We’ve put together a list of some of the best plane games for PC, with a representative from each of the different genres. This will help you organise your thoughts and choose something that fits your needs and tastes. It doesn’t matter if you want to soar through the air for hours on end, settle in for a cosy evening of piloting a jumbo jet from LA to Las Vegas, or want to fight in a WW2 dogfight. There’s something for everyone.
In the same way that many simulation-based games, like submarine games, can be hard to find and run on modern PCs, we’ve tried to keep the majority of our entries modern so that they can be more easily found and played.
1. War Thunder
A lot of people play War Thunder now, but it was once one of the best free-flying games on the market. This is because of its flight physics and wide range of authentic planes.
In the seven years since War Thunder was released, the game’s developer, Gaijin, has been making changes and adding planes to its collection. It now has planes from eight different countries and six different classes. Use real dogfight tactics and manoeuvres to stay alive in these multiplayer games. If you’re not good at your Split S move, you’ll have a hard time getting ahead of anyone who isn’t. As a matter of fact, War Thunder is so good at vehicular combat that it also made our list of the best PC tank games.
2. Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020
Long, long, long-awaited: Microsoft’s long-awaited flight simulator sequel came out in 2020. It was praised very well. No matter how bad the loading times and crashes were in the review build, “none of it has dulled the game’s beauty or taken away from the awe-inducing things I have planned, done, and seen in-between them.”
Because the last game has been around for more than a decade, we’ll take our time before deciding whether or not Microsoft’s new game should be on this list. For now, we’ll keep both in for good measure.
3. Il-2 Sturmovik: Battle Of Stalingrad
If you’re a fan of WW2 games then IL-2 Sturmovik is the touchstone for plane games set in the era. IL-2 Sturmovik is a good flight simulator, but it’s also very easy for newbies to play. The graphics and damage modelling in the most recent version of the game are very good at getting you interested.
Small things like water streaming over the canopy when you’re flying through clouds or AI enemies flying toward the sun to make you lose track of them make you feel like you’re in the cockpit of a WW2 plane. It also has a group of dogfighters who play together, so you won’t have a hard time finding a match.
4. Arma 3
It’s not just dogfighting in Arma 3. You can get into a jet fighter and help out on the battlefield by taking out heavy tanks and dropping bombs from above. In this list, there aren’t as many hardcore flying games. But there’s still a lot of room to improve.
In air-to-air combat, the most important thing is to keep your position and use a variety of missiles to shoot down your enemies from a great height. People who fly planes that can go from the sky to the ground play a big role on the battlefield, with modern technology like laser guided missiles and anti-armour cannons making good pilots important on the battlefield. There are even a lot of helicopters if you get tired of planes.
5. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown
Even though it looks real, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown isn’t real at all. The story is hard to follow unless you’ve been following the series since the beginning. Ace Combat 7’s best features are its slick graphics and fast-paced dogfights.
A lot of time has been spent by Bandai Namco to make the campaign missions as dramatic and over-the-top as possible. This has led to canyon dogfights, daring raids under cover of lightning storms, and even a flyby between collapsing buildings. It’s a good game if you want to play arcadey plane games and don’t mind a little stupidity. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown is one of the best.
6. X-plane 11
X-Plane 11 is a more modern version of FSX. It has better graphics, cockpit models, and a menu system that won’t make you hit your head on the desk before your first flight.
In fact, there’s a lot to enjoy about X-Plane 11 before you even start flying. Sitting at the airport and watching the cavalcade of catering trucks, tugs, refuelling tanks, and cargo trolleys moving around is always interesting. But when you’re in the air, X-Plane 11 is at its best. In light planes, you can really feel every bump and quirk of the plane’s flight characteristics.
While there are no planes in Superflight, we’re going to add it to the list because flying around in it is so cool. There is a game called “Superflight” that is one of the most relaxing games out there. It’s all about wingsuit flying down a dangerous mountain and getting as many points as possible by flying near rock formations.
Every level is made up of random seeds, so there’s always something new to discover. If you find a seed you like, you can save it and challenge your friends to beat your score.
8. Il-2 Sturmovik (2001) – 91
IL-2 Sturmovik is still a big deal in the world of flying enthusiasts because of what it has to offer. During battle, players can fly 31 types of planes in situations like 32-player dogfights and 16-player team missions.
IL-2 Sturmovik, even though it looks old by today’s standards, still has some of the best and most robust flight mechanics out there. It accurately captures the spirit of WWII-era flight scenarios.
9. Falcon 4.0: Allied Force (2005) – 90
Most games let you fly a lot of different planes around the sky. Falcon 4.0, on the other hand, only lets you fly the F-16 Fighting Falcon. Players can fly different versions of this popular fighter jet in a game space that has real flight and air mechanics.
They happen in the Balkan and Korean theatres of operations, and each playthrough is different from the last. Players will also need to learn how to use a wide range of high-tech weapons, each one suited to a different kind of target