Top World War Plane Games: PC, Windows, PS4, Xbox One

Whether you are a history buff or just an enthusiast of flying in general, face it: classic planes are awesome. It's a combination of the best of old world technology with their finest methods of pulling together great machines despite the enormous lack of resources. While there is certainly no way to actually see these planes take the skies, there are games that allow players to pilot and engage combat in these classic fliers. And to help you history buffs figuring out which games to start off with, here is a list of the best ones we have seen so far.

It is hard to deny the charm that fighter planes tend to have on gamers. The idea of being inside the cockpit of a giant steel wing of fiery destruction is nothing short of euphoric, and many fantasize themselves as aces of the skies. While the warplanes of yesteryear are certainly a lot less as powerful or as efficient as their modern day jet-powered brethren, the classic fighters that flew during the first and second World Wars have their own unique charm as well. It is through games that players got virtually experience the thrill of being aboard these planes, and knowing which the games that deliver the best experience certainly matters.

War ThunderWar Thunder: Dynamic Levels of Realism

Available for: PC Windows, Mac, and Linux

Released: 15.08.2013

Rating: 4.2/5

This multiplayer game is all about strategic 16v16 battles. Sure, skill does help, and having several skilled players will undoubtedly help tilt the scales of any match, but when it comes to having evenly skilled players on both sides (and the game's tier system somehow manages to actually work), it becomes a matter of having good teamwork more than individual capabilities.

Taking on a World War II setting, the game limits players with available technologies in terms of vehicles; the tanks, planes, and ships provided all come from the era so those with a bit of familiarity with the history textbooks would have a slight advantage. But for those new to the genre, fret not, the game is quick to provide the necessary know-how on the spot: the rest is simply learned through repetition and practice.

And practice is easy to get. As long as your desktop rig is pretty decent, chances are you will be able to play this game smoothly and often: it is free to play. While those who decide to pony up some cash will get a slight disadvantage, having better piloting and driving skills often helps even the odds.

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IL-2 Sturmovik 1946

IL-2 Sturmovik 1946

Available for: PC Windows

Released: 13.03.2007

Rating: 4.25/5

IL2S, as this game is more affectionately called by its many fans, straddles the line between realistic flight-sim and combat-focused dogfight game with a fine sense of balance. All that said this game is certainly not for folks who are just seeking an arcade-style form of flying. IL2 will have you checking out the wind conditions in order to avoid stalls, predicting enemy flight paths to aim your shots, and best of all, figuring out what the information on the HUD actually means.

The this makes Sturmovik the ultimate transition game for any casual dogfighters looking to try their teeth at more realistic flight simulation games. Story wise, IL2 is chock-full of excellent historical data in the form of challenging missions. Considering the title, yes, you have access to a lot of IL-2 plane variations; but you also get to fly MiGs, Yaks, and even the P-39's.

Visually speaking, the skies look vast and deep; though the ground and surface textures do lack a bit of depth. However, all that is more than made up for thanks to the marvelously done plane models and textures. Better yet, the bullet and explosion effects are nothing short of satisfying to see (as long as you are not the one being shot at or blown up). If you love flight sims about the World War, then this game certainly deserves to be on your list.

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Compatibility:

For Windows: Compatible with Windows 2000/XP (only).

Wargame: AirLand Battle

Wargame: AirLand Battle

Available for: PC Windows, Mac, and Linux

Released: 29.05.2013

Rating: 4.0/5

Wargame: AirLand Battle takes players on cinematic battles that requires plenty of careful planning and a little bit of smart thinking. This game is all about the preparation. While combat is in real time, considering the various factors for each available unit (both yours and the enemy's) is what often determines how the battle will play out. This game is a complex war-themed version of rock-paper-scissors, and knowing which rock to choose against the enemy's scissors is not child's play.

The game is unbelievably beautiful with its strategically efficient camera that keeps a great overview of the map but still manages to dash close in and catch all the impressive moments in combat. If the screenshots feel like military footages, that's because aside from the impressive animations and textures, the game's mechanics are pretty much grounded in reality (which is why learning about the various units strengths and weaknesses matter so much). The best of all the realism is the ability to have custom matches that allows you to simulate battles between troops and vehicles of different eras. The fun part is in trying to find out which proper combination of old-school tanks would have a fighting chance against a full squad of M1A1 Abrams.

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Download Wargame: AirLand Battle - Magna Carta at Steam for PC Windows

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Compatibility:

For Windows: Compatible with Windows XP (SP3)/Vista (SP2)/7/8

For Mac: Mac OS X 10.6.8

For Linux: UBUNTU 12.04 LTS/UBUNTU 12.10

World of Warplanes

Silent Hunter 3

Available for: PC Windows

Released: 13.12.2013

Rating: 3.5/5

This arcade style online dogfighting game has been steadily growing since it was launched and that is hardly a surprising thing. The game is jam packed with plenty of planes, customization features, and of course, purchasable content. The cool part is that matches tend to be balanced (more often than not anyway), and despite the free-to-play mechanic, being able to appreciate this game does not require anyone to spend at all.

The graphics are pretty good for an online game, the plane details and variations are pretty easy to see and differentiate -which is a good thing since it actually justifies any aesthetic-only decisions you may have with the plane. That said, there are plenty of various performance tweaks that allows pilots to find their own way of flying.

