View Full Version : Flight combat sim recommendations

Colonel J
30-06-2011, 07:49 PM
Freespace 2 on GOG sale plus the SCP mod has made me invest in a joystick to get the best out of it. (Amazing experience, forgotten just how good FS2 is....)

So I've never really played any flight sims but getting the joystick has made me want to try a few out. Any recommendations for some good ones? I'm after a combat sim and good single player campaign gameplay more than full-on authenticity.

IL-2 Sturmovik - 1946 is an oldie but looks like a goodie? And cheap on Steam at the moment...

30-06-2011, 08:13 PM
Il-2 1946 is the best WW2 flight sim out there at the moment. However, the single player campaign is, in my opinion, not good. It's incredibly dry and bland. Multiplayer is really where the game shines, though I've spent many hours just playing single missions or quick generated dogfights. It probably is a must-buy if you're getting in to flight sims, and it's nicely scalable.

Wings of Prey is a fairly arcadey WW2 slight sim, some people hate it but I think it's pretty good for what it is. It's not realistic but it can be tons of fun, and the engine is lovely, looks fantastic and runs very smoothly.

DCS: A-10C is the greatest combat flight sim ever made, but I can't recommend it if you've never played a flight sim before, as it is a study sim and therefore very complex, but it has very well-made campaigns. Pretty much requires a HOTAS and TrackIR.

You must consider Rise of Flight. Absolutely wonderful feel of flight, and it is well supported by the devs who have made some incredible updates since its release. It is stunning, too. It does contain a career mode, but I've not tried it yet. The best thing about those planes is you can just concentrate on improving your flying without having to worry about avionics. Also, there is an unlimited demo, so I really recommend that you try it out. Beautiful game.

30-06-2011, 08:16 PM
IL2 1946 is a great game, loads of aircraft to choose from and with mods even includes more the makers hadnt put in (wellington, lancaster and Halifax for example). The 1946 version actually includes:
Il2 Forgotten battles, Aces Expansion, Pacific Fighters, PE2 expansion, 1946 expansion. It is all of the IL2 forgotten battles series and has loads and loads of maps etc. However, the campaigns are a bit naff (apart from the 1946 ones) , but there are loads of well written (and badly written) ones available to download from mission4today (like some Battle of Britain ones etc).

IL2 Cliffs of Dover is quite a buggy mess at the moment (I paid full price on release) and I would say avoid until it is actually finished, but there are glimmers of an incredible game underneath. If it gets polished and bugs fixed, I would say it promises to be better than 1946 in the future. It looks absolutely stunning for one thing.

30-06-2011, 08:19 PM
Yeah, I was gonna say: don't get Cliffs of Dover. Horrible. I bought the collector's edition (what a fool) and it's such a regret... That thing could take years to be good.

30-06-2011, 08:22 PM
'46 is also great Multiplayer, so just ask for me on the Steam-group chat and I'll see if we can get a game going.

30-06-2011, 08:25 PM
Falcon 4.0, or Falcon 4.0 Allied Force.

30-06-2011, 10:46 PM
If you're looking for fun, not too taxing but still a bit better than arcade games I'd suggest looking at the Third Wire sims. They are pick up and play without being insulting about it. Also I find the random mission structure varied without distracting from the flying too much. They're also rather inexpensive.

30-06-2011, 11:21 PM
Joystick recommendations, anyone? Not looking to spend a bundle, just something solid with a throttle and a few buttons.

I loved the button layout on the old Microsoft Sidewinder 3D Pro (one on top with the POV hat, two on the side easily thumb-able), but I can't find anything like it.

01-07-2011, 01:22 AM
I have a Saitek x52, I like it but plenty of people have issues with it. I don't like the software with it though, I find it pretty frustrating at times. I also echo that a TrackIR is absolutely fantastic for flight sims, especially combat sims. It's so much easier to just slightly move my head rather than fiddle with a POV hat.

For flight sims: IL2 is the best WW2 sim. Flaming Cliffs 2.0 is pretty good IMO if you're into modern air combat. I like Wings of Prey but like another poster said it's acradey, even with the realism setting. The DCS games are the ultimate flight combat sims though, but you can expect to spend a lot of time learning them for the most part. I haven't played Rise of Flight, but I'm going to check it out now!

Colonel J
01-07-2011, 02:05 PM
Thanks for the recommendations. Will definitely check out IL2 (already cheap but will wait to see if it comes up in the Steam summer sale dailys) and Wings of Prey which has a demo. Will take a look at the Third Wire games too. Thanks for the tip on Rise of Flight, wasn't aware of this one, this looks amazing will check out the demo.

