Important Things to Remember About Choosing Flight Simulator Games: (These are all covered in a lot more detail in the article below so if you're looking for the best flight simulator game, keep reading!)
Flight simulator games can provide people with a specific mix of excitement and escapism that not too many other games can claim to offer.
Precise attention-to-detail and a challenging, yet rewarding, degree of difficulty are just the beginning of what makes flight simulators one of the most widely popular PC game genres.
Not all flight simulators are created equal, though.
While some boast superb realism, fantastic aircraft models and a whole host of other great features, some others fall desperately short, delivering sub-standard graphics, clunky frame rates and worse.
Knowing exactly what to look for when choosing a flight simulator could prove the difference between you having an extraordinary virtual aviation experience and paying for a disappointing, second-rate simulator.
Selecting the wrong PC flight simulator can cost you your time and – perhaps more importantly – your hard-earned money. The more informed you are about what separates a great flight simulator from the rest, the more likely that you’ll be ready to make an informed and educated choice when it comes to choosing the best flight sim.
The Internet seems to be full of over-hyped and biased reviews which all sound the same and offer little in terms of substantial, valuable information. Here, however, you’ll find the facts.
Read on as we dive right into the essential information you need to know when selecting a flight simulator game.
Many people begin playing flight simulators for the exact same reason I started playing over 15 years ago – they want to FEEL what it’s like to be an actual pilot.
While obtaining your real-life pilot’s license is extremely expensive and requires literally hundreds of hours of training, plane simulator games are able to offer many of the same incredible thrills without the hefty price tag.
It is the high level of attention-to-detail and exceptional realism of a flight simulator that make it so popular. In many cases – particularly with the well-developed titles - they’re literally the closest, ‘next best’ thing to actually being up in the air.
If you're yet to experience an airplane simulator then this is the kind of thing you've been missing out on:
Imagine that you’re in the cockpit of an enormous Boeing 737, staring forward at the impressive amount of hardware sitting literally at your fingertips.
You turn your head and look outward to the crystal blue skies and you know that, in mere moments, you’ll be soaring through them, thousands of feet in the air.
Reaching forward you adjust your switches, check the gauges and push forward on the thrust levers as you finally begin to feel a rush as you realise that the safety of this beautiful aircraft and its upcoming journey now lies entirely in your hands.
This is an amazing, unrivalled experience.
Prior to the arrival of airplane simulator games that roar of adrenaline you feel immediately after you’ve become airborne for the first time was only reserved for licensed, 'real-life' pilots.
The best flight simulator games can capture your imagination and propel you into an incredibly realistic world where you actually FEEL the responsibility, power and pride that accompanies being a pilot.
Any flight simulator can boast about having flashy graphics and a cheap price tag but that’s all pointless if it can’t engage you as a player and make you feel as if you’re actually living the moment.
When choosing a new flight simulator game, you simply can’t place enough importance on sheer realism. This can include everything from cockpit design, instrument functionality and even where in the world you’re able to fly.
Realism is the HEARTBEAT of a great flight simulator game and without it; you may never reach the height of escapism and involvement that you’ve been searching for.
Imagine you’re in the market for a new car and you’re chatting with the dealer about a particular model that has really caught your eye.
Think about the types of questions you’re likely to ask when you’re looking to make a decision as to whether or not this particular vehicle is the one you’ve been searching for.
The vague, uninformed car-buyer is likely to ask questions like, “How fast can it go?’ ‘What colours does it come in? And probably even, ‘Does it have a plug for my iPhone?'
These are similar to the PC gamers who buy a particular flight simulator game because it has a catchy name or is dirt cheap. They’re the customers who don’t know what they should be looking for and, as a result, are often disappointed with the decision they make and what they end up with.
The savvy customer on the other hand (which I’m hoping includes you!) asks the car dealer to pop the hood so they can take a look at the engine and asks shrewd, considered questions like, ‘How many miles does it get to the gallon?’ and ‘What features exactly does this model have that the others don’t?’
The key here is SUBSTANCE – being smart enough to take the time to check out exactly what is ‘underneath the hood.’
Identifying the best flight simulator game involves taking the time to go beyond scratching the surface to actually look at the features it has to offer. Examining the features and what the game actually offers you is perhaps the most vital step.
A game can have the greatest marketing in the world but if it doesn’t have SUBSTANCE then it’s almost guaranteed to disappoint.
