War Thunder vs Ace Combat 7: Whose F-14 Tomcat Is More Fun To Fly?

F14 War Thunder vs Ace Combat 12 photos
Photo: Benny Kirk/autoevolution, Gaijin
F-14A War ThunderF-14A War ThunderF-14A War ThunderF-14A War ThunderAce Combat 7Ace Combat 7Ace Combat 7Ace Combat 7Ace Combat 7Ace Combat 7War Thunder F-14A
Top Gun: Maverick is a blockbuster movie that made us fall back in love with the Grumman F-14 Tomcat all over again. So much so that any military flight video game worth talking about suddenly introduced new variants of the Tomcat as if to celebrate it.
But just for some fun, let's look at two of those games in particular. One is Gaijin's War Thunder, and the other is Project Ace's Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown. Of course, these respective military flight simulators use different gameplay styles with unique flight and physics characteristics. But in our minds, the question, "how different can the exact same fighter jet possibly be in two different games?" is a perfectly valid one.

While having full-time jobs prevents us from grinding all the way to the top of the American naval fighter tech tree, we do at least have a consensus from the rest of the community. That said, we did get the chance to try out the F-14A TGM edition in Ace Combat 7, so let's start from there.

For those unaware, the F-14A Tomcat hadn't featured in a non-spinoff Ace Combat title since the fifth game almost 20 years ago, as that's been relegated to the newer F-14D as of late. All the better for our purpose here, because the F-14A is also in War Thunder. At face value, the F-14A in both its standard and Top Gun attire isn't ostensibly that much different compared to the F-14D.

Their statistics in speed, mobility, stability, ait-tor-air/air-to-ground, and defense don't seem to be different at all. That is unless looking at them both back to back several times gave us some form of optical illusion. Instead, it's in the weapons loadout that the biggest non-cosmetic upgrade is seen between the two respective AC7 F-14s.

Ace Combat 7
Photo: Benny Kirk/autoevolution
Contrarily to chronological order, the F-14As x22 Long Range Air to Air Missiles, x22 Semi-Active Air To Air Missiles, and x32 Self Forging Frag Bomblets are more favorable in multiplayer matches than the unreliable X64 8 air-to-air cluster missiles present on the F-14D. The A model's frag bomblets seemed to do a better job of shredding ground targets than the D model's singular guided bombs as well.

What does this equate to? Well, if you can't get enough of the world's most beloved Navy jet, you're going to adore Ace Combat's F-14A for its awesome ordinance loadout, exhilarating performance, and timeless variable geometry wing action. Even so, that latter comment may have more to do with Ace Combat's iconically addictive gameplay.

Across the aisle in the War Thunder community, there appears to be a polar opposite reaction to the new Tomcat. A feeling that at this moment in time, the F-14 was the last thing the game needed. We learn this when we hear directly from the horse's mouth in, of all places, a posting titled "The F-14 is the last thing this game needed".

Sometimes the joke just writes itself. So then, need we say more? Well, for the sake of balance, let's dig deeper and look at some facts and figures. The first round of grievances revolves around that, at the current date, there really isn't a one-to-one direct counter to the F-14A in a number of the non-American tech trees.

War Thunder F\-14A
The Russians arguably have some line of defense in the form of the swing-wing MiG-27. But even the MiG has proven to be completely outclassed by the F-14A in top-tier Air Realistic battles. A selection of jets proposed by the forum to counterbalance the Tomcat includes the Panavia Tornado for Italy, Great Britain, and possibly Germany. The French might be able to fight back with theier Mirage IIIC and C plus the top tier Mirage F1C, but thus far results have been mixed at best. At the same time, the MiG-29 seems to be the best fit for the Russians and, once again, the Germans.

As for Sweden and Israel? Well, the Israeli Kfir C7 and Swedish Saab Vigen could theoretically keep a Tomcat pilot at bay, assuming they carry the upgraded RB71 and RB24J air-to-air or American Aim-9D Sidewinders and Shafir missiles in tow in the case of the Kfir. As for Japan, fans seem to believe the best option is the introduction of the Mitsubishi F-2, essentially a JDM special edition F-16 Fighting Falcon. Alternatively, the F-15J, the Japanese domestically produced F-15 Eagle, could also be a solid fit.

Other complaints levied at the F-14A in War Thunder include its new AIM-54A Phoenix long-range AAMs. These jet busters have proven to be able to lock onto targets from across the game map as soon as shortly after takeoff in Realistic Battles. Which sounds as boring to the Tomcat's pilot as it does the person now eating a missile from across the map.

A maximum payload of 8,000 lbs of bombs, or about as much as a quad-engined B-17 Flying Fortress, is bound to cause a world of hurt as well. So then, either Gaijin needs to make bigger maps or perhaps try nerfing the Phoenix missile not to be so brokenly OP.

F\-14A War Thunder
Photo: Gaijin Entertainment
With this in mind, and given all the headaches, complaints, and frustrations, it's safe to say, at least as far as the F-14A Tomcat is concerned, Ace Combat is the more balanced and, therefore, more fun to fly in multiplayer as well. Though it's not an apples-to-apples comparison by any means, it at least feels like a game that's embraced the Tomcat since day one knows better about how to treat it properly.

Check out the sub-Reddit thread mentioned if you want to learn more about what WT players really think of the F-14A.
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