Top 10 Space Combat Video Games

Script written by Matt Wende It’s time to go to the final frontier, and blow the crap out of it! Join WatchMojo.com as we countdown our picks for the Top 10 Space Combat Video Games. For this list we’re looking at games that see players taking control of spaceships in real time. The games can be original creations or new intellectual properties, as long as the spaceships are used for combat. They can be arcade style or simulation, but we’re excluding 2D shoot em up’s though as we already have a whole list devoted to those. Lastly, they also have to have been released, so games that look promising but are still in development like Star Citizen will have to hold out for another list. Lets get ready to launch! NOTE TO KENNETH: The suggest page for this list was setup by Matt.
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Top 10 Space Combat Video Games


It’s time to go to the final frontier, and blow the crap out of it! Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today, we’re counting our list for the Top 10 Space Combat Video Games.

For this list we’re looking at games that see players taking control of spaceships in real time. The games can be original creations or new intellectual properties, as long as the spaceships are used for combat. They can be arcade style or simulation, but we’re excluding 2D shoot em up’s though as we already have a whole list devoted to those. Lastly, they also have to have been released, so games that look promising but are still in development like Star Citizen will have to hold out for another list. Lets get ready to launch!

#10: “Star Wars Rogue Squadron 2: Rogue Leader” (2001)

Blasting off our list is this GameCube launch title. The second entry in the classic Nintendo series, Rogue Squadron 2 saw players taking classic fighter space ships from the Star Wars franchise and piloting them through many a classic battle as seen in the movies – with a handful of extras as well. An added bonus was the ability to command friendly fighters, as well as the appearance of Denis Lawson reprising his role as Wedge Antilles which really gave the whole game an authentic touch.

#9: “Galaxy on Fire 2” (2009)

The only mobile game on our list, GOF 2 has players exploring strange new galaxies as a star-fighter transported several light years from home only to become involved in a new warzone. On top of great gameplay, the game also benefits from fully customizable ships, enthralling mini-games and quick burst missions that are ideal for gaming on the go. What makes this entry really special is it’s surprising playability on mobile devices. Now you can take badass space exploration anywhere with you.

#8: “X3: Reunion” (2005)

X3 sets out to let players truly feel the experience of piloting a spacecraft. Praised for it’s depth and scope, players could buy or capture a huge number of ships and use them to explore over a hundred and fifty start sectors. It would have ranked higher on the list, but unfortunately at launch it contained more than it’s share of bugs and flaws, not to mention a rather unhelpful manual. A few patches later though, and you should be going PEW PEW in no time.

#7: “EVE Online” (2003)

One of the most successful and long lasting MMOs of all time, EVE online is nothing short of a slow burning cultural phenomenon. The game allows players to explore, fight, pirate their way across the galaxy, or simply trade your salvaged and mined goods in the vividly developed player economy. With over 10 years of community evolution, EVE might seem like a daunting venture for first time players, but the depth of it’s universe is truly infinite.

#6: “Freelancer” (2003)

The sequel to the hugely popular Starlancer, the goal of this game is simple. Get rich and kick ass… in space. Playing in a universe engulfed in civil war, Freelancer allows players the freedom to collect bounties, pirate other ships, trade goods or just generally engage in mayhem. Its rich singleplayer campaign is complemented extremely well by the freedom of the multiplayer, as players have the opportunity to choose who they are in the universe. We’re still holding out for Firefly reboot, but until it gets here, maybe this will tide you over.

#5: “Elite: Dangerous” (2014)

The first game in the Elite series to be released in almost 20 years, Dangerous takes exploration to a whole new level with a virtual 1-to-1 scale model of the milky way. Also like many other games on this list, the economy is just as big a part as the combat in this game, but what sets this one apart is size, given the game has more the 400 billion star systems, many of which are based on real star systems from our galaxy. The result of a successful kickstarter campaign, Elite Dangerous is anything but casual – and that’s what the backers wanted.

#4: “Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger” (1994)

The Wing Commander franchise was a storied reputation for being epic in scale and story, and it’s third entry took the storytelling to a new level as it played more like an interactive movie than a game. Gameplay was intercut with live action footage, showcasing rich characters and strong backstories – with acting turns by heavyweights Mark Hamill, Malcolm McDowell, and John Rhys-Davies. A leap forward in both gameplay and narrative, this game cemented the Wing Commander legacy in video game history.

#3: “Star Wars: TIE Fighter” (1994)

After players got a taste of flying for the rebel cause in Star Wars: X-Wing, they wanted to find out what it was like to fly for the dark side. Switching sides and fighting for the empire this time around… lets just say: once you go black you never go back. TIE Fighter improved on everything that X-wing did so well, including huge graphical improvements. Although it looks a bit dated now, this classic doesn’t hesitate to play the nostalgia card on our hearts.

#2: “Starfox 64” (1997)

There may not be a whole lot of Starfox games, but when your game is this good, your legendary status is pretty much guaranteed. Taking control of the now classic Arwing, players play as Fox McCloud, defending the Lylat system from the evil Andross and his minions. Multiple paths through the campaign mean you can play this game over and over again competing for that sweet high score. It’s playability never failing, Fox and his Arwing barrel rolled a way into gaming history. For those of you that didn’t keep your 64 in good shape, be sure to check out the remaster in 3D on the 3DS.

Before we blast away with our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Tachyon: The Fringe” (2000)
“ARC Squadron” (2012)
“DarkStar One” (2006)

#1: “FreeSpace 2” (1999)

On this list, sequels only get better, and it doesn’t get better than Free Space 2. For it’s time of release, it was renounced for it’s outstanding graphics and it’s stellar gameplay. Not only did it improve hugely upon it’s predecessor, it essentially was the last great hurahh for the dying genre at the end of the millennium. Highlights included a gripping, lengthy campaign, levels set in gorgeous nebulas and huge battles between massive capital ships that tore at each-other with beam weapons. It was truly a sight to behold and a joy to play.

Did you agree with our list? What space combat games did we miss? For more lists about blowing stuff up published everyday, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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