The 8 Best World War 2 Flight Simulators of 2020

Take to the skies with these classic and historical titles

Best for Variety: Ubisoft IL-2 Sturmovik: 1946

IL2 Sturmovik: 1946 provides a compilation of all of the original IL-2 Sturmovik combat flight simulation games, including their expansion packs. The series is one of the highest-rated World War 2 flight simulators for PC due to its detailed realism, ​a variety of features, and endless amounts of possibilities.

Packed to the brim, IL2 Sturmovik: 1946 features 229 aircraft over historical locations in multiple campaigns with over 200 missions spanning in areas from the USSR to Japanese-occupied Korea. The game’s advanced mission-building system lets you construct any type of dogfight in the air imaginable, with a full range of options where you can select everything from aircraft models, the number of allies to fly with, hostiles to battle against, and so much more.

The realism in IL2 Sturmovik: 1946 is shown in its subtle details. For example, you'll have to look around the cockpit to check for fuel tank leaks from bullet punctures as you struggle to pull their aircraft up to the sky.

Best Old-School Classic: Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator 2: Pacific Theater

Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator 2: Pacific Theater is an old-school classic for World War 2 flight simulators on the list. Released in 2000, the fan-favorite delivers on historical intricacies with a physics system and simulation that was developed to replicate the real thing.

Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator 2: Pacific Theater features arcade-style campaigns on historic air battles of the Pacific War, putting you in the perspective of both American and Japanese pilots. The attention to detail stands out, especially the aircraft’s rolling wheels, intricate retractable landing gear, and engines that belch smoke after catching on fire from an enemy attack.

Damage done to aircraft is sharply represented and you can flip to an external view to see how bad things really are as your engine catches fire, your tail falls off, and you slowly descend to coastal waters below.

Best for Multiple Platforms: Ubisoft Romania Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII

Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WW2 is the most accessible World War 2 flight simulator game on the list, available to everyone with either a Wii, PS3, Xbox, Xbox 360, or PC. The fast-paced, action-flying game tests your piloting skills with a cinematic presentation that has you partake in real battles like the Liberation of Paris and D-Day.

Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WW2 lets you fly 46 different WW2 aircraft, each with their own individual handling, unique weapon outfits, and star ratings in categories like firepower, speed, and hit points. You'll assume the role of an Allied squadron leader, giving commands to your AI wingmen (each with their own specialized skill and behavior) to hold different formations, play defensively, or engage directly with targets in order to complete missions.

Gameplay is accompanied by an epic soundtrack that builds atmosphere whether you’re diving in close to fire at warships in the sea or engaging in mile high dogfights against a rival German ace pilot.

Best for Nintendo Wii: Destineer WWII Aces

WWII Aces is specifically designed for the Nintendo Wii by using the system’s motion controls to pilot aircraft. The more casual and arcade-style World War 2 flight simulator game on the list is simple to pick up for any newcomers to the genre and includes a special slow-motion button to make the game easier.

WWII Aces will have you holding and titling your Wii Remote sideways to give a more immersive feeling of control while performing special maneuvers like somersaults and barrel rolls. You'll fly in 70 historical WWII missions and get to become pilots in the Royal Air Force, Luftwaffe, or the Soviet Air Force while choosing among four planes types like fighters, dive bombers, heavy bombers, and special project planes. The game’s multiplayer mode allows others to jump into co-op play or a competitive split-screen match.

Best for PlayStation 4: Kalypso Media Air Conflicts Pacific Carriers

The PlayStation 4’s Air Conflicts: Pacific Carriers gives a more modernized and up-to-date WW2 flight simulator, with beautiful graphics and multiple gameplay options. The historical arcade flight simulator sets you over the Pacific and has you experiencing intense air combat missions from either the Japanese or American side of the war when playing its in-depth main campaign mode.

Air Conflicts: Pacific Carriers has you taking control of an entire squadron of aircraft, allowing you to switch strategically from plane to plane in each respective mission. You’ll want to reserve ammunition as you battle against swarms of enemies in the skies and seas while engaging in various battles from Midway to Wake Island.

Air Conflicts: Pacific Carriers offers multiple modes that let you take control of your carrier’s ship cannon turrets and enter watchtowers to look out for enemies, but it can also be played in both arcade and simulation flight modes depending on how you like the intensity.

Best for PlayStation 3: Mad Catz Damage Inc., Pacific Squadron WWII

Damage Inc., Pacific Squadron WW2 is the best World War 2 flight simulator currently available on the PlayStation 3 and is compatible with PS3 flight sticks to give a more engaged feeling of piloting. The game packs in all the battles of the Pacific theater with 20 locations in 23 historically accurate missions with over 100 objectives and 30 accurately represented and detailed WW2 aircraft, including rare, never-flown prototypes.

Damage Inc., Pacific Squadron is designed to replicate an experience that mimics challenges that actual pilots faced during WW2, from dogfighting, torpedo and dive bombing, and carrier takeoffs and landings. You’ll have a mix of intense air-to-air, air-to-ship, and air-to-ground combat that varies up the strategies performed while completing in-game challenges to unlock PS3 Trophies.

The game’s main campaign will last you over 12 hours as you unlock more planes and acquire upgrade points to enhance their armor, weapons, paint, and more.

Best for Xbox 360: Konami Birds of Steel

Birds of Steel for the Xbox 360 presents a beautiful combat flight simulator set in World War 2 that throws you in intense aerial skirmishes using both real battles and actual planes. The game offers multiple difficulty settings of play, including a casual arcade playstyle and a more simulated experience where planes function as close to the real thing as possible.

Birds of Steel lets you alter the course of history and features 20 different historical missions with hundreds of procedural missions spanning 16 different locations, including Wake Island and Pearl Harbor.

You’ll get to pilot over 100 different airplanes from bombers to jets, each with their own feel that can fit any type of gamer’s preference. Birds of Steel includes a finely detailed physics and damage system, taking into account each part of the plane that gets impaired from combat and affecting your overall flight.

Best for Dreamcast: Infogrames Iron Aces: High Speed WWII Aerial Combat

Surprisingly, even the Sega Dreamcast got in on the action of WW2 combat flight simulators with Iron Aces: High Speed WWII Aerial Combat. The more antiquated game on the list released in 2000 includes a variety of different planes and focuses on bringing out the excitement of intense dogfights.

Iron Aces: High Speed WWII Aerial Combat takes places in the Pacific theater of World War II where you take to the skies in 17 different levels and battle enemies on land, sea, and the air. There are more than 20 different real-life planes, from the legendary Japanese Zero to the P-51 Mustang, and each one has their own weighed attributes like attack power, speed, mobility, climb, and more. Though it may be an older title on the list, Iron Aces captures a kind of simplistic charm in its gameplay that only a retro-style game can bring.