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Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004: A Century of Flight Print E-mail
User Rating: / 7
Written by Daniel Westerstal   
Saturday, 02 June 2007

Have you ever tried to land in a monsterous blizzard on a small island outside the coast of Alaska in a DC-3? Didn’t think so, but don’t worry Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004: A Century of Flight will let you.

Flight Simulator 2004 Screenshot

It has been hard finding the differences between all the Microsoft Flight Simulator releases through the years. Nothing much has happened since the 2000 edition, except for some improvements of the 3D-engine. Redmond wanted to celebrate 100 years of flight (in 2003), so they created a new game with lots of historically significant planes, the results was of course Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004: A Century of Flight.

The planes that come with Flight Simulator 2004 are interesting indeed; the Wright Flyer, DC-3, Vickers Vimy, Spirit of St Louis and the Curtiss Jenny. You have to give Microsoft credit for the beautiful modelling and feel of the planes, however you instantly notice that some of them are harder to fly than more modern planes. Trying to taxi with the Spirit of St Louis or the DC-3 is hard work, and getting the Wright Broders Plane off the ground is also a challenge. A nice addition to flying is all the historical information behind the planes. A plane that I miss is Concorde which is no where to be seen (Concorde only available in version 2000).

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 also comes with a lot of modern planes from smaller ones to Cessna 172 and 182 to Boeing 737 and 747. There are also helicopters, sail-planes and an Amphibian plane. This version of Flight Simulator really offers the best selection of planes and helicopters in the whole series.

Flying in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 is not that easy but if you have been using the previous versions of the game you should feel right at home. As usual the keyboard is inadequate and you really need a joystick to enjoy playing, it’s even better if you got one with force feedback because then you will also feel what’s happening.

The scenery in the game is as usual amazing, nearly every airport in the world is available and they are very accurate. There is also some beautiful world city models of Las Vegas, New York, Hong Kong and so on. Navigating the game is also now more realistic since, now you are actually using Garmin GPS-systems, it also makes Flight Simulator 2004 a little bit easier.

Microsoft gave the weather system in Flight Simulator 2004 a complete overhaul, the system is now more dynamic and realistic. To be quite frank I don’t notice the difference, the winds might be a little bit more realistic as it can be calm one minute and then the plane gets hit by a side wind.
Learning Center is a great new feature in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004. Basically it’s a bunch of flying courses with everything from basic landings and take-offs to navigation and more advanced maneuvers. There is also an instructor giving you advice and tips, he is very calm even when you are about to crash. Basically the instructor really feels like a computer, not a human.

No doubt about it Flight Simulator 2004 is a hardcore simulator, you have to keep focused and long flights can easily get boring, basically the game is not for everyone. If Microsoft would like to broaden this simulators appeal they would have to create two modes, one simulation mode and a simpler more basic arcade mode.

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 is the most extensive flight simulator so far, it’s also very realistic and is fun in small portions (usually when landing and taking off). I really love all the planes in the game and the scenery from all over the world, this is a must have if you are a flight buff.

Flight Simulator 2004 Screenshot Flight Simulator 2004 Screenshot Flight Simulator 2004 Screenshot Flight Simulator 2004 Screenshot Flight Simulator 2004 Screenshot Flight Simulator 2004 Screenshot Flight Simulator 2004 Screenshot
Related: YS Flight Simulation System 2000, LockOn: Modern Air Combat
Developer: Microsoft Game Studios
Website for Game:
Microsoft Game Studios
O/S: Windows 98/ME/2000/XP/Vista
Year of Release: 2007

Pentium 450 MHz, 128 MB RAM, 8 MB VRAM
Tested on:
AMD Athlon 64 2.2 GHz, 2x512 MB RAM, Geforce 4 64 MB, Windows XP.

Score 8

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