The Best Simulation Games for PC
Simulation and strategy games occupy a significant chunk of the overall gaming market. Their immersive gameplay and life-like scenarios can allow a player to try things in virtual reality that they couldn’t do in real life.
That might include operating an entire farm, landing a fully loaded A380 into London Heathrow in a storm, driving a stopping service on the London to Brighton railway line, working as a logger in a Canadian forest or even building and managing entire cityscapes.
If you are excited just by reading those examples then read on to discover the best simulation or strategy games for PC.
Plus, don’t forget to check out our most popular article – Police Games – The Ultimate Collection!
Kicking off this ultimate list of the best simulation games for PC is Simcity Limited Edition. The reason it makes it to the top of this list will all become clear.
If you have ever played any of the previous Simcity games then you may have mixed emotions about a 2013 edition. For some, the Simcity series was the best series of games ever made and thus I expect you guys to be dead excited about the mention of a 2013 edition! However, for others, Simcity left them feeling a bit lost, confused or just uninspired.
Getting into Simcity was difficult at times and getting the most out of each session was tough because the level of excitement would fluctuate wildly depending on how you were doing.
But whether you are ecstatic about Simcity Limited Edition or not, let me give you a few good reasons why you should be!
Firstly, the game has been completely rebuilt from the ground up to give you a much better game experience. As the tag line goes, ‘it gives you the power to change the world together!’
Every decision you make in the game will have short and long term consequences, many of which will be completely new to a beginner to this series. For example, if you are a business tycoon you may want to build heavy industries to provide work for thousands and wealth for millions, but this will come at the expense of your cities overall health as pollutants fill the air and rivers get polluted.
So you might decide to switch heavy industry for light organic industries but this too will have drastic consequences. Your thousands of labourers will now be seeking benefits and unemployment will be rife. How will you ensure everyone is looked after, housed, protected and provided with basic services?!
As ever, you are responsible for every single decision affecting the lives of every single person. Do you have what it takes?
For in game trailers click here.
An aspect of the game that is worth noting before you place an order is that certain features aren’t as well publicised as they should be. Simcity Limited Edition will be an internet only game meaning you will need an internet connection 100% of the time while playing. If your internet crashes or dies you will only have a matter of minutes before the game terminates! This is because you are playing in a real world environment requiring a connection to the EA servers!
For really good walkthroughs to SimCity take a look here.
*Update for Mac Users* – SimCity has been delayed until November 2013. Stay tuned for more information.
Whether you have played the prequel or not will not matter as the in-game help at the start is good enough to get you started. There is a distinct lack of in-game help should you have a query but all the information you need can be found online!
As the title says, you begin the game as a farmer owning a tiny field, a couple of old machines, a few chickens and a smattering of farm buildings. Start by becoming acquainted with how everything works by following the help icons around the map. This will also give you a moment to get used to the American style controls (where down is up and up is down!) You’ll get used to it soon enough.
Once you know where everything is you can select the right tools to attach to your tractor and begin preparing the field. As it happens, at the start of the game your field is ready to harvest so you will just need to assist in the collection of the wheat with your farm hand doing the hard work. Take the wheat either to a silo for storage or to sell it for money to reinvest back into your farm.
As the game progresses you will earn more and more money. You can earn money from a number of different activities including growing different crops, taking care of animals, selling eggs, electricity, vegetables, old tractors and much more!
With a steady income comes the ability to hire out farm hands to assist you in your work. They are a lifeline! Hire a couple to work a field for you while you go off and attend to something else, elsewhere on your farm.
With over a hundred different machines and vehicles to play with all faithfully recreated from real life names such as Deutz-Fahr, Lamborghini, Horsch and many more there is tons to check out.
For those wondering what is new from the previous game then prepare to be surprised. Firstly, there are number of new farm vehicles and tools, a more diverse range of crops, new livestock (chicken and sheep) and a whole load of new things to buy to improve your farm – including my personal favourite, solar power and wind turbines!
Another aspect continued and improved from the previous version is the online multiplayer mode. Meet up with friends or become acquainted with complete strangers. If you host a game you can invite people to your farm to help you out! Is it harvesting time? Gather a few workers to your farm, give them some instructions and off they’ll go! Surprisingly the farming community is very kind and generous and I have never yet had any problems with anyone.
So if you have ever dreamed of being a farmer or just want to get behind the wheel of a tractor, Farming Simulator 2013 for PC is for you!
Bear with me on this. Yes, Flight Simulator X is coming up on five years old but as I hope to show, there is, even today, very little competition in the PC flight simulator market.
The closest contender has to be X-Plane 10 by Aerosoft. X-plane 10 was released just over a year ago and has received a pretty mixed response. The avid Microsoft gamers who were eager to get their hands on a new flight sim were the loudest and fastest to knock the game. But those who were new to the genre, or who had computers which couldn’t handle the massive Microsoft programs, thought this game was excellent!