Yeah DCS looks the nuts but I suspect this is more of a sim than I have the time or skill to get grips with.

Joysticks - I got a Logitech Extreme 3D, nothing fancy, seems pretty solid for the price, happy with it so far it does all I need it to. I was considering a Saitek Cyborg X over this but I a look at one in a store first and the stick buttons didn't feel robust, borne out by review comments saying they have a tendency to break. For my basic needs I've found the throttle control on the stick isn't that useful, I find it easier to keep a left hand on the keyboard for throttle control and everything else other than the essential functions I've mapped to the stick buttons.

01-07-2011, 02:19 PM
I play DCS A10C. Yes it is very indepth, but, to grasp the basics doesn't take that long. It depends what you want from a simulation. If you're going to use the word simulation at all, then expect some kind of learning curve.

I'm a vet 1946 pilot and love the game, it's has got a varied range of aircraft which can range from easy to hard to fly. It's not as indepth as some sims but you can make it as complex as you want it with the options available.

The same goes for DCS A10C, it has a 'game mode' which lets you fart around in the plane without worrying too much about the systems but to get the most out of it you'll need a HOTAS style joystick and quite a bit of a patience and a willingness to learn. With 1946 you can get away with a standard stick with a twist action and throttle. Infact I think this a better way to fly the sim than a hotas.

Avoid Cliffs of Dover. Its broken.

01-07-2011, 03:08 PM
I play DCS-A10, its my first flight sim in like 10 years. Its lots of fun if you enjoy learning how the plane works. Dont buy it if you like air to air combat though because its not that kind of plane.

as for joysticks X-52 is a fine joystick with lots of buttons.

02-07-2011, 08:16 AM
Mig Alley! It's about the only flight sim I enjoyed because it isn't about shooting blips on your radar with missiles before you see them.

But you might have to do some research about modern systems. Heard conflicting reports about how it runs on them.

Also helicoter sims are fun, more up-close and personal and using terrain. GOG has Apache Vs Havok which is a nice old one... but because the terrain is important, I guess a new one might be better.

And then clearly Tie Fighter.

17-07-2011, 04:30 PM
Has anyone tried either the "Guillemot/Hercules Thrustmaster T-flight Hotas X" or "SPEEDLINK Black Widow"?
I have a fickle interest - I want to dip my toe without spending megabucks.
(... this would be for IL-2 and the like...)

17-07-2011, 04:48 PM
The Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas generally seems to be regarded well, from what I've read on flight sim forums, so I think that would be an excellent start for a first stick. Great value.

17-07-2011, 11:54 PM
Ive got a thrustmaster T flight stick, but without the Hotas. Ive only really used it to play space sims, might invest in IL2 at some point (played it in the distant past).

I can give you a hardcore flightsimmer review of the T stick but imo its cheap and robust. Had mine a few years and there's nothing wrong with it. You dont need to install any software with it and all the buttons/sensitivity etc is easily customisable. Its got a decent number of buttons for space sims, dont know how many you need for flight sims (i think it has around 15 off the top of my head).

18-07-2011, 12:30 AM
I liked a game called Lock On from around 2004.

19-07-2011, 02:23 PM
Tixy, DCS A10C is based on Lock On.

19-07-2011, 05:04 PM
Plenty of good suggestions here. I'd also mention that DCS has a helicopter sim for the KA-52.

19-07-2011, 07:45 PM
If you already have Lock On (LOMAC), be sure to buy Flaming Cliffs 2.0. Well worth the money. Has a nice flight model and allows you to play without having to learn complex avionics, good for someone who isn't ready to take on DCS yet, or fancies their hand at multiple aircraft (Su-27, Su-33, Su-25, Su-25T, MiG-29, MiG-29S, F-15C, A-10A). Great stuff.

And I'm going to say it again: everybody should download Rise of Flight.

Oh, I believe Cliffs of Dover just went on sale in NA. Get '46 instead.

20-07-2011, 11:01 AM
If you get DCS A10C or 1946 I will happily go for a flight with you.

20-07-2011, 05:51 PM
One thing though, With the last patch for DCS A-10 ive been crashing like the dickens. Game crashes, as in the game crashes and dumps me down to desktop.

Not too sure if its maybe the new graphical setting or something, but I'm lucky if I make it to the end of the flight.