5 best aviation games for that glorious adrenaline rush

Whether you want to settle down with friends to pilot a jumbo jet or take up a savage Second World War dogfight, plane games offer so much and more

5 best aviation games for that glorious adrenaline rush
Microsoft Flight Simulator (top) and Ace Combat 7 games. Image courtesy: Youtube screengrab

Wind in your hair, soaring through the sky, nothing compares to the feeling of being on top of the world – quite literally. And while it is difficult for us to get on a plane, make that skydive or do a paraglide or engage in any other aero-sport for that matter, with the coronavirus wreaking havoc on the tourism industry, that adrenaline rush is still important for some of us.

And flying games bring in the right amount of that adrenaline rush. So whether you want to settle down with a bunch of friends to pilot a jumbo jet or take up a savage Second World War dogfight, aviation games offer so much and more. From soothing classic flying games to some extreme ones, there have been plenty of cracking video game versions of flying over the years.

To make it easier for you, we have assembled some of the best plane games there are. Take a look.

1. Microsoft Flight Simulator

If you want to experience pyramids from the top, morning sun rays on the Himalayas, lights around the Eiffel Tower or the skyline of Dubai then this flight simulator game from Microsoft is made for you. Microsoft Flight Simulator not only captures that feeling, but it also manages to put the entire world in your hands.

The game is very addictive as it is visually stunning. It is all about the flying experience and there is no real win state or end goal. Enjoying the experience of flight and learning about aviation is the ultimate goal of the game.

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The updated version of the game which was released this year is developed by the French studio Asobo using accurate geographical data culled from Bing Maps, a global cloud computing network, and real-time weather information. This is as much a visual spectacle as it is a simulator.

2. War Thunder

War Thunder, touted as the best free flying online game, now boasts of tanks and naval battles as well. It is strongly recommended to gamers who like flying planes, driving tanks and operating naval destroyers from the Second World War and the Cold War era.

The game’s flight physics, a huge range of authentic aircraft, and realistic ballistic modelling take it to the next level. A player needs to use real dogfight tactics and manoeuvres to survive these multiplayer skirmishes.

The developer of the game Gaijin keeps updating it and has updated and expanded its roster of planes so that it now includes aircraft from eight different nations and across six classes.

The game has over 1,700 highly detailed aircraft, helicopters, tanks, warships and other combat vehicles along with 100 maps representing the main historical battle theatres.

3. Ace Combat 7

The game which is present in the market for over two decades is still so much fun when it comes to an intense dogfight between cool fighter jets.

The game requires a decent amount of strategy and attack plan along with reflexes in getting the missiles locked on to your opponent.

The latest version of the game which was released in 2019 is much potent than previous updates. Now when engaged in dogfights, the player has options for making high-G turns, using aerial brakes and strategic stalls to almost drift around foes which is quite satisfying. Add to that the flares for shaking incoming missiles and the dogfighting system feels more tactical, yet engaging than any previous entry.

Interestingly, Ace Combat 7 is not set within our world but in something known as the strangereal universe. This is a narrative setup where the world is broadly similar to our own, with an array of familiar fighter planes, but with a cultural setup that is somewhat parallel to how our own world works.

4. X-Plane 11

If you love flying a plane and want to go for the cheapest way to start, do try this game for how realistic it can get. The graphics, planes and flight simulation is so real that they will trick you into thinking you are actually a part of the game.

X-Plane is about as comprehensive as it gets and will see you scrambling to buy peripherals that connect to your PC to make it even more realistic. The game is pre-packaged with a popular fighter jet, military aircraft and commercial planes. The game gives an option to choose from a wide variety of international airports and weather conditions. It is actually an industrial-grade flight simulator than can be download on a desktop.

The game gives you the actual feel of a cluster of instrument panels, control buttons and dials. The gamer, who is the pilot, gets to control the engine power, flaps and radio communications, among scores of other functions.

5. IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad

The game, based on aerial combat during the Second World War, is a combat flight simulator video game. It was originally created by Maddox Games.

The game focuses on a specific and narrow period (winter of 1942-43) in the critical struggle for Stalingrad, allowing the player to fly any of up to 10 aircraft during the battle. The series features a huge number of flyable aircraft of various origins and historical aircraft that participated in the war.

The game, which was released in 2013, continues to remain as one of the most popular Second World War flight simulators. The graphics of the game is so real that it can make a player shiver at times looking down over the winter battlefield.