Combat Flight Simulators for PC?
The PC is the premier format for Combat Simulation games. The next gen consoles like Xbox 1 and PS4 do not even come close to challenging the supremacy of the PC in the Simulation genre. The PC is well suited for running these types of games. The amount of precision controllers available for flight simulators from the likes of CH products, Saitek and Thrustmaster to name a few are second to none. You can buy Throttle quadrants that are like the real deal, helicopter cyclic contols, rudder pedals the list goes on. It all adds to the realism and authentic feel of flying in the virtual world.The PC is spoilt for choice and there are many great titles available below are a list of popular combat simulators available.
Developer : Eagle Dynamics
Price : Free with 2 aircraft (extra Aircraft can be purchased as modules)
DCS World or Digital Combat Simulator is held in high regards by many combat flight simmers. Why because of its attention to detail. Start-up procedures for aircraft are included just like in real life, the cockpits resemble the real aircraft cockpits, buttons, dials and cockpit functions are animated, and the flight model is highly realistic. Single and multiplayer missions are included, you can also create your own mission or download them from the internet. Currently DCS World has a large selection of modules you can purchase to fly in the sim. Models include aircraft from World War 2 like the Spitfire and BF109 to modern aircraft like the Mig 29 and recently released Harrier. As well as fixed wing aircraft, DCS is well renowned for probably the best Helicopter flight model in the PC Simulation world. Modules are available which include the iconic DCS Huey, the KA-50, MI-8 and Gazelle. If you like helicopters this is the sim we recommend to fly them in. DCS is also available on Steam as well as standalone. However the standalone version seems to get updates earlier than the Steam version. Graphics are stunning, aircraft models are accurate and the sound is just plain awesome when you hear a jet screaming past. If you are serious about combat flight simulation then you need to look at DCS, a word of warning though , this requires patience and a steep learning curve. On our sites we list some of Chuck’s guides which really help you learn various modules in DCS. For more information on these guides visit http://pcsimulators.org/index.php/flightsimulators/publishers-developers/chuck-the-creator-of-chuck-s-guides.
Rise of Flight
Nothing in our opinion beats Rise of Flight for World War 1 combat simulation. Again Free to play. It comes with some aircraft but you need to purchase additional aircraft via DLC. The additional aircraft are not too expensive. The aircraft in Rise of Flight are beautifully designed, they fly and sound like World War 1 aircraft. Dogfighting is a skill to be mastered as you haven’t got access to all the modern equipment you get in the modern jets of DCS World. As well as flying aircraft you can also occupy gunner positions in various aircraft. Some aids can be bolted onto your aircraft like better telescopic gunsights. You even are equipped with a hand gun in case you need to fire at enemy pilots. Single player is one of the best experiences in all flight simulators both combat and non-combat. Many modes are available including quick mission, mission, campaign, career and multiplayer. The career mode is interesting it even starts with some old fashioned vintage film showing you what you need to do…very authentic! Controls are easy to configure, tracker is supported too which is a must in these type of games. If you don’t know what TrackIR is check out the TrackIR website, it’s basically a device which allows you to look around mobbing your head rather than using mouse to look around. If you like old planes and world war 1 this is the simulator for you.
