War Thunder Ground Forces puts you in the drivers seat of some the most iconic tanks starting with WW1 machines and going right up to modern day main battle tanks. It is a game I have a love hate relationship with. When things are going well and every tank you encounter goes up in flames, its great. However, your next move could spell a grisly end for you. It only takes one wrong move or a slight hesitation on the tigger and you’re finished. The dynamic damage model replaces hit points (HP) with a crew that can be killed plus various components, which if hit will immobilize you or take you out the battle entirely.
Arcade mode is where you will have most fun. It is more forgiving. If you want a challenge, simulator or realistic battles are for you.
Arcade mode is fast paced and action packed. It is also far more forgiving than the other modes. Simulator and Realistic battles are for those who want a real challenge, and that extra dose of realism. Within arcade mode you have a penetration indicator which helps you learn where the weak spots of the enemy are. Your enemies will also have name plates when spotted making it easier to target them. When in realistic or simulator battles you won’t have this indicator nor the nameplates, you will have to rely on your binoculars and knowledge of tanks and their weak spots.
• Aiming reticle and penetration marker
• 10% Increase in engine power
• Simplified tank handling
• 3 Respawns
• No 3rd person
• Outside camera locked to commanders view
• Gunners view not centred instead at the point of his optics
• No friendly vehicle markers
• Earn respawns by performing well
• No aim assist or penetration marker
• Engine power is historically correct
• No friendly or enemy nameplates/markers
The progression model is a bit of a mess and could do with some tidying up. Starting with tank upgrades, it all feels a bit pointless and more there to give you something to work towards. This isn’t bad in itself but making it feel more rewarding is never a bad thing. Moving onto the tank tech tree, you will progress pretty fast but it won’t take long before it becomes a real time sink. Purchasing a premium account and/or vehicle will drastically speed things up but you have to be willing to drop some real cash on it. For me personally, I don’t mind buying some premium time and a tank but I don’t keep a premium account running all year. I like supporting a game I’ve had many hours of fun with but it has to be within reason.
Solid graphics, immersive sound effects, amazing attention to detail on tanks
The graphics are solid and really help in immersing you in the moment. The tanks also have amazing attention to detail. The sounds effects are one of the most impressive areas in Ground Forces. Everything from the engines starting up, the tracks trundling along and the powerful thud of sending a shell downrange creates an aura of immersion. The maps are well designed and look great. The environment is all a bit drab, but we are in the middle of a chaotic war zone. Everything from pillars to entire buildings can be levelled. You will find you get caught on a lot of obstacles such as hills, rocks, trenches etc which can be rather frustrating at the best of times. Ground Forces was added into the game engine later on and I think this contributed to the odd feeling you get when moving around the maps. You notice it more when travelling fast and over bumpy parts of the map.
Being a free to play game, we have to discuss the business model of this game. You can purchase a premium account which is time limited. When active you earn more silver lions and also research points speeding up unlocks. Next up is premium vehicles which increase both your research points and silver lions (in game credits) income. If you plan on playing this game regularly then buying a premium vehicle and/or account is well worth it. The time it takes unlocking new tanks will be drastically decreased.
One of the best free to play games without pay to win mechanics
War Thunder Ground Forces is right up there as one of the best F2P games but it isn’t perfect. That said what game is? If tank warfare is something that interests you then you should definitely give this game a try. I have sunk endless hours into this game chasing that next unlock. Along the way I have had truly magical moments pulling off last minute caps winning the game, or taking out tanks far more powerful than mine where the odds were stacked against me. One last thing I should add is out of all the F2P games I’ve played War Thunder does the best in keeping things fair. Yes, you can buy premium tanks and some of these are better when compared to others. You can still destroy premium tanks just as easily as normal ones. It all comes down to knowledge of weak spots and positioning.