Flight Simulator A Century of Flight
Genre Simulation -> Flight
Today's Rank 3273
Homepage N/A
Date 2003-07-29
Date 2003-08-01
North America Retail Box ArtUnited Kingdom Retail Box ArtThanks to Microsoft's Flight Simulator 2004 you can now experience the real essence of flight. Billed as a retrospective look at a century of flight, it's now possible to take to the air with accurately modelled electronic copies of some of the greatest aircraft in history--from the Wright brothers' Wright Flyer to the gleaming wide-bodied 747s and medium-sized helicopters of the present. From the word go you know this is a serious piece of kit and while the knack to flying the older aircraft revolves around not stalling it and keeping the engine revs up, the modern planes are packed to the hilt with geeky goodness. For those wishing to engage in the experience of flight there are GPS navigation systems aplenty, dozens of cockpits switches and an air traffic control system which is as lifelike as it bewildering to understand. Understandably, not everyone is going to get to grips with this beast immediately and full marks to Microsoft for including a wealth of training information within the program in the form of tutorials and reference material--it's essential reading if you're to get a firm grip on this truly huge simulation. To give some idea of scale, using the various game modes available it's possible to take the controls of any of the 24 planes included then take off from one of the 24,000 mapped airports and fly anywhere around the globe. And for the true aficionado you can do it all in real-time. However, for those of us with a shorter attention span it is possible to speed up time to get through the tedious bits. Add to this truly realistic in-game weather--updated over the Internet every 10 minutes--and what you have is one of the best flight sims ever to grace a personal computer. Flight Simulator 2004 isn't without its faults. It's graphically intensive and requires a meaty PC to get top quality visuals onscreen, the sound can become monotonous and arriving on four CDs it takes forever to install. These minor points aside, however, this is a superb piece of software and belongs firmly on the hard drive of anyone who has ever harboured fantasies of flying as a child. --Chris Russell

- Improved full-color map view with terrain display
- Improved support for 3D graphics hardware acceleration in multiple windows and across multiple monitors
- Learning Center - a "Web site on the disc" available while the simulation is running that includes a Key Topics visual guide to the features in Microsoft Flight Simulator, direct links to flights and lessons, flight briefings, how-to procedures, aircraft handbooks, and more.
- New and expanded lessons and ground school topics
- Kiosk mode for unattended demonstrations
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