A Mission in Microsoft Flight

My first impressions of MS Flight were overwhelmingly positive. I'm a total beginner so I appreciated how game-y it starts off, with tutorials and quests and even a bit of a story. It was really exciting to get into something like this and feel like I actually knew what was going on.

That all fell off a cliff after two hours though, now there's hardly any game to it at all. I bought some DLC and it's got nowhere near the polish, instruction or integration of the base game. There are tons of little design problems that make even basic tasks frustrating at times, and the game engine itself is just buggy as all damn hell, though admittedly that's sometimes part of the fun (like when you barely brush past a tree and the resulting crash is so absurdly freaky that you get a bunch of achievements for "pulling Gs" all at once).

Flight has taken a lot of flak online from FSX veterans who consider it lacking as a sim, sort of a dumbed-down facsimile for casual players. To illustrate a few of the issues I've been having as a casual player, here's an example runthrough of a mission I just did:

  • "Clandestine Cargo". The instructions say I'm flying a box from A to B - just like all the other cargo missions except it's drugs or something.
  • I hop into the expensive DLC plane, which is the only plane that can carry cargo. I want to sass it up but there are only two paint schemes.
  • The mission starts and camera is in a wall. For a moment I think it's stuck in crash mode again (a common bug that requires hacking up some config file) but I've actually just started off really really close to a wall.
  • My co-pilot - a complete stranger - sets the scene with a couple of lines about how shady our cargo is. She then says we're too heavy and we should dump some fuel before we take off.
  • What are we too heavy for? Can we not take off like this? Are we going to fall out of the sky?
  • How much fuel do I dump? How heavy is too heavy? I can't access the plane's data sheet in a mission.
  • Dumping fuel reduces range. How much range do I need? I can't access the map or the mission info in a mission.
  • I take off. My co-pilot tells me she doesn't know how she ended up on this flight (neither do I, honestly) and that she wouldn't have been able to do the mission herself because it involves flying low to the ground all the way. Oh, does it? That wasn't in the briefing, now I'm at 600ft and climbing. Cool.
  • I descend to ~100ft as fast as I can without worrying the lady. I've probably already lost a bunch of XP, but I won't find out for sure until the final tally at the end.
  • I turn to the waypoint and shake my head, it's 55 nautical miles away. I'll definitely be hitting the skip button this time, despite there being about a 10% chance that it'll warp me into space.
  • The skip button prompt never appears. Turns out there's no skipping allowed - another detail missing from the briefing.
  • Ten minutes later, my co-pilot breaks her silence to tell me there's a plane up ahead and I should avoid it. There is no plane. I think the pressure is getting to her.
  • Some time later there's another plane, and this one really does exist. It's the cops, and they're right up my ass. My co-pilot alternately complains that the cops are closing in, and that my evasive manoeuvres are mashing up the cargo.
  • My luck seems to turn around when I prise open the crate and find that it's full of firearms. I pass one up to my co-pilot, intending to tell the police that she was forcing me to fly at gunpoint, but she has way bigger balls than I gave her credit for - she pops open the window and starts taking pot shots until the whole thing goes down in a ball of flame. We deliver the crate on time and receive our share of the money. A few thousand dollars richer, I have almost broken even on this stupid DLC plane. I fly away into the sunset. Plenty more missions await.
  • Disregard the last point, obviously. It just crashed to desktop.