There are several Flight Simulator games currently available on the market and, while many of them are enjoyable enough to play, in my opinion, no flight simulator software provides players with the depth and well-rounded experience that is delivered in Virtual Pilot 3D.
This Virtual Pilot 3D review will cover every aspect – both the good and the bad – of what this 3D flight simulator has to offer. This review has been written to provide you with as many details as possible so that when/if you decide to buy a flight simulator, you’ve got all the information you need to make an informed decision.
Virtual Pilot 3D certainly isn’t perfect – like anything, it has both ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ – although it is one of the highest selling flying simulator games available online and has a really solid reputation amongst the video game community.
Let’s get into the Virtual Pilot 3D review so we can go over this simulator in a little more detail.
Flying Experience – Realistic Environments and Graphics
No matter how good a helicopter simulator game's additional features are, it is the actual in-game flying experience that will determine whether the game provides an enjoyable experience to the player.
I’ve played many of the best flight simulator games for PC over the years but nothing has ever impressed me like Virtual Pilot 3D did the first time I took to the sky.
The graphics are crisp and run smoothly (even on a basic PC – see specifications later in the review) and you can instantly tell that every cockpit, control panel and plane itself have been painstakingly recreated from real-life models. The attention to detail really is fantastic and goes a long way towards making you feel as if you’re actually piloting a real-life aircraft.
View Virtual Pilot Screenshots Here >>
Free, Regular Updates for Life
There’s nothing worse than buying a game and then, only months or even weeks later, having to pull out your wallet again to purchase downloadable and new content.
I was particularly impressed with the fact that Virtual Pilot 3D not only provides new content, maps and planes on a regular, monthly basis, but does it all for free for those who have previously purchased the game.
This means that the airplane simulator always feels fresh and never gets boring as there are always new things to see and planes to fly. The fact that you only pay a one-off fee for the game and you know that all future updates will be available to download for free was a massive influence in me choosing this flight simulator software.
I’ve never been a big fan of online play on consoles but the multiplayer portion offered up in Virtual Pilot 3D is really addictive and adds an entirely different element to your flying experience.
If you’re into playing online with your buddies then you can chat live, share tips and take part in a number of the multiplayer games that are available.
I tend to prefer to fly solo but I know a lot of people who are die-hard fans of flying simulator games that swear that this is their favourite feature of the entire Virtual Pilot 3D experience.
Huge Choice of Aircraft, Airports and Maps
It is easy to be a little overwhelmed when you first start playing Virtual Pilot 3D because there really are so many places for you to begin and a ridiculous amount of aircraft for you to choose from.
At last count there were around 200 aircraft that you can take off in which, in itself is enough to keep you playing for weeks on end. That number continues to grow too because – as mentioned earlier – new planes are constantly being added via free updates. These numbers rival almost all other PC Flight Simulator Games that I've tired.
It’s exciting when an update comes in because it’s almost like unwrapping a present. You find yourself waiting to discover which new, high-powered toy that this new flight simulator is going to let you fly next!
All the airports that you can land in (there are over 25,000 in the full scenery set,) are based on real-world locations and have accurate runway markings and lighting. The depth of detail that has gone into recreating these locations is truly awesome.
Anyone who has ever played a flight simulator game knows that there is a lot more to it than loading up the game and pushing ‘this button’ to fly.
The flight controls of each, individual aircraft are really detailed and, as in the best flight simulators each plane is different and based on real-world controls, they all take a bit of getting used to before they can be flown smoothly.
The tutorials that are available in Virtual Pilot 3D really make this transition easy and there were more than a few times that I was glad they were there to call on.
In the past I’ve played airplane games where I’ve simply had to ignore certain aircraft – no matter how much I wanted to take them for a spin - because they were too difficult to fly and there were no tutorials to teach me how.
The fact that these tutorials make any aircraft in Virtual Pilot 3D accessible, regardless of your experience level, is a great feature.
60 Day, Money Back Guarantee
When you buy Virtual Pilot 3D you’re automatically given a 60 Day, Money Back Guarantee on the product.
Essentially this means that you could try the game for a full two months, risk-free and, if it didn’t live up to your expectations, then you can just request – and receive – 100% of your money back!
I always think it is a great sign when you see someone put their money where their mouth is like
this. It is rare, especially in the video game industry, to see anyone
offering to give you your money back at all, especially after letting
you test and play the game for two months.
Joy Stick or Keyboard Support
The best PC flight simulator should always offer support for both keyboard and joystick controls.
