Game Guys review - World of Warplanes

8:22 AM, Dec 20, 2013   |    comments
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  • 'World of Warplanes' from developer/publisher Wargaming.
  • 'World of Warplanes' from developer/publisher Wargaming.

More than two years ago, online game developer/publisher Wargaming released computer game World of Tanks to great acclaim.  Now, in 2013, the company takes to the skies with World of Warplanes.  Will the high-flying title find the same success?  If initial impressions are of any sign, then there's no reason to believe otherwise.

As part of the same in-game universe as the free-to-play Tanks, Warplanes uses many of the same structure as does the ground-based tank game.  Menus and garages, for example, are very much the same in the new game as they are in the first one.  This provides for a good sense of continuity between the affiliated titles.  While that's nice and all, it's not what players are really interested in.  Aerial dogfighting and intense militaristic aviation action, however, is.  Thankfully, this game does not disappoint.

For the most part, similarities to World of Tanks ends once players enter into a 16-on-16 match.  Where Tanks was methodical, slow, and somewhat strategy-based, Warplanes is all about arcade-like speed and high-flying action.  It's also about multitasking.  Because the aircrafts are in constant motion, players need to pay attention not only to teammates and enemies, but also keep a constant eye on airspeed, altitude, and so on.

Furthermore, playing in a 3D realm rather than a constant X-axis like in Tanks means there are more perils that can be encountered environmentally.  Newer players (which most folks are at this point) should expect to make accidental hard landings on and against inconveniences like mountainsides and bridge pylons.  Thankfully, these counter-productive physical encounters become less and less frequent thanks to controls that don't take too horribly long to become accustomed to both in terms of navigation and combat.  And for those who don't like or want to use a keyboard and mouse to control their games, Warplanes also features gamepad support.

Much like in Tanks, players get the choice of military aircraft from a handful of different nations.  The initial selection are fairly basic and offer few frills or power.  As play progresses and the player logs battle upon battle, points are accumulated with which players can upgrade their warplanes or buy (presumably) better or different ones.  Outside of the freely-earned in-game currency, players can also buy premium currency that allows them to buy upgrades and new aircraft at a quicker pace.  While this 'freemium' model gets scoffed at fairly often, Wargaming does have bills to pay and selling World of Warplanes for literally nothing won't settle any debts.  Thankfully, like with World of Tanks, this business model doesn't seem to encourage the "pay-to-win" problem from which some games with a similar monetary structure suffer.

Visually, World of Warplanes looks fine.  Not stupendous (even on max settings), but fine.  Of course part of that assessment might have to do with the recent launch of Sony's and Microsoft's new gaming consoles.  That stated, visual quality is definitely there and nowhere is that more evident than with the maps themselves.  Players will be soaring over some rather nice-looking and well-detailed areas.  And, really, it's a good thing that the devs paid so much attention to this aspect of the game because players will be seeing a lot of it.  Gameplay is viewed via a floating camera following close behind the player's aircraft and because of that there is no cockpit view option available.  While this may turn off some of the aviation simulation crowd, it's a blessing in disguise thanks to the omission of all those pesky gauges and dials that players would otherwise need to deal with while simultaneously engaging in dogfights and trying not to nose-dive into a hillside.

At it's core, Wargaming's World of Warplanes is one thing if nothing else: fun.  It takes some of what made the long-standing Flight Simulator computer games so good with the arcade-like nature and competitiveness found in their original World of Tanks title.  The game shows every sign of being able to garner a similar following as its predecessor and should keep the company behind it soaring straight through to the release of its next big release, the upcoming World of Warships game currently in development.

22/25 21/25 01/25 25/25 22/25 90/100

Version tested: PC

(Wargaming supplied a copy of this game for review.)

See how what our review scores mean and how the math adds up.


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