The PC is ahead of consoles when it comes to simulation games. It has a huge library of simulators available for the platform. As well as software specific hardware fdor flight simulation for example is plentiful on the PC. However consoles are fast catching up in the Racing Simulation genre with many steering wheels being availbale for both PC, Xbox and PS4. Howeverl the console really lacks good flight simulation hardware like yokes, rudder pedals and joysticks which are plentiful for PC. Examples include the Saitek controllers, CH Throttle and Rudders as well as many Yokes and even helicopter collective controls for aircraft simulation
.The advantage the PC has over the consoles is in our opinion the amount of quality simulation games available for the format and as discussed earlier the large range of hardware controllers. Many developers we have spoken to in the days when we were known as pcsimulators.org have no plans to port over their simulation games to the consoles sighting the lack of precision controllers and physics available on the console. So the PC is a good option to play simulation games. The most popular category for Simulation is Flight , Trains and Racing.
Flight , Racing and Trains are huglely popular, howerver there are also ship simulators, sailing simulators , job simulators, car mechanic simulator and even surgeon simulation games available to play! Check out out huge playlist of simulation games on our channel here.
Bus & Coach Simulators
OMSI2 is the standard to which all bus simulators need to equal before being considered a worthy competitor. OMSI 2 is based mainly in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands. A good number of DLC routes can be purchased, these can be quite pricey however. Also it can crash at times. The graphics are quite good but sometimes you do get some freezes even on a high end PC. The user menu is not great and not very user friendly. However this is a great simulator and in our opinion the best Bus Simulator on the market
Bus Simulator 16
Has potential to be better but in the end comes across as quite arcade like. Good career mode, in fact the career mode is better than OMSI. However the lack of TrackIR support really lets it down, having to use a mouse to look left and right or other keys you assign to look around makes driving a bus a pain. Graphic are ok but a bit cartoon like. However it is good fun and if you don’t want to serious a simulator then you should give it a try.
Fernbus Coach Simulator
The best coach simulator is Fernbus. Based currently in Germany with plans to expand into other countries. Fernbus has improved since its release. Force feedback and TrackIR support is included and the assignment of controls is much easier now than when first released. However, the graphics of the passengers look a bit robotic and zombie like. You can choose a number of routes and also from a number of Coaches to drive.
If you like flight sims then you have a very large choice. For those with a low budget Flightgear is free and it is also 64 bit meaning it makes use of large amounts of RAM. Plenty of aircraft are available for Flightgear including both fixed wing and helicopters. The flight model for helicopter is actually very good.
The granddaddy of flight simulators is FSX or Microsoft Flight Simulator, this can be bought on Steam quite cheaply at times, we’ve seen it as low as £4.99! FSX is 32bit meaning even if you have large amounts of RAM in your PC it will only use 4GB as that is how 32bit applications address memory. In addition it does not take advantage of modern day graphics cards and uses the CPU for a lot of the graphics work meaning you need a very powerful CPU to take advantage of FSX in ultra mode settings. However FSX has been around a very long time and there is huge support for it and plenty of addons like aircraft , scenery and airports.
Xplane 11, Aerofly FS2, FlightSim World and Prepar3D are all 64 bit and support all the latest graphics cards. These simulators are near photorealistic. Aerofly FS2 has just come out of early access and Flight Sim World is in open access. Xplane 11 has been released and is a popular choice among many simulator fans. It has, like FSX a large user base and plenty of add on aircraft and scenery available so you can add extra features on to it. Also x-plane has many quality free aircraft and scenery.
P3D or Prepar3D is developed by Lockheed Martin and has now moved onto 64 bit with v4. P3D was born out of FSX and is very popular too in the community. Like FSX it also has plenty of addons and support. It can be quite pricey for some of the license options but the Academic option is quite reasonably priced at $59.95, the professional version is $199.
Racing and Car Simulators
A very popular category among simulation fans is Racing. There are numerous racing simulators and we can summarise these below.
One of the best looking simulators on the market, to many the best physics too. Plenty of cars to choose from both past and present. More cars can be purchased through DLCS but these are very reasonably priced. Single and Multiplayer modes are available too. To many this is the premier racing simulator.
Project Cars 1 & 2
Project Cars has some amazing visuals and a large selection of cars and tracks. It looks as good as Assetto Corsa and has many options. Is it better than Assetto Corsa ? Some say the physics are better in Assetto corsa and the visuals better in Project Cars. Our view is they are both very good.
Stock Car Extreme
Stock Car Extreme concentrate more on stock cars in Brazil, the physics are great but it is looking quite dated in the graphics department now.
Iracing is mainly online racing. It is expensive as there is a cost. Organised races and ranking systems are in place and even some real racing drivers participate. You have to start in the Rookie levels and earn you way up through improving your safety rating. Iracing can be frustrating at time as you have limited cars available to drive until you work your way through the ranks. Winning is a great felling and all your stats are recorded.
One of the best ever Rally simulators for PC. Physics are great, good selection of routes and cars. It is hard and challenging. The graphics are a bit dated but we feel this is the best Rally Game available
Raceroom Racing Experience
This is Free to play and has some cars in the base game but you need to purchase additional cars. The graphics are very good and gameplay is smooth. There is both a single player and online option. We found this simulator is one of our favourites. Plenty of active servers, lots of cars to choose from and one of the most enjoyable racing simulators we have used.
A very good selection of cars, physics are good, graphics maybe not as good as Assetto Corsa, Raceroom and Project Cars. However it is a solid simulator and has both single and multiplayer options.
City Car Driving SImulator
If you don’t want to race then you can take a look at city car driving simulator. This is about driving a road car in a city or motorway.
Check out this video for more on Racing Simulators for PC
Combat Flight Simulators
When it comes to combat flight simulators DCS World or digital combat simulator is a hugely popular choice. Always at the top of polls for best flight simulator and best combat simulator it is easy to see why. Free to play with 2 aircraft , additional aircraft modules can be purchased. An awesome flight model for both fixed wing and helicopters. Intense attention to detail and draw dropping graphics and flight model If you have the patience to learn then this is hard to beat
Rise of Flight
If you don’t want to fly jets and prefer World War 1 aircraft then this free to play combat simulator is for you. The best WW1 flight combat simulator we feel on the market. Graphics and sound are amazing, you really feel you are flying a world war 1 aircraft. The base game comes with a few aircraft but you can purchase more via DLC which are reasonably priced too. If you’ve flown modern combat simulators you will be in for a surprise, flying a World War 1 aircraft is challenging with no modern aids or radar. Dogfighting is challenging and fun. Single and online multiplayer available too
If Rise of Flight is the best WW1 combat simulator then the IL2 series is easily in contention for the best WW2 combat simulator. The IL2 series started many years ago and has had a few versions including IL2 1946, IL2 Cliffs of Dover, IL2 Battle of Stalingrad, IL2 Battle of Moscow. Another addition to the series is in early access called Battle of Kuban. If yo like WW2 aircraft then this simulator is for you!
Falcon BMS is free to play but you need to purchase the original Falcon 4 as it requires this to work. Flacon 4 is easily available on Steam and is quite cheap. Once you install the original Falcon you can then download and install Falcom BMS. The install however is not that straightforward so you need to check some guides before you do this. After installation you will see that this simulator is quite awesome. Great graphics, lots of missions and options.
Huge online air combat simulator. War thunder is free to play and you can purchase additional aircraft. There are servers always available for multiplayer. We haven’t had much playing time with war thunder to be able to comment but it is worth checking out as its free. Graphics are impressive and the gameplay looks fun.
2 Motorbike simulators we have come across are
Ride 2 allows you to drive a very large selection of bikes around many different parts of the world. Graphics are very good, you can purchase more bikes as you progress through the game.
Mainly focused on the MotoGP bikes, Championship season is available. Hard to master but great fun too.
We have come across 2 ship simulators and 2 sailing simulators.
Ship Simulator Extremes
Ship Simulator Extreme has decent graphics , a number of missions and a variety of ships to choose from. Not too difficult to get into the simulator, can be challenging when parking in a dock. All in all a very good simulator.
Like ship simulator extreme but with a few different ships and locations. We found the interface to be quite frustrating too. Not very user friendly at times. However a good number of options, routes and ships
For sailing fans a sailing simulation. A lot of thought has gone into this simulator and it is quite detailed. Graphics are very good, the game can last for days so lots of patience is needed. For more check out our video review here :
Sail Simulator 5
Another sailing simulator, graphics look a little dated but it is fun to play and easy to pick up. Some excellent boats available to use and we enjoyed testing this simulator out.
There are a number of train simulators available, some free some pay ware.
Microsoft Train Simulator
Microsoft Train Simulator is still used today, one of the first train simulators available for PC still has a huge following and plenty of routes and addons are available today. However some newer Windows 10 systems have reported that it doesn’t run correctly on this newer operating system. To get round this you can use Open Rails.
Open rails is free but can also run Microsoft Train Simulator routes. You can choose between Microsoft Train Simulator and Open rails native routes. Although open rails is great there is still limited native routes available for it at this time.
Another free train simulator is OpenBVE, this has plenty of free routes and some great underground routes too. For more on underground routes see our article on our website here http://pcsimulators.org/index.ph...
This train simulator is also free and originated from Japan. It is again still widely used and was originally released in 2000!
Train Simulator series
Train Simulator by Dovetail games is pay ware and can be purchased on Steam too. Even though the base game can be picked up quite cheaply at times in sales the DLCs can be expensive. Some DLCs which include extra routes and trains can be as much as £24.99. However many trains and routes are supported and there is a huge collection of rolling stock, engines and trains to choose from.
Train Sim World
The next generation train simulator. The graphics are near photorealistic and you have much more freedom of movement in the train. The graphics are easily the best of any train simulator. Currently there is heavy haul and the Great Western Express routes. You can see it in action in a video we have compiled here
World of Subways 1 – 4
World of subways series concentrates mainly on underground and subway trains in New York, Berlin and London. Great graphics and sounds, The simulator is well detailed but at the same time not over complicated. Good atmosphere and great game play. A must if you like underground trains!
Euro Truck Simulator 2
Easily one of the most popular PC Simulators of all time. Drive a truck around Europe earning money and start your own firm. Lots of Adds are available. Plenty of trucks to choose from. You can even add accessories in your truck.
American Truck Simulator
Like Euro Truck Simulator but driving across the USA. New mexico has just been released too . Amazing graphics probably a bit better than Euro Truck Simulator 2 graphics but then this was released later. Also the American trucks are different to those in Euro Truck so if you like American Trucks this is for you