I never understood the appeal of World of Tanks, probably understandable as I never played it and the most amount of exposure I got to it was snippets of matches. Also, it seems to attract a lot of teens, and if there’s one thing worse than people, it’s teens.
So I went into World of Warplanes with about as much understanding as a teen has of real life, expecting not much more than to play for an hour or two and then forget it had ever existed. But just like every romcom ever created, I soon found that WoWP and I were meant to be, running hand in hand through meadows, petting puppies and whispering sweet nothings to one another before shagging like animals over whatever convenient flat surface could be found.
What I like
For starters, WoWP has a simple, beautiful aesthetic to it. It’s kind of like playing with a model aeroplane over tabletop scenery. It resonates with my inner child that used to love building both model warplanes and tabletop miniatures; a part of my life now drowned under the weight of a full-time job and premature balding. Even the model of the guy piloting your aircraft has that same stillness and blank expression you’d expect from a toy trying its darndest to replicate the human terror of war kilometers above the ground.
Flying in this game is amazingly simple – point your mouse to where you want to go. Done. None of this screwing around like in Battlefield 4 where you actually have to know a little about what you’re doing. Granted, I understand why hardcore players like that – it shows and takes skill. However, for a guy like me who will inevitably crash after about fifteen seconds behind the wheel (is it a wheel? Or a joystick? How does it work?), being able to simply point is like having the wind at my back, tickling my spine and tousling my hair. The game wants me to be in the air.
The aiming is amazingly player friendly – while it might take a while to get used to how your crosshairs work (you don’t automatically point where you’re aiming, as you are a plane, and planes tend to turn slower than, say, a dog with an item on interest on its tail) you’ll find a small red dot in front of enemy planes showing you where to shoot so you can actually hit them. Now, for those of you who are scoffing ‘noob’ into your Sonic shaped Red Bull coolers, I’d like you to imagine for a second how hard it would actually be to aim a gun mounted on the front of a plane, and then try to imagine how hard that crap is in a game where you have almost no feedback as to how you’re actually performing.
That said, you’re going to spend a lot of time missing. That fact keeps me warm at night. Or cool, considering my room is starting to reach about 40 degrees celsius at nights. It’s pretty gross.
Lastly, customisation is seemingly infinite. While I haven’t seen exact figures, I can roughly estimate there are between 2 to around 40,000 planes, each with a stupid amount of options and tweaks you can give to your favourite aircrafts to make them feel like your very own baby.
What I Don’t Like
I have no idea what’s going on. The amount of customisation I had access to right from the beginning (whether that was because of my press pass or for whatever other reason), I had no pathway to comprehend what was going on. While the tutorial was helpful in getting me to fly my plane, getting into the Hangar where I selected my seemingly endless supply of planes and upgrades kind of put me off.
I’m pretty sure there are lovers of WoT or WoWP without press passes that are trying to throttle me through their PC’s after reading that, but, I’m not as young as you kids. I needs me small steps and good friendly handhold to understand exactly how I’m supposed to think going into battles. Which will never happen, because I last about fifteen seconds in each match before I’m shot to pieces by someone with better skills, hand-eye coordination, and a lack of adult-like responsibilities.
Like Warhawk and nearly every other flight game I can remember, WoWP is about as forgiving as Santa staring into your soul and handing you the blackest, coldest piece of coal from the center of the earth while muttering ‘There is no word for how naughty you are…’, slinking backwards and shooting up the chimney / over the verandah without breaking eye contact. That is to say, unforgiving. No forgiveness. Probably should have said something about a steep learning curve here, but it’s Christmas and the opportunity for Santa analogies only come once a year.
To be fair to the gaming community already on WoWP, I’ve been approached several times from players asking me what publication I work for and if I needed any tips, the players often subscribing things I should say in my review that need to be fixed. 99% of the time, I have no idea what it is they’re talking about that actually needs to be fixed, but I’m guessing there’s a forum somewhere for them to submit suggestions for developers. That knowledge makes me incredibly uncomfortably hot at night, because, hot damn, it’s like a sauna in here. Every now and then I think a fly has crawled across my leg, but no, just sweat.
Things that make me go “Hmmm..”
Now, like all F2P games, you could throw a lot of cash into this game without unlocking everything – which is as it should be. In a way, it’s actually helped me understand the mindset of people who get cars and ‘supe’ them up, or whatever it is you do with cars. You have a selection of warplanes, and you upgrade them to your tastes and needs, giving you a sense of ownership. Believe me, I think these are all good points, but the reason I’m personally a bit iffy with them is my own inability to truly understand the game. In Hawken, a F2P mech shooter, I understand instantly what it is I’m buying and how it’s useful. This is in part because shooters have been huge in the last few years, and it’s not like I could’ve avoided picking some knowledge up, and also because the game has a much smaller scope.
Personally, this turned me off a little, but also knowing that I could jump in this game and have the ability to play with some planes for free makes me wonder why I’m such an entitled moron. When shot down, you can either spectate the rest of the match or exit back to your hangar to select another plane and enter a new match. It’s quick and relatively painless, unless you’re me and get killed every other minute. This ties back into the steep learning curve of the game – I’m never in it long enough to get better.
I actually really like WoWP. Despite the fact I am a competition slut, I will play WoWP for the flight and the off-chance I might shoot someone down. The sound of the planes engine and the rat-a-tat of the machine guns are somehow relaxing to me – kind of like my own version of cricket. Except it’s actually entertaining and I give more than two shits about the proceedings.
- Reviewed On