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Is War Thunder Free to Play on PlayStation? Yes, 100% Free!

I‘m thrilled you‘re interested in trying out War Thunder! As a long-time player and fan of military combat games, let me walk you through everything you need to know about playing this surprisingly deep free-to-play game on your PlayStation.

In short: Yes, War Thunder is completely free to download and play on both PS4 and PS5 – no PS Plus subscription or hidden costs required. You get full access to hundreds of vehicles and multiplayer game modes without spending a dime.

Let‘s dive deeper into why War Thunder is such an awesome free combat game option for PlayStation gamers. I‘ll share plenty of insider tips for getting started and progressing smoothly as a new player too!

An Immense Amount of Content for a Free Game

It still blows my mind just how much engaging content Gaijin Entertainment manages to pack into War Thunder as a free-to-play game.

Across aviation, ground forces, and navy, here‘s an at-a-glance look at the sheer scope of vehicles and features you can experience in the free version on PlayStation:

1,700+ Vehicles

  • 300+ Aircraft
  • 500+ Ground Vehicles
  • 140+ Warships

15 Different Nation Factions

USA, Germany, USSR, Britain, Japan, China, Italy, France, Sweden, Israel, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia, Poland, Czechoslovakia

Massive Tech Trees

  • Aviation trees with up to 10 ranks
  • Ground trees with up to 7 ranks
  • Naval trees with up to 5 ranks

Diverse Game Modes

  • Arcade Battles
  • Realistic Battles
  • Simulator Battles
  • Custom Battles
  • PvE Operations
  • World War Mode metagame

80+ Detailed Maps

  • Locations across the globe like Normandy, Poland, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and more

Constant New Updates

  • Major content expansions every 2 months
  • Tweaks and improvements weekly

For a completely free-to-play game, War Thunder offers a breadth and depth of content that rivals many $60 retail releases. Reviews generally applaud just how much you get from the free download.

According to analytics site SteamCharts, War Thunder averages 60-90 thousand concurrent players daily – one of the highest for any free combat game. This shows War Thunder definitely has an active community worth joining.

Realistic Vehicle Combat Without Pay-to-Win

I‘m sure you‘ve tried some free games before that end up feeling pay-to-win, limiting your ability to progress or compete without spending money regularly. Especially common in military vehicle games, right?

Thankfully, War Thunder bucks this trend and remains enjoyable and fair for totally free players. How do they achieve this balance?

No Content Paywalls

  • Every aircraft, tank, and ship can be unlocked through normal progression. No content locked exclusively behind premium currency or DLC packs.

Reasonable Progression Pace

  • Unlocking new vehicles feels steady for casual play but not too fast. Keeps you engaged across hundreds of hours.

Premium Vehicles Aren‘t Overpowered

  • Optional premium vehicles offer unique bonuses but are balanced against tech tree options to prevent pay-to-win advantages.

You Earn the Same XP/Credits

  • Free and premium players earn experience (RP) and credits at the same rates through battle.

Currency Earned Through Matches

  • You earn a limited amount of premium currency (Golden Eagles) via achievements and level-ups too.

According to one developer interview, Gaijin specifically designs War Thunder to "avoid giving paying players game-changing advantages over non-paying players."

While you can optionally fast track some progression by buying premium currency, you can access the entire game and compete on equal terms by just downloading the free base version.

Premium Account Perks

A premium account subscription (around $10-15 monthly) does offer nice perks like bonus XP and credits from battles. However, premium time is rarely essential for progression. This income stream funds ongoing development.

War Thunder Game Modes – Arcade to Hardcore Simulation

A diverse range of multiplayer game modes provides gameplay for everyone from casual players to hardcore simulator fans.

Arcade Battles (AB)

  • Fast-paced, action oriented gameplay
  • Faster vehicle controls and physics
  • Respawns and healthbars
  • Great for newer players

Realistic Battles (RB)

  • Increased realism with authentic physics
  • No respawns, one life per vehicle
  • More tactical and methodical pacing
  • Advanced assistance options enabled

Simulator Battles (SB)

  • Maximum realism settings
  • First person cockpit / driver perspective only
  • All assists disabled
  • Highly challenging and immersive

Custom Battles

  • Create your own battles with custom settings and bots
  • Test drive vehicles or practice aim against AI

Special Events

  • Events like helicopter PvE operations and racing modes

Arcade is great for dipping your toes in and makes for quick action-packed matches. Realistic demands more tactical play and mastery of your vehicle‘s capabilities. Simulator offers hardcore military enthusiasts the ultimate authenticity.

across these modes provides something for everyone. You can enable certain assistance features in Realistic once you get the hang of vehicle controls too.

