With everybody in a state of lockdown and international travel more or less on hold, it is no surprise the newest installment in the Microsoft Flight Simulator Series has blown up the way that it has. While the aviation aspect is as close to realism as you will get, the real star of the game is the map which, spoiler alert, is the entire earth. Players can map out their flight plans that take the same amount of time as a real flight if they want it to or they can use the timelapse feature to speed things up. And, when they manage takeoff and set it to autopilot, have the chance to chill out and experience the true achievement that is the map in this game.
The map design is gorgeous with a picturesque sky going over the lush landscapes of Brazil or the rolling hills of a Middle Eastern desert along with the many monuments that players can visit. This seems to be a new installment in the trend towards a more chill gaming experience where players can get in the air and then just sit back and appreciate the piece of art that is this game.
All of that said, the game is not without the bugs that massive, AI-generated, simulators like this tend to experience. While flying around you may see what would be just a regular skyscraper multiplied five-times in height and sticking out like a sore thumb in what is supposed to be a standard metropolis or a famous soccer stadium with the filed elevated to the top of the stadium, swallowing up every seat and potential fan.
It is unclear what kind of staying power games like these have with amazing graphics usually being more shock and awe than a real mechanic that keeps payers coming back again and again. Maybe the true to life flying mechanics will make aspiring pilots out of some players, but if this game wants to break the mold of its predecessors, it will have to add more features to maintain interest.