Microsoft Flight Simulator has been definitely one of the most-anticipated games of the year, and the verdict is finally out: with a 94 score on Metacritic as of this writing. It’s the best-reviewed Xbox Game Studios games in years, as well as the highest-reviewed PC game of the year as pointed out by Video Games Chronicle. It’s really great to see Microsoft’s oldest game franchise come back to life in such a glorious manner, and many reviews pointed out its accessibility, with Eurogamer calling it “a sim for everyone.”
"Microsoft Flight Simulator is legitimately incredible. It's difficult to fully describe how amazing it feels to jump into a plane and have the freedom fly to and from literally any place in the entire world, wrote IGN’s Seth Macy, who gave the game a 10 out of 10. Video Games Chronicle also gave Microsoft Flight Simulator a perfect score, emphasizing that "This phenomenal looking, remarkably detailed simulator somehow also manages to be the perfect entry point for complete beginners curious about the genre.”
This level of critical acclaim is a bit unexpected for a game being developed a third-party developer based in France, Asobo Studios. Interestingly, the last Xbox Game Studios title that crossed the 90 score threshold on Metacritic earlier this year was Ori and the Will of the Wisps, another game developed by a studio not owned by Microsoft. The company is rumored to have spent more than 500 million dollars on the development of Halo: Infinite so far, which would make it one of the most expensive games of all time, but that didn't prevent most Halo fans to criticize the dated visuals in the gameplay demo we saw last month.
Are Microsoft’s first-party studios being outclassed by third-party studios? This is a legitimate question, especially since 343 Industries recently announced the delay of Halo: Infinite, which was expected to be a flagship launch title for the Xbox Series X. With just 170 employees, Asobo Studios managed to craft a masterpiece with Microsoft Flight Simulator, a game that uses a custom game engine coupled with Bing Maps data and Microsoft’s Azure cloud. Protocol's Seth Schiesel noted yesterday that Microsoft's ability to bring together different teams and technologies in such a brilliant manner "should make Google and Amazon nervous."
Microsoft Flight Simulator may be one of the best game you can play on PC starting tomorrow, August 18, but it still has no release date on Xbox consoles. The game was also curiously absent from Microsoft’s Xbox Games Showcase last month, and the show could have been a great opportunity to tease a release date for the game on Xbox Series X. If the Xbox brand remains deeply associated with Halo, we shouldn’t underestimate the appeal of the Flight Simulator franchise, which could be a potential system seller for Xbox consoles. You may not convince your parents or grandparents to play Halo Infinite on Xbox with you, but they may definitely want to try playing Flight Simulator on a console with a controller.
Microsoft sent us a review code for Flight Simulator, and we hope to publish our hands-on soon. The game will be available starting tomorrow on the Windows 10 Microsoft Store and Steam, and you will also be able to play the Standard Edition for free with Xbox Game Pass for PC. The game currently is currently #2 on the Global top sellers list on Steam, which is already very promising for Microsoft and developer Asobo Studios.