Microsoft FLIGHT: Revisited

A while ago I did a review on Microsoft FLIGHT. And the game didn’t go down too well with me due to my old PC not being able to handle it, despite it being over the minimal requirements. Anyways now that I’ve got a new, more powerful PC I decided to re-download the game and try it out once and for all.

So now my new PC can handle it, sure enough I wasn’t waiting for a good 30 minutes for it to load, it took more around 30 seconds, if that. Once it’s loaded you start off by seeing a short introduction to the world you’re about to fly in. It’s all fast paced and upbeat, but in reality, it’s not really what you think.

Now I normally do reviews by pro’s first then con’s but to be honest, I think I’ll do it vice versa this time around. You see, although the game looks good, and I mean really good, it is extremely limited. You start off with four ‘missions’ but if you’re a Flight Simulator Veteran such as myself, you’d know that these missions are more along the lines of tutorials as they only require you to take off, fly around for five minutes and then land. There are challenges you can take part in, and sure enough they do require skill and are rather exciting, but if you own Flight Simulator X, you will have already seen something similar on there.

The aircraft you can fly in is severely limited and quite frankly I find it on the borderline of being ridiculous. You can choose up to TWO aircraft and one of them you can only operate if you’re signed into Games for Windows LIVE. They’re not very good planes either. One is a small and rather weak (in terms of power) light aircraft that you can land on water, and the other is an old World War II trainer bi-plane. At this moment in time you can however download a free P-51 Red Tail Mustang which is far more powerful than the two default aircraft, but unfortunately there is no virtual cockpit for it. (In other words, you can only fly the plane outside.) If you want to choose other aircraft, and there are plenty of other interesting planes, you’ll need to buy them from the LIVE Marketplace for around 500-600 Microsoft Points. I bought Fable for that amount once, why would I want a single plane for it?

Be advised Flight Simulator fans that this game does NOT allow you to play in planes such as the Learjet or any big commercial airliner. Just small propeller-driven aircraft and that’s it.

The ‘world’ you can fly in is rather small as well. Well, it’s only the island of Hawaii and that’s it. And I don’t mean the island chain, I mean the actual island. For the rest of the island chain, it’ll cost you an extra 1200 points. You can also buy Alaska if you want, for a little extra, but even so it’s rather expensive for something so small in comparison to the globe.

But I can’t really criticise it, I didn’t physically BUY it, so what you get for free is quite generous. However if you put it to the cost of Flight Simulator X, its content is extremely expensive seeing as FLIGHT only allows you to travel in a certain area whilst X allows you to explore the globe in similar detail and with a much larger and more interesting range of aircraft.

However there is a silver lining, The game is very attractive in terms of graphics and does appear to be very realistic. All of the necessary details are there and the environments are stunning. If you just want to fly around for a bit and explore the island for fun, sure enough it is a good game to try it out. However if you want to stick to a more professional flying experience, I would highly recommend sticking to FSX. It appears that Microsoft has forgotten about those who want to fly for the experience and instead have focused on those who want to fly for fun and thus have turned the series into a more arcade-like experience. It tries to remain serious, but it just lacks the old spark each game running from Flight Simulator 95 to Flight Simulator 2004 had. (Flight Simulator X faltered a bit with its reduced amount of interesting aircraft.)

So if you want to fly for fun, then by all means download it and play, but if you want to fly for experience as well as fun, just stick to the older games.

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