To start off, let me specify my personal computer specs: Pentium 3.0 GHz processor, 2GB RAM and an ATI Raedeon X 850 with 256MB RAM. You might be wondering why; but this is very crucial to the observations below.
Flight Simulator X comes in 2 DVDs and is huge in terms of system requirements! It takes a solid 30 minutes to install it and once finished, there’s a few minutes of waiting before the menu finally show on screen. Apparently, Microsoft has programmed a code to optimize the Flight Simulator X’s settings in your computer. And after the screen has appeared there is a menu that looks like Flight Simulator 9, along with a sweeping music score straight from an Indiana Jones movie.
The Deluxe Edition includes 24 planes you can choose from. When you have chosen and your selection has loaded, you then see a cockpit. The game default places you in a virtual cockpit; however, you may still choose the 2D instrument view. The controls are rather simple, save for the frame rate. At this point, you may set your settings at medium-low. There is a chase plane view by pressing the S key – this view allows you to see outside the plane and the surroundings.
Next, you get a clearance from the Air Traffic Control to taxi into an active runway. The frame rate at this stage still isn’t good. I discovered that minimizing the graphic settings can improve this issue a little, but it’s still worse compared to FS9. And on this note, let me emphasize that FS9 runs on the highest settings in the PC I just described earlier, with no problem whatsoever when it comes to frame rates. This is why I still have my FS9 multiple third party add-on packs installed, to enhance several features such as weather, the cockpit, and other AI planes.
Much to my disappointment – and most likely yours, too when you get your hands on it – the so-called “new” graphics is not at all new but just the same as in FS9. There was nothing substantial that added or improved on the planes. Some changes are mostly on the effects, such as the cloud features and the water effects.
It occurred to me, though that this is probably because I have the settings in minimum; but that’s the only viable option. I have noted that if I set it at Ultra-high, the game turns into a slide show presentation. The minimum setting is the only way I can play the game on the PC that I have.
But I decided not to give up on FS X – yet; and still give it a chance. I went off to try missions. There are more than 50 missions in the game which includes rescue missions and cargo runs. Twenty of the 50 are beginner missions, 14 intermediate, 10 advanced and 7 for experts. The missions sound fun. And there are unique challenges that make the most seasoned pilot sweat. I have to warn you, when doing the missions, the frame rate still interferes.
So here’s the verdict for FS X. If you have a PC that is only at par with what I have described earlier, this is not a recommended game for you. The frame rate is going to be a real problem; and expect the graphics to be dull. I would recommend that you try FS 9: A Century of Flight, instead. For those who have high end PCs, however, install the game and play to your hearts’ content. The game’s strength lies on its mission and on the graphics when in ultra high settings.