This sim blows. my. mind! Finally, FINALLY, a developer has used the next gen tools on offer to create a truly next step in flight sims. That sounds a lot like hyperbole but it's not. They hit it out of the frackin' proverbial park this time! I can remember, a few years after FSX's DLC/expansion came out and it looked like MS was shifting away from flight sims, disbanding their flight sim division after decades of work. I wondered if that was it, if I was truly seeing the death of gaming's legacy. It was a sad day. A sad time. Even when they brought out that experimental sim based in Hawaii, I had doubts they would follow thru and I was right. But this...this is the real deal, my friends. You're watching history, the bar being raised right in front of us. I haven't even FLOWN YET! I've been gasping at the freakin' map all afternoon! Not only does it show time of day via the sun line, if you have full streaming enabled, it has the current satellite picture too! And IT MOVES! It's not static! On the map you can find just about any freakin' airport or landing strip known to man! Sometimes they're just farmers fields! Or a dirt road in the woods! Selecting an airport let's you see the CURRENT ARRIVALS AND DEPARTURES! Right there, right now! On the map, you can see every plane in the air at this moment and you can get details just as if you were on one of those sites that tracks flights. It's all right there! You can tweak just about everything and there's also a 'developer menu' option which has other things you can mess with, like turning on wireframe rendering, which is a mindfuck in itself! Like I said, I haven't even gotten INTO an airplane yet! I'm just savoring every minute like a perfectly prepared steak. I can not even imagine the mods and expansions this thing is going to have in three to five years time! There's already some stuff you can purchase...which brings me to the only negative (besides the high system requirements...my poor Core i5-9400f/16gb DDR4-3200/RTX 2060-6gb rig is giving it everything it's got and it's just >barely< adequate). There's an in-game store with 'micro' transactions, though the prices are anything but 'micro'. A new plane? $15. New airport? $5. Some are more than others. If you have the 'standard edition', you can upgrade to the 'deluxe' or 'premium deluxe' model, for $69 and $89 respectively. I am NOT at all crazy about this. It can be ignored, obviously, like the Destiny 2 store can be, but you miss out on some nice additions. We'll have to see how the mod scene pans out to know whether this becomes the de-facto standard or MS wakes TF up and drops it.
Also, if you get the game thru the MS store as I did, it will download a measly couple hundred meg file and then when you start the sim for the first time, you get smacked in the head with the 90+ gb download! I knew it was coming but even the final size being over 100 gigs was a bit of a surprise. Most of the scenery is being streamed so why do I still have 100 gigs worth of data installed?!? There's an option to not have the textures streamed though you still need to be connected online ('for authentication'...their words, not mine). The non-streamed assets are...ick. Basically FSX quality. Flat and low res. You still have 3D buildings but the landscape is all flat and pixelated. Not my first choice and it seems the non-streamable option is a bit redundant since you still have to be online anyway. I guess it's more for those with data caps (which is something they mention during setup). Overall, though, not actually having flown anything yet, I'm in awe. And if the screens in the various menus and loading screens are anything to go by, I'm in for more hot jaw-on-the-floor action.