That “something isn’t right with the current VR implementation” is a pretty major understatement. This was exactly what I thought about X-Plane when they first released VR in their 11.2 rev. Yes, it did work and it was VR, but it felt like an experiment. Framerates were bad and stutters were constant, and it was just not something I could play seriously; so I put it on the shelf only to check it out occasionally whenever an update came along. Well, in their case it took an engine change and the better part of a year doing lots and lots of VR-specific optimization to finally get it capable of running in a state that, while still not perfect, is now close enough to the performance of a made-for VR app to play and enjoy seriously.
MSFS right now is a wild ride in VR and exhibits performance issues much like X-plane 11.2 and DCS; that is to say, it is in desperate need of heavy VR-specific optimization. While keeping constant speed/altitude under just the right conditions performance can get tantalizingly close to feeling close to a “real” VR title, any kind of maneuvering, and especially elevation changes can produce entirely unpredictable results. And yes, switching refresh frequency can absolutely make a difference, but inconsistently. Sometimes 90hz is better, sometimes 120hz is better, sometimes switching from 90hz to 120hz then back to 90hz will magically work! In any case, even when it’s “smooth” it still has enough judder to make the mind clearly aware that the world is built out of separate frames, and stutters rear their head far too regularly. Even lowering settings to levels that turn the world to mud, I can’t get the performance to a level I find worthy of declaring acceptable.
So I’m afraid MSFS is on the shelf for me right now since I only do sims in VR these days, and despite the attractive graphics, as they say, performance matters. Of course, I’ll be revisiting it regularly as updates come out, always with hope. But really, it’s much more than performance I’m missing. Now that I’m over the honeymoon of seeing the souped-up graphics, I’m increasingly missing the “feel” of flight that lower-res VR sims like X-Plane and VTOL provide; missing motion controls more and more, missing mature navigation/avionics, missing flight replay, missing the kind of plug-ins that time and a mature SDK offers (heck, even my simple Knobster apparently can’t be supported due to SDK limitations), and ultimately finding that just like big-screen/HD TV early-on revealed bad makeup and large facial pores in embarrassing ways, photorealism draws attention to scenery and photogrammetry flaws in ways that are less forgiving than when seen in sims having more representative scenery. For example, I had to laugh out loud the other day at seeing something like five mountainous terrain spikes around an airport in central MA I was flying to. It felt like I was on an alien planet. Totally and mind-blowingly immersion-breaking since I know the area.
Yes, I know this is a new sim, and I’m tempted to give MS grace regarding this; but honestly the more I use this sim the more I can’t, especially knowing the long history of great flight sims preceding it. Sheesh, FSX was very well rounded and MS “Flight”, sporting a fantabulous new graphics engine, was released (and killed) way back in 2012. So now, here we are in 2021 with yet another “brand new” sim having a great look and arguably better flight model (and don’t forget the great new marketplace store), but missing so much of what constitutes the “other half” of serious flight simming. The fact that it was released on DX11 and not even able to do DLSS, multiscreen, or solid VR belies that what MSFS really has here is a relatively staid engine attached to a Bing/Azure/AI spigot that makes it look great and finally makes it possible to stream the world (admirable things to be sure); but which is attached to a platform asymmetrically less capable than the hype had me believing. It reminds me so much of my 1996 Dodge Avenger. It was racing red and looked like it was moving when it was standing still (especially with the moonroof open), but when actually moving the engine knocked and it accelerated slower than the Ford Escor t I had just given up. Well, guess it’s back to the Ford until the new engine comes in.