World of Warplanes arcade-style approach means that there is very little room for realistic flying which means that players will not have to mind the small nuances that often alienate casual players from core-flightsim fans. That said, do not expect to be able to pull off some of the more fancy maneuvers (especially those that incorporate stalls and wind direction) in this game.

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Wings of Prey

Wings of Prey

Available for: PC Windows

Released: 04.09.2009

Rating: 3.5/5

For those wondering about the title's similarity to IL-2 Birds of Prey, you are right on the spot: Wings is a PC port of the console game. And in many ways, this game is even closer to an arcade title than the transition game between arcade-style and realistic-flightsim that the first IL-2 was.

So what exactly does that mean? Most of the details are easily learned through the game's gameplay start screens- leaving out most of the more flight-management related data to the other "simulation mode" option (which was designed to appeal to hardcore fliers, but still has some bits of information about the plane stripped away). The result is a straight-to-the-action dogfight title that will often have you starting the stage in already midair (which really, as "impressive" as it may be to have an "efficient and fast" takeoff, plenty of folks would actually like to skip that part).

So would you like this game? Depends on what kind of a dogfighting game you are looking for. Those who are purists about the whole simulation will definitely find this game a little bit off the path. For those who are fond of flight sims, arcade fliers, and anything in between will find this game to be perfect. And lastly, arcade-style gamers will love this game as it will further enhance their gaming experience by showing them how interesting it is to have more realistic features in a dogfighting game.

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Compatibility:

For Windows: Compatible with XP/Vista/7. Not guaranteed to work on Windows 8 but could, check latest Steam user reviews.

Battlestations: Pacific

Battlestations: Pacific

Available for: PC Windows, Mac, and Xbox 360

Released: 12.05.2009

Rating: 3.7/5

There are plenty of World War 2 themed games that often prove to be deep, historically accurate, and intellectually stimulating. This is not it; Battlestations Pacific offers players a whole different load of fun in a very serious looking package. The graphics, game presentation, and overall composition of this game overflows of misleading concepts that will make players think that this is a no-frills simulation title. Instead, what you will find is a game jam packed with explosions, straight-to-action gameplay, and narratives sequences straight out of B-movies.

History purists will want to stay off Battlestation Pacifics' presentation of events, and those seeking a core-flying/simulation game will find that the fickle gameplay mechanics are made more arcade-style gamers. That said, there's a ton of things to do in this game (though all of which mainly involve blowing stuff up). You move troops into the beach (so that they can blow stuff up later), you fly around in planes (to blow stuff up from the sky), and you also get to control sea vessels (to blow stuff up from the water).

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Compatibility:

For Windows: Compatible with XP/Vista (admin rights required) .

Blazing Angels 2: Secret Missions of WW2

Blazing Angels 2: Secret Missions of WW2

Available for: PC Windows, Xbox 360, and PS3

Released:07/07/2007

Rating: 3.5/5

While arcade style flyers might be looked down upon by some players, there is no denying that Blazing Angels 2: Secret Missions of WW2 is a non-stop thrillride of direct-to-action dogfighting and some of the most amazingly crafted visuals for a game about warplanes. As the title suggests, players get to strap on some of the old school flyers of the seconds World War and take on a variety of missions that are not commonly seen in other games (hence the whole secret missions thing in the title).

Gameplay variety also boosts up the fun factor as you get to do more than just blowing up other planes. There are different types of missions that will either test your combat and flying abilities like never before (our favorite is the stealth mission where you must pilot an enemy plane and carefully take down entire enemy patrols without being detected).

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Compatibility:

For Windows: Compatible with Windows XP (only)

Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WW2

Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WW2

Available for: Xbox 360, Wii, PS3, PC, PC Download

Released:28.03.2006

Rating: 3.5/5

Blazing Angels comes pretty close to being a World War themed version of Ace Combat -except that it does lack a few of the better features of the acclaimed Japanese-made arcade flyer. Missing is the cockpit view and the more elaborate ground units, as well as some the exaggeration of plane sizes during battles. That said, the original Blazing Angels had enough cool stuff going on to get the series started.

Flashy flying has to be the best way to describe this game -most of the game's focus goes to rendering excellent lighting, smoke, and particle effects; mostly at the tradeoff for textures of many ground structures and targets (though major background content such as significant landmark buildings are nicely rendered). The bloom effect also adds a very cinematic feel to the game. Gameplay wise, this has everything you would expect from an arcade shooter: plenty of action, a screenfull of targets in each mission, and quirky pilots to fly with.

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Compatibility:

For Windows: Compatible with Windows XP (only)

Battlestations: Midway

Battlestations: Midway

Available for: PC Windows, Mac, and Xbox 360

Released: 30.01.2007

Rating: 3.8/5

From the attack at Pearl Harbor, Battlestations: Midway takes players on a nonstop action-packed trip through the pacific theater of war. Battles are quick and aggressive, and the layout of combat feels like a snippet of arcade gaming on a larger scale of a massive war-sim that you have no control of. The battles are fast and frantic, whether you are airborne or floating on the seas, expect to have plenty of enemy units to keep you busy shooting stuff up.

The game's visuals are quite impressive, mostly thanks to the cinematic style camerawork. Sure, some of the textures and model details look a little off at times, but the composition created by the framing and the excellent use of lighting effects makes for good eye candy while you are playing.

Download Game for PCat Steam

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Compatibility:

For Windows: Compatible with Windows XP.