I've been a Microsoft Flight Simulator fan for decades, going back to the first Macintosh classic computer that my family purchased in the mid 1980's. Between then and now, I've owned several of the interim releases and have always enjoyed the upgraded graphics and realism offered by each. This latest version is no exception.
I originally purchased Flight Simulator X as a gift for my girlfriend's son, because he expressed an interest in it after playing on a friend's computer. Or at least, that's what I keep telling everyone. Actually, it had been a couple of years since I last played with this program, so I was interested in checking out the latest version as well.
First off, I think the game looks great, and much improved from the last version that I owned. Even though the computer we installed it on is somewhat underpowered, the game still plays smoothly and has decent graphics. I would really like to see it running on a powerful machine, though. I imagine that running it at full resolution and full detail would be pretty awesome.
As far as the gameplay is concerned, I like the fact it can be customized to be as simple or as complex as I want. It's great to be able to sit down and grab a quick flight when I just want to kill some time, but it's also nice to have the option to set up a very specific situation, in a specific location if I choose to do that too.
One of the biggest differences that I noticed when compared to the previous versions I've owned is in the controls. In the earlier versions, there were keyboard shortcuts for the basic flight controls, options for some of the other aircraft systems, a couple of viewing options, and a few others. Now, I'm finding it just about impossible for me to remember all of the available key combinations that this version offers, without some sort of reference material nearby. It's not necessarily a positive or a negative in my book, just a difference that I noticed from earlier versions. In addition to the keyboard and mouse controls, the game also works very well with the joystick that we own, and it allows us to assign just about any option to the various buttons and switches on it.
Right out of the box, I like that the game offers a wide variety of aircraft, including gliders, helicopters, prop planes, and jets. Beyond those, we've also found several online communities that have developed their own additional aircraft that you can download and install into the game. I really like that, because it allows me to expand the game without forcing me to purchase an upgrade or expansion pack.
I know the game has so much more to offer than what I've used, including options to customize the weather, the built in air traffic control, tutorials, online play, and much more. I imagine that the more I play with it, I'll probably get into those as well.
So, to sum it up, if you like flight simulators, this one seems to have it all. I know it has all of the options that I could ever want, and more. If you don't need all of that, it's also nice that to know that you can keep it as simple as you want so you can fit some flying time in whenever your time allows. I don't regret buying it at all.