Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 was developed by Asobo Studio and published by Microsoft and will be available on PC August 18th 2020 and also available on game pass. The title will be released on Xbox consoles at a later date. This review is from a player who is a casual gamer when it comes to flight simulators. MFS 2020 releases with 3 versions, the standard lets you have access to 20 planes to experiment with, Deluxe gives you more planes and more handcrafted airports and premium deluxe gives you everything. Thank you to Microsoft for letting me review the premium deluxe version which let me test everything the game had to offer.
As a kid, I always wanted to play Microsoft Flight Simulator and managed to get a hold of the 2002 version. Sadly I was never able to play it as I couldn’t understand the systems whatsoever and being a kid with no patience, I swiftly gave up trying to take off from an airport. Fast forward to 2020 after a long period with no flight simulator from Microsoft, Asobo Studio has rebooted the series and made it completely accessible to newbies, casual gamers and hardcore simulation fans. I’m in no way a person that could still learn all the ins and outs of all these planes but I felt that the developers introduced systems that let you take it at your own pace, for the past few days all I’ve been doing is clicking a place on the World map, taking off from a chosen airport or if you’d rather just spawn in on a random location and take the controls from your co-pilot, you can do that as well. I grab just a PlayStation Dualshock 4 and I’m able to easily fly wherever I want with ease and not have to worry about complicated systems. You can also do some fleshed out tutorials to learn the ins and outs of everything and perhaps if you’re starting casual you can then journey up to more advanced simulator options. Asobo has provided options to let you be in full control of your experience, from your planes suffering from no faults and crashes, weather systems being live tracked in real life or if you fancy controlling the sky, it’s entirely up to you and you can put live air traffic on or even live players so it becomes like a massive online World that you can discover other fellow pilots in. The control you have in this title makes it enjoyable for everyone. If you’d rather have objectives, Asobo have released a few missions to start for example, the current featured mission is a challenging landing mission, my landings could do with some improvement to say the least but for some gamers and simulator enthusiasts, the challenges breaks away from the normal free roaming of the World map. In the future it seems player created missions will be a thing which I look forward to. You can also in World map set flights paths for yourself and simulate your own massive journey. I decided to fly from the top of Scotland to Gloucestershire and it took 1 hour and 30 mins and I enjoyed taking in all the scenery below and it felt like I had an end goal to strive towards. Sadly, I crashed during the last leg of the journey.
This was the reboot this game needed, there is nothing like flying over the mountains in Switzerland from your living room, or taking a quick look in on your home town, it’s stunning. The whole Planet has been generated using Bing maps, Black Shark AI has taken a shot at generating many of the Planets towns to what it thinks it would look like close up and in a lot of areas it works, but my home town doesn’t look overly close but there are certain things you notice. You’ll also come across cities that have been edited by developers to look closer to the real thing, and Asobo has also handcrafted some of the well-known airports from around the World which are truly stunning. There is nothing like loading up a game and just chilling watching it all go past underneath your plane, I had so much fun just exploring areas that I’d love to explore in real life and if you want to use the drone feature to explore closer up, then go ahead, that’s an option. The airplanes on offer also affect how your game plays out, if you want to do long-haul flights the jets are best for that and not so great for exploration, I ended up in the middle of Africa with no clue as to what country I was in due to a major storm, I was going so fast and didn’t look at my navigation computer properly and ended up crashing into land, it was crazy. When exploring the Swiss mountains I took a low powered plane to truly take in every little detail, the realism in this game is astoundingly close to what sounds like the real thing. Just don’t get silly and press buttons for the sake of it, cutting your fuel off and stalling the engine is not a wise decision in heavy winds.
I was truly in love with the design in the game and I truly felt quite relaxed while just taking in the scenery and letting the AI do the hard work for me from making sure the planes settings are perfect and radioing the correct people during my flights. The graphics are stunning, on my PC which has a 2060 RTX it can run the game on high mostly, with the odd frame drop here and there but I believe a patch will solve a few issues on release. One of the issues I ran into was trying to lock the frame rate to 30fps so I could just keep a steady rate going rather than hovering around 60 – 40fps was that it always halved my fps when I did that, so I couldn’t really fix much, even lowering the graphics sometimes didn’t make much of a difference but it was nothing game-breaking at all and it didn’t interrupt the overall experience. For people who want to know, do the planes and all that air radio traffic sound close to the real thing? Yes, they do, it’s incredible, I don’t know half the time what the radio is saying but it feels so authentic until I joke around and demand my co-pilot tell me where the music radio is at. Everything sounds great and the immersion it provides is beyond the scale of many releases we’ve seen this year.
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 has something for everyone, as someone who just wanted to fly over beautiful places on the planet, it is as easy as picking up a controller and going, you don’t even really need a tutorial if all you want to do is mess around a bit. For the hardcore simmers, I see no downgrades just to make it easier for players like myself to jump in on the action. With so much to do and such stunning content, I can’t wait to release this review and jump back in to capture footage for a video review. What Asobo have done here is something special and I think with a few updates to fix a couple of issues we could be in with one hell of a memorable 2020 release.