Before Microsoft became best known in video games for Xbox, the company was well respected for the realistic Microsoft Flight Simulator series. That franchise was put to bed in 2006, but it’s coming back this spring as Microsoft Flight, and it won’t cost you anything to give the game a test run.
Everything about Microsoft Flight isn’t exactly free, though.
The initial no-cost download comes with the “Big Island of Hawaii” environment, complete with missions, challenges and hidden objects. Connecting to your Games for Windows Live account will add the ability to fly the Boeing Stearman, more missions, ability to unlock Achievements and an online profile tracking your progress.
In other words, it’s recommended for most players.
The money part comes in after you’ve experienced all that, letting players “purchase and download additional content that adds new aircraft, regions and customization options."
Sign-ups for the beta are still ongoing, which you can jump into the mix for at this link.
The last major release for the long-running franchise was Microsoft Flight Simulator X, way back in 2006.