IL2 has been around for a very long time, in fact since 2001! If Rise of Flight is for WW1 pilots then IL2 is the one to get if you are interested in flying World War 2 aircraft. Unmatched in this genre we feel at the moment. Even though DCS has some WW2 maps and aircraft, IL2 has been doing this for a while now. IL2 1946, IL2 Cliff of Dover and IL2 Battle of Stalingrad , IL2 Battle of Moscow have many missions and campaigns for WW2 scenarios. IL2 has a big following in the community and many mods are also available for these titles, Even the older IL2 1946 has been modified to update the graphics and it looks amazing. The flight model is well praised in the community, the aircraft sound effects are stunning and the atmosphere in game really adds to the title. The series has great support and gets regular updates. If you like WW2 aircraft then this is for you. We spoke to the team behind the IL2 series and you can read about it here http://pcsimulators.org/index.php/flightsimulators/il2-series/1c-publishing-interview
Falcon BMS is free to play but does require the full version of Falcon 4. Falcon 4 was originally released in 1988 by Microprose and won awards from Macworld and PC Gamer US named it the best Simulation of 1998! You can easily purchase this on Steam and other online retailers. Falcon BMS requires a bit more effort when installing it and we recommend using some guides found online or videos on youtube before attempting to install it. It’s not difficult but there are a few steps you need to take. The flight model is solid, the graphics are actually quite amazing, and the aircraft sounds are authentic. There are options to play missions and multiplayer. We found however the menus are not that user friendly. Weather modelling is also include in BMS. Despite being called Flacon BMS it does have a number of other aircraft you can fly including F-16, Tornado, JAS-37 Viggen, AV-8A/B Harrier, Mirage 2000 to name a few. The parent flight model and avionics is the F-16. Cockpits are details and look very close to other major combat simulators in terms of graphics and detail. Apart from the cost of Falcon 4 this is a lot of combat simulator for a very cheap price!
War thunder is a free to play online combat simulator. Although some people don’t regard this as a simulator in the same sense as DCS , Rise of Flight, IL2 and Falcon it is hugely popular. Additional aircraft can be purchased. Aircraft include fighters & bombers from a number of countries. No doubt about the graphics they look great. A number of game types include Domination and ground attack. There is an arcade mode and a simulator mode. In arcade mode damage isn’t as severe and you have unlimited ammo and respawns. On the flip side the simulation setting is of course more realistic meaning limited ammo, more damage and harder to fly. TrackIR support is included and the controller set up is well organised and detailed. The menus can be a bit daunting and confusing as is the tech tree, However the servers are very active and its free so you cannot lose by at least trying it out
Combat Air Patrol 2
Combat Air Control is in early access but their website indicates its “bridging the gap between arcade and hardcore simulation. It supports Flightstick, HOTAS, Rudders, TrackIR and gamepads. Combat air patrol features the AV-8B Harrier aircraft and is based on the real world. Multiplayer support will also be available. Combat air patrol 2 will also support modding and VR modes.
WarBirds Dogfights 2016
This sim allows you to fight air battles of World War 2 and contains over 50 planes from America, Britain, Germany, Japan and Russia. This is a single player simulation. Regions for the battles include North Africa (Tobruk and Tunisia), Europe (from Battle of Britain to Battle over Germany), The Pacific (Midway, South Pacific atolls, Philippines) Western Russia. There is also an online version with a subscription. The monthly subscription will allow access to all 125 aircraft and ground vehicles . Prices range from $13.95 for 2 months to $29.95 for 4 months with access to more aircraft.
WarBirds Dawn of Aces, World War I Air Combat
WarBirds, Dawn of Aces, is a single player combat simulation covering the World War 1 era between 194 to 1918. Single player missions include Air to Air, Air to Ground and campaign missions. Training missions are also included to help you learn various aspects of the sim including how the cokpit works, take off, landing, bombing, strafing, dogfighting and landing. Historicla missions are included including a confrontation with the Red Baron. As with Warbirds Dogfights 2016 you can also go online for a subscription fee. You can play online for free but have limited planes. It costs $13.95 for 2 months with full plane set or $29.95 for 4 months.
World of Warplanes
World of warplanes is a free to play combat game. There is an SD version and a HD version of the game. The HD version is a large 40 odd GB download. A huge 250 aircraft are included in the game. You can choose from differnt nations, USSR, Germany, UK, France, China and USA. Different type sof aircraft can be flown including Heavy Fighters, Attack Aircraft, Bombers and Multirole Fighters. It also boasts 40 maps based on real landscape types around the world. For a price you can purchase premium aircraft which gives you some advnatages like accelerated crew training and ability to gain free experience faster.
The website is full of helpful information and contains many videos to help you learn all about the game including videos for Flight School! You can also enter competitons that are held form time to time.