There are a lot of flight simulators out there, but sometimes you don’t want to just fly around without a plan. In this list, we’re going to look at the best air combat video games that have ever been made. Here are some of our favourite picks: classic games, free-to-play games, and virtual reality games are all here.
1. Heliborne Collection
Because helicopters don’t get as much love and attention in video games about air combat, they don’t get as much attention and praise. Fortunately, there’s Heliborne Collection, a game that lets you fly a lot of different helicopters. Here, you can see helicopters from the 1950s all the way up to the present day.
This is still an air combat game, so you’ll still have a lot of different missions over the years. You’ll fight tanks, anti-aircraft artillery, ground troops, and other planes. Besides single-player missions and skirmish-style modes, there’s also multiplayer. The game lets players go through some co-op missions, or fight each other in different ways.
2. Iron Conflict
Iron Conflict is a new game that came out in January of 2021, and it’s called that. With that said, it’s an early access game, so if you start playing now, you’ll likely see some changes and tweaks as the development team works on the game more. This is an RTS game where players will be in charge of different troops in battle, so it’s not just about air combat.
Ground troops, tanks, and planes are all things you’ll have instead. Players are in charge of these planes and other troops as they fight against the other side in a series of battles. Besides that, the vehicles used in this game are from World War II to the present day, so you could have a wide range of weapons at your disposal.
3. Warplanes: WWI Fighters
Those of you who have a VR headset that can play Warplanes: WW1 Fighters might want to give it a try. It’s a game set in the First World War, and as a result, you have a lot of different planes that were used in the war. During battle, you’ll be able to fly these planes around and use the different weapons that come with them, too.
That could be machine guns that are attached to the plane, as well as a pistol. There could also be bombs that you can pick up and drop on the ground. This game also has multiplayer, so if you go online, you can play against other people in PvP games or work together to complete game missions.
4. I1-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad
This IL-2 Sturmovik series is a PC air combat flight simulator, and the Battle of Stalingrad is just one of the games you can play. This is a game about World War II air combat. Players go through different planes in a series of missions, from bombers to fighters. If you want to get even more immersed in the chaotic gameplay, there’s also VR support, so you can.
As a side note, this game has a lot of extra DLC as well. You can add in more planes and campaigns, but you’ll have to pay a lot for it. It would cost you almost $700 to get all the extra planes and campaigns for this game.
5. Air Brawl
Air Brawl is a very different type of video game than the games that have been talked about so far. This is a multiplayer arcade game where people play as futuristic-looking planes that fly at high speeds through a maze-like map. Players are going through the game in an attempt to take out all the other players using either long-range weaponry or even melee-style attachments when they get close enough to another player.
It’s a simple game to understand and easy to get into because the controls are so simple. Besides, Air Brawl is a free-to-play game that you can get right now on Steam.
6. Star Wars Squadrons
This is a sci-fi pick, but if you want something else, check out Star Wars Squadrons. You can play Star Wars Squadron as either the Rebellion or the Empire, and your story will be different based on which side you choose. A lot of epic battles and a lot of ships are in this type of game. You can also play this game in VR, giving you a more immersive experience.
7. Guns of Icarus Online
In this game, you fight on airships with guns that look like they were made in the 1800s. As a result, these are not real ships, but more arcade team-based games. Players are on these huge ships that fly around a map and fight with each other all the time. It’s a lot like Sea of Thieves. Rather than having a group of people work together on a pirate ship, you’re doing the same thing with a plane.
You’ll have to keep your plane safe while also using the mounted guns to take down the other planes. So, ships can be made to have more personality, and you can also work with a group of four people to be the ship’s crew. Online, game modes can range from simple deathmatches to more goal-based games like “King of the Hill.”
8. Ace Combat 7
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Windows
First in the Ace Combat series, this game takes the “virtual flight simulator” thing to a whole new level. It isn’t just for PS4 and Xbox One, but also for the PS VR headset.
If you buy DLC, you can get even more fighter jets. You can play with many of the planes we’ve already talked about in this list. In total, 28 different planes are shown.
The game has a “tech tree,” which means that you start out with older, more basic fighter jets and work your way up to more advanced models. This gives the game a sense of progress.
Real-world jet fighters allow you to fly into the Wild Blue Yonder in a variety of ways. This adds to the sense of realism in the game. In the game, there are a lot of jets that are important, like the F-14 Super Tomcat, F-16 Falcon and F-22 Raptor.
Platform: Windows, Xbox 360
Released in 2017 for Microsoft, this game is very different from the Tom Clancy series. It does a lot to embrace realism. In the game, there are more than 500 real airports and 1,107 runways. This means that you can take off and land in areas that look like real-world places as well as any game on this list.
Following that emphasis on realism is an emphasis on realistic flight. When you take off and fly, you need to follow the correct aerodynamic procedures. You should also keep an eye on important things, like how much fuel your plane has. Even though this game is more like a simulator than an arcade shoot ’em up, it still has a very good Dog Fight mode.