How Does War Thunder Play on PlayStation Consoles?

War Thunder plays smoothly on both PS4 and PS5 thanks to intuitive console controls and aiming assists.

Control Scheme

The default control scheme maps nicely to controllers:

  • Left stick: Vehicle movement
  • Right stick: Camera / aim
  • Triggers: Fire weapons
  • Shoulder buttons: Modify throttle

Aiming Assists

Optional aiming helpers account for console play:

  • Aim assist eases tracking targets
  • Instructor helps stabilize aircraft
  • Rangefinder estimates target distance

Graphical Fidelity

War Thunder runs great on PlayStation hardware with detailed visuals and realistic physics:

  • PS4 runs 1080p at 60 FPS
  • PS5 runs 4K at 60 FPS with enhanced textures

Cross-Play Support

You can party up and platoon with friends playing War Thunder on PC via cross-play. Consoles only matchmake against PC players who have also opted in.

It definitely takes some practice adjusting from mouse aim on PC over to joystick aiming with controllers. But intuitive control schemes combined with aiming assists allows most players to adapt smoothly within a few hours.

Having matched up against them, console players have no problem competing with PC players thanks to the skill balancing matchmaking system too.

Helpful Beginner‘s Tips for New Pilots

If you‘re new to flight, tank, and naval games – don‘t sweat it. War Thunder does a decent job easing you in with tutorial missions focused on core mechanics.

Here are some extra beginner-friendly tips I wish I knew starting out:

  • Play lower tier vehicles first – Start with reserve tier vehicles from rank 1-2 as you learn. They‘re much more forgiving and cheaper to repair.
  • Master the basics in Arcade first – The forgiving Arcade mode makes learning easier before tackling Realistic.
  • Focus on not crashing early on – Regardless of firepower, staying in the fight is key. Don‘t rush risky maneuvers before you have the hang of piloting.
  • Learn to lead shots properly – Aim where planes and tanks will be, not where they are currently. Ping shots in front until you grasp projectile speed.
  • Stay with your teammates – Lone wolfing will get you killed quick. Stick together to cover each others‘ weak spots.
  • Keep an eye on your minimap – Check the map often for situational awareness and don‘t get caught off guard.
  • When in doubt, go around – If an enemy gets the drop on you, evasive maneuvers help you reset to a better attack angle.
  • Have fun first, focus on stats later – Don‘t obsess over K/D early on. Enjoy the awesome vehicle variety first and skill comes naturally.

It will likely take you 20 hours or more playing across different game modes and lineups before you start feeling truly competitive. But the skills you learn early on stick with you. Plus you can join squadrons for advice from veteran players.

If at any point War Thunder starts feeling too hardcore or frustrating rather than fun, take a break or return to lower tiers for stress-free matches. It‘s a game after all – play at your own pace.

Is War Thunder Worth Playing on PS4 and PS5?

For military combat gaming fans on console, War Thunder offers an unmatched battlefield experience combining:

Massive Variety of Iconic Vehicles – Near endless lineup including Mustangs, Zeroes, Abrams, T-72s, Typhoons, and battleships from the Iowa and Yamato classes. Almost any famous plane, tank, or warship you can think of is faithfully modeled.

Strong Core Gameplay Loop – Addictive and rewarding progression as you master operation of detailed vehicles modeled down to startup procedures while unlocking new toys.

Community Events and Updates – Regular live events like racing modes plus major content drops every two months maintaining ongoing engagement.

Killer Audiovisuals – Jaw dropping photo realistic graphics leveraging PS4 and PS5 hardware with detailed models and sound design bringing machines to life.

Fair Free-to-Play Model – Optional premium purchases that speed progression but never gate content behind paywalls or disrupt balance. Avoiding pay-to-win.

Flexible Realism – Accessible Arcade mode up through ultra hardcore Simulator settings enabling you to play at a realism level matching your experience.

Consistent Multiplayer Action – Quick matchmaking times for pitched team battles thanks to a strong player population across platforms.

So if you‘re searching for a military vehicle combat game blending fun, progression, and realism without an excessive grind or cost, War Thunder belongs in your PlayStation library.

The free download provides hundreds of hours of gameplay content and progression without hitting paywalls. And the authenticity is unmatched in simulating the triumphs and challenges of piloting aircraft, commanding tanks, and captaining warships from WWII to Vietnam eras.

Strap in and I‘ll see you on the battlefield, commander! This is one free PlayStation game that can easily become a hobby and passion if you get hooked.



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.