- Platform: Windows 2000 / Me / 98 / XP
- Media: Video Game
- Item Quantity: 1
This 20th anniversary edition includes nine historical aircraft--including the Ryan NYP "Spirit of St Louis" the airplane Charles Lindbergh piloted on the first solo, non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927--as well as 15 contemporary aircraft, from the Cessna 172 Skyhawk SP Model 172 and the massive Boeing 747-400 to the R22 helicopter and represents the most comprehensive version in the history of the franchise. Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004: A Century of Flight also introduces an updated, dynamic weather system, enhanced automatically generated (auto-gen) scenery and detailed visual effects.
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