Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 Review – Pros and Cons

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 Review – Pros and Cons:

cockpit view

Even if you’re a pilot, your flying job will always restrict you to the type of flying and destinations that your employer needs, and unless you’re Bezos or Zuck, you can’t own every genre of an airplane and fly everywhere. With Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, you got a taste of those other worlds.

The history of Microsoft Flight Simulator:

Today, the franchise is still in the midst of its 15th birthday. An occasion that a whole generation of gamers likely never experienced. Microsoft introduced the first game in the series in 1995 for Windows 95, followed by the 2000’s Windows XP version. The last, named Flight Simulator X: Gold Edition, came out in 2013, and it’s only now that Microsoft has decided to update the series with a next-generation edition, launching two years later for Windows 10.

Fortunately, for players curious to explore the project’s new dawn. Microsoft and Asobo Studio have spent the time in between updating the older games and creating all the functionality needed to enjoy them on the next-gen platforms.

A look back at the series:

flight simulator series

It’s hard to believe, but the history of Microsoft Flight Simulator begins with its first release on MSX, a home computer originally intended for students. The title was called Elite 70: The Rocket Computer and featured realistic, fully rendered, full-color 3D graphics for the first time. The title was developed by software house Alenia Spazio for Imagic, the same company that created the groundbreaking Indiana Jones franchise, and the game ran on the MSX2/MSX2+ computer.

The first version was released in 1983, with the majority of the series’ 26 titles built on the 2D’ 3D Simulation’ genre. In 1989, Microsoft Flight Simulator I was introduced for Windows.

New features in 2020 edition:

Microsoft’s digital twin of the planet, full of snow capped volcanoes, bustling cities, vast deserts and dense jungles. All buildings, roads, highways and waterways are fully interactive and dynamically generated, enabling gamers to explore virtually endless new terrain. You can get a detailed look at an ocean here, and before long, you can fly over the icy surface of Antarctica. It’s as if an enormous computer built an interactive video game world based on actual landmarks and imagery, complete with weather and wind effects, objects of interest, and a rich and highly detailed population of people. I can’t wait to land on an alien moon with trees and wildlife.

Gameplay:

aircraft landing

On top of being the most robust Microsoft Flight Simulator experience yet. The 2020 offers a whole new perspective for simmers: the sky’s the limit. The latest game’s most iconic feature is the extensive over the world, which expands each time the game is loaded and seamlessly links your local version of a map to any that you find online. While this adds significantly to the functionality of the sim itself, it can prove a little daunting for newcomers who are concerned with quickly finding the locations and finding their way around. Thankfully, it’s easy to get up to speed and spend your time with the cockpit experiences rather than watching you speed around the simulation.

Aircraft and cockpit:

After selecting the aircraft, you will see a lot of details. There is improvement on cockpit controls, more accurate flight display systems, flight management computers, more detailed navigation maps, etc. The overhead panel is more precise and clear. You can use the mouse and space bar to look around the aircraft inside and outside. If you are viewing the plane from the outside, you will see it like a real aircraft. That is because there is improvement in the interior and exterior.

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 Review – The Good:

  •  The fully re-built and explorable world is a tremendous plus.
  • It runs amazingly smooth on integrated graphics.
  • Mapping and flying improvements are noticeable for the first time in decades.
  • Microsoft offers deep Steam integration, so you can still play the old-school version.

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 Review – The Bad:

In my opinion, some of the new features, while incredibly cool and entirely necessary for an entry in the series with as much history as Microsoft Flight Simulator, aren’t exactly a “must-have” for those who’ve played previous versions.

Combat Maneuvering System (CMS) is the interface between the user and the flight controller, which governs the plane’s throttle and yaw, according to parameters dictated by the flight controller (e.g. throttle sensitivity) and how you’re using it (e.g. pitch or bank angle).

This option has always been the same in past releases, and it’s still just as useful now. To keep the CMS from being a gimmick, the game also features a Pro mode. It allows the user to implement custom macros to essentially program every single parameter into the flight controller.

  • Small touch screen, lacks A/V integration.
  • It’s no surprise, but there are several bugs.
  • Downgrades to the Enhanced Flight Engine mean the experience is not without faults.
  • Major overhauled flight model makes experience harder than ever before.

What makes this game so great?

Perhaps it is the way the sim is brought to life through a platform built exclusively for it, rather than a series of distracting drop-down menus. Maybe it is the sheer joy of flying that’s so clearly on display through even the most basic of flight missions.

The announcement of “first-class” advancements to the flight system makes the game much more than just a remote control toy with a cockpit, and the enhancements add an entirely new layer to what is, after all, a simulation.

This game is particularly notable for giving me my first taste of the world of civil aviation; I did not experience it as a child, with generations of simulation being developed for use in educational settings.

**Please note: This post contain affiliate link. As an Amazon Associates I earn from qualifying purchases.

Conclusion:

Though still much more of a looker than its forebears, the new-look Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 has a good shot of wowing a new generation of gamers – and engaging in a whole new battle of wits with those who are already fans of the series.

What are the alternatives? Probably the closest modern-day equivalent is Aspyr Media’s instalment, titled Flight Simulator X: Steam Edition. And despite its advanced graphics, it still manages to run surprisingly well at up to 30 frames per second on old computers – though be sure to patch it up as it’s far from feature-complete.

In conclusion, the Xbox Series X|S version of Microsoft Flight Simulator is a real technical gem. A product that does not look bad at all compared to the PC version. In fact, the Xbox version of Microsoft Flight Simulator gives its best while flying under VFR rules. It is the kind of flight that forces us to look at the landscape to find your way. When you fly over the natural beauties of your planet sitting in front of a large TV screen on your couch, you are going to be left breathless!

10 thoughts on “Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 Review – Pros and Cons

  1. Hey Mohamed, 

    What a cool website niche! I love it! Your personal interest and love in all things flight has stayed with you since you were a young boy? Do you build and or collect models? 

    I would love to try this 2020 Microsoft flight simulator because I, too, love to fly and watch take off and all the scenery through my window seat. Seeing a huge mountain from a plane is fantastic. My first flight was from Utah to New York. What a blast! 

    Thanks for sharing, 

    Tamara

    1. Thanks for the feedback. When I was young I use to build aircraft using Lego toy pieces and play with small aircrafts.

  2. Hello there! This is an interesting read. I was a big gamer back in the day but not so much lately. I never really thought about trying out flight simulation type of games. From your post, it seems like a really fun experience and very helpful for those who are considering being a pilot of a plane. I really like your pro and cons. It make sense that for the best experience, one would need a powerful enough computer. Thanks for this, I might try some of these games someday.

  3. Hey there,

    What an interesting and creative post. I had no idea there was such a program like this. For those who enjoy a ton of space and the art of flying, this is it. I’m not much of a Windows operator and was curious if there was such a program available for Macs. 

    Keep me posted.

    L, Sammy

  4. I just actually purchase Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020.  I am awaiting my computer, and then I will be ready to start!  Can’t wait.  Youre reviews have been a big help along with what is required computer wise.  I am actually going to use this as a learning tool, and not so much as a game per se.  I can utilize this to help with my flight lessons right?

  5. Hi MElamin,

    This game is definitely something I must have. I love this kind of simulator, though you plat it in virtual environment, you think as if you are actually flying a plan in a real world. Is this game allows you to platy it with people? – Or, it is just a game of one person at a time.

    Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.