Gaming has become a part of our daily lives which allows us to live vicariously by plunging ourselves into exciting but dangerous situations. With new immersive systems like TrackIR and Oculus Rift allowing players to strap themselves into a 3D virtual reality gaming experience, you can see why combat games have took off. Gamers want sit in the cockpit of combat aircraft, and the two hottest titles on PC, offer flight-sims in the environment of escalated warfare.

Star Citizen is a voyage into the depths of the abyss, the once unseen nature of the universe has been exposed. It’s a space trading and combat simulator that puts players into a fictional time of war, futuristic colonies, planet and star formations that are open and tangible. It’s rival is War Thunder, a World War II dogfighter experience that is set in the time of the inter-war, WWII and the immediate post-war, periods. Players face-off against each other in online battles for air supremacy, but unlike its contemporary, you have the ability to fly in bombers, torpedo planes and propellor piston engined interceptors as well as jet fighters.


Dogfights with hyper beams

Flying spaceships can be done with the keyboard controls, but for space combat tournaments that are held with an in-game currency entrance fee, some players have opted for a joystick for total immersion. Ships can be upgraded in a sense like many games allow customization to racing cars in games like the GTA series, but Star Citizen is much more advanced. If you have a code that unleashes 5000 credits such as from, you can buy equipment that is superior to the default class. With this boost of in-game currency, spaceships can be bought, upgraded, sold and leased at various docking stations, and ‘floating world’ orbital cities. Everything from thrusters, gatling laser beams, to radiation-seeking hypersonic missiles, to positive ion-charged shields, can be bought and sold in a computer interface. There are single seaters known as ‘hot rods’ that have the most advanced aerodynamics capable of projecting the ships beyond mach speeds beyond any jet fighters that have ever been built.


Dogfighters with cannonfire

War Thunder boasts a plethora of aircraft but clearly the most popular are the historical single seat fighters that specialized in shooting each other down during WWII. There are currently five factions to choose from, those being, Germany, Britain, Japan, Russia and the newest edition Italy. As well as flying fighters, players can fly bombers of the period, loaded with high explosive bombs. The developer Gaijin, plans on making bombers fully interactive and allow friends to fight alongside each other inside them. The game is entirely free-to-play, all you need to do is download it from Gaijin’s website and you’re all set. The game relies on players buying the in-game currency with real-world money, used to upgrade and buy aircraft.

All you need to do to enter a game is to select your faction, pick an aircraft from the lineup, and put it into the hangar. Next you can pick from three different modes, that are arcade as the easiest pick-up-and-play variation, realistic battle as a semi-pro style of combat where real-world physics apply, and finally simulator battle that requires players have a joystick. The last mode is understandably the game’s party piece, as players can feel like a real WWII fighter pilot when sitting in first-person encased in the cockpit. The g-force achieved during high-speed turns is astonishing, so much so that the pilot can blackout and lose control of the aircraft under serious strain. The noise and power of the V12 piston-engines is almost deafening, only to be beaten by the merciless roar of 20 and 30mm cannons that chewed up the steel birds that fought in the skies above France, England, Guadalupe, Berlin and Russia.