LifeisXbox’s Microsoft Flight Simulator review | Ladies and gentlemen is there a pilot on board? A line that ain’t so strange to hear in a movie. In the astronomically small chance that this ever happens in real life and I happen to be on that plane, I have a slight survival percentage thanks to my hours in Microsoft Flight Simulator. A game exclusively for Xbox Series S and X and it shows! This game is from Asobo Studio, known for the fantastic A Plague Tale and delivers the first real evidence of what the new Xbox consoles are capable of. A simulation game that every best computer in the market has a challenging time with. So to experience how well Flight Simulation runs on Xbox and to see an identical performance is nothing short of mind-blowing. Even Series X smaller brother, a console that costs €300 runs it smoothly in 1080p. So for all the Series S doubters, Flight Simulation is the proof of how tech impressive both Xbox Series consoles are.
Loading is even superior on consoles compared to the pc version, as it takes only seconds to fly anywhere you want in the world. All with real-time weather and pin-accurate visuals. This won’t be the only time I’m writing this but Flight Simulation is the most impressive game I ever played in my life. An experience that continues to improve, this is a ‘platform’ release. In the past year, pc players have enjoyed constant updates that improved the value immensely, this is done by something they call world updates. The latest Nordic world update improved landmarks and airports in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. So in the coming months and years, Flight Simulation will be even better, which considering the base quality is again mind-blowing.
To fly anywhere in the world with Flight Simulation’s beautiful visuals, real-time weather and Microsoft’s Azure and Bing Maps tech is magical.
What about Belgium?
Since LifeisXbox works together with Xbox Gamers Belgium (link) and we have a significant amount of Belgian readers I am quickly recapping the content situation in my lovely country. Yup, I’m from Belgium too! First of all, you have to MANUALLY download World updates from the in-game store! Don’t forget to do this before exploring your hometown, as everything will be much more accurate and impressive. Asobo hand created the following points of interest in Belgium: Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Cathedral of Our Lady Antwerp, Church of Our Lady Bruges, Tournai Cathedral, Pont de Wandre, Belfry of Bruges, Citadel of Namur, Museum aan de Stroom (Antwerp), Palais de Justice Antwerp, Panorama of the Battle Waterloo, Provinciaal Hof, King Baudouin Stadium and Palais de Justice- Brussels.
ℹ️ | We played Microsoft Flight Simulator for over 8 hours on Xbox Series X and pc. This game is exclusively on the Xbox platform.
What we liked!
- Visually insane | Developers often create visual setpieces to showcase the game and to create some memorable moments. With the screenshots tools from consoles it is literally free marketing. In Flight Simulator’s case the entire experience is one stunning showcase. With sights as far as the eye can see, realistic clouds that look even better than Forza Horizon 4 and super crisp 4K (on Series X) resolution it is an unbelievable game. Massively impressive, especially at night it is jaw dropping. The stellar recreation of Earth is done with Bing Maps (similar as Google Earth) so every city, forest or sea is 99% accurate with incredible details. When you land your plane you even see that the grass is fully rendered. Cars drive around, wild animals can be spotted and weather and the lighting effects are industry-leading stuff. There isn’t a single doubt in my mind about the fact that Flight Simulator is the best looking game on any console.
- Real-time weather and time | Many may say that the graphics are the most impressive thing about Flight Simulator but for me it is the real-time weather system. You can manually set the time and weather but you can toggle to use real accurate conditions. For example on pc you have thousands of hurricane chasers and I’m sure console gamers will do the same. Microsoft partners with Meteoblue and as a result realistic weather conditionsare one of the most impressive things in videogames, this in done for the entire planet so you can imagine how well designed this tech is. This tech uses 60 layers of cloud data and around 20 environment data like humidity or temperature. The best use for this regarding gameplay is the wind speed as this drastically changes how you can control your plane, especially when you try to make a safe landing. This is including snow, which results in some fantastic line of sights. Speaking sights,
- A game worthy of Xbox’s jump in slogan | New with the console release are curated discovery flights, here you immediately fly around in astonishing parts of the world. Without the hassle of getting that plane in the sky and maybe even more important Asobo set specific weather so you’l have rainbows over New York for example. While you can choose to instantly fly anywhere on the planet the discovery flights show Flight Simulator’s visual capabilities. Try to keep your mouth closed while flying over the Everest or looking at the sunset. With this mode you’ll have some ambient music too, giving it an almost cinematic experience. Together with Series X or S Quick Resume this truly is one of those games you’ll regularly play for a few minutes to check out a new landmark. There isn’t anything similar and you literally have a whole world to explore.
- Controls | Very detailed tutorials learn you the basics and advanced controls, and trust me… flying an airbus is quite the deal and if you want to do it correctly you’ll be stuck for hours getting it off the ground. But, you don’t have to do that to enjoy the game. Asobo and Microsoft were clever enough to make it an approachable game for casuals or gamers that don’t want to invest a lot of time learning what every button does in a cockpit. If that fancies you you’ll be spending hours and hours into it as the learning curve is steep, very steep. Basic controls allows everyone, with the right accessible options to enjoy Flight Simulator, it is very intuitive. More advanced controls are done with modifier buttons and those will take some time to get used too. Gamepad control is very well done but it remains easier with mouse and keyboard. But if I’m honest I wasn’t expecting such easy controls before I played my first hour with Flight.
- Not all controls are controller-friendly | All menu’s still have a clear PC history, making it a bit annoying to navigate. Selecting departure and destination locations, navigating the menu’s that you open with L3 is particularly challenging as everything is small-sized and clearly designed for keyboard and mouse. Asobo did a great job with basic controls but some of the more deeper stuff is a bit awkward to do on your controller.
What we disliked
- Absence of story or missions | I consider this a must-play for everyone but at the same time I will be the first to agree that not everyone will enjoy it. That’s because besides landing challenges and a few tutorial missions there isn’t much to do. The average player will test the experience, be shocked how great it looks but won’t continue to play it for hours. This is a simulation game after all and that isn’t a mainstream experience. You’ll be flying over your house, visit some landmark favorites and that’s about it. The motivation to put hours and hours into this game is only for thr real aviation fans and those who truly enjoy the simulation aspects from it.
- Be careful for Flight Sim’s bandwidth usage | (no point reduction) As there is a lot of use from Azure tech, you’ll need to be constantly online to stream weather data and Bing maps data. There is an offline version that you can download but this is a pretty noticable downgrade in visuals.
How long to beat the story | /
How long to achieve 1000G | 300 + hours
Similar with | Flying a real airplane
Mind-blowing and magical. These two words instantly come up after you played Flight Simulator. The ability to fly anywhere you want on Earth is an addictive and relaxing experience, want to scout your upcoming vacation city? Want to see places that are almost impossible to reach? Want to fly over the Sahara desert or Boracay White Beach? That’s all possible in unbelievable visuals, easy controls, and only on the Xbox platform. An essential game to play!
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