X-Plane

Online flight simulator that allows players to feel like they’re actually in the flight seat

6.6

678 Votes

  • Category Flight Simulators
  • License Trial version
  • Version b8 10.10
  • Size 2.32 MB
  • Works under Windows 8 / Windows 7 / Windows Vista / Windows XP
  • Language English
  • Program by X-plane

The world's most realistic desktop flight simulator.

Created by Laminar Research, X-Plane is a flight simulator which has grown in popularity over recent years, due in part to the discontinuation of the Microsoft Flight Simulator series. The game is marketed as being the world's most advanced flight simulator and focuses on realistic simulation, rather than accessible gameplay.

A number of major aviation companies make use of the software as part of their pilot training programmes, including the likes of Boeing, the Federal Aviation Administration, Japan Airlines and even NASA. The desktop version is a slightly downgraded simulator, but still focuses on accurate physics and controls. So does it live up to its reputation?

Take Off

The first thing a player will notice about X-Plane is that it is resource heavy, requiring a decent computer to run it and plenty of space for installation. Indeed, extracting the game, along with its scenery files, can take a very long time and the ideal system requirements are at least 8GB of RAM; preferably considerably more.

Like most flight simulation software, the controls can be configured based on the hardware available, although it works best with a joystick. With a focus on simulation and no real tutorials on offer, getting used to the game can be a challenge in itself and many casual gamers may find they simply run out of patience.

The graphics and 3D cockpits are immediately impressive and, assuming you do actually manage to get off the ground, there is a whole lot to be impressed with as well.

Freedom to Fly

Once a user gets to grips with the controls and masters the aerodynamics system, which relies on blade element theory, it becomes apparent that this is an excellent experience for aspiring pilots, or those with a keen interest in flying. There is a great selection of aircraft, including both planes and helicopters, with more available to download.

Although there are 'situations' in the game, which function like scenarios, the gameplay is very much geared towards giving the user complete freedom to explore and go wherever they please. In this sense, it can be considered less of a game to be completed, and more of a hobby to be enjoyed over time. Certainly, the experience of successfully flying to real places is exhilarating and enjoyable in its own right.

However, X-Plane is not without its problems. Despite the huge files, the scenery is far from perfect and features a lot of barren land and disjointed landscapes. Moreover, the software is prone to crashing. Nonetheless, this is a realistic simulator, which has much to offer and will appeal strongly to hardcore flight enthusiasts.

Pros

  • Ultra realistic flight physics
  • Joystick support offers an authentic control system
  • Visually impressive
  • Can be useful for those learning to fly

Cons

  • Controls will be difficult for casual gamers
  • Has fairly high system requirements
  • Prone to bugs and crashes
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