With the recent announcement of the upcoming Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, now is a great time to look back on one of the previous titles in the series: Microsoft Flight Simulator X.
Microsoft Flight Simulator X was released in 2006 originally and was later released on steam with some updates. The first thing that I'd like to point at is that, of course depending on your hardware, this game can actually look really good, especially for 2006. This is a huge point in the games favor as one of the main draws of these simulator style games is the scenery. As fun as flying a plane can be on its own, the experience is truly defined by the world you are flying through. Luckily for this tittle, the scenery is pretty decent. One look at the steam page or Reddit forums will grant you a quick realization that not only does this game still have an active community (over a decade later) and there are groups of fans who enjoy flying by the relatively beautiful landscapes. While this game may not hold a candle to its upcoming counterpart, its graphics hold up remarkably well to many other 2006 flight simulator games counterparts.
With the steam release the games multiplayer is back up as well. Steam's online services can be hit or miss at times, but in my personal experience it works well much more often than it doesn't. This is exciting as there are not many games you can actually play online today from the early 2000's (without emulation and third party servers anyway). I cannot promise that your experience with other online players will be amazing; every game has its trolls and with a game of this age there are many people playing it just to see what its limitations are. But the multiplayer is there if you want it.
As far as detail and realism go, the game is not perfect. Many of the complexities of larger aircraft, such as technical take off sequences and inputs have been simplified to a noticeable point by anyone familiar with that technology. Because of this, it is recommended that players stick to mid-range to small aircraft in order to have the most immersive experience possible. Speaking of immersion, the Steam release of Microsoft Flight Simulator X made important updates to the world of the game. Many things have changed since 2006 and the steam version accounts for those with updated country listings and some performance enchantments in order to make the most of out of textures while making the overall sim more stable and reliable.
However, in 2020 the game's age does show. This game does not have the level of scenery detail that its newer counterpart will. For instance, only major airports in the game have any real unique detail, the others being made up of reused textures and layouts. These issues can stem to other non-airport locations and towards weather effects. But, due the games age and loyal community, the game has dozens, if not hundreds, of mods. With these mods many quality of life changes can be made to the game, including better textures, more detailed airports, and even new aircraft. There are free and payed mods along with a lot official DLC which allows the game to be customized to your needs and specifications. Some may see this a drawback of the game and that is valid. The original in-box game is not really amazing in any fashion, but to ignore all of the passionate its fans and creators have put into it feels unfair as well.
Overall, I think FSX is not only a good game for its time, but a decent modern game as well. It will