Conclusion: I was expecting a huge manual, but I didn't get one - and that made me a little leery of the whole package. But after installing it, I found the "Learning Center". The Learning center is like flight school; there are lessons available, and it also acts as a super help system; you ask, it answers. So your commitment to playing doesn't require you to bury your head in a bunch of books on flight. This alone is worth the price of admission.
Summary: Microsoft's most recent addition to the series pays homage to a century of achievements.
Pros: The most realistic flight experience to date with top notch graphics that will put the newest hardware to good use; remarkable audio accurately reproduces cockpit sounds; excellent documentation, training sessions and navigation for new players; more airports, historical aircraft and other goodies.
Cons: For the best experience possible, buying the latest hardware is costly.
Excerpt: In time to celebrate the centennial anniversary of human flight, Flight Simulator 2004 is both a tribute to the Wright brother's historic first trip and a follow-up to its predecessor Flight Simulator 2002. It's tough to decide which is the more daunting task; embracing a hundred years of flying or creating a game that has to follow on the heels of what critics called one of the most complete and impressive flight simulations to grace the PC.
Excerpt: It's 1903, do you know where your airplane is? It's hard to believe, but just 100 years ago there was only one airplane in the entire world. We have come a long way in a short period of time, and Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004: A Century of Flight celebrates the centennial by letting users cruise around in some of the most historic airplanes ever built.
Excerpt: Our man Thomas, the only reviewer we have whose airstrip is actually featured in Microsoft's Flight Sim series, takes MS Flight Simulator 2004: A Century of Flight out for a spin. The verdict: We don't want to spill the beans, but this one should satiate all those flight sim fanatics looking for a little something new. Click here for more.
Excerpt: Our man Thomas, the only reviewer we have whose airstrip is actually featured in Microsoft's Flight Sim series, takes MS Flight Simulator 2004: A Century of Flight out for a spin. The verdict: We don't want to spill the beans, but this one should satiate all those flight sim fanatics looking for a little something new.
Conclusion: For those who bought FS2002, the purchase of FS2004 is a good idea, the improvements are that good, and even for the unenlightened who failed to pick up the last offering from Big Bill, the acquisition of this latest aerial masterpiece would not go too far astray because, hey, let's face it, nobody does Flight Simulation quite like Microsoft.