You’re probably starting to get a much clearer idea now of exactly what you need to look for when picking which flight simulator game is best suited to you...
...if you want to learn the final, VITAL elements of how to best identify a great flight simulator game, then you’ll need to keep reading just a little more. Continue with my guide on finding the best flight sim features and get a rundown of the MOST essential things to keep in mind when choosing between flight simulator games.
Perhaps the most common sticking point people have – me included – when it comes to purchasing anything, including a new flight simulator game, is PRICE.
PRICE almost instantly determines our decision as to whether or not a product is right for us. I’ve learnt, however, to not be so hasty when it comes to focusing on price as, through past experiences, I’ve come to realise that a lot of times opting to purchase higher-quality, 'best flight simulator' games, even if they’re slightly more expensive, can actually save you money.
Let me use a basic example to show you what I mean.
Let’s say I decide to buy a particular flight simulator game for $40... It isn’t my first choice but I’m looking to save some money.
After installing the game I quickly realise the graphics are terrible and the aircraft models look extremely outdated.
Instead of opting to pay for the more expensive flight simulator – despite it still being my #1 choice – I again purchase yet another cheaper alternative for $40.
This time I’m disappointed with the almost-unbelievely small, limited choice of locations that this second game allows me to fly to and the frame rate is one big glitch-filled nightmare.
Finally I decide to just pay for the slightly more expensive flight simulator; it has features I’m excited about, an impressive amount of aircraft to choose from and it has an excellent reputation... It costs me a little under $60.
That means that because I was looking to save a little money in the short term – despite identifying the best flight simulator for PC to begin with – I’ve actually ended up spending MORE money. When you add to that the hours of frustration and stress brought on by the other two, lower-quality flight simulator game purchases I made and it becomes clear that sometimes, spending more on a quality product in the short term can actually save you money in the long term.
Now I know that is a very straight-forward example but the simple point still remains undeniably true...oftentimes it is better to pay a little more to get what you want instead of saving a little at the expense of the overall quality of the product.
The idea of ‘complete freedom’ is advertised a lot in airplane games and is one of the main features that both thrill and draw players in.
The thought of being able to select a plane or helicopter from a vast variety of aircraft and then pilot it to literally anywhere in the world is extremely exciting.
A lot of flight simulators though – most often the ‘freeware’ or ‘in-browser’ options – often tempt you with the allure of freedom before slapping limitations on which aircraft you can choose and which locations and areas you’re allowed to fly in.
Needless to say these are the types of flight simulators you’d like to avoid. After all, if you’re limited in any way as to what you can do or where you can go, you’re not getting the engrossing, realistic FREEDOM that makes for a memorable PC flight simulator experience.
To illustrate exactly how important freedom of choice is in terms of identifying the best flight simulator games, think of it like this:
Picture being given the keys to a brand new, pristine condition Lamborghini sports car; you’d be pretty pumped up about getting in and taking it for a spin, right?
Imagine though, as soon as you buckle your seatbelt, you’re told that you’re only allowed to drive the car around the same block - again and again - and that you’ve got to keep your speed significantly below the legal limit.
It’s fair to say that your excitement would have likely dwindled a lot by now and that’s because you’re freedom and fun have been tightly limited and controlled.
The same applies when you’re playing a flight simulator; if you’re told where you’re allowed to go and how you’re allowed to get there, then that thrill and freedom associated with being a pilot... is lost.
When you’re searching for the best flight sim you need to ensure that freedom is a priority.
A large amount of aircraft styles to select from and no limitations on where in the world you can fly are two HUGE features that absolutely need to be in place.
The whole point of playing a flight simulator game is to escape and really feel like you’re in control; the more freedom you’ve got to explore the more thrilling your experiences will be.
Important Things to Remember About Choosing Flight Simulator Games:
You’ve taken the time to learn exactly what to look for when selecting a flight simulator so now you can stop wasting your energy and money on frustrating, low-quality flight simulator games and instead choose a high-quality classic.
By applying the information you’ve read here today, when it comes to choosing a flight simulator game, you’re now much more likely to make an informed decision that will leave you entertained and satisfied.
By selecting a game which meets only the highest standards - including those I’ve outlined above - is almost always going to deliver the most enjoyment to you in the long run.
Now, click and take a closer look at one of the most
realistic flight simulator games currently available.