Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 Review

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Gameplay
8
Presentation
10
Sound
9
9

✔️Visually stunning. An immaculate representation in real-time effects and weather patterns.
✔️Comprehensive and detailed, with two petabytes of data streaming directly to the title.
✔️As authentic as it gets. The new gold-standard in simulation.

❌Steep learning curve may deter some casual players.

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🖥️ Our PC Specs 
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OS: Windows 10 64-bit
CPU Processor:
Ryzen 9 3900XT 12-Core (32 CPUs) 3.8GHz
Memory: 32 GB RAM DDR4
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Super
DirectX: Version 12
Storage: 100 GB

Look at me, I'm the Captain now... 

2020 has been a defining year for humanity, and one term that could clearly describe it would possibly be ‘erratic’. It would also describe my aviation aptitude, as I soar through the Southern Skies of Sydney, Australia making my way across the Oceania to Auckland, New Zealand, then taking flight half-way around the world to Los Angeles, California, all in real-time with precise conditions, all testing my dexterity, timing, and patience. All attributes play a major role, within Microsoft Flight Simulator’s comprehensive control scheme. While it may be a timely title, it sure will take quite a while for players to become adept to its monumental concept. Flight Simulator’s integral design plainly places the player within the Captain’s cockpit, readying those for the adventure of a lifetime.

The proof is in the mildly warm, cabin packed continental breakfast pudding, that Flight Simulator packs quite the proverbial luggage and presents a prolific exhibition in overall design. It certainly is a sight to behold, spending hours behind the yoke, safely departing airstrips from any and all continents (including airports this author may have recently worked at), slowly putting pressure on the throttle, readying for take-off and calmly making yourself a quick coffee whilst surveying the subtlety from your own private quarters. It sure is mystifying. Flight Simulator’s splendour rears itself, proceeding its extensive learning curve. An umbrella of obstacles become apparent after booting into the title’s initial tutorial, as a sense of dread will overwhelm those unaccustomed to a myriad of mechanical nonsense that will only be familiar within minutes of playing, so don’t be too apprehensive.

This Monday to Friday Plane...

Authenticity is ultimately mastered within this benchmark quality simulation. Flight Simulator is not afraid to let player’s know that their entire experience, will fall to their own play style. There is no co-dependency, and the CPU won’t hold your hand in moments of dire circumstances. You pilot your aircraft at your own free will. What that means, is completely up to you. Captivating is not only an understatement, it’s an insult to how gorgeous and dynamic this title is. The ability to free-roam the earth and explore its entirety in complete solitude from the comfort of your computer desk or living room is insane. However, it does not mean that you will simply be ready for take-off from the onset. Heading into the title’s tutorial mode, you will be given a mixture of missions to magnify your self-confidence, in hopes of jetting off to the Bahamas for a sweet getaway, right?

Flight Training offers players the chance to familiarise themselves with their environments, key fundamentals of controls, safely departing and landing at their destination, reading live traffic patterns, navigating a solo flight, and of course flipping all the dip-switches on your dashboard – don’t do that. Soaring the sky’s of Sunny Sedona, Arizona, you are guided by Captain Jess Melina as she courses her way through different types of mechanics, that you may need to follow in cascading order, in hopes of even initiating lift-off. Without these vital tips, you will most definitely hit a turbulent beginning. There is a certain level of adaptation, and skill to be acquired through each lesson. It’s no walk in the park, but getting the hang of steering your Airbus will guarantee a safe flight.

Playing the title with an XBOX One gamepad, I was sure to be safe with the exclusivity of simple gestures, and not have the complexity of steering a plane with a keyboard and mouse. Boy, was I mistaken. Although given the option to budge and exert your yoke with the simple flick of your left analogue stick, Flight Simulator’s copious control scheme calls for an extensive layout that can only be expanded with some keyboard commands. Yes, you will have to control your aircraft with both an XBOX One Controller and Keyboard, if you choose to go down this route. No doubt, I was baffled when a flurry of dual commands for both XBOX and Keyboard were popping up on-screen. Ah, the encumbrance of piloting a plane. I don’t think my play-dough brain could handle the shear difficulty or demand for such a feat.

Attitude Adjustment...

So how did developer Asobo, achieve an ambitious feat of such magnitude? It wouldn’t be an easy task mapping out the entire globe in real-time, right? With the assistance of Microsoft’s Bing service, the Simulator scales each territory, and adjusts satellite imagery to its proportions supplied within metadata. There are certain monuments that have been cherry-picked by the studio, and rebuilt to resemble these highly esteemed landmarks. Granted, there are some minor blemishes that become apparent while cruising through certain parts of each state. Blurry imagery in isolated farm areas, and omitted updates in certain parts of the world become evident. However, these are easily disregarded, and aren’t considered imperative to Flight Simulator’s overall experience. If you want to see your house from bird’s eye view, Google Maps is your friend.

Each part of the globe is rendered in real-time, provided users have a solid internet connection and enable Data Streaming from the options menu. Yes, even with an Australian Internet connection – the equivalent of a toaster oven, tied to a pin-wheel by string – you too can enjoy all scenery as it appears upon the horizon. Given how immersive its broad design truly is, the detail placed within each dashboard is unequivocally immaculate down to activating electronics within the Captain’s quarters, that illuminate each screen with the all too familiar Garmin logo. Igniting those jet-fuel engines, unleashing the brakes, thrusting the throttle to full-speed and pulling back on that yoke in my own personal Boeing 747; what a satisfying predicament it is once you get the hang of it all. Habituating your senses and overcoming all fears of flying a plane, from the tiny Cessna Skyhawk, to the complexity of an A320neo, your confidence will skyrocket simply acquainting yourself with your new air-buddy.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s every chance you could turn your airship into a steel scrapheap if you whimsically seat yourself in the pilot seat without any preparation. I did on multiple occasions before giving in and following each tutorial. Learning Attitude from Altitude, understanding a plane’s pacing and how it functions with wind control. Emergency landings, engine faults, barrel rolls… all the necessities in safe aviation. Given the Simulation’s real-time structure is integral to its overall design, weather patterns are exactly as they are in specific locations around the world. You could be flying halfway from Singapore to Germany, and experience heavy turbulence due to an ongoing Thunderstorm happening at that very moment, hedging your bets and trudging through these blustery conditions, in-game (not that I’m speaking from experience here).

Given this setting only apply’s to those who pick the Data Streaming service, this is entirely optional. Those who are looking to unwind and experience a relaxing flight,  may choose their own weather conditions. Want to jet-off to Europe, and coast carefree? Switch on auto-pilot, get yourself a midnight cuppa, and soar the night sky over the dark depths of the Pacific. With over two petabytes of data transcribed online to this astonishing title, its offerings are boundless, possibilities are limitless, and its overall presentation and design is immeasurable. Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, delivers a gold-standard in genuine aviation and navigation. It’s seamless yet comprehensive style only challenges other titles to raise their quality in standards. It’s a franchise re-invigorated, and has laid a path to build a concrete legacy going forward with other titles in its category, sure to follow. Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, is a must play.

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Microsoft Flight Simulator - Asobo Studio

Microsoft Flight Simulator, colloquially known as Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 or MSFS 2020, is an upcoming flight simulator developed by Asobo Studio and published by Xbox Game Studios for Microsoft Windows and Xbox One. 

AVAILABLE NOW ON:

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Gameplay
8
Presentation
10
Sound
9
9

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