Sometimes if you’re just heading up for a leisurely flight, then navigating your way around using the keyboard will be fine.
When you’re involved in some more high-adrenaline battles, however, nothing can replace gripping the joystick and getting right into the action.
I tend to use the joystick all of the time when I’m up in the air because it just feels more realistic. I think it is a positive that keyboard controls are also available because that way, players aren’t forced to head out and buy a joystick at an additional cost to get the most out of their PC flight simulator experience.
I know some players who think that ‘live’ weather features in flying simulator games are just a gimmick but, for some reason, I really love it and think it just adds another layer of realism into the Virtual Pilot 3D universe.
Basically if - in the real world - it’s 10pm at night and raining in Sydney Australia, then in the flight simulator world it too will be 10pm at night and raining in Sydney, Australia.
It’s a small addition that I’m sure lots of gamers wouldn’t even take into consideration but for me it makes me feel even more involved and gets me that one-step closer to feeling like I’m really up in the air; that attention-to-detail goes a long way to determining the best flight sim.
Slower Customer Support
The first slight flaw in this Virtual Pilot 3D Review. The customer support that the Virtual Pilot 3D team offers certainly isn’t bad – in fact, it is actually quite good – but the time you have to wait for a response is definitely slower than others.
The developers contact page claims that support tickets are answered in 2 – 3 Days. When I recently contacted Virtual Pilot 3D support with an enquiry I waited a little under 36 hours to get a response. To be fair, however, the response I did get was extremely detailed and addressed all of my questions.
2 – 3 Days isn't the worst turnaround for customer service, but with the standard wait time for most support tickets being less than 24 hours I think this is an area that can certainly be improved upon, especially if your issue is important and preventing you from enjoying the game. Customers are getting the best flight simulator for PC so surely they can expect the customer service to match, right?
Size of Download/Set Up Files
Fitting all of the crisp graphics, maps and aircraft into one, neat, small file was always going to be near-impossible even for the best flight simulator game.
There’s no denying that the size of the download files for Virtual Pilot 3D are certainly on the larger size and - depending on your Internet connection – can really take a while to download and install. It isn’t unheard of for players to have to wait several hours before they can actually install the game and get flying.
As a solution, Virtual Pilot 3D developers offer an option to purchase a DVD containing all of the setup files instead of opting to wait for a digital download. If you’re the kind of person who likes to own ‘hard copies’ of your games then this might be a better option for you.
Personally, I always just prefer to download my files directly. I figured that although waiting those handful of hours for everything to download was annoying, it would still be faster than waiting to have a hard copy delivered in the post.
Tough for Beginners
Airplane simulator games are notorious for having a steep learning curve. The high level of initial difficulty is actually one of the things that fans of the genre like the most because, unlike many modern console titles, flight simulators games for PC actually challenge you to learn and become a better player; it isn’t just a case of mashing buttons and hoping for the best.
Despite there being some really useful tutorials available for each aircraft, newcomers to the flight simulator genre might find the learning curve a little tough and could be put off by the difficulty.
If you’re not afraid of a challenge though and you’re willing to stick with it for a few tries until you get it right, the difficulty level shouldn’t prove too much of a problem at all.
Despite its price tag I don’t think anyone can argue that Virtual Pilot 3D isn’t one of the best flight games pc has to offer today. There’s also no denying that with free, monthly updates and an enormous amount of planes and maps already available players are getting brilliant value for money when compared to some of the cheaper alternatives.
The game’s deep attention to detail and smooth game play goes a long way in setting it head-and-shoulders above the competition as far as I’m concerned. In-game tutorials make it accessible to both newcomers and die-hard flight simulator fans alike and a Risk-Free 60 Day, Money Back Guarantee showcases just how confident the developers are in their product.
It may not be the cheapest flight simulator on the market although I’m convinced it’s most certainly the best. If you’re a newcomer to the genre and have asked the question, 'what is the best flight simulator for PC?' then Virtual Pilot 3D is a great place to start and if you’re a flight sim loyalist you’ll love the real-world features and multiplayer component. It’s hard to dispute that this game isn’t the most comprehensive flight simulator around.
*Update – At the time of writing Virtual Pilot 3D developers were offering Virtual Pilot 3D's VIP Premium Package for for $289.95 $127 - that's $165 saved instantly, guys! They did mention this was only until the next update so you'll have to click the link below to see if the offer is still valid.
Secure Your Limited-Time Discounted Price - $289.95 $127!