FYI call of duty series is briliant, so i hope this is gonna be freespace on a planet with a COD4 storyline lookalike with pwnage aerial combat
My personal preference of first person shooters is either ultra realistic ("one hit and you're dead / out of mission" -principle can't go wrong) or then made with so over-the-top attitude and playability that it is entertaining, like Duke Nukem 3D. Half-life 2 is more like a cross between a game and a movie, but after playing through it once I found it doesn't have that much replay value. Call of Duty series I have never found to be interesting - I just watched as my old roomie played one of those and it seemed awfully shallow, like Ghost Recon also.
Following the flight simulators for 20 years, it seems that the flight simulators are actually dying since there are not so many people willing to learn the necessary amount of controls and the theory of flight. There are not so many coming any more, Black Shark seemed interesting though, but I'm not that much into helicopters. By premise virtual piloting of a Russian chopper might require a little more up close and personal -attitude, which would be a refreshing thing from pop-up attack in Longbows.
My guts tell me that the best simulator, considering realism and the immersion factor, is Falcon 4 Allied Force at the moment. The bad thing is that there is no competition on its league. I have racked something like 200 actual hours of combat time in that
simulator (it is not a game), and there is not included the time spend flying the training missions (which would probably add another 200 hours). And I'm not even close to be bored about it. That's the good thing about flight sims with complexity, once you learn the aircraft, there is unlimited replay value.
Also, note that the virtual pilots you meet in the internet, though very limited in numbers, might easily have flown more than ten times my current hours - that is closer to the hours of people like F4tality practise than your average Call of Duty player! It is also funny that after a two hour combat mission, a single beep from the radar warning receiver will make hands sweat like crazy and heart feels like it is going to jump to mouth...
Oh, for some odd reason I decided to list all of the flight related games/sims I have actually played.
Spectrum ZX - Delta Wing - the frame rate was something like 4 fps ...
Spectrum ZX - A civilian flight "simulator", but forgot the name. I faintly recall the ILS/nav system was tough nut to understand...
NES - Top gun (this was an arcade game about fighters)
Amiga 500 - Gunship 2000
Amiga 500 - F-19 (or whatever it was called, you could fly F-19 or F-117)
Amiga 500 - Jet fighters (or this was the PC name of that sim, I forgot the Amiga name)
486/33 - Red Baron (hundreds of hours spend here)
486/33 - Jet fighters (tens of hours spend here)
486/33 - F-15 Strike Eagle III (hundreds of hours here)
486/33 - Falcon 3.0 GOLD (total time ~ thousand hours, F/A-18 and Mig-29 included)
486/66 - US Navy Fighters + Marine Fighters (tens of hours here)
Pentium MMX - Apache Longbow (tens of hours)
Pentium MMX - A-10 Tank Killer II (not so many hours)
... then a long pause for eight years, don't ask.
Current - Flanker 2.5 (dozens of hours, learning about this)
Current - Falcon 4.0 Allied Force (hundreds of hours already)
Freespace and Descent do not count here.