Air and Sea
Fancy a chance at sinking the Bismark? Think your HMS Hood might not end up breaking in half? Atlantic Fleet is the cheapest way to put those armchair skills to the test. Killerfish Games first hit, Atlantic Fleet is a turn-based tactical and strategic naval combat, and players can lead both the Royal Navy and the Kriegsmarine across the Atlantic Campaign. It’s a simple game, that doesn’t do much in the way of realism but if you’re a landlubber and never stepped inside a battlecruiser then there are worst places to start. Atlantic Fleet comes equipped with an excellent set of tutorials that do their very best to navigate players across the ocean’s tricky currents. It also has about three dozen historical missions, a large dynamic campaign mode, and a custom battle editor. It’s loved by many for its simplicity and how easy it is to engage with its systems, putting the players in charge of both steering the ships and firing its main guns. The guys behind Atlantic Fleet development would move on to create the excellent Cold Waters and War on the Sea.
Other similar games: The other games in this list.
This is a game I wish I could be playing more often than I truly am. Right now, and this is not even an overstatement, it’s the best naval wargame about World War 2 that encapsulates every aspect of the conflict it’s trying to depict in real-time. This means taking control of your task force, aircraft and submarines included. Beautifully rendered 3D models, a ton of replayability, and a dynamic campaign for both the Imperial Japanese Navy and Allied Forces make War on the Sea the go-to game for armchair admirals. It’s also simple to play and comes with a comprehensive set of handy tutorials that hold hands with the players during their first couple of hours in the game. War on the Sea is another Killerfish Games killer hit. The only downside, to me personally, is their esoteric UI, which can be quite convoluted until you get the hang of it, but if I had a penny every time I write that…
Other similar games: Victory at Sea Pacific.
U-boats terrorized the Atlantic Ocean for several years during the war, and even though I’m not the biggest fan of this kind of warfare, every World War II list isn’t complete until it features one of these. The usual suspect is Silent Hunter III, considered by many to be the ultimate sea stalker simulation but outdated controls, graphics and a penchant tendency to not work well in modern systems turn this once obligatory presence a rough recommendation nowadays. So this Early Acess entry is a shot in the dark, so take my suggestion with a pinch of salt, nevertheless, Uboat managed to grab my attention and keep me interested for a while and its dynamic campaign and management aspect of the submarine is where it’s at for me, personally and I’m checking it’s development rather closely.
Other similar games: Silent Hunter III (if it works).
Before War Thunder came into the scene, the skies above were dominated by the realistic sorties of the Sturmovik franchise. The 1946 entry is -for the lack of a better expression- the most widely known to a wider audience. Dating back to 2005, IL-2 Sturmovik surfed the last dying waves of Pcgaming downfall of the early 2000s. However, during this day and age, it might be a sore sight to look at for prolonged periods of time. IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad is the most recent iteration of the franchise and, since 2014 has already gotten tons of updates, including new planes, new maps, new campaigns, and it even got ported back to the first world war. It also has a somewhat active multiplayer scene if that’s your thing.