If you’re searching for the best flight simulator for PC, you probably know by now that there aren’t many options out there. But fret not; we’ve handpicked several games that deliver high-quality graphics, realistic gameplay and most importantly, a complete piloting experience. From learning how to take off and land to casually cruising through the heavens to performing various maneuvers, these games offer them all and we’ve even got a few additions that will send you in combat against mighty birds from the World War era to modern and future warfare. Sounds exciting so far, but did we mention the vast variety of planes you get to choose from?
Microsoft has been in the virtual recreation game for over 3 decades now and its latest aviation game was launched back in 2012, adopting a free-to-play model. This basically means you can get it at no cost, but certain content like planes and locations are only available by purchasing them in-game. Here, you’ll basically be taking up missions and challenges and you can even play with friends online through the cooperative mode.
The title proffers real-world landscapes and different weather patterns, terrain as well as landmarks. To hit the skies, you can hop into various historical and modern personal aircrafts. Development of the game has been discontinued, but support is still going strong and you can download it though the company’s website.
X-Plane 10 is certainly the most sought after game where realism and physics are concerned. More than a game, the developer considers it as an engineering tool which predicts accurate performance and handling of any aircraft. It comes bundled with over 40 planes which include the Bell 206 JetRanger, Cessna 172, Space Shuttle, B-2 Bomber, F-22 Raptor, Boeing 747-400 and 747-100 as well as F-4 Phantom II.
There’s a lot more to this title than just flying around. It allows you to replicate system failures and even throw in real-world weather conditions. What’s more, you can build your own planes and helicopters with the Maker tool and even craft out custom airfoils. And if all these aren’t enough, the developer is offering a lot more content including 1,400 aircraft models that can be downloaded. The game is compatible with Mac OS X, Windows and Linux platforms.
3. Ace Combat Assault Horizon:
If just cruising the skies isn’t what you’re looking for, then we’ve got quite the option for you in the form of Ace Combat Assault Horizon. The title on our roster of flight simulator for PC takes place in the year 2015 where you’re main objective is to lead a squadron to suppress rebel forces. You will be able to cruise across multiple real-world locations and even operate attack helicopters, bombers as well as gunships. The graphics here are highly detailed with effects like buildings being demolished, aircrafts shredded and more.
To top it off, the company has provided a ‘Close-Range Assault’ system which puts you in a one-on-one fight with an opponent at high as well as low-altitudes where performing high-speed maneuvers are essential to destroy a foe. The planes you can take control of here include the F-117A Nighthawk, F-22A Raptor, PAK-FA, MiG-21bis, Rafale-M and Su-34 Fullback as well as the Mi-24 Hind, MH-60 Blackhawk and AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopters.
4. H.A.W.X 2:
This next option in our flight simulator for PC lineup puts you in the shoes of a modern pilot and in control of cutting edge technology. The title is the sequel to the first edition and it revolves around a special top-secret squadron called H.A.W.X. Here, you’ll be able to pilot a plethora of planes such as the F-22 Raptor, Harrier GR9, Rafale, Su30MKI, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-35 Lightning II and a lot more. This title isn’t just about recreating basic air maneuvers. It puts you in close-range dogfights where you’ll have to perform evasive moves to avoid enemy fire and take down foes.
The game also allows you to take off and land on various bases and carriers as well as refuel your jet in mid-air. There are certain missions where you will also be behind the wheel of a UAV. The landscapes are actual high resolution GeoEye commercial satellite imagery which takes you across Moscow, the Persian Gulf, the Arctic Circle and the Indian Ocean.
5. IL-2 Sturmovik Cliffs of Dover:
Cliffs of Dover takes place during the 1940s where the British, the Germans and the Italians battled it out for the skies over Britain. The title allows you to pilot some of the best planes during that time such as the Spitfire, Hurricane, Messerschmitt and Stuka. Each aircraft has been well researched, states the developer, to deliver accurate cockpit details that match the original. For a realistic experience, every component can be damaged which effects the plane’s stability.
There are 3 modes to play in. The single player campaign allows you to choose between the German Luftwaffe and the British Air Force to recreate the historic event. There are also multiplayer capabilities which enable deathmatch-style free-for-all gameplay and 128 player battles. Last on the list is the training mode which puts you through a host of mission to get the hang of things.
6. Rise of Flight Iron Cross Edition:
Rise of Flight is the only one in our flight simulator for PC roster that’s based on WWI. This aerial-combat title comes bundled with classic planes such as the Spad XIII, Fokker D.VII, Albatros D.Va, Nieuport 28, SE.5a, Pfalz D.IIIa, Sopwith Camel and Fokker Dr.1 amongst others. While the single player mode offers 2 campaigns, namely Hat in the Ring and Du Doch Nicht, you can battle it out in multiplayer with up to 64 opponents.
And once you’ve accomplished all achievements and obtained all medals as well as awards, the game allows you to create custom scenarios through the quick mission builder tool.
7. Wings of Prey:
The last entrant on today’s flight simulator for PC roster provides a quick history lesson on select battles during the World War II in Europe. The game puts you through 6 events which comprise of the Battle of Britain, Stalingrad, Ardennes, Berlin, Sicily and Korsun where you’ll be in control of fighters, battle planes and even bombers which total to over 40 choices that include the Spitfire, Mustang and Messerschmidt.
These events are stretched across more than 50 missions that take place over Eastern and Western Europe. The game proffers highly detailed visuals with realistic damage that affects the engine. With the difficulty level system, you can set the toughness from arcade to a more realistic experience. There are 4 game modes to choose from, one of which is multiplayer to compete against others.
We’ve given you sufficient options and amongst them, you’ll certainly find the exact best flight simulator for PC that you’ve been been looking for. Along with varying gameplay styles and settings that bring a blast from the past as well as deliver a peek into the plausible future, each game delivers a rich experience in its own unique way. Most of them even support joystick controllers and you’ll also have the flexibility to download additional content like planes, sceneries and more. On an ending note, do tell us which of these games you’re going to try out and in your experience, which truly deserves the title of the finest in airplane replication.