In Depth

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 reviews and trailers: wings of ‘pure wonder’

Gaming critics are wowed by the 11th instalment of the popular sim series

When Microsoft released the first version of Flight Simulator in November 1982 it opened up a new world for aviation geeks. 

Now, 37 years later, the 11th instalment has left gamers stunned. 

By using accurate geographic data from Bing Maps, a global cloud computing network and real-time weather information, the 2020 edition “is as much a visual spectacle as it is a simulator”, The Guardian reports. 

Developed by Asobo Studio and published by Xbox Game Studios, Microsoft Flight Simulator lets pilots file a flight plan to anywhere on the planet. Featuring 37,000 airports, two million cities, 1.5 billion buildings plus real mountains, roads, trees, rivers, animals and traffic, the intricate detail is epic. 

With a choice of light planes to wide-body jets, pilots can fly during the day or night, amid the challenges of realistic weather conditions. 

Critics have been waxing lyrical about the sim since its release. IGN’s Seth Macy calls it the “most incredible experience” he’s ever had on a computer while Jordan Oloman of the NME describes it as a “hotbed of pure wonder”.

Here we take a look at the video trailers, game information and critic reviews for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020.

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020: the key details 

  • Publisher: Xbox Game Studios  
  • Developer: Asobo Studio   
  • Simulator platform: PC Windows 10  
  • Release date: out now  
  • Download price: standard edition £59.99; deluxe edition £79.99; premium deluxe edition £109.99 (it’s also included with Xbox Game Pass for PC)

What the critics are saying

Martin Robinson, Eurogamer 

“So often, Microsoft Flight Simulator feels like the future. I’ve been playing daily for pretty much a month now, and I still struggle on occasion to believe it’s real. Over the past month or so, Microsoft Flight Simulator has sent me on a spiral of discovery, exploring the world as well as the often mundane, frequently magical detail of air travel, my appreciation of what Microsoft and Asobo have achieved growing all the while. When it all comes together, this thing can be as uplifting as flight itself.”

Seth Macy, IGN 

“Microsoft Flight Simulator is the most incredible experience I’ve ever had on a computer. The realism, the depth, the almost limitless replayability - it’s like nothing I’ve ever played before. It does so much to recreate the feeling of actual flight, at a level of accuracy never before seen, that there were times when I came in for a landing at real-life airfields I’d seen during my time in the Air Force where I was simply stunned.”

Keith Stuart, The Guardian

“There are specific flight challenges and missions to try out, and even a global scoreboard where you can match yourself against other pilots, but you never have to do any of this. You can merely pick a departure point and a destination, and fly along the Amalfi coast, or up over the Ural mountains; you can cross the Atlantic, the Irish Sea or Lake Wakatipu. Wherever you go, this game captures the wonder of flight, and the spiritual and emotional rush of seeing the world in a different way.”

Jade King, Trusted Reviews

“Microsoft Flight Simulator is a triumphantly ambitious venture which pushes the boundaries of photorealism in the gaming medium. It requires a lot of horsepower and the support of Azure technology to accomplish such a feat, but these barriers are washed away when you're staring down at endless cities and thick jungles from thousands of feet in the air. It’s breathtaking, and I hope it brings such simulators further into the mainstream.”

Jordan Oloman, NME

“Flying planes in Microsoft Flight Simulator will make you question your relationship with the landscape of the places you love for the better by making you reconsider your place in the environment. It’s given me an adventurous zeal and a strong desire to conquer the woods and nature nearby that I’ve been neglecting in quarantine, purely by showing me what’s on offer. Where other games can trap you in your own head, Microsoft Flight Simulator is a hotbed of pure wonder.”

In-game visuals

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020

Recommended

Exhibition of the week: Bernardo Bellotto
Bernardo Bellotto The Fortress of Königstein from the North-West (1756-8)
In Review

Exhibition of the week: Bernardo Bellotto

Films of the year
The Suicide Squad 2021
In Depth

Films of the year

Summer reading: 15 captivating books to whisk you away
Klara and the Sun, The Sleeping Beauties and The Paper Palace
In Review

Summer reading: 15 captivating books to whisk you away

‘Time is right’ for Netflix to get into gaming 
Netflix original Stranger Things has been made into a video game series
Behind the scenes

‘Time is right’ for Netflix to get into gaming 

Popular articles

Does the Tokyo Olympics branding amount to cultural appropriation?
BBC Tokyo Olympics trailer
Expert’s view

Does the Tokyo Olympics branding amount to cultural appropriation?

High jumping for joy: an iconic act of sportsmanship in Tokyo
Mutaz Essa Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi
Why we’re talking about . . .

High jumping for joy: an iconic act of sportsmanship in Tokyo

World’s most extreme weather events in 2021
Wildfire in Greece
In pictures

World’s most extreme weather events in 2021

The Week Footer Banner