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E3 2012: World of Warplanes (hands on)

Posted by: Chuck at 6/9/2012 9:24 AM
Earlier this year at GDC I was shown a short demo of World of Warplanes and all I could think about was how much I wanted to play the game myself.  The game looked gorgeous and more importantly, it looked fun.    Fortunately at E3 this year I got the chance to play the game.

The game will support a variety of controllers including joysticks, gamepads, as well as the traditional mouse and keyboard.   For my demo I got to use the mouse and keyboard setup.  

The controls took some getting used to as the plane I didn't pick one of the more nimble aircraft from the hanger.  It also didn't help that I flew the first part of the mission with the bombs attached to the bottom of the plane and as soon as I released them the plane instantly became more maneuverable.

The mouse was used to steer the plane while the W and S keys allowed you to control the speed of the engine.  The A and D buttons controlled the throttle while the left mouse button fired the machine guns while the B button drops your planes bombs. 

While I'm not much of a flight combat guy I was immediately entranced with watching the dogfights around me.  There's no sense of safety once the two sides begin combat as you have to balance trying to shoot others down while avoiding being shot down.  It was a bit of a rush to work my way behind someone and get a few shots off before realizing that I had a tail that was doing the same thing to me.  I did manage to lose my tail with a few evasive maneuvers but by then my original target was lost and the round had ended.

I am looking forward to playing the game with a joystick as that seems like the ideal way to play the game.  The mouse and keyboard controls are decent but like most flight games a joystick is going to be the way to play the game. 

As with any good game the play experience left me wanting more.  The closed beta of the game is currently in progress and should be opening up to more players sometime in the future.  The beta will feature 59 planes from the same core nations as World of Tanks (Germany, Russia,  and the US).  The game won't be all about air combat though as the folks at Wargaming.net are expected to have some PvE missions.

We'll have more info on the game as it is released and if you're looking for a fun flight combat game this is one to watch.

Update: (France is not in the beta and the CBT is already in progress)