Think you’ve got what it takes to be a plucky pilot? A tank commander? A naval strategist? In War Thunder (opens in new tab), you can be a thrilling mixture of all them without needing to put your shoes on. Set sail on the seas, take to the skies or charge across the battlefield in massive 64-player vehicular conflicts.
Originally launched in 2013, War Thunder has changed and grown significantly in the interceding years. With over 1500 unique vehicles to drive, sail and pilot, including tanks, helicopters, planes and ships from both the World War II era and modern theatres of conflict, War Thunder is now the biggest military vehicle simulation in gaming. It’s also the most accessible. War Thunder enables players of all skill levels to get straight into the action. Its three game odes, Arcade, Realistic and Simulator, let you tweak the warfare to your liking and difficulty preferences.
War Thunder’s large-scale battles come in three distinct flavours. Here’s a little taste of what each has to offer.
Spectacular tank combat
You’ll rack up devastating kills rolling around in these hulking metal beasts. Yet for all the firepower and ferocity of War Thunder’s tanks, ground combat is highly strategic. You’ll need to take out a tank’s components as well as its crew to ensure it is entirely disabled. Taking out an enemy tank’s loader, for example, will mean the opposing player’s shells will take longer to reload.
War Thunder’s tank roster includes many classic models, such as the British Crusader tank and the American Sherman, both of which played key roles in World War II. More modern tanks include the mighty Vickers and the US M1A1 Abrams. But War Thunder’s ground combat isn’t limited to an impressive selection of tanks from multiple eras of warfare. It also includes prototype models and anti-air guns, which come in very useful when fending off attacks from the sky.
War Thunder’s aerial combat is without equal. With its roster of 300 planes, all of which are lovingly modelled after their real-life counterparts, it’s an aviation-enthusiast’s dream. The game offers aircraft from multiple nations, ranging from the UK and US to Germany and Japan. War Thunder runs a particularly strong line in World War II aircraft. From Spitfires to Stukas, B24s to Beaufighters - the game’s attention to detail – both in its visual presentation and in its simulation handling – makes every dogfight exhilarating.
Yet War Thunder’s air combat isn’t restricted to the planes that battled for Britain and manoeuvred over Midway. The latest update added contemporary air vehicles such as the AH-64 Apache helicopter, while 2019 saw the introduction of the F-4 Phantom, an early jet-fighter that played a key role in the Vietnam war. What’s more, new aircraft are currently being prepped for take-off, including some of the most modern jet fighters.
Tense naval warfare
Naval warfare plays a smaller but no less important part of combat in War Thunder. Boats and ships are firepower behemoths that can pick off planes from the relative comfort of the waves. But don’t get too complacent – other players will be more than happy to give your hull a beating from their own warships, while there’s always the chance a skilled aircraft pilot will get lucky with a bomb drop and get a direct hit on deck. Boats are much larger and slower moving compared to other vehicle types, which makes you a tasty target for everyone else on the field.
War Thunder’s ship combat allows naval enthusiasts to helm a wide range of seagoing vessels, from small barges to destroyers and even historic heavy cruisers, such as the HMS Southampton and the HMS London. The role of naval combat is also set to expand considerably. The introduction of “Large-ships combat” will see the addition of hulking battleships, just in case you felt the game’s war wasn’t thunderous enough.
With over 80 realistic maps, War Thunder offers fantastic visual variety. From sun-baked deserts to glittering snow to rolling farmland, each terrain type significantly changes the tactical gameplay and offers up unique mechanics to contend with. Newcomers and returning veterans alike will also benefit from a host of new visual enhancements, like HDR lighting and ray-tracing, accompanied by authentic sound effects and excellent music. And if it wasn’t clear already, the game is constantly updated with new, free content to expand on the metric ton of game already playable.
Play War Thunder now! (opens in new tab) Download for FREE via Steam, PlayStation Store or the Xbox Marketplace.