In video games such as No Man’s Sky and The Outer Worlds 2, players get to traverse alien worlds and go on an intergalactic journey. Exploring space has always been a common theme in video games, but some titles elevate the genre by adding battle mechanics and integrating six degrees of freedom.
Space combat games are always a good pick for players who seek thrilling adventure and action, these include the space epic Elite: Dangerous and the combat simulation game Freelancers. To figure out which space combat games are worth their time, gamers should check out the titles on Metacritic that have the highest scores.
10 War Tech Fighters – 76
Taking inspiration from Hollywood movies and Japanese anime, War Tech Fighters is a space combat system created by Blowfish Studios. In the game, players can control, customize, and upgrade Gundam-like mech called War Techs and fight various enemies across the galaxy.
Players can get lost in the customization and configuration aspect of the game as there are a variety of tools, weapons, and armors that they can use to take their War Techs to the next level. However, some players have pointed out that despite its excellent customization mechanics, the game is dragged down by its long load times.
9 House Of The Dying Sun – 76
Developed by game studio Marauder Interactive, House of the Dying Sun is a tactical space shooter where gamers have to pilot a fighting ship and destroy enemies of an interplanetary empire. While it can be played on the PC, the game can also become an immersive and captivating VR experience as it can also be played on the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.
While gamers have enjoyed House of the Dying Sun for its straightforward mechanics and adrenaline-filled action sequences, some felt that its run time is too short.
8 Nexus: The Jupiter Incident – 77
Released in 2004, Nexus; The Jupiter Incident is an expansive real-time tactics and space combat shooter game from Hungary-based developer Mithis Entertainment. In Nexus: The Jupiter Incident, players have to manage a number of ships and strategize carefully in order to defeat their AI enemies.
Critics commended the game for its impressive visuals and exciting storyline. However, some critics raised their concern that the game’s protracted battles might turn some gamers off, despite adding to the cinematic feel of the game.
7 Star Wars: Squadrons – 79
Star Wars: Squadrons is a space combat simulator that follows the betrayal of an Imperial pilot and their journey towards helping the New Republic complete a prototype battleship. The game features an intensive single-player campaign, as well as multiplayer game modes that allow gamers to play with their friends.
Gamers note that while the game is not the most ambitious space combat title, it successfully creates an experience that allows players to feel as if they’re a pilot in the world of Star Wars. That’s why Star Wars: Squadrons is considered by fans one of the best games based on the Star Wars franchise.
6 Elite: Dangerous – 80
The space flight simulation game Elite: Dangerous allows players to explore an open-world representation of the Milky Way Galaxy. Elite: Dangerous is actually the fourth entry in the Elite franchise, which is a long-running series of space combat games that originated from a 1984 game developed by David Braben and Ian Bell.
Elite: Dangerous is a great open-world game thanks to its non-linear gameplay and an expansive storyline. Gamers should strap themselves in for a long adventure, as it can take a while to complete the game’s sheer amount of content.
5 Rebel Galaxy Outlaw – 83
Rebel Galaxy Outlaw stands out from other space combat games as it combines the genre with western elements. In the game, players control fighter spacecraft and choose between helping out the police or a pirate mastermind.
The game allows full movement in space and does not confine the player in a two-dimensional plane. Rebel Galaxy Outlaw was well-received by critics for its simplified controls, vibrant graphics, variety in missions, as well as its high replayability. Players can also take a break from shooting space vehicles by playing the game’s minigames which include pool and slot machines.
4 Everspace – 84
Everspace is a roguelike space combat game where players take control of a clone of a Colonial Fleet scientist to end an interstellar war. Because it is a roguelike game, players are actually encouraged to die in order to earn credits and spend them on various upgrades, making succeeding runs easier to complete.
Everspace is also considered by gamers as a great space exploration simulator game due to its non-linear storyline. This means that the narrative of the game is slowly revealed as the player reaches specific points during a run.
3 Star Wars: Battlefront II – 84
The sequel to the 2004 game Star Wars: Battlefront improves on many aspects of the predecessor. Gamers note that Star Wars: Battlefront II has a more impactful campaign narrative, more dynamic characters, and better game mechanics.
In the game, players assume the role of an Imperial Stormtrooper who takes a look back at their life and reminisces about their missions involving the Galactic Empire and the Galactic Republic. While there’s a lot to be desired with the game’s graphics, Star Wars: Battlefront II will surely satisfy fans of the space combat games.
2 Freelancer – 85
Released in 2003, Freelancer is a space combat simulation game developed by Digital Anvil. Because it’s only available for the PC, the spacecraft is controlled by pointing and clicking with a mouse. The game is about an intergalactic mercenary who can either become a strict-law enforcing fighter or a greedy bounty hunter.
Critics liked several things about the game, including its intuitive controls, gorgeous graphics, simple dogfights, and engrossing narrative. However, some gamers didn’t enjoy the game’s multiplayer mode as it didn’t offer enough combat content and felt extremely limiting.
1 FreeSpace 2 – 91
The sequel to Descent: FreeSpace, FreeSpace 2 is a space combat simulation game that allows players to fight a nefarious alien fleet. While it was released in 1999, many gamers consider FreeSpace 2 to be ahead of its time due to its incredible graphics, enthralling story, and exciting dogfights.
The game was able to conjure thrilling dogfights due to its excellently coded AI that’s smart enough to avoid obstacles and detect if enemies were close behind their ship. Despite being a critical success, FreeSpace 2 was a commercial failure and was overlooked by gamers at the time of its release.
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