Fly free with Microsoft Flight

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It seems this site’s vision of “some day all software will be free” has taken another step toward actualization with the legendary Microsoft Flightsimulator being recently released free to play.

Its business model consists of the core experience being free while charging for DLC that expands the game, a model being adopted by many MMO games out there. Since this is Freewaregenius, we’ll focus on what you get for free.

If you have played any of the previous Microsoft Flight simulators, you’re in for a similar treat with updated graphics and greatly simplified controls.

While the previous versions were touted as being detailed enough to prepare for actual flight training, Microsoft Flightis simple enough to be controlled by the keyboard and mouse. In my opinion, that makes it all the more relaxing and enjoyable. The first few missions only take a short time to complete and go through the basics of controlling your plane, so I won’t get lost in those details. I’ll simply say the mouse controls your trajectory while the keyboard controls things like throttle, landing gear, views, amongst others.

Microsoft Flight Screenshot

You can download the 1.43GB game installer from the official website or Steam. I chose to use Steam and I had no problems downloading or launching the game. With the free base Microsoft Flight, you get a single plane, the Icon A5, and courses around the biggest island of Hawaii. By completing missions in the game, you can unlock a new paint scheme for your plane. From the marketplace, in-game, or in Steam, you can purchase the rest of the Hawaiian island chain and additional planes if you so choose.

Games for Windows will be installed alongside Microsoft Flight unless you already have it. The game is polished and has the quality of a fully commercial game. With development still going on for additional Downloadable Content, it’s exciting to see what planes or maps could come out next. The base game provides plenty to do and great graphics. It’s a fun game that will take plenty of flights to explore the area and master everything while the controls seem to have found the right balance between allowing you to easily do what you want without being frustrating to memorize what function each key does.

If you have played or had any interest in flight simulators in the past, I recommend checking out Microsoft Flight. The price is certainly right (Free!) for the basic game experience.

The minimum and recommended requirements follow, copied from the official website.

Minimum:

  • OS:Windows XP (SP3)
  • Processor:Dual Core 2.0 GHz
  • Memory:2 GB RAM
  • Graphics:256 MB card capable of shader 3.0
  • DirectX®:9.0c
  • Hard Drive:10 GB HD space
  • Games for Windows – LIVE System Requirements:Multiplayer play and other LIVE features included at no charge; games may offer additional downloads that may require additional fees. LIVE is not available in all countries, visit www.xbox.com/en-US/live/countries for more information.Features and system requirements may change without notice. Subject to Terms of Use (at www.gamesforwindows.com/live/termsofuse). Broadband Internet service required (sold separately). Some broadband services may not work with LIVE and performance may vary. Under 13 requires parental consent. See www.gamesforwindows.com/live for full details.

Recommended:

  • OS:Windows 7 64-bit
  • Processor:Intel® Core™ i7 960 @ 3.20GHz, AMD® Phenom™ II X6 1100T 3.3 GHz
  • Memory:6 GB RAM
  • Graphics:ATI Radeon™ HD 5870, NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 560
  • DirectX®:9.0c
  • Hard Drive:15 GB HD space
  • Other Requirements:Broadband Internet connection

Get it from the official website (~1.43GB).