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Microsoft Flight Simulator – Review

Microsoft Flight Simulator – Review

From light planes to wide-body jets, fly highly detailed and accurate aircraft in the next generation of Microsoft Flight Simulator. Test your piloting skills against the challenges of night flying, real-time atmospheric simulation and live weather in a dynamic and living world. Create your flight plan to anywhere on the planet. Microsoft Flight Simulator includes 20 highly detailed planes with unique flight models and 30 hand-crafted airports.

The Good

Great flight simulator for those interested in planes and/or the world, with or without flight experience. The graphics are amazing, the planes fly realistically and sound good. Framerates are similar to X-Plane 11, but at much higher quality. The activities (landing challenges, bush trips etcetera) are enjoyable and a great way to learn and improve your landing, and VFR navigational skills (something not really possible in any other flight simulator).

Great flight planner – you can easily add custom waypoints and/or create an automatically generated route based off of real-life waypoints. There are lots of options for less experienced players to learn how to fly, or for people to learn aircraft with which they are unfamiliar – a checklist system can guide you through the basics of starting the aircraft up and what to do at different stages during the flight, specific to that aircraft. This checklist can be completed automatically by your AI co-pilot or can merely be used to help players do it themselves.

The world is as close to the real one as any game has ever gotten, but don’t expect buildings to look exactly like they do in real life in non-photogrammetry areas, like practically all of the UK – the developers aren’t magicians. Paid and free addons can add new aircraft and landmarks, improve airports, and add other improvements to the sim. VATSIM is supported through vPilot.

The Bad

On the downside, the release feels rushed, with plenty of major and game-breaking bugs present that, for some reason, weren’t fixed before release, even with the closed Alpha/Beta period. The game itself isn’t downloaded through Steam’s servers, as you would expect of a game being sold on the platform. Instead, a horrendous installer is downloaded and used to download the remaining 90GB or so. I’ve had to restart parts of the download many times because it kept grinding to a halt.

Thankfully, Steam have said that this downloading time won’t count against Steam refund requests. The throttle has gotten stuck on every single flight that I’ve done in a 747, which means that I have to constantly save and revert when it happens, although certain saves can easily cause the game to crash upon loading them, meaning that you can lose a lot of time as you have to go back to the last non-broken save.

Many of the buttons, switches and dials on some aircraft, especially the larger aircraft, are inoperable at present. It seems that only the most necessary buttons are functional, which is a shame if you want full immersion and want to use the sim for practice, as the sim doesn’t even pretend that the buttons work (i.e. they can’t be touched at all).

Conclusion

All in all, it’s still a great sim, and with another half a year of polish, the sim could certainly live up to the title of ‘Best Flight Sim’.

Score – 9/10

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