If there is one thing I know about flying planes is that it is easy. I mean imagine driving a car but in the air, so you don’t have to worry about blind corners, one lane windy roads, or anything like that. Think about how horrible it is to drive Akatarawa Road, now imagine flying straight over it, easy right? Well according to Microsoft Flight Simulator I suck at flying.
Draw whatever conclusion you want from that.
No Road Code in the sky
Microsoft Flight Simulator is a simulator, so I decided to jump into the tutorials. These I found immensely frustrating. In the camera tutorial it randomly stopped giving me instructions and after playing around a bit I decided to cancel out.
Then trying out tutorials like taxiing, it was super annoying as you would be given instructions to go to a place but it didn’t put a blue box or arrow somewhere so this newbie would understand where he was supposed to stop on the runway. Same for the take off tutorial which would tell me to line up the plane for takeoff and would tell me it was pretty good or I need more practice. It wouldn’t move on to taking off no matter where it seemed like I lined the plane up.
To rule it out being an odd bug I uninstalled and reinstalled the game with a clean save… to the same issue.
Like riding a bike
Microsoft Flight Simulator is clearly a PC game throughout, as you can control the game by pressing the dials in the cockpit or using controller shortcuts. Pressing the dials in the cockpit by moving a cursor round is an insanely difficult feat with a controller.
Fortunately, as annoying as the tutorials were, I still got my head around the basics and the controllers. As such I decided to try flying a plane out in the world. This lets you pick anywhere in the world to take off to try to get to any location in the world. With the whole world at my fingertips I decided to take off from Wellington airport, try to spot my work from the air, and land on the street near my house.
I can confirm I am weird.
The thing is this game uses map data to be so powerful that I was flying over so many landmarks I knew in my home city of Upper Hutt. I then landed on the intersection right next to my house and was disappointed that my house was a generic house. The game is so frickin extraordinary that I naturally built an unrealistic expectation of the details of my house.
Again, I can confirm I am weird.
The most fun in the game is the challenges, and by the challenges I mean specifically the landing challenges. Here you are given a plane plus a landing strip and you need to nail the landing. Challenges get pretty hard as you deal with some super short runways and some annoying amounts of wind.
In this mode I regularly spent hours trying to nail one landing, and I enjoyed every second of it. Under the windy options I assumed one of the landings would be Wellington airport. Instead I discovered that trying to land in Queenstown is quite a shit. That took me too many times to line up to the airstrip let alone landing and braking enough.
Honestly if the game was only this, I would be personally content.
Flying a plane might be hard…
Microsoft Flight Simulator is a brutally tough game. Trying to get through the tutorials is tough as hell but once you have enough of the basics then jumping into the meat of the game will make every second worthwhile. This game exists as a technical marvel, and playing it on the Xbox Series X is another technical marvel.
Use this absolute technical achievement to go a bit further away from home than I did.