In X-Plane 10 you have the ability to fly 30 different aircraft including gliders, trainers, jumbos and even the space shuttle. The scenery is fantastic although again, if you bought all the local add-on packs for Microsoft flight sim you will notice a drop down!
One of the better features about X-Plane is the realistic moving traffic on the roads and around the airports! Aspects like that along with excellent Air Traffic Control services make the game feel ultra realistic.
One of the major problems with the game unfortunately is the level of detail in the cockpits. If you love to fly from within the cockpit and enjoy monitoring the individual dials then you’ll notice not everything is as it should be. For example, you may find very similar cockpits across different aircraft, or even a lack of cockpit detail if you turn either side to look out of the side windows.
In the grand scheme of things, these are minor details though and do not deserve the amount of attention they have garnered. If you are looking for an incredibly immersive simulation game which will run at a much higher detail level than Microsofts Flight Sim X on a much wider range of machines then X-Plane 10 should be your first stop!
However, if you would like the extra range of planes, the option of purchasing multiple more game add-ons and have the processing power to handle it then Flight Sim X should still be considered, despite its age.
Some of the best add-ons for MS FSX and 2004 include:
- 757 Captain – Hundreds of animations which make your 757’s come to life! Check out their poor pixelated Video or another YouTube video
- 747-200/300 Series – Same as above but better rated and more popular
- Scenery Packs – General terrain realism
- Flying CLub II – Most realistic VFR flying available
- Fly the A-380
- AirHauler – Transform your game into an Air Cargo Business Management game
Train Simulator 2013 is the latest train sim to hit the shops! As with many other games (Simcity for example) the game must be connected to the internet to work and the disc you buy is merely a user code – the game itself has to be downloaded from the internet, which can take many hours and up to 6.5GB of space! Once you have done this you may find that the menus at the start of the game are difficult to navigate and the whole setting up process feels a little buggy! But bear with it.
Presuming you have a high enough spec computer, graphics card and enough RAM (plus an internet connection) all those concerns will disappear once you begin playing.
If you want some handpicked videos to represent the next block of text then check these out which are some of my favourites:
In a nutshell, the graphics are unbelievably good, the stations are accurately detailed and also very up to date! The trains and their liveries are all well designed, function well, sound perfect and can be scrutinised from every angle without disappointment.
With plenty of routes, scenarios and countries already available to play in the game there will be enough to keep you busy for hours on end. Scenarios include the typical shunting missions all the way up to the long distance tight-timetabled express passenger services covering the length of England.
Should you complete all the missions or want a different set of challenges, the internet hub ‘Steam’ will unlock plenty more opportunities created by budding Train Simulator hobbyists!
Train Simulator 2013 will be everything and more that you would expect from the next railway simulator!
This article is about the best simulation games available for PC, not a list of the most recent! Ship Simulator Extremes will be perfect for someone who has completed Ship Sim 2006 and 2008 and is looking for the next challenge. It will also be great for anyone who is a budding ship enthusiast as there are a number of excellently recreated ships to captain plus multiple excellently thought out missions.
You could find yourself working with the coastguard evacuating a cruise ship in distress, or piloting a super ship into dock! The weather will play havoc with these missions and it will take all yours skills and attention to bring the ships in safely.
However. If you are looking for the best all-round ship simulator then unfortunately Extremes just isn’t the best!
With Ship Simulator 2008 collectors edition you still get 24 incredibly realistic vessels, the ability to walk around them (even the titanic) and better missions, ranging from the beginner tutorial missions to the advanced challenges.
The graphics are fantastic and are certainly on par with Extremes although you may feel fall a little short of what we have come to expect from the other big simulation games.
With the collectors edition version you also get the New Horizons add on, the making of Ship Sim and a 68 page reference book with technical details of all the ships.
So for all round simulation experiences, Ship Simulator 2008 Collectors Edition actually takes the top spot.
The previous 5 games really are the key players at the front of the field in terms of game design. However, there are numerous other simulation games which don’t seem to garner as much attention and yet can offer the player some pretty incredible experiences.
Euro Truck Simulator 2 provides you with an unrivalled trucking experience with a generous amount of game content which will keep you coming back time and time again. Prove your skills in manoeuvring these impressive lorries by taking on a selection of delivery contracts across multiple European cities.
With excellent scenery, a well constructed business management section and painstakingly produced lorries, traffic, road signage and cargoes it is a feast for your eyes. One of the major benefits of this simulator is that there is a degree of strategy involved too as you are actually the owner of the business. The way you drive will affect the future of your business so ongoing diligence is important.
As you progress through the game you will earn money which you can use to expand your fleet of trucks and increase your delivery potential. With excellent weather effects, day and night cycles and even the ability to play your own music in the cab, or stream live from the internet the game options enable you to drive how you want.
So if you are looking for more than just your bog standard driving game then give Euro Truck Simulator some much deserved attention!