Fasten your seat belts, ladies and gentlemen, you might not be able to go on holiday this year, but you can fly around the world thanks to the return of Microsoft (MS) Flight Simulator 2020. The simulator has graced us with a stunning return to form after a 14-year hiatus from the release of Flight Simulator X back in 2006 (there was a Steam version in 2014, but it was the same game). The return of the simulator was announced back in 2019 at E3 where they showed us a fantastic trailer captured in-game in 4K glory and the internet went crazy for it.
For the most part, the game looks exactly like it does in that trailer however since it’s announcement there are two points which needed to be clarified pretty quickly. Does it look that good? And is it coming to the Xbox as the trailer lead us to believe? Well let us start with the easy one, yes it’s coming to Xbox however not yet, and getting the graphics fidelity shown it will be best on the Series X. So does it look that good? Well yes, it does for the most part however you need a very powerful PC, I am running this on a system with an MSI RTX 2070 Super and a Ryzen 5 processor, and I have had to turn down some of the settings to get a stable frame rate I am happy with, but this hasn’t affected the quality of the game at all. If you are looking at picking this up, please check the specs.
Truth be told there isn’t much to tell you about a flight simulator that hasn’t already been told hundreds of times before. You pick an aircraft a starting point, and then you can map in your destination. It’s as simple as that, well it’s not, but you understand what I am saying. This version has done a great job of ensuring the assists on the sim can be adjusted for filthy casuals that want to fly around do a loop-de-loop and visits places to your full diehard enthusiast that all but wears a pilots uniform. Oh, and if you look at any streaming platform, some real-life pilots use this simulator too, and they are super interesting to get their point of views compared to real life. Under the hud of the game is where the magic really happens and Microsoft flexes their big guns with this one. MS Flight Simulator 2020 uses Asobo’s in-house developed game engine as well as tapping into Bing Maps data which gave them over two petabytes (1000 terabytes) of cloud data on-demand. Asobo then use the power of Azure AI to analyse map data and photogrammetry which generates photorealistic 3D models of builds, trees and terrain, among other textures.
Unfortunately, it’s not all good news the game does come with some bugs as some of the buttons on some of the aircraft don’t work when they should, the live weather doesn’t always work, and autopilot has a habit of not working. The worst part is that the game isn’t fully optimised, but Asobo is working hard on patching the game, there are also loads of 3rd party add-ons, some free, which adds more to the game. MS Flight Simulator 2020 comes in 3 flavours, Standard, Deluxe and Premium which start at £59.99 or free if you have game pass ultimate and goes all the way up to £109 for the premium and the main difference are some additional aircraft and handcrafted airports. There is also a physical edition if you want to sit and install 10 DVDs.
Overall the game is excellent, and it looks impressive, there is no better feeling flying at sunrise or sunset the colours looks incredible. If you have Game Pass Ultimate, then you have the standard version already, and it’s worth trying the depth of the game is unbelievable if you have the desire to learn how to program autopilot. Thanks for flying Codec Airways we hope you enjoyed your trip.
MS Flight Simulator 2020 is out now exclusively on PC for around £60 for the basic version.