Thunder Wolves Review
Say hello to my little friend.
If you’ve been dreaming about a new action game that lets you pilot a helicopter and rain down death from above, then Thunder Wolves is the game you’ve been waiting for. Released last week on PC via Steam and coming soon to the Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Store, Thunder Wolves is definitely action packed, but is there more to it than just mindless shooting and tons of explosions? Let’s find out.
Thunder Wolves doesn’t really have a story that’s worth talking about, so I’ll just keep it simple and say that you’ll play as a team of mercenaries that are hired to fly in and blow up the plans of terrorists and drug cartels around the world. They’re the best helicopter pilots that money can buy and you’ll play through their missions in the early 90′s and even some from their younger days in the 80′s. Most of the time you’ll be in the pilot’s seat and fortunately for us Most Wanted did a great job with the helicopter controls to make combat as simple as it is fun.
It can be a little rough at first, but it only took me a few minutes to get the hang of it and before I knew it I was dropping bombs and dodging buildings like I had been flying all of my life. Thunder Wolves is similar to a Third-Person Shooter with the chopper slightly to the left and the ability to zoom in with the left trigger like you’re looking over its shoulder. It supports either the mouse and keyboard or a controller, but I was definitely more comfortable playing Thunder Wolves with the controller. Each chopper has both rockets and machine guns and you’ll fire the rockets with the right bumper and the machine guns by pulling the right trigger. As you play you’ll unlock new choppers which may be more powerful, quicker or just have more armor to withstand more damage. They also have different rockets available, such as homing, guided and some can even call in an AC-130 to drop bombs on specific targets.
Thunder Wolves also has lots of little features that I like, such as being able to fly faster by boosting, a nice mini-map to help spot targets and being able to lock on targets when zooming in. One of things that I wasn’t expecting in Thunder Wolves though is that you won’t be spending the entire time in the pilot’s seat, as you’ll also complete sections where you’re driving a tank and even sections where the chopper is on rails and you’re either sniping enemies below or annihilating them with your minigun. Even though the gameplay is far from perfect, technically speaking, there is never a dull moment in the campaign for you to really notice the game’s shortcomings.
For example, the area to hit when using a sniper rifle is quite large, so even if you miss your target it will still give you the kill, making those some of the easier and almost pointless sections of the game. It’s also not the best looking game I’ve ever seen but I think Most Wanted had to sacrifice graphic quality for the amount of destruction that you’ll witness. Entire buildings will crumble and there will be multiple towers and vehicles exploding as you rain down rockets. I’m not sure how well the game would play if there was as much destruction as there is with higher quality graphics. As it is, the gameplay is quite smooth, so I think Most Wanted found the right balance.
The campaign isn’t very long and most gamers will complete it in around six hours, depending on the difficulty you’re playing on. You’ll earn points during each level and then you’ll be awarded stars when you complete them, but there’s no real reward for the limited replay value. The main reason you’ll want to play Thunder Wolves again is when you have a friend that wants to play too.
Thunder Wolves supports two player offline only co-op throughout the entire campaign, which is a shame since it’s so fun and it would have been nice to be able to do it with an online friend as well. Co-op in Thunder Wolves is designed to encourage teamwork as you’ll both share control of the vehicle and its weapons. When in a helicopter, one player will fly and use the machine guns and the other player will have control of the rockets. When in a tank, one player will drive and the other will have complete control of the guns. This allows both players to contribute in their own way, but it also forces you to work together. If I’m the pilot and not keeping it steady and on the right track, you won’t be able to hit your targets and then if you’re not hitting your targets, that means there are more enemies to attack the chopper.
When I first read that the game would support two players, I figured you’d both have your own vehicle, but I kind of like this setup better as it makes the game more challenging since you have to work together if you want to complete the objectives and do it quick enough to earn all three stars on each level. Overall, Thunder Wolves is definitely fun to play together but the lack of online play will leave some gamers wanting more.
As long as you set your expectations the same as you would with any summer blockbuster action movie, you’ll have a good time with Thunder Wolves. It’s not very deep, but it has great air controls, more than enough big guns and plenty of explosions to keep you entertained, especially when you have a friend along for the ride.
Release Date: May 15th, 2013 (PC). Coming soon to consoles.
Available On: PC via Steam, Coming Soon to the Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Store