REVIEW – The trailers and then the extracts of the PC version made me dream. Instantly. While I have as many driving skills as a baby seal, I was eager to take flight. Still, the console version has to be up to the task. And what about the controller controls? That’s what I suggest you discover in our Microsoft Flight Simulator review.
I’ve always had a dread of flight simulators, but when I was offered the opportunity to review the Xbox version of Microsoft Flight Simulator, I couldn’t resist – I needed to know what it felt like to be in the skies of Asobo. The surprise could not have been more gratifying.
Fly, where you want to…
After a long loading time as never seen on Series X, the main menu, probably from the PC version, invites us to try a discovery flight. New York, Rio, Bora Bora, so many dream postcards to visit without any headache on board a small plane. Already exhilarating and bluffing (videos of the S and X Series are available on our Youtube channel). This amuse-bouche is a bit like a “demo mode”, with our zinc directly in the air, with good weather. An ideal introduction to the game before we realize that it is a reality. A plane in Microsoft Flight Simulator as in reality, it takes infinitely long to master. The proof is that there is no tutorial but rather a complete training program. From this point of view too, it is dizzying.
From the tachometer to the pitch compensator, the training is vast and dense. No less than twenty-two are available! But don’t worry, an instructor with a soft and reassuring voice accompanies and guides these little exercises step by step. And she hammers home the point that piloting requires gentleness, that you must not steer too hard or accelerate or brake brutally, etc. You have to go for the piano, zen to the rhythm of the music and to the rhythm of the music. You have to go to the piano, zen and relaxed. In any case, one is necessarily relaxed when listening to the background music. It sounds like Vangelis. Just relax.
For those who simply want to fly without taking themselves too seriously or too much into play, the accessibility and aids are such that this is quite possible and pleasant. Just place a point on the world map, choose your plane and off you go. From the smallest and simplest to the A380, there are 24 basic aircraft in your hangar! There are even some that can land on water. Not tried yet. I haven’t had my standard landing training yet. So what about the water landing…
From here I can see my home
The playground is the whole world. Just like that. Simply, but after a few introductory flights and when it comes time to choose a starting point, this gigantism of possibilities is somewhat frightening and intimidating. And then I remembered making a list of must-see destinations and monuments. Doesn’t everyone? First of all, of course, I wanted to go over to my house. And what a surprise it was to discover that the airfield near my home was available for take-off! This was an opportunity to discover that the sum of departure/arrival points is absolutely considerable. I would like to know the number, it must be frightening too.
Discovery flights have a wow effect! It’s undeniable and is a great introduction. And the craziest thing is that this feeling continues even in the most innocuous corners at first sight. A tour de force. The impression of photorealism only dissipates near the ground. And you only have to look up to the sky to continue to be amazed. The weather is synchronised with the real world and has a small effect.
The joystick controls are suitable for beginners. Provided you have one that’s not too worn out. Mine is starting to have teasing sticks and setting the thrust of the engines with the seal hair is sometimes tricky. But with the flight aids, no disaster in sight for the moment. For pilots (who are not on Microsoft Flight Simulator on PC), it is certain that the controller can be frustrating and not at all suitable in the long term. The announcement of dedicated accessories at the end of the year should reassure them?
I haven’t seen anything yet
In fact, after ten hours of playing, I’m still an absolute beginner. And I’m only just measuring the work that needs to be done to be ready to remove the flight aids. But this time was enough for me to be captivated by Microsoft Flight Simulator. From role-play to arcade mode with all the aids, Microsoft Flight Simulator manages to appeal to everyone and leaves no one out.
Especially not your friends? Well, it’s quite tricky to find each other at the moment. It requires coordination! For the moment, forming a group is not very ergonomic. When the leader launches a flight, it does not invite the rest of the group to join him or her, for example. This is a pity. To be seen after the official release of Microsoft Flight Simulator. Or maybe we missed something with Nico. Nevertheless, we were able to fly over Paris for forty minutes without any worries, always marvelling at the beauty of the show.
With this zen side, this soft and soothing music, each flight is an opportunity to relax, to take your time. This contrasts sharply with the cold, mechanical and sharp side that aeronautics inspires a priori. This great difference is fascinating and successful. For a pure simulation, Microsoft Flight Simulator gives off a unique aura, like a total and permanent testimony that the Earth is sumptuous, marvellous and deserves our respect.
From this mechanical thunder and screaming metal comes certain and unsuspected poetry. One begins to dream of flying over Stonehenge or the Great Wall of China, the Iguazü Falls or Mont Blanc. Admiring the wonders of nature and human genius. Can we deplore their gluttony? I haven’t flown over the Amazon or Chernobyl yet, but it’s definitely on my list of upcoming flights.
And if I talk to my theGeek colleagues, the list will grow. Iceland here, Eritrea there… So, I find that I dwell on travel because technically, Microsoft Flight Simulator is an outstanding demonstration, a sensational slap in the face that is second to none. Apart from the initial loading time, I can’t see what to say against it. And even that would be nitpicking. Oh yes, the joystick controls will probably be a little light, frustrating and limiting for the more seasoned among us. Nevertheless, accessible, from the expert to the simple tourist like me, the title allows even the most avid to learn how to do it thanks to numerous and precise tutorials, accompanying the student pilot step by step. In short, there’s no reason not to get on board.
+ A technological milestone to bring a simulator like Microsoft Flight Simulator to Xbox with such quality
+ Great job adapting the controls to the remote – a very satisfying experience with very few buttons
+ Great graphics
– The experience could be hampered if the connection does not accompany during the game sessions
– Lack of game modes (but this will improve over time)
– No real missions or objectives
Release date: July 27, 2021