Help me find some decent, recent space combat sims!
April 16, 2010 2:41 PM   Subscribe

Help me find some decent, recent space combat sims! I've played the classics (wing commander, freespace) and wondered if there are any other decent ones that were released within the last 4-6 years.
posted by metacollin to Computers & Internet (17 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Oh, to add to the list:
I have Darkstar One (decent, a little cheesy though) and am familiar with the Independence War Series. I feel like I may have exhausted all recent releases in this dead (dying?) genre, but I'm hoping mefi might know of a few I've missed! Thanks!
posted by metacollin at 2:42 PM on April 16, 2010

Have you played the X series? I think X3 falls within your timeline.
posted by infinitywaltz at 2:43 PM on April 16, 2010

Response by poster: Ah, no I haven't! Awesome, checking out the series now.
posted by metacollin at 2:45 PM on April 16, 2010

I feel your pain brother. I was a big fan of the original Wing Commander games, I loved Freespace and its sequel to death. Freelancer really didn't do it for me, and I've never gotten around to trying the X games.

I picked up Project Sylpheed for the 360 a little while back for $10, and even at that price, it was awful.
posted by Oktober at 2:46 PM on April 16, 2010

Response by poster: On the plus side, the Freespace Source Code Project along with the Freespace Upgrade Project is doing some interesting things, and the Inferno campaign is supposedly the fan made 'Freespace 3' that never was, but it has yet to be finished.

I wonder why this genre has seemingly been forgotten...some of my most fun gaming moments were dog fighting in not-really newtonian physics!
posted by metacollin at 2:56 PM on April 16, 2010

Freespace 2 will always be the height of space sim combat sims... Since then, nothing has compared.
posted by smitt at 2:56 PM on April 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Not sure if it's implied by "Freespace," but Freespace 2 easily ranks among my favorite titles ever.

Advice to anybody reading this: Play Freespace 2. Dtoubly so if you liked the action sequences from Battlestar Galactica

(Also, even though it's hilariously low-tech, the Escape Velocity series is great if you've got a mac to play it on. To make a weak sci-fi analogy, EV is to Firefly as Freespace is to BSG)
posted by schmod at 2:56 PM on April 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Well, project slypheed was an adaption of a "bullet hell" style shootemup. Not really a pure space sim kind of game.

If you missed X-Wing: Alliance it is very good.

You might also want to give Mechwarrior 4 + Expansion + Mercenaries a look. They play very much like a flight-sim. Just with humanoid mechs instead of planes.

There have also been a number of good WW2 flight sims. Those have a lot in common with the space genre (emphasis on guns over guided missiles, close range dogfighting combat etc...)
posted by Riemann at 2:57 PM on April 16, 2010

Response by poster: Actually, if anyone wants to suggest some nice 'go and kill stuff' oriented flight sims (like the WW2 ones Riemann mentioned), I'd like to try one, sounds like fun. It should be noted that I'm focusing on gameplay - when it comes to story, nothing is going to top Freespace 2.

I'm a big mech fan as well, and played that series through and through. I do suggest it to any other space rats looking for something similar though. I can't wait for Mech 5 to come out!
posted by metacollin at 3:00 PM on April 16, 2010

If you've got a PS2, the 3 Ace Combat games for it are fantastic, and Ace Combat 6 for 360 is decent too.

Basically, they're very arcadey flight sims with (mostly) real planes, but giant fortress/space shuttle/space station bosses. Tons of fun.
posted by Oktober at 3:12 PM on April 16, 2010

I recently got Battlestations: Pacific for the 360 and have been enjoying it. It is a combo plane / battleship game. You generally have several units in play at once (surface ships, submarines, aircraft carriers, planes, land-based static guns) and can switch freely between them. The units you aren't currently piloting are under AI control (which is pretty good).

I played through Secret Weapons over Normandy on the PS2 and loved it. It is made by a lot of the same people who made X-Wing for the PC and it shows (its' X-Wing in world war 2).

I have not personally played but have heard very good things about the IL-2 Sturmovik series of games.
posted by Riemann at 3:34 PM on April 16, 2010

Last one I played was Space Force: Rogue Universe. Not the highest quality game ever, but decently entertaining. Inexpensive, too.
posted by axiom at 4:01 PM on April 16, 2010

some additional games to consider (though, imho, FreeSpace 2 is still king of the hill):

Starlancer - Wing Commander with more of a Cold War atmosphere. No aliens, just space dogfights against Russians

Tachyon: The Fringe - feels more like an updated ELITE / Freelancer, or an X3 game with a shallower learning curve. Bruce Campbell does the voice and the plot is fun though a little predictable.
posted by bl1nk at 4:15 PM on April 16, 2010

Freelancer's fun and very open-ended. Following the storyline is fun, although I've also played it with the strip-out-the-story mods. The missions get repetitive after a while though.

I've recently played Wings of Prey and it's fantastically done and came out recently. It's basically combat flight sim lite (like Il-2 Sturmovik), so you can just fly around and blow things up. I never got into flight sims enough (combat or not) to find it worthwhile to learn to fly a plane before playing a sim game.

The Wing Commander games are slightly older; I haven't played them recently but fondly remember them. The most recent one may be new enough.
posted by bookdragoness at 4:37 PM on April 16, 2010

Response by poster: Lots of good suggestions and classics I hadn't heard of, thanks a lot! At $10 on steam, I went ahead and grabbed Tachyon. Had be sold at Bruce Campbell.

This is turning into a neat little list, hopefully some other people will find it useful.
posted by metacollin at 5:34 PM on April 16, 2010

If you have a Wii or Gamecube and don't mind playing a very arcadey Star Wars "flight sim", Rogue Leader is really good (the N64 predecessor, Rogue Squadron, was great as well).
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 6:48 PM on April 16, 2010

I just wanted to chime in and say that the Escape Velocity series is my favorite series of games EVER.
posted by cyphill at 11:59 PM on April 16, 2010

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