Best Simulations of 2011

Best Simulations of 2011

General Aviation & Air Combat

Best Commercial Flight Simulation
WINNER: DCS: A-10C Warthog

Not much of a surprise here. Even though DCS: A-10C Warthog arrived in 2010 as a Beta, it was not released in the final version until 2011. For the best in switchology, A-10C can’t be beat. It may be a long time before we see another one this painstakingly detailed in the real plane’s operational functions.

Digital Combat Simulator web site
SimHQ Review

DCS: A-10C Warthog

Best Commercial Software Update / Add-on / Mod / DLC
WINNER: ORBX FTX New Zealand South Island Scenery

Nobody makes FSX look better, and there is nothing better than the New Zealand South Island Scenery. Amazing.

ORBX Simulation Systems web site

ORBX FTX New Zealand South Island Scenery

Best Non-commercial Software Update / Add-on / Mod / DLC
WINNER: Benchmark Sims v4.32

What’s 13 years old, has the best campaign engine ever included in an air combat simulation, has more faithful followers than a sect, and has been totally re-energized in 2011? Oh yeah, did we mention it was free?

Benchmark Sims web site
SimHQ Review

BMS 4.32

Land & Armor Combat

Best Commercial Land & Armor Simulation
WINNER: None

Sorry, no cigar. Red Orchestra 2 was in the running with some nice new features, but too bad it was dumbed-down in its second version. Why couldn’t we have version one’s tactical abilities with all that new polishing? Oh well, maybe in version three.

BF3Call of DutyMW? Pfffft. We’re still waiting for the renaissance of this. One shot, one kill, and no damned health packs. You know, a simulation.

Ghost Recon

Best Commercial Software Update / Add-on / Mod / DLC
WINNER: Steel Beasts Professional Personal Edition v2.640

Not bad for a $25 USD upgrade, huh? SB Pro PE gets better-and-better, and has evolved into an even stronger product than the first release indicated. And that says a lot.

SimHQ SB Pro PE Review
eSim Games web site

Steel Beast Professional Personal Edition v2.640

Best Non-commercial Software Update / Add-on / Mod / DLC
WINNER: ArmA 2 1.60

Good gets better as we anxiously await ArmA 3.

Bohemia Interactive web site

ArmA 2 1.60

Motorsports

Best Commercial Motorsports Simulation
WINNER: Game Stock Car

Starting with the rFactor engine, Reiza Studios built a strong racing sim based on Brazil’s premier racing series. More than an amped-up mod, GSC adds 10 tracks, a full field of cars, a tweaking of the now-tired rFactor graphics, and added their own tuning to make the cars one of the most fun simulation drives of 2011.

Reiza Studios web site

Game Stock Car

Best Commercial Software Update / Add-on / Mod / DLC
WINNER: iRacing 2.0 update

Love or hate its business model, no one can deny that iRacing offers terrific sim racing, and with v2.0, the experience is even better with new features and a cleaned-up interface. Who’d have thought a browser-based MMO for racing would be this good?

iRacing web site
SimHQ Review

iRacing 2.0

Best Non-commercial Software Update / Add-on / Mod / DLC
WINNER: Richard Burns Rally RSRBR 2011

Out of the tragic loss of RBR’s namesake to cancer shortly after release, the add-on RSRBR has brought one of the most under-rated sims ever to the forefront. The Rallysim 2010 version was excellent. Version 2011 is even better. If you like rally driving on high speed courses, this one is a must, and version 2012 was released just recently.

RSRBR 2011 web site
SimHQ Feature (2010 version)

Richard Burns Rally RSRBR 2011

Other Sim Genre

Best Commercial Title
WINNER: Railworks 3: Train Simulator 2012

Amazing graphics, plenty of payware add-on trains and routes, Train Simulator 2012 builds on the success of the previous versions. If you like train sims, you need this one.

Railsimulator web site
SimHQ Review

Railworks 3: Train Simulator 2012

Games

Best Commercial Game
WINNER: Battlefield 3

The 3D modeling, the graphics, and the game play is top notch. So much so we’re willing to overlook that clunky web interface and the awful Origin.

Battlefield 3 web site
SimHQ Review

Battlefield 3

Best Commercial Game Update / Add-on / Mod / DLC
WINNER: Battlefield 3 – Back to Karkand

The best expansion pack for the best game (not simulation) of the year.

Back to Karkand web site

Back to Karkand

Best Non-commercial Game Update / Add-on / Mod / DLC
WINNER: CryENGINE®3 Free SDK

What could be better than to download a free version of the SDK? For non-commerical use only, of course!

CryENGINE 3 Free web site

CryENGINE®3 Free SDK

Hardware / Software

Best Hardware
WINNER: Intel Sandy Bridge processors

Arriving in January 2011, the Sandy Bridge processors have become such a staple of game systems so quick, we forget what it was like before the 2500K and 2600K arrived. Besides the amazing jump in processor performance for a modest price, it made way for a new generation of high performance but economical gaming laptops.

Intel web site

Intel i7-2600K processor

Best Software
WINNER: FRAPS 3.47

The latest version of this longtime favorite video and image capture utility is savvy with Windows 7, and continues one of the best support and update software programs available. Can anyone imagine living without FRAPS?

FRAPS web site

FRAPS

 


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