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PC Reviews: Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004

 

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 Professional Edition Screenshots



 

The Final Say!

Gameplay
8.5
Graphics
8.5
Sound
8.0
Value
8.5

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004: A Century of Flight - reviewed by Andrew B
Review Date: 4 August 2003
Review Score: 8.5/10
Distributed by Microsoft 

"Easily one of the most realistic flight simulators of all time... that unfortunately comes at a cost to the average PC Gamer."

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004: A century of flight is the latest addition to the family of flight simulators from Microsoft and celebrates the first 100 years of flight for mankind. To celebrate the first 100 years of flight, Microsoft have also included nine historical accurate aircrafts that have all made impacts on the history of flight.
You can even reenact the first flight of the Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur who on the 17th of December 1903 changed the way that man would view transport. Fast forward time another 16 years and get inside the Vickers Vimy to become the first person to cross the Atlantic in this huge aircraft that spanned over 68 feet. Other historical flights include the Spirit of St. Louis that flew from New York to Paris and the Douglas DC-3 that was one of the first passengers planes that allowed passengers to sit in comfort.

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004:
A century of flight features

  • Dynamic weather system
  • Enhanced interactive ATC
  • Interactive 3D cockpits
  • Scenery improvements
  • Improved support for 3D graphics hardware
  • Learning Centre
  • New and expanded lessons and ground school topics
  • Kiosk mode for unattended demonstrations

Another new feature of 2004 is that ability to fly your aircrafts in real-world weather conditions. What does this all mean? Quite simply put, if it's raining in Sydney, then it will be raining in the simulator if you fly to Sydney. This option allows you to connect to the internet and get the latest weather conditions for your flight path. The game also supports a very concise encyclopaedia of flight that gives gamers a plethora of real world information regarding the history of flight.

The gameplay of 2004 is almost identical to the 2002 edition but unlike the superior planes of today, 2004 is almost wholly based on historical aircrafts so don't expect flights that break the sound barrier too often. Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 is the most realistic commercial flight simulator available in the world and I would highly recommend that all people who are interested in accurate flight simulators to purchase a flight stick for the computer as the mouse and keyboard cannot do this game justice.

 

Graphically Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 isn't a huge improvement over its predecessor but the terrain detail does look more in-depth and three dimensional. Unfortunately this is where the price of 2004 comes into action and if you do not have a powerful computer system then you will be missing out on quite a lot of detail. From the skies, you can actually see the waves break along the beaches, cities are now more built up and are extremely detailed. Gone are the days of flat surfaces as just about everything in 2004 now features a variety of three dimensional textures.

Easily one of the most improved aspects of 2004 is the amazing weather effects that have been flawless incorporated into the game. The game also supports a variety of seasonal weather options that look quite spectacular. The clouds move as if they do in real life and a summer sunset actually looks like a real sunset with all the clouds having that unearthly hue to them. One of my favourite special effects in the game are the intense thunderstorms that actually send shivers down your spine from the realistic lighting and sound effects. The cockpits are also extremely detailed with every button, dial and switch faithfully recreated. Last but not least are the beautiful 3D rendered planes that look quite spectacular when you switch to an outside view.

The sound effects of 2004 contain all the real actual world sound effects of each individual plane, so when you are flying a Boeing 747, you actually hear the real sounds of the Boeing, from inside to out. Apart from the perfect engine sounds, that's all that 2004 has got going for in the sound department. But what do you expect, it's a realistic flight simulator.

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 isn't a huge improvement over its predecessor but it is very hard to improve something that is already almost perfect. Unfortunately the average gamer doesn't own a Pentium 4 3.2Ghz with a Radeon 9200, so much of the special effects will be lost in the ether. 2004 isn't really a game as the learning curve is extremely high and it doesn't get anymore realistic than this. I would recommend this game to the die hard flight simulator fans or for those people that fancy themselves as pilots. Check it out!

- Andrew B

Minimum Requirements
Windows PC 2000/XP ;128 MB Ram 98/Me ; 64 MB Ram ;Processor:450 MHz minimum ;Available hard drive space:1.8 GB ;DirectX 9 or later (included with Microsoft ;Flight Simulator: A Century of Flight) ;Video card: 8 MB/3D with DirectX 7.0 or later drivers ;Other: mouse, joystick/yoke, sound card, speakers/headphones ;Online/multiplayer: 56.6 kbps modem or LAN


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