Damn I loved the Microsoft Flight Simulator when it came out on PC last year. The detail, the depth, the real-world imagery, when paired with advanced controls, this was a real simulation.
But, PC gaming puts some things out of reach of loads of people, the console gamers of the world, the dads with access to their kids Xbox – or the kids themselves.
So waiting for the release of Microsoft Flight Simulator on Xbox has been a long process. A full year since the PC version came out, it’s finally ready for Xbox owners this week (July 28).
I’ve been having a good crack over the last few days, and it’s everything the fun wannabe pilot in me wanted.
The simplicity of just grabbing the Xbox controller, picking a scenic flight or choosing a random place in the world, then flying around just taking it all in – brilliant.
For me, I’ve found that using the external view of the plan was the most enjoyable experience. You see, I’ve approached this as a sit back on the couch with the controller kinda deal.
I’ve got the outstanding Honeycomb Yoke and Throttle Controls, but neither are compatible with the Xbox (yet – here’s hoping).
Even so, if they were, how would I use them? Put a desk in the loungeroom for the controls to attach to? Impossible to recreate a simulator like environment in the lounge room. So if your Xbox is at a desk with a large monitor – great, get the gear – I’m told Thrustmaster’s flight controls will work a treat.
Which actually leads me to the most important thing about this release – the Xbox makes the brilliance and fun of Microsoft Flight Simulator so much more accessible. A $749 Xbox Series X is literally plug and play compared to a gaming PC. It’s the simplest way to get access to what is just an outstanding flight simulator.
Settings and profile from the PC version carry over to Xbox thanks to your Microsoft Account, so my flight hours were all still there.
Controls are reasonably simple to pickup, however for those who have used the PC version, you realise the controls your missing – like trim. I’m sure its there, but accessing it from the basic controller would be complex.
Once you find rudders, throttle, flaps and gear, you’re good to fly really aren’t you!
If you’re looking to dig into settings, or clear up the display screen then you’re going to need to activate the mouse control. It’s awkward, difficult to use but it’s necessary. There are just way too many menu controls or options on screen to be able to map them to controller buttons.
So when in flight you press in on the left stick to activate the mouse, and use the sticks to move it around. Press again to reactivate flight.
Strange, but – I’m getting used to it.
The download for Microsoft Flight Simulator is around 100GB, so get your high-speed broadband fired up.
Get on it. You won’t regret it. Visit the places you know, plan a flight, and frankly learn some of the basics of flight all on your Xbox console.
Best of all – Microsoft Flight Simulator is available with Xbox Game Pass