purchase gold, credits, and temporary packages that boost your experience gain. These purchases range from reasonable to extreme in price, but they give you a solid advantage by providing quicker access to upper-tier crafts and powerful ammo.

Taking down a tough adversary is tops.

World of Warplanes' maps are packed with beautiful scenery both at ground level and in the skies. Diving close for bombing runs gives you a closer look at ships, buildings, and infrastructure, while the sun and cloud lighting effects are beautifully captivating. Flying high gives you a strategic advantage to divebomb planes below you, and cloud cover can obscure the view, allowing you to spring a sneaky surprise. The map topography and ground-level designs make a much bigger impact on combat when you drop down to hug mountain peaks, buzz past AA guns, and rocket through deep canyons to try to shake someone on your tail. Despite the game's good looks, it stinks that the map rotation is so limited. Each setting is impressively rednered, but you can't pick which map you play on in a given match. This leads to lots of matches where you fly over the same few vistas, adding to the repetitiousness of the experience.

Taking to the skies in a seemingly endless string of short and intense matches proves to be a lot of fun in World of Warplanes, even when you feel caught in a time loop playing the same maps ad nauseam. Every encounter is pleasantly unpredictable, and the crazy kills and near misses keep the steady grind for cash and experience interesting. Ultimately, it's the variety of planes and unlockable goodies available for each aircraft that keep you pushing through the more limited, recycled stretches of this airborne assault freebie. There's room to grow here, but World of Warplanes leaves the runway with a sound foundation intact.

The Good
Beautiful settings and crisp plane detail
Thrilling dogfights
Tons of planes and parts to unlock for customization
The Bad
Limited play modes and map variety
Matches grow repetitive over time
7
Good
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

/ Staff

Nathan Meunier is no stranger to the unfriendly skies. From bombing runs to dogfights, he's been locking and loading in the cockpit since the early days of the flight combat genre. For this review, he tested out lots of different planes and engaged the enemy in more than 85 matches.

Discussion

39 comments
Iffy350
Iffy350

Il-2: 1946 Ultra Pack 3 RC4

kyphe
kyphe

They destroyed this game, I had challenging fun in mid to late beta but 2 weeks after release I uninstalled it as it is is a dire broken mess less than a 5 out of 10 from me, no way am I grinding that crap again

kingck123
kingck123

world of whoreplanes is a another grind tatcular game that wargaming has shoveled out. gajin's war thunder is far better it cover more computers in terms of playablity, its far less grindy, and to top it off they have experence in the combat simulators IE IL-2 and wings of prey. so they know what they what they are doing

uglypinkmoose
uglypinkmoose

This game actually looks pretty good to me but I doubt my PC can take it 

Jughed
Jughed

Is it optimized as well as War Thunder?

WT might be the best example of a game I've ever seen in that department.  

sadun_tryst
sadun_tryst

Don't listen to comments saying "This is better than that", just try the game and see for yourself. 

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

While I wouldn't play Wargaming.net's games anymore, I would say that I have disdain for some of you who shamelessly pitch War Thunder here at the expense of another game.

arnoediad
arnoediad

I cant believe this game does not feature an inplane camera or whatever you call it. And, besides, can there be in a same battle both biplanes and jets or 2°WW aircraft?? If so, then I ve lost all of my interest in this game..

Caldrin
Caldrin

As other have said War Thunder is just a better game.. I think Wargaming where a bit slow getting this out the door.. lets hope they do better with World of Warships..

RenegadeGR
RenegadeGR

want arcade and upgrades = WoWp
want simulation = WT

LordOtman
LordOtman

There is War Thunder out there.

World of Warplanes go home.

MAD_AI
MAD_AI

After playing War Thunder and replaying il2 Sturmovick,  I have no desire to return to the simplified arcade style of World of Tanks or Warplanes.

Slagar
Slagar

Crimson Skies!! 

Must give this a go :)

NiGhtPiSH
NiGhtPiSH

I tried both World of Warplanes and War Thunder on my seriously outdated desktop machine and guess what? War Thunder runs better and looks & feels better. World of Warplanes feels a little sluggish at times and the controls aren't as responsive.

sadun_tryst
sadun_tryst

@JughedNo, Warthunder is far better optimized. Looks better and still goes at much higher framerate.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@Gelugon_baat I don't see it as that bad, in almost every comment section people are comparing games and saying A is better than B. The only difference here is that there are so few comments that an overwhelming majority puts up one particular game as better than World of Warplanes. It's not like Warplanes will suffer for this or that people will play one game over another just because a stranger on the internet said so. You could argue that they should give Warplanes a chance, but if it doesn't look appealing enough and other alternatives present themselves, then why bother. Even if you're not using money to play it, you're still using time that you could have used doing something else. 

WGA_Jasysae_PL
WGA_Jasysae_PL

@arnoediad Hi arnoediad,


Thank you for your comment! Please mind that World of Warplanes is not a simulator but much more of an arcade. The interface and controls are easy to use. However the elements that do not require direct players input, such as physics and armors are being realistic. Each plane reacts in the air similarly to their real life counterparts. As the game is completely free to play I would like to encourage you to give it a go and let us know what you think about it!


To answer your question there is a possibility that a jet plane will meet in battle with a 2WW plane however it will be a high tier plane and if wisely used, the older construction can be very effective. At this point we do not have a cockpit point of view, thank you for your suggestion!


Best of luck!

Wargaming Ambassador - Jasysae

RenegadeGR
RenegadeGR

@grey_tiger pay2win games r games were you pay real money to get advantage over other people during the game. you cant buy your way up in this game since you need experience points to unlock upgrades and planes which can only be earned by goin into battles. also the biplanes in this game are post WW1 (aka interwar era)  not ww1 era, which hav their own advantages against monoplanes if you know how to fly them. aside from that ya you'r pretty much right on the spot (minus Wargaming paying for the review, I mean y would they dish out money if its only gonna get a 7)

WGA_Jasysae_PL
WGA_Jasysae_PL

@Hurvl @Gelugon_baat If we are to compare World of Warplanes with War Thunder, World of Warplanes has a completely different game dynamic. It is much easier to play, control your machine, aim the enemies, and simply enjoy it all. As such, World of Warplanes is designed for those who are not exactly willing to be forced to learn complicated mechanisms in order to be able to play and enjoy the game. I would like to invite everyone here to give World of Warplanes a go and share with us all your feedbacks!


Thanks for all your comments here!

Wargaming Ambassador - Jasysae

Jughed
Jughed

@WGA_Jasysae_PL @Hurvl @Gelugon_baat 


War Thunder forces you to learn complicated mechanisms?  The most popular mode is really arcady with a mouse and keyboard control system.


The dynamic looks exactly the same as the review I just watched. 

Hurvl
Hurvl

@WGA_Jasysae_PL @Hurvl @Gelugon_baatLol, that's a first, a game dev replying to a comment on Gamespot. I've seen some indie devs reply to other people's comments over at Rock, paper, shotgun, but never here and certainly not to one of my comments. I've got a backlog of great games that would dwarf any warplane, so no thanks, but since World of Warplanes is F2P there's nothing stopping anyone else to try it.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@grey_tiger  

Then one wonders why you return to GameSpot anyway, if only to post comments deriding it.

You are bringing your Internet traffic to GameSpot, regardless, do you know that?

World of Warplanes

  • PC
World of Warplanes is a stand-alone free-to-play game being developed by the team that created World of Tanks.
ESRB
Teen
All Platforms
Check out even more info at the World of Warplanes Wiki on Giantbomb.com