Flight simulators are arguably some of the most popular video games today, as they usually offer something different from players compared to other popular genres like adventure, role-playing, fighting, and platforming. In flight simulators, you will be able to feel like you are actually flying a plane, which will be made possible if you have peripherals or controllers ready for playing. A lot of experienced flight simulator players would even have a whole playing set wherein their gaming desk already looks like a cockpit of a plane.
Of course, the immersion wouldn’t be possible if the game didn’t have realistic graphics. Thanks to the advancements in the technology implemented in video games and gaming hardware, it is now possible to actually have photorealistic graphics that will truly improve the immersion of flight simulator players. Here are the flight and soaring simulation games that can be quite realistic in terms of graphics.
FlyInside is a flight simulator that is specifically built for VR, although there is an on-desktop mode that doesn’t require a VR headset. This flight simulator was released on December 21, 2018, and was developed by FlyInside Inc. as their very first project. The main goal of FlyInside is to teach players the different mechanics and functions of the switches, buttons, and levers found in a real airplane cockpit. So, the controls of this game are significantly more complicated compared to most flight simulators.
Besides the super realistic flight controls, FlyInside also has photorealistic graphics that will make you feel like you are flying an actual plane because of how real the surroundings are, especially in VR. However, FlyInside lacks missions that you would normally find in exciting flight simulators, although the aim of FlyInside is to just let you be immersed in the experience while also learning how to properly fly different types of aircraft.
AeroFly FS is arguably the most accessible flight simulator on this list, as you can actually play a version of it on your smartphone. So, even if you don’t have a gaming PC or a VR headset, you can already play a realistic flight simulator through your phone. However, the game can only run smoothly on phones with powerful hardware. But nowadays, there are already a lot of powerful and affordable smartphones on the market, so AeroFly FS is still accessible to a lot of people. But, if you want the full experience, you should play the PC or VR version of the game.
In AeroFly FS, you will be able to fly 26 different types of aircraft, from the Boeing 777 to the Corsair F4U. There are also more than 700 airports from all over Europe that you can visit and land on in the game. If you need a little bit of support for flying the aircraft, you can activate flight supper with a switchable co-pilot. There is also an autopilot mode when you are just cruising in flying the plane.
DCS World is a free-to-play version of Digital Combat Simulator, a combat flight simulation game that was released in 2008 and developed by Eagle Dynamics. The DCS World version is free to play, which means that you don’t need to pay for it before you can download and play the game. However, this version lacks a lot of features found in the paid version of DCS, although DCS World gives you two free aircraft and two free maps.
In DCS World, players will be able to experience a study simulation where they will learn the basics and fundamentals of flying an aircraft through realistic procedures. The aircraft offered in the game are designed to follow authentic flight subsystems and models. Much like FlyInside, DCS World has a realistic cockpit with various details and interactive switches, levers, and buttons. If you want the full DCS fight experience, you can purchase and download modules or packs that add aircraft, maps, and other fun content to the game.
Microsoft Flight Simulator
The Microsoft Flight Simulator is considered by a lot of veteran flight simulation players to be the most realistic flight sim to date. The reason why it is more realistic than the others is because of its graphics, which look more photorealistic compared to a lot of flight simulators available today. The game was created by Bruce Artwick in 1982, and it is still alive through major revisions and updates done to it in order to make the game the best flight simulator in the industry.
The most recent iteration of the Microsoft Flight Simulator was released in 2020, and it is still being updated by various developers and studios in 2022. Unfortunately, unlike AeroFly FS and DCS World, the Microsoft Flight Simulator may not be the most accessible flight simulator that you can play today, as you will need very powerful hardware to make it run smoothly with fewer lags or crashes. If you have a good VR headset, you can use it on the game to make your gameplay experience more immersive and realistic.
The last flight simulator on this list is X-Plane 11, which is the latest version within the X-Plane series of flight simulation games that started in 1995. The newest entry in the series, as of 2022, is X-Plane 11.55, which was released on June 30, 2021, and features numerous updates and improvements over the original X-Plane 11 game.
Whenever you ask experienced flight sim players what their favorite game is, they would either say Microsoft Flight Simulator or X-Plane 11, which is a testament to the quality that the latter delivers for players. Much like the Microsoft Flight Simulator, X-Plane 11 features realistic controls and high-definition graphics that truly make you immersed in playing the game.
And those are five of the best flight and soaring simulation games that have realistic graphics and controls. Check out all of these games and read or watch reviews of them to know which one is the most suitable for your skills and preferences in flight simulation games.