Initial Release: 1st November 2012
If large scale engagements are your thing, then War Thunder is the perfect game for you. This aerial warfare mmo is all about massive 16 on 16 multiplayer battles. The combat in the skies is fast, frantic, and full of excitement with a variety of jet fighter planes to fly in including the Ki 200 shown above, F84 Thunder Jet, CL13a Sabre, F80C Shooting Star, F86a-5 Sabre Jet, Grumman F9F Panther. These planes are later tiered planes you have to work towards initially taking to the cockpit of more traditional fighter planes used during WWII and the Korean War with 100 planes to choose from (although the game is updated regularly with new planes).
War Thunder allows you to fly each plane in either realistic simulation mode for those pilots wanting a real challenge or in the more popular Arcade mode with flight controls being somewhat easier allowing the pilot to focusing purely on engaging the opposition. Both modes have their own rewards in playing.
Like any other multiplayer games, there are all the usual considerations and downsides: lobby wait times, laggy connections (although occassional and dependent on where you play in the world), and of course, automated matchups as well as player and vehicle tiers. But if multiplayer games are your thing, then those issues will be pretty insignificant compared to the actual gameplay.
With its wide array of planes, eye-catching visuals, easy to use controls (we highly suggest sticking with the keyboard and mouse function unless you are playing in the joystick-required realistic mode), and support for Oculus Rift, War Thunder is a definite must play title for any dog-fighting fan.
Release Date: 12th November 2010
H.A.W.X. 2 brings back more of the original game's streamlined systems to provide players more of the same arcade style dogfighting that made the first game fun to play. Now, the thing to remember about this series is that it is an arcade-style flight sim game; if you are looking for something that feels a little more realistic (such as having to mind if your plane can handle the stress of certain maneuvers, if your pilot will black out from the force, how much fuel you have, etc), this is certainly not going to be a game for you. On the other hand, if you prefer you dogfighting to be a straight-to-battle, explosions and missile contrails everywhere kind of affair, then this is perfect for you.
Players will most certainly find most of the game's later missions to be incredibly hard at some points. In fact, with most of the friendly AI being worthless most of the time, most of the game's end stages can be downright frustrating. Fortunately, the game has a pretty good online cooperative play system in place that makes things a lot better. You and a squadron of 3 other sentient pilots makes a huge a difference (having just one friend playing on your side already changes things). While finishing the game solo is not impossible, the multiplayer mode is certainly easier -but more importantly, it is a lot more fun to play.
Initial Release Date: 2nd June 2015
Air Brawl provides interesting and creative ways for the player to destroy their enemies. Instead of just damage, weapons have many different attributes they can afflict on their targets. Some weapons slow the enemy, some disable their steering and some damage them over time. And these are just a few.
Initial Release Date: 13th November 2013
Much like World of Tanks (since the two games are the from the same developers), WoWP is a multiplayer gaming affair that pits you and your team against another team of also-human pilots. The battles tend to be pretty quick ranging from 10-15 minutes (depending on the game settings), and the action is nothing short of brutal. Old school flightsim fans will want to take the time to learn about how this game's stripped down version of flying turns combat into a pretty straightforward system (thereby taking out most of the complexities of the maneuverability and stability of different fighters). It lackes what War Thunder offers in terms of a simulation mode for piloting each plane.
The combat system is solid and pretty balanced -given that as long as you are piloting a same tier plane as your opponent, the result will almost always be based on how well you both fly. That said, expect to find plenty of opponents with high tiered planes as acquiring these can be done through plenty of resource farming or through in-game purchases. While this might seem a little imbalanced, the application of the free-to-play model for this game actually makes sense. There's also good reason to pony up some cash too: at the very least, try to get the premium membership in order to double the amount of cash and experience you earn.
Release Date: 3rd September 2009
If you are fan of Top Gun (and the few other movies that feature high speed fighter plane battles) but have no patience for the rigors of hardcore flightsim games, then chances are, you would love Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X series. The game feels a lot like the highly acclaimed Ace Combat games from Namco, more specifically, the Assault series of the franchise. Anyway, as expected of a Tom Clancy titled game, there's a bit of politics-themed notions in the game particularly with that bit about PMC's. In this case, Artemis, a fictional PMC, takes on missions that involves attacking US soil. The player takes on the role of a former US-military and rogue Artemis pilot (and his squad) to help defend America.
The action is fast and frantic, but thanks to many useful combat systems (such as the insanely helpful ERS), shooting down enemy fighters is not as difficult as one would think. That said, those who have already played a lot of flying games may want to not enable some of the player-assistance features as they can make the game a little too easy at some points. Combat is fast, fun, and gives a very solid feel, though those looking to play with others via multiplayer will want to seek out H.A.W.X 2's cooperative system instead.
Overall we recommend this game for both first time fliers and those who are fans of arcade style dogfighting. With H.A.W.X, players get to jump straight into the action without much care for fuel, ammo count, or other details that tend to keep more realistic flightsims busy.