hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Microsoft Flight

Review: Microsoft Flight

5:00 PM on 03.31.2012 // Jordan Devore

Though I do desperately hope to one day see a full-on resurgence of aerial combat games, I've never been a die-hard fan of flight sims. I wholeheartedly respect the people who make them and the ensuing audience that appreciates their complexity, but the realism of strict simulation has, more or less across all genres, never been able to pull me in.

Microsoft Flight has been out for about a month now. It's an attempt to please two decidedly different crowds: those who have put hundreds or even thousands of hours into Flight Simulator X, and everyone else. In practice, however, it ends up being us newcomers that come out ahead.

Microsoft Flight (PC)
Developer: Microsoft Studios
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Release: February 29, 2012
MSRP: Free

It's an interesting time for free-to-play gaming, which Microsoft Flight most certainly belongs to. As the industry is still trying to figure out how best to leverage this model while still providing quality entertainment, we tend to encounter more bad examples than good. In going after an expanded segment of players, it's clear why Microsoft Studios would want to remove price as a barrier to entry.

As far as production values go, Flight makes a good first impression. The planes, both from an interior and exterior view, have a sharp, clean look to them. The scenery, on the other hand, is something of a disappointment. Considering this is a free-to-play game, I have to keep my expectations in check -- but there's so much potential for Hawaii to be full of life and color without sacrificing realism. As it stands, the environment ends up being largely soulless and one can't help but long for higher-res textures.

Players can fly using either a joystick, an Xbox 360 controller, or a mouse and keyboard. I'm unable to make use of that first input method, and between the other two, I much preferred the latter. Whereas a gamepad worked adequately but entirely broke the illusion of Microsoft Flight being a simulator, using a mouse was comfortable, intuitive, and made pulling off subtle movements easier.

The tutorials do a good job of teaching you the basics. I also like that introductory missions are catered toward individual planes and test your ability to land through increasingly difficult scenarios. In-game checklists break down the various tasks that need to be performed in order to be a proper pilot; thankfully, these can be fully automated if you so desire. Speaking of which, the crashes in Flight are truly a sight to behold. Thank goodness for the print-screen key.

While challenges that involve flying through hoops or collecting rings in a given amount of time aren't very interesting, hidden Aerocaches scattered across Hawaii were at least somewhat compelling. You're given just-specific-enough hints on where these objects are placed on the map and have to go track them down. Finally, airports have their own job boards with missions like sightseeing tours and delivering 667 pounds of chickens. (That second one is the real description. I love the wording of these things.)

In trying to be relevant for two distinct types of players, the game ends up taking the middle of the road. Although I could come in as a novice with relative ease, I didn't find Flight to be particularly exciting. On the flip side, hardcore sim players likely won't be attracted by the emphasis placed on accessibility. It's an odd mix that results in neither party feeling wholly satisfied.

For the purposes of this write-up, I only played the vanilla Flight, which just includes the Big Island of Hawaii. The problem isn't so much that the game is lacking content, but rather, the optional add-ons are quite expensive. Free-to-play users get two planes -- the adorable Icon A5 and the Boeing PT-17 Stearman -- while further vehicles range from $6.99 up to $14.99 in the case of the Maule M-7-260C. To gain access to the full chain of Hawaiian islands, you'll need to cough up $19.99.

Unfortunately, I don't really think the core game itself is strong enough to justify those prices, even if planes do feel noticeably different. There's enjoyment to be had, especially for less advanced flyers, but I was able to get everything I wanted out of Microsoft Flight without adding funds to my account. And, in the end, I suppose that's not such a bad thing. To its credit, the game does serve as a good introduction for beginners. If it is able to spark further interest in the genre, I'm obviously all for that.

Though I can't speak directly as a flight-sim aficionado, my best guess is that for these players, Flight will serve as a decently fun diversion. After that, they'll probably want to go put more hours into their tried-and-true sim of choice. Perhaps if Microsoft Studios offers diverse locales and fills out the roster of aircraft, there will be greater pressure to check back in. Right now, there's not a whole lot of incentive to spend more than an afternoon playing the game.

Jordan Devore, Managing Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidJordan Tips
Jordan is a founding member of Destructoid and poster of seemingly random pictures. They are anything but random. Disclosure: I backed Double Fine Adventure and Awesomenauts: Starstorm on Kickst... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Shinta avatarShinta
MGO's pretty fun! I suck at it though. I mostly hang back and just mark enemies and get the occasional sniper kill. It's pretty fun to be semi-useful with a very hands off role like that. Love my avatar character guy too.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
Fuck Insecticons
nanashi avatarnanashi
they pooped in my food they pooped in my food they pooped in my food they pooped in my food
Robo Panda Z avatarRobo Panda Z
I have been accused of the greatest of crimes - cookie snobbery.
Yanick Bourbeau avatarYanick Bourbeau
Zombie eating player from my game: [img][/img]
KyWii avatarKyWii
Rock Band 4 is really fun...takes me back to my teenage days of high school. Also reminds me of all the hours I wasted on a plastic guitar instead of getting better on a real one xD
Avoclefo avatarAvoclefo
Team Fortress 2 just got a massive community-made Invasion update. SFM short, reskins, cosmetics, and 4 brand new maps?!?! God, I love this game and its wonderful community so, so much. [youtube][/youtube]
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
AARRGGGHHHH!!!, GODDAMIT!, fucking SOMA has crashed 3 fucking times in a row and I always lose ~20 minutes of playtime!, playing the same section over and over kinda ruins the tension! >.<'
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
N-Not that P1 isn't perfect the way she is! Isn't that right sweetie? Yes it... Oh, now don't you go and listen to those P2 fans! They just go around spreading rumors and pretending Hitler was just a handsome gentleman in sunglasses, that's what THEY do!
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Persona Q has made me realize I really want a Persona 1 remake on 3DS in a similar style. A lot. A loooooooot. You listening, Atlus?
Super Mario Maker, the announcement of Sonic Lost World for Steam, and remembering all of the mods that got made for the PC version of Sonic Generations makes me wish SEGA/Sonic Team would make their own dedicated Sonic level creation game.
gajknight avatargajknight
Hey, is your fridge running? You better catch it. I mean, it has all your food, and without food, you die. Like, forever. You don't wanna die right? If you die, how will you watch The Good wife with your favourite bowl of Ben and Jerry's ice cream? Go.
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
My local Best Buy is drowning in Marth & Dark Pit amiibo
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Spooky yet totally true gaming fact: the bushes and the clouds in Super Mario Bros are the same exact shape. #Spooky
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
It is coming fast AAAAAAH
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
The newest PS4 update finally got rid of that bug where I'd get the "you can customize your power options" message every time I turned on my console!
El Dango avatarEl Dango
Should I just pass on MGSV? I haven't really liked any of the games after Snake Eater, and it's being used as a money sink at the moment.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
[Youtube][/youtube] All the episodes are on youtube now. Also I never knew they got to do a season 3. Pretty cool. Now back to Transformers. Scored a gc to my favorite thai place too. Pad ahoy bitches. It's been too long.
ashamasha avatarashamasha
i have almost all the pieces i need to build my own Arcade machine... and the last one arrive this Saturday! Soon, one my childhood dream will became true!
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Interviewer: Konami, why are you selling cosmetic DLC for MGSV? Konami exec: I breathe through my skin.
more quickposts


destructoid's previous coverage:
Microsoft Flight

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -