Fly the skies of WWII in ‘War Thunder’, a beautiful free MMO


Are you an aviation or WWII history buff? Do you enjoy tense dogfight action in the games you play? If so, then War Thunder may have something to offer you. War Thunder is a new Massive Multiplayer Online game that focuses on WWII aviation action and RPG style leveling.

It features a beautiful look and feel and both rich PVE and exciting PVP gameplay. It is also free to play.

I’ve been a lover of WWII history for quite some time and was therefore quite impressed and enthused about games like Company of Heroes and the WWII Call of Duty. While those games each offered a different perspective and take on the events and portents of WWII, they both take place mostly on the ground with air units in support.


War Thunder aims to cover the gap by presenting an areal based experience of WWII historic proportions.


War Thunder’s gameplay does feature both areal and ground combat but it focuses far more on the flying than the marching. The best descriptor for the gameplay in War Thunder would be ‘versatile’ as there are more than five different essential game experiences offered. These include, but are not limited to, co-op PVE, intense PVP action, and historically based campaigns for solo play. For ‘grinding’ out levels and gaining experience (and thereby skills and other RPG goodies) the instant action style missions are the basic staple. The co-op missions will allow you to team with up to three of your friends and tackle objectives together. With every game mode, you’ll continue to advance and unlock new aircraft as well as abilities.


In addition to well balanced and compelling gameplay, War Thunder’s attention to detail is impressive and evident in the 100+ variety of aircraft available within the game at the time of launching the beta. Care has been taken to present some pretty accurate  models of real aircraft that were used in the war, so history buffs will be pleased with this aspect. Some of the detail of the cockpits is so good it’s literally breath taking. The graphics are gorgeous but scalable so those with lower end machines will still be able to participate, within reason. Even on a laptop with no dedicated graphics card, I was able to play the game with decent frame rates and very little in the way of frame lag. The game engine is responsive and smooth, which is a big deal in an online game of this kind, and the world is persistent so it continues to exist and evolve no matter how many are online at a time. The only real issue I had with the game is that it froze up every time I tried to get a screenshot, so the folks at the web site were kind enough to supply a press kit with these shots, which I can confirm are of actual game play.


Sound, graphics, gameplay, all are above average for a free gaming experience in War Thunder, and the open beta is of course exciting because it allows you to participate in the shaping of the game’s future. All of these are good reasons to try it out but the best reason I found is that it is quite simply fun to play. There’s very little that compares with the fun of shredding an enemy plane with your machine guns, high above the clouds at breakneck speed, and War Thunder offers this experience in spades. It is a fantastic example of what free games and the F2P gaming model have to offer. Until next time, my friends.

  • Get your invite to the War Thunder open beta here.