I cannot figure War Thunder out for the life of me. It’s a pseudo-arcadey free-to-play game in the vein of World of Tanks, except in this one you fly a variety of WW2-era aeroplanes around maps that are unfailingly gorgeous trying to shoot down the opposition and bomb enemy ground targets. It’s also a grognardy1 dogfighting simulator where you have to worry about altitude and air speed and the actual combat part is limited to split-second high velocity diving gun runs at enemy aircraft. Each is accessed through a different game mode, and how they’ve ended up being so wildly different despite using exactly the same engine and the same assets is worth taking a closer look at.
- If you’ve never come across this term before, it’s usually used to refer to the sort of wargame player who values historical verisimilitude more than they do simplicity or ease of play and inevitably ends up buried under a mountain of unit counters festooned with NATO symbols. ↩