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access_time July 26, 2021 at 12:01 AM in Reviews by David Poole

Review | Microsoft Flight Simulator (Xbox Series X|S)

Video games are an art form that provides all kinds of entertainment for millions of people all over the world. They can take us to distant worlds, introduce us to fantastic characters, and even tell wonderful stories. Some games however, can help us experience the wonders of our own world, being less of a game and being more of a simulation. When Microsoft Flight Simulator released for PC last year, we admired the attention to detail and the incredible technology behind the game in our review. Now the game is coming to Xbox Series X|S, and we’ve had some time experiencing the console version. Does it hold up to the PC version? Well we definitely think so.

Those that may have already experienced the PC version shouldn’t expect too much different this time around. The game will launch with all the original content, including over 30 different planes, but will also have five world updates available as well. This includes more detail, additional points of interests, and more accuracy. There’s also some newer challenges for players to test their skills, and some upcoming promotions like Top Gun: Maverick content. Other than that, this is still the same fantastic simulator, just in a more accessible package now.

Microsoft Flight Simulator may not be a game for everyone, as it’s made to simulate the reality of being a pilot. There’s a lot of intricacies to flying a plane, and it varies across different models. It honestly gives me a newfound appreciation for pilots and their roles. The amount of memorization and training to fly a plane can’t be easy, especially when you consider the cockpits. Stepping into the cockpit, it’s incredibly overwhelming to see all the various levers and switches at your fingertips.

While there’s a lot to take in, Microsoft Flight Simulator does give plenty of training opportunities. You’ll be able to learn how to take off, maneuver through the air, and land. Admittedly, sticking the landing is still my weakness, but I’m getting better. Taking on some of the landing challenges, I don’t think I’ll ever want to be responsible for landing a Boeing 747. Either way, the tools are there for those willing to learn. If you’re already familiar with flying planes, then you’ll probably quickly get in the swing of things. For newcomers jumping into the pilot’s seat, you’ll have to really learn how to navigate the skies to succeed.

With plenty of challenges to complete, the true majesty of the game is in traveling the world. Thanks to the satellite technology, players can explore a gorgeous representation of our entire planet. At least it will look gorgeous from afar, as some details don’t look too great up close. Upon starting the game, I immediately loaded up the free flight mode and flew around the San Francisco Bay Area. I found my home, places of work, and more, impressed with how accurate it was. To challenge myself, I even flew in areas I’ve visited that I’m less familiar with to find locations like NYCC’s Javits Center, hotels, and more. Thanks to the fantastic draw distances, I managed to find it all with a new perspective, leaving me in awe.

Music in the game brings a sense of wonder and majesty to the flights. It reminds me of the music for the ride Soarin’ at Disney’s California Adventure, really immersing me in the experience. Sound is also going to be pretty authentic, getting radio chatter from air traffic control, engine noise, and more. The world also feels so alive thanks to populated traffic, though you can even hop into multiplayer. With the way travel has been during this pandemic, this is a great alternative to see the world with people.

Even though Microsoft Flight Simulator is the same game on Xbox Series S|X that it is on PC, it’s still an amazing simulator. Thanks to the power of the newer Xbox systems, people can live out their flight fantasies in the comfort of their living rooms. Even better, it’s available at no extra charge for Xbox Game Pass subscribers. Even better, if you played on PC, you can use the same save data on the Xbox version. If you’re a big fan of planes or just want to explore the world in a new way, then it’s worth checking out Microsoft Flight Simulator.

Final Score: 8.5 out of 10

A digital copy of Microsoft Flight Simulator was provided to GotGame by Microsoft for this review.

GotGame is on OpenCritic, check out our reviews here.

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