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Ok, so it’s not strictly first impressions, as I did play World of Warplanes before it was fully released, so this is the first time for me in the release version of the game.

World of Warplanes (herein WoWP) is a F2P flight sim set in the “Golden Age of Flight”, WW1 to late WW2 sort of era.  The game is made by the same company that produced World of Tanks, and as such follows the same basic gameplay principles as World of Tanks (WoT), destroy all enemies or take over their base.  The base stuff is slightly different in WoWP, as obviously you can’t sit in a capture circle when you’re flying, so what you have to do instead is destroy enemy ground targets (AA and various buildings) and their runway.  There’s the same sort of upgrades/research available for the aircraft as you get in WoT, and consumables and equipment are present too.  A nice surprise is that each of the starting planes gives you a pilot at 100% basic training, meaning you won’t have to grind as much to get skills as you do in WoT.

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I think WoWP is more difficult than WoT, mainly because you can’t hide anywhere when you’re in the air, at least it WoT you can go and cower behind a wall, but in the air, there’s nowhere to run.  This means that unless your an Topgun pilot, the matches won’t be as long as in WoT.  I would imagine it’s using the same matchmaking system as WoT, so you’ll probably do ok for a bit, then it’ll put you up against better opponents and you’ll be dead within 5 seconds.

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From the research points required for anything over Tier 3, it looks like it’s going to be quite a grind to unlock the better planes, more so than WoT.  There’s a wide range of planes to choose from, from a variety of nations, including British, which is the main reason I came back to it.  There’s three main variants of aircraft, fighter, heavy fighter and attack aircraft.  Fighters are your usual single engine planes such as Spitfires and Mustangs etc.  Heavy fighters are the bigger, more durable planes such as BF110 or Mosquitoes and will generally have a turret.  Attack aircraft are the most heavily armed and armoured and are specifically for taking out ground targets, they’re slower and less manoeuvrable than other aircraft.

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The graphics look great, much the same as WoT, it also runs smoothly despite there being much more movement than in WoT.  The special effects such as fuel leaking, engine fires and tracer fire look great.  The sound is also pretty good, whether it’s 100% accurate I can’t say, but it sounds good enough to me.

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The control system when using the mouse works well, you point your crosshair in the direction you want to move, and the plane turns towards it, with another reticule for where the guns are pointing.  The standard controls don’t give you any keyboard based control of the directional controls, which means you can’t roll or yaw as easily.  I’ve yet to explore the control system, but I’m hoping there’s a way to get at least roll control onto the ‘A’ and ‘D’ keys, as this will make more advanced aerial manoeuvres possible.

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Overall, I like it, there haven’t been many classic combat flight sim games in recent years, so it’s nice to be able to finally fly around in a Spitfire or Messerschmitt with other people.  It looks great, sounds great, and the planes react well, probably not realistically, but it’s not trying to be a hardcore flight simulator, so it’s not really a problem.  It does have a steeper learning curve than WoT, and at times will leave you frustrated when you’ve died almost instantly, or been crashed into by a friendly plane, but when you get a kill streak going, it’s ace.

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