Microsoft Flight Simulator X

Microsoft's Flight Simulator series of games has incredibly been around for twenty five years. The series even predates Microsoft's Windows operating system by three years as well, making it a series with an incredible history as well as Microsoft's longest-running product line in terms of software. It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone therefore that a series with such longevity has definitely earned its keep over the years: Flight Simulator as a series is critically acclaimed and is very well known for its ultra-realistic approach to the ins and outs of aviation simulation. The series' realism is such that it can actually be used effectively as a tool by those actually seeking to learn how to fly. Flight Simulator X is the latest in this long-running series, and it's undoubtedly the best yet.

Microsoft Flight Simulator X

Before approaching the gameplay, prospective owners of this game should know it comes in two varities: the regular Flight Simulator X and the Deluxe Version. The latter version may cost more money than the basic version, but for the added expense you get an extra twenty missions, more cities and airports, an extra multiplayer dimension, and additional aircraft to enjoy. Both versions offer the same sublime gameplay and ultra-realistic simulation of course, it's just that the deluxe version offers more in terms of content and bonuses.

The gameplay of Microsoft Flight Simulator X is as realistic as you could ever hope for in a simulation. Though the series has always been marketed as a gaming experience, the level of detail that is involved is quite astounding and Flight Simulator X certainly takes the prize for most detailed and realistic title in the series thus far. Accessibility has been a major concern for Microsoft this time around, resulting in the developers making the learning of the ropes much easier for newcomers whilst still maintaining the ultra realism that hardcore Flight Simulator-lovers have come to expect from these games.

You won't just be aimlessly flying around some moderately detailed terrain or embarking on seemingly endless and uneventful flights from one destination to another in Flight Simulator X: the initial gameplay is mission-based and involves embarking upon flying missions that become increasingly difficult as you are furnished with more and more of the skills required to enjoy the game to its fullest. You can enjoy short assimilation missions that allow you to acclimatise yourself to the individual features of various aircraft (gliders, helicopters, and eventually larger jets as well) as well as longer missions that involve more action - rescuing workers from a rapidly-burning oil rig is just one of the adrenaline-pumping missions you have to look forward to.

If you happen to have chosen the deluxe version you will enjoy fifty individual missions, each as scintillating as each other in terms of difficulty, gameplay ,and aesthetics. Landing on an offshore oil rig with a helicopter is one thing, but you'll also get to do things like fly a stunt plane with the end goal of landing on a moving bus. As you can imagine the technical skill needed is substantial, allowing for some seriously challenging and satisfyingly realistic scenarios that even have the edge on mobile-based flight simulators such as X-Plane for iPad.

One of the main advantages of opting for Microsoft Flight Simulator X (no matter what the version) is its wonderful aesthetics. The scenery is incredibly detailed and borders on the photorealistic; the aircraft are all immensely detailed as well and as accurate as any other flight simulator in existence. The level of detail involved in the graphics will present a problem for most machines however, even the fastest of gaming rigs. Everything is so detailed that you may very well experience slow-downs in framerate unless you turn most graphics options down to the bare minimum. You may be fine flying over countryside but when you hit the remarkably detailed cities such as Seattle, your computer may begin to struggle.

Though you may need a serious machine in order to experience all of the aesthetic wonders of Flight Simulator X, the graphics are something to behold if you are able to set graphics sliders even halfway up. The geography of some of the world's most gorgeous regions such as in Africa are true to life, as are the behaviours of the animals on the ground and birds in the air. The multiplayer aspect of the game is equally as astounding, allowing for various scenarios that even include taking the controls of someone else's aircraft.

The only downside to Microsoft Flight Simulator X is that it won't appeal to those with slower machines, or indeed gamers looking for a bit of combat action (you'd be better off playing pilot warfare games instead of strict simulations in this case). For those with serious gaming PCs and the thirst for realistic flying however, this game is a dream come true.