Miraculous Flights Through a Nerd’s Paradise: PETER HOSKIN Reviews Microsoft Flight Simulator

Miraculous Flights Through a Nerd’s Paradise: PETER HOSKIN Reviews Microsoft Flight Simulator

Microsoft Flight Simulator (PC, Xbox, £59.99)

Rating:

Verdict: fly with me

Thousands of planes flew last year, carrying millions of passengers to hundreds of airports.

You may not have noticed them because they weren’t up and running thanks to Covid. They were on computer screens.

Last August, the 2020 edition of Microsoft Flight Simulator — the first new title in that venerable series in nearly 15 years — was released on PC.

It was less of a game, more of a miracle: a means of flying detailed replicas of real aircraft over a detailed recreation of the real world.

Last August, the 2020 edition of Microsoft Flight Simulator - the first new title in that venerable series in nearly 15 years - was released on PC.

Last August, the 2020 edition of Microsoft Flight Simulator – the first new title in that venerable series in nearly 15 years – was released on PC.

This week it landed on Xbox — and it’s still quite miraculous. Although the console (in its various forms) isn’t as powerful as the most powerful PCs, it can handle the high demands of MSFS (as we wannabe pilots call the game) quite well.

It’s amazing how much has been preserved in the translation, even when compromises have been made.

For example, you can still put every switch and leg on every dial in the cockpit, but doing this on the Xbox will keep your hands and mind tangled.

But when you fly over Everest, the sun poking through clouds formed by live weather data, you often forget about these little issues. This is a geek’s paradise. And also a great place for novice flyers.

It was less of a game, more of a miracle: a means of flying detailed recreations of real aircraft over a detailed recreation of the real world

It was less of a game, more of a miracle: a means of flying detailed recreations of real aircraft over a detailed recreation of the real world

I feel like a shill for mentioning it, but an addendum on one of the ways you can access MSFS on Xbox. It’s called Xbox Game Pass, costs between £7.99 and £10.99 per month and gives you access to around 100 games across devices.

These include titles owned by Microsoft – such as MSFS, the hyperkinetic racing game Forza Horizon 4, and the (re)masterful Halo: The Master Chief Collection – as soon as they come out, as well as games shuffled into the service from the outside. Hollow Knight is currently on the roster and Hollow Knight is a melancholic masterpiece.

There is an increasing number of these Netflix-like services; indeed, Netflix itself is planning to get into the gaming, er, game.

But Xbox Game Pass is taking a beating.

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