Okay, this week on Demo-Lition, we are going to explore two games that are more “free game” than “demo”… or at least, that is how they are being billed. Both are flight sims (I’ll be getting into some FPS games next week)
The first game up for review is Microsoft Flight. (free on Steam, or GfWL)
Billed as a free game, I still have to ask “is it? Or is it just a demo?”
I’ll start with the mechanics of the game. Let’s just say, as far as flight sims go, it is quite fantastic. Some people are complaining about the missions, and saying it’s not a “true flight sim”, however, I would disagree. In free flight mode, and some of the missions, it is very much a true sim, and the selection of planes in the free version an Icon A5 (free on download) as well as the Boeing Stearman N25 (Free with Windows Live registration) are, in real life, rather simple planes to fly. They have all views one would expect from a flight sim, and handle how you would expect a sim to handle, with factors like wind, and altitude impacting the game.
The free game has a lot to do in it, from flight training, to landing tests, to various games, and missions, however, the job board is where it feels like a demo, as you only tend to run across one or two jobs that can be played with the free version, and the rest of the jobs require you to buy the Maule M-7-260C Orion ($15) to do. The missions and free flight are all doable in the free mode, however (missions are separate from “jobs”. Each airport has a “jobs board” where you can earn XP from doing everything from taking a person for a $100 hamburger, to air fright, to delivering medical supplies)
So far, the stuff you would have to pay for is the
Maule M-7-260C ($15)
P-51 Mustang ($8)
A6M2 Zero ($7)
and the “Hawaiian Adventure Pack” which is $20, and comes with the Van RV-6A
The free game only has the Big Island, and the Hawaiian Adventure Pack gives you the rest of Hawaii, the extra plane, and a lot more missions, and jobs.
Now, here’s the second complaint from flight sim enthusiasts… the Mustang, and the Zero don’t come with cockpit views! What sort of flight sim doesn’t have a cockpit view? The accusations, is that Microsoft decided to simply charge money for an unfinished product! Fortunately, neither of those planes are required for any mission, or job, so, not buying them is really no skin off anyone’s nose, and doesn’t take from the enjoyment of the game itself.
Now, all that said, here’s where the game shines. Flight sims of the past, have always left a bit to the imagination as far as scenery is concerned, and honestly, for the casual gamer, the scenery is a lot of the appeal. The scenery in Microsoft Flight is FANTASTIC! Even in free mode! Also, unlike a lot of flight sims, this one can be played rather easily with a mouse and keyboard.
All in all, I say it’s worth the download, especially if you miss some of the old school flight sims like “Flight Unlimited”, and Microsoft Flight, and wished they had better scenery, and interactive cockpits.
Does it do it’s job as a demo? I would have to say yes. It shows you everything the game is capable of, and if it’s your cup of tea, you end up wanting to buy into it. Though, it could be a bit more clear to the consumer that two of their planes for sell have no cockpits, but, at least they don’t force those on the free user.
Our second freebie is “Rise of Flight”. (http://riseofflight.com/en)
This game seems to get a lot of press in the gaming mags, and for good reason.
It is a WWI flight sim, that seems as if someone said “hey, remember Red Baron 3D? Let’s do that, but better!”
It started out with a demo mode, but, the company decided to simply open the game up as a free game, giving you only two aircraft to chose from, and the option to buy more.
As far as what they give you, aircraft wise, the choices are a bit generic, but good. The graphics, and flight mechanics are FANTASTIC! The game itself comes with plenty to keep you occupied for a long time, and a desire to buy more planes. The game also offers extra campaigns, and maps for an additional cost. The scenery is wonderful, the mechanics are great, and it suits both the hard core combat flight simmer, as well as the casual user. The free version is very playable with the games they give you (so no frustration of “damn, I wish I could beat this, but I have to pay for a better plane!” sort of deal.
Once again, this game does what a demo should, by showing off what the game can do, and gives you a reason to buy, but without forcing you to buy.
I say it’s worth the download, however, though this game you can also use a mouse to fly, I would highly recommend a decent HOTAS (Hands On Throttle-And-Stick) for better control.
Now, the nitty-gritty…
Microsoft Flight Minimum System Requirements
OS: WinXP SP3
CPU: Dual Core 2.0 GHz
GFX: 256 MB card capable of shader 3.0 (DX 9.0c compliant)
HDD: 10 GB Hard Disk Drive space
Microsoft Flight Recommended System Requirements
OS: Windows 7 64-bit
CPU: Intel® Core™ i7 960 @ 3.20GHz, AMD® Phenom™ II X6 1100T 3.3 GHz or better
GFX: ATI Radeon™ HD 5870, NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 560 or better
Rise of Flight Recommended System Requirements
Operating System Windows® XP (SP2)/ Vista (SP1) / Windows® 7 (SP1)
CPU Intel® Core™ 2 Quad 2.6 GHz+ or Intel® Core™ i5/i7 2.6 GHz+
GPU 1024 Mb+, GeForce GTX 260+/Radeon HD5850+
RAM 4 Gb+
Sound DirectX 9.0c/11 compatible
Free Hard Drive space 10 Gb+
Internet Connection for Registration, Career Mode, Statistics Tracking, 256 Kb/s - for Multiplayer
Richard “Warflight” Lantz