Microsoft Flight Simulator (PC) Review: Up, Up and Away

August 31, 2020

A simulation that literally feels like the real thing.

Even if you’re not playing it, Microsoft’s Flight Simulator is probably one of the well-known PC games. With the 2020 edition, Asobo Studio is bringing the game to a new generation that is probably one of the best simulation games we’ve played in a while.

Microsoft gave us a copy of the game that we’ve been playing around for the past weeks, and it’s already becoming a favorite. The game is available through the Microsoft Store on your Windows 10 PC and is also available on Steam. You will also get the game as part of the Xbox Game Pass for PC subscription and while it is only available for PC at the moment, Microsoft says a console version is coming soon.

Aside from the new visual upgrades that now include a near-perfect recreation of the Earth (thanks to Microsoft Bing’s satellite imagery), Flight Simulator takes on new heights as a premier simulation that probably won’t be rivaled for years to come. 

As you know with simulation games, the aim here is to recreate the real experience so forget about video game elements that you know. There’s no ultimate goal, you go into the game assuming you’re a well-trained pilot (after you go through the tutorial) and then start flying. There are various settings that you can play around, but most relate to how realistic your experience will be.

With Flight Simulator, you sit tight in the cockpit, preparing your gears and carefully flying your aircraft just like the real thing. It’s an experience that I admittedly was bored at first, but slowly it reignited the pilot in me (though I know I’ll never pass for one). While the game was clearly made for fans, I somehow find it soothing flying my plane from Dubai to Manila. I ended crashing multiple times before I got the hang of the controls, but seeing the view from above is probably the best part of the game.

Flight Simulator can also sync with current weather conditions and time – this means that if it is bright and sunny in Dubai, you can also expect the same. But you can also change the weather on command, meaning that snow by the Burj Khalifa is a possible sight.

What amazes me is how Microsoft built this virtual earth that you fly on. Using satellite images from Bing along with its Azure cloud service, the rendered 3D buildings look almost exactly like the real thing. It’s not perfect, but to be able to map out the Earth inside a video with this detail is nothing short of uncanny. 

That being said, Flight Simulator is one huge game. Aside from the installation that took hours to complete that included a 100GB download, the game also continually downloads data in the background to keep the map visuals accurate.

The game is a visual delight, but Flight Simulator requires a fairly high-end PC to run. Thankfully I had an Asus gaming notebook that came with a Core i7 CPU and an Nvidia RTX 2080 CPU that was enough to run the game at an acceptable frame rate. There are times when the game will crash, forcing me to restart it, which hopefully can be rectified with future updates.

Microsoft Flight Simulator came at the right time when most of us are still working from home and for someone itching to travel, it provided a way for me to see the world without ever leaving my home. 

We Like: 

+ Incredible visuals

+ Near-perfect simulation

+ A lot of available customizations 

We Didn’t Really Like: 

– Some performance issues

Final Rating: 4.5/5

by Victor
Tech Enthusiast and Movie Buff.