Microsoft’s brand new entry in its famous Flight Simulator series has finally arrived, and it is quite literally the definition of revolutionary.
This is a video game in the simulator genre, which has notoriously been one of the worst genres in the industry. With anomalies like Euro Truck Simulator 2 and Train Simulator, the genre has been filled with mobile games, unplayable glitchy messes, and PS2-looking cash grabs.
But during E3 2019, when Microsoft revealed its new Flight Simulator, I immediately had to rub my eyes in disbelief.
We’ve had games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and The Last of Us 2 raise the bar for graphics so highly that I was not expecting to see the simulator genre catch up in at least a decade from now. No one has really thrown money at the genre yet. Until now.
Microsoft has created one of the best simulators I have ever played in my life, and its graphics are just the cherry on top. As someone who lives and breathes simulators, I spend a lot of time exploring the genre.
Flight Simulation games were something I was always interested in playing, and I had played quite a bit of Microsoft Flight Simulator X – but it just became too outdated to play on modern hardware.
So, I’ve been patiently awaiting the arrival of this new title, and the wait paid off. I’ve been playing the game daily as much as I could and didn’t even feel like I was doing it just for this review.
Every time I’ve booted up Flight Simulator, it has truly been a wonderful experience. My favourite thing about simulators is their potential to be stress-relieving.
With Flight Simulator, just flying through the clouds and looking down through the window of my Airbus A320neo – it’s therapeutic. I’ve been playing the game with a Thrustmaster TCA Flight Stick Airbus Edition (kindly sent to us for review) and Flight Simulator recognised it without me even doing anything.
I loaded up the game and it was plug and play, with everything mapped and setup. You can read my review of the joystick I used here.
The planes feel so fantastic to fly, and each type of aircraft has its pros and cons. I personally prefer flying airliners, but I’ve also had extreme joy in just taking a flight over London in a propeller plane.
With Flight Simulator, the map consists of the entire planet scanned in with a mix and match of hand-crafted landmarks. While this works absolute wonders at times, there are of course spots all over the globe which don’t work.
In the base game, the London Eye is a flat photo on the water, and Edinburgh Castle is an auto-generated mess. For those interested, though, there is already a London landmarks pack on the marketplace that you can buy if you're hungry for a more realistic London skyline.
Granted, a few dodgy areas are to be expected. This is the entire planet we’re talking about, it’s so hard to grasp just how big it is. If they didn’t have spots which were broken, the team would literally be a group of wizards.
But there are a few problems I’ve come across with the simulator – because it’s not all perfect. While the graphics are a next-generational leap, the cloud technology is utterly jaw-dropping, and the physics system is revolutionary, the game itself has been riddled with technical issues.
What I’m trying to say is that there’s still a bit of quality-of-life changes to be made. Those aside, I truly believe in a few months when bugs have been fixed and updates have been released, Flight Simulator will be the best game in the entire genre.
I noticed that there is the opportunity to customise your aircraft with liveries, so I’m hoping they will release some upon launch. A few more features I’d love to see added are improvements to the pre-flight checks.
I want the ramp or gate connection to actually show passengers walking onto my plane, and I want to see them get off at my destination. I also wanna see the baggage system leave my plane, not just putting more in at the end of the flight.
The pushback system is also really weird. Instead of controlling your plane with the rudder as you get pushed backwards, you have to call ATC to tell them to move you left or right. In practice, this is awful. You have a delay of telling ATC the instruction, and them repeating it back to you. It’s a system which seems really silly and should probably be changed.
Those pet peeves aside, I can’t really complain about much else. Flight Simulator is truly a masterpiece for simulation, and I can’t wait to jump back into it.
Microsoft Flight Simulator: Verdict – 4/5
Reviewed on PC
Microsoft Flight Simulator is a massive generational leap from its predecessor, and every time I play the game I’m blown away by just how good it looks. From a completely simulated physics system with wind, weather and more, to highly detailed aircraft and airports, it’s truly something worth checking out.
Even if you’ve never played a Flight Sim before, you have to pick up this game. Flight Simulator is a revolutionary game for all kinds of reasons, and once the technical issues are out of the way – I truly believe it will be a legendary PC game. Give it a few months, I’ll bump it up to a 5/5.
A gorgeous simulator that is the best on the market
A therapeutic experience for all, from casual gamers to veteran pilots
Exploring the world is addictive
I found my own house!
Still some technical issues ranging from performance problems to recurring bugs
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