I didn’t expect to love Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 as much as I did when I first started playing it but I do. I love it.
There’s just something therapeutic and relaxing about taking to the skies in a Cessna or a Daher TBM930 single-engine and just flying from point A to point B. Heck, often there is no point B involved at all. I often just found myself taking off from an airport, be it Christchurch, in New Zealand, or Tekapo or Brisbane or Melbourne and just flying around, looking at houses and seeing how close I can get to the ground before the plane’s warning klaxon does my head in.
I’ll be completely honest: I’m a hopeless pilot. My first few take-offs were sketchy af. They still are sometimes, actually.
I still loose control mid-flight sometimes, the plane to lurch violently downwards, the ground rushing up to meet me. Most of the time I save it. Most of the time.
Other times, I get distracted by the scenery and cause a crash, like when I was flying around New York. I buzzed the Statue of Liberty and, pleased with myself, I took my hands off the stick to pause the game so I could take a picture – and suddenly crashed into the river. Other times, I over rotated, causing the plane to barrel roll numerous times out of control. I’m sure you can guess the outcome.
Try, try, try again.
I wasn’t mad, I wasn’t angry. I just re-loaded the flight and did it all over again (apart from the crashing part). I’m getting better with each flight, too: Take offs are smoother, I’m working out how flaps work, and I’m having a pretty damn good time. Some advice, though: I highly recommend a joystick: It makes things so much better. I’m using an old Saitek Cyborg Evo that I’ve had for years – it has twist on the stick and a throttle at it’s base. I’m still using the keyboard for things but the main stuff, like controlling the plane when it’s in the air, is handled by the stick.
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 is the game we need right now, given the current state of the world: I can visit any country I want from the comfort of my study, and that makes me happy. It makes me so happy that I’m considering buying a Thrustmaster T16000M throttle and joystick to make things even more realistic.
Does it need a beast PC?
It’s pushing my PC to the limits, even though it scrapes in at the recommended specs [Intel i5 8400, AMD RX580 8Gb, 16Gb PNY RGB XLR8 RAM], and, ironically, my GPU sometimes sounds like the engines on an Airbus A320 during take off sometimes while I’m playing it. The game’s auto-detect set my graphical settings at High End, which I was very happy with, but I dropped some graphical options down to medium, which means I get a solid framerate and the game still looks gorgeous. It really does look gorgeous.
Anyway, dear reader, enough words, right? I’m sure you want to see it in action. Well, have I got some adventures for you in the following captured sessions. There’s no voice over and I’ll admit right now that they’re not pretty at times [One flight over Brisbane is downright scary at times, I’ll admit. It must have been while I was trying to find the editor’s house. The landing is very sketchy, too].
So, go grab a hot Milo, a couple of gingernuts for dunking and sit back and enjoy.