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Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Acceleration - PC - Review

Gw

Posted by: jkdmedia

Review Rating 8.4 Great

Passenger to flight attendant: “Umm, hi there, I just wanted to let you know that should a problem occur with either the pilot or co-pilot, I can take over. I play Microsoft Flight Simulator X.”

Well, Ok, that may be slightly unrealistic, but Microsoft’s Flight Sim franchise has been the king of the skies when it comes to effectively consuming hours by allowing players to fly a variety of aircraft over a variety of cities. Flight Sim X upped the ante by allowing for multiplayer gaming as well as some missions. No longer was the flight into the friendly skies a solo effort, though it remained every bit as challenging.

Now along comes the expansion for FS X, aptly named Acceleration. Why? Because, as the name suggests, this is about revving up the RPMs and flying as fast as possible through a variety of missions or even head-to-head. Acceleration takes FS out of the realm of the safe and sedate flight experience and challenges players in an exhilarating way.

Year’s ago there was a set of flight-combat sims under the brand name of Jane’s. These were intensive sims that had manuals the size of encyclopedias and required that you actually learn all the flight terminology in preparation for the exercise – and, at times, it did feel like an exercise. One of those titles required landing on an aircraft carrier. Fun? Not even. It was a challenging task, one that has been brought back in the FS X expansion. Don’t worry, there are a variety of tutorials that will help you understand what it is you are about to be doing.

It’s Fleet Week in San Francisco and in order to do a fly-over of the city, you have to launch and land an F/A-18 Hornet. It’s a great plane, lots of power and a real bear … err, challenge to land. Those flight decks may look big (personal experience) when you are standing on them, but when you are trying to land a jet, they get small in a hurry. Now, if you are not one of those who are purists when it comes to flight sims, you can opt for some help on the landings and take-offs, but if you really want to enjoy the depth of this experience, you are going to bypass that and work on your skills – after all, when it comes to the missions, you will need them. The mission run from a transport to high-speed chases, and each is a lot of fun. The hallmarks of this game would be in the fun, challenge and heart-thumping action. Yes, you will get caught up in the missions, you will cuss under your breath when you fail and try again … and again … and again.

The Hornet is not the only new aircraft in the expansion. Joining the team are P-51D Mustang and the EH-101 helicopter. With the Mustang you will be flying low, fast and banking quickly as you navigate some of the famed air-race course, like the one in Reno. The chopper comes into play with intercept missions as well as search and rescue. All in all, the mission variety is really nice and uses the three new aircraft well.

Multiplayer allows gamers to set up their own races and go online for competition.

Graphically, Flight Sim X is a feast if you have the video card to put the game. Lower-end cards will get serviceable graphics, but if you want to see the cities and aircraft details in all their glory, you will need a good card. The sound is much of what one would expect.

Acceleration is a quality expansion that may divert slightly from the path of its parent program but still brings a wider range of game modes to the fore. This is quite a lot of fun.

Review Scoring Details for Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Acceleration

Gameplay: 8.4
Not too much has changed in terms of the game setup and control scheme. A few elements have been changed for the specific aircraft controls but this is an expansion, not a patch for FS X.

Graphics: 9.1
Got a hot video card? Flight Simulator X is the game that will show off what it can do. And Acceleration keeps the consistency of the top-end graphics intact.

Sound: 8.0
This element is what one would expect.

Difficulty: Medium/Hard

Concept: 8.0
Three new aircraft are fine, and the new mission scenarios associated with them are well and good but, aside from implementing some aircraft-specific control changes, there is not a lot new here.

Multiplayer: 8.4
Head-to-head air races in which you create the event is a nice touch. The flight mechanics really add to the challenge and fun.  

Overall: 8.4
At $30, this is a very nice expansion for Flight Sim X, bringing not just some new aircraft but solid multiplayer elements to the fore. Fans of the Flight Sim franchise should enjoy this.

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