Few video game franchises bring more nostalgia and renown to our heads than Flight Simulator, which has been reproducing the real flight experience for a whopping 39 years. In 2020, the most powerful PCs could enjoy its latest installment, simply called Microsoft Flight Simulator, which finally arrives on Xbox Series X | S so that we can enjoy airplanes in maximum detail.

Normally, this flight sim franchise might intimidate a gamer into believing that flaps are a new kind of ice cream, but for this installment, Microsoft Game Studios and Asobo Studio have aimed for the perfect balance between a game that anyone can control and a realistic simulation.

Microsoft Flight Simulator Review

Microsoft Flight Simulator

It is as simple as entering the Assistance section of the options and choosing between 3 levels of simulation (we can also qualify for more detailed options, such as the level of damage suffered by the plane), in such a way that, in the most permissive simulation, even a 6-year-old child can take to the skies with these aircraft. Believe us, we tried it: man, he even managed to land!

Microsoft Flight Simulator Controls

Even at the most demanding level of simulation, we can control the plane without too many complications (yes, without in-game prompts about what to press or an AI to come to our rescue when we are doing the goat with the plane). Basically, we can go from A view from the cockpit to an external one at the push of a button and, from there, easily control turns, climb, and more. Everything fundamental can be done with the stick and the front buttons of the controller.

But, of course, at any moment, we can go back to the cockpit and touch all the controls of the same, to do what we said before, but in a realistic way: adjusting dials, moving levers, pulling the accelerator ... Probably, the average of players will opt for the simpler side of control, but there is no doubt that, as we gradually become more daring with a realistic experience, the sensations are also more satisfactory.

Of course, Microsoft Flight Simulator is also compatible with flight joysticks and steering wheels, which makes the thing that much more intense. We have been able to test it with the Thrustmaster T. Flight pack (which includes the HOTAS joystick), and it is a joy. Of course, the level of precision required is also multiplied.

As in real life, either with the traditional controller or with one of these joysticks, the key is to do things smoothly. This is not a Star Wars game, so we cannot do impossible stunts: we have to turn little by little, climb carefully and check if our on-screen indicators are not "scolding" us for pushing the machine too much.

But don't worry, as we said, even the freshest novices can have a great time with Microsoft Flight Simulator. The offer of game modes takes care of that.

Game Modes

On the one hand, we have the Introductory Flights, which serve to place us directly in iconic places in the world (such as the pyramids of Giza or the top of Everest), so that we can easily enjoy the flight over them, without having to take off and with the most beautiful places in front of us.

Next, we have a World Map, which is basically that: we can consult any point on planet Earth (a huge zoom level can be used) to mark a starting point and, if we want, also an arrival point. If the departure point is an airport, we will have to take off from it. If not, we will start flying directly.

For many, this will be the most exciting facet of the game, because it is really possible to fly over ANY point on the planet, be it your lost town in Badajoz or Tokyo itself. Thanks to satellite data and AI technology (which, by the way, requires a constant Internet connection to work at full capacity), the game is able to show us anywhere we can think of. Simply thinking about places you have visited and looking for them here to see what they look like from the sky is a hilarious activity that will pique your curiosity and rob you of hours and hours.

Graphics & Customization

In the case of Xbox Series X, where 4K resolution and 30 fps can be achieved (the game runs at 1080p on Xbox Series S), there are times when the flight is simply fascinating. Simply flying, while observing the world around us, is enormously enjoyable. What's more, we dare to say that this is one of those experiences capable of making you want to buy a bigger and better TV to enjoy the detail in depth.

There are times when the frame rate hits a tug, especially when we go through very iconic places in very dense cities like Madrid or Barcelona, ​​but most of the time everything goes smoothly. Keep in mind that this game usually asks for astronomical requirements on PC, so checking that it can move with this level of detail and smoothness on Xbox is proof of the power of this machine.

Continuing with the World Map, from its options we can prepare the game to our liking: we can select if the weather is clear, cloudy, or in the middle of a storm, for example, also the time of day (by default, the time of day will be loaded real that is at that point, at that moment) or the plane that we want to control and its conditions. Thus, you can design a totally personalized experience, but beware: the same plane will not be controlled the same on a calm day as in a storm.

Altogether, Microsoft Flight Simulator is a small wonder that allows us to enjoy the pleasure of flying, with the level of realism that we want, in Xbox Series and that, in fact, demonstrates the capabilities of the console. The loading times, given the level of detail of what it has to show, are reasonable (between 30 and slightly less than 40 seconds, depending on what we load) and, on a visual level, it provides amazing moments.

If you are traveling enthusiasts above all, you will enjoy the level of detail with which airplanes or airports have been recreated. It is true that the game still has to grow more for the future (with more detailed maps depending on the places or with new challenges) and that, to have it all, you would have to get the Premium Deluxe edition (which gives more planes and airports) But the base version is going included in Game Pass. 

If you want to read more guides on the best games around, you can find them here, at Gamesatlas.

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