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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn about physics and engineering involved in mechanical flight. Players interact with authentic plane instruments and technologies, including airfoils, flaps, rudders, and elevators, learning what each piece of equipment does and how it affects flight. They then apply that information in future flights to achieve better results. The planes presented in the game are virtual copies of real-world aircraft, and virtually everything players learn about piloting and flight can be applied to actual airplanes. Previous versions of the game have been used as part of real-world flight training courses.
Play naturally encourages piloting as a hobby or career while fostering a deeper understanding of the physics and mechanics of flight.
Positive Role Models
The human voices heard over the radio include business-like air traffic controllers doing their job and a female flight instructor who provides helpful advice and positive feedback.
Ease of Play
Taking full control of an aircraft can be both complex and daunting. Players will need to learn and understand virtually every instrument and system in each plane's authentically simulated cockpit. That said, a series of training missions explains the basics, and a large set of optional player assistance features can make the experience significantly more accessible.
Violence & Scariness
Planes can crash into the ground, sea, and buildings, resulting in the end of your flight, but the screen fades to black without showing impact or damage.
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Products & Purchases
Names, logos, and products of airplane manufacturers -- such as Cessna and Diamond -- are displayed prominently throughout.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know Microsoft Flight Simulator is a game that realistically simulates the experience of flying a variety of aircraft for Windows PCs. It's completely free of iffy content, including sex, language, and substance abuse. Planes can crash into the ground and buildings, which will end the current activity, but the screen fades to black before impact and no damage is shown. The sophistication of the simulation -- which includes authentic modelling of aircraft cockpits and controls -- is bound to foster an interest in piloting and/or the physics and engineering of aircraft, assuming the player has the patience to learn and practice what the game teaches them.
Is It Any Good?
For players of specific passion and disposition, this is a nearly perfect game. Microsoft Flight Simulator is undoubtedly the most realistic video game simulation of flight yet created. Not only does it authentically recreate the look, feel, and controls of dozens of real-world aircraft -- a hallmark of the series -- it also provides players with an absolutely beautiful virtual copy of our world founded on scores of gigabytes of satellite data. You can fly virtually anywhere on Earth, and enjoy nearly photorealistic scenery of city skylines, natural landmarks, and plaid-like farmers' fields grids along the way. More than that, the wind and weather simulation is more realistic than ever, impacting not just aircraft handling during take-off, landing, and mid-flight, but also potentially damaging aircraft systems, forcing players to think on their feet. (Remember to pull that landing gear in on your private business jet before taking it above 250 knots or you'll risk losing it!)
While the simulation is deeply believable and difficult to fault (at least for novice and amateur pilots), it does have some drawbacks worth being aware of before jumping in. For starters, it's a huge game (it requires more than 100GB of disk space), often takes a long time to load, and will be difficult for older machines to run smoothly. A powerful PC is recommended to take full advantage of everything it has to offer. And keep in mind that this is a flight simulator, not a traditional game. It has a bounty of handy assists to help draw in rookies, ranging from flight checklists and reminders to training lessons and GPS navigation guidance, but the goal is to create as realistic a cockpit experience as possible. You'll spend long hours at the controls doing little more than slightly adjusting altitude, attitude, and heading to maintain your Navlog flight plan. If you're looking for something with action, a story, and constant rewards, this isn't it. That said, anyone with a true love for aircraft or an interest in the details and mechanics of flight and piloting is bound to be absolutely delighted with this reboot of Microsoft Flight Simulator, which, it can be safely said, is among the most authentic simulations of any complex human activities available to the public.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.