IEEE Spectrum publishes short review of MSFS 2020


Do I really want to be ‘that guy’ here? Maybe a little…

This is a terrible review. It does little more than say ‘my nephew likes it and I don’t know nearly enough about flying to know if it’s any good or not, but the promotional materials say it’s good.’

The game is getting a lot of these reviews that just gloss over the fact that many aircraft do not have functioning avionics, ATC is completely useless, and the title is riddled with bugs that seem to get worse with each update. Yes the visuals are impressive – very much so – but this is essentially a Google Earth explorer with Unreal Engine quality models and lighting. The real meat of the simulator is the simulation, which is sub par compared even to FSX. ATC fails to give vectors, autopilot fails to properly load and execute an approach without doing a 360 degree turn, GA aircraft mixture settings act in no way like in real life, a thin 1/8 cloud layers at 2000’ spew thunder and lightning like a 65k top CB… I could go on…

Perhaps it’s marketing trying to get the everyman into the game, but I’ve been hard pressed to find a reviewer who criticises the game for its shortcomings. Perhaps it’s not supposed to be “As real as it gets” anymore. Perhaps people with subject matter knowledge aren’t the target demographic, but there’s a breadth of knowledge and expertise from the community that was seemingly ignored in alpha and on release.

Maybe I’m too hard on the game, but my passion lies within aviation and while I believe this is a great platform, it’s far from earning the generalized praise it gets from the review outlets.


Aside from the fact that the above is a bunch of gross, gross exaggerations, reviews exist to evaluate the high-level overall value of a product to the general audience (or in this case, to a specific audience), which is objectively extremely high.

Forum warriors exist to nitpick and get disproportionately angry over every small flaw a product has.

The former is very influential in forming the general perception of a product, while the latter wish they could be, but they aren’t and they will never be.

Microsoft Flight Simulator is getting a lot of overwhelmingly positive reviews because it deserves them. Of course, forum warriors will still keep believing they know better, but that doesn’t really matter all that much in the grand scheme of things.