I manage, though, because of the title's grindy progression and a design mandate that eschews traditional flight sim mechanics for arcade tropes aimed at gamers who wouldn't know an accelerated stall from a bathroom stall.
Much like WoT, WoWP is literally a PvP lobby and nothing but. You queue up for 15v15 battles on a distressingly small selection of random maps, and you spend your down time spending currency earned in said battles on various World War II- and Korean Conflict-era death machines. Collecting these warbirds and oogling them in your hangar whilst engaging in some EVE-style ship-spinning is absolutely the most enjoyable part of the game, and Wargaming's artists should be commended for their faithful recreations that capture all of the blustery, belching bravado of the actual aircraft.
Team play is essential here, so if you're one of those lone wolf types who likes to fly off all by his lonesome and either attack random ground targets or explore the edges of the map, prepare to die early and often, even if you've already grokked the controls. Wargaming's matchmaking system avoids putting high-tier pilots into newbie and mid-tier battles, but the game places a premium on working together with your 14 mates and knowing the common strategies developed over the past year-and-change of alpha and beta testing.
Granted, there's probably a balance to be struck between a slavishly faithful Microsoft Flight Simulator-style title and the more action-oriented game that Wargaming's audience desires. For my money, though, the company erred too far on the side of pick-up-and-play easy. And WoWP quickly becomes repetitive because of it.
If you'll permit me a movie analogy, World of Warplanes has the heart -- and the looks -- of HBO's The Tuskegee Airmen. Unfortunately, it also has the head of George Lucas' Red Tails. While the former manages to get the planes and most everything surrounding them right, the latter occasionally gets the planes right and throws everything else out the window in the name of brain-dead "entertainment."
I've purposefully avoided turning this review into a comparison piece between WoWP and Gaijin's elephant-in-the-room known as War Thunder, both because that would be unfair to Wargaming and because, well, it would be really unfair to Wargaming.
I have to at least mention War Thunder, though, simply because it takes the same genre starting point and arrives at a more full-featured finish line. When, or if, WoWP gets around to adding optional simulation modes, optional realistic controls, cockpit environments, mission editors, solo- and co-op story and historical campaigns, and a whole bunch of other stuff, I'll get around to replaying and/or re-reviewing it.
- Mid- 20th century aviation eyecandy
- Instant action
- Fair match-making
- Too few maps
- Even fewer options for aircraft control
- Repetitive, simplistic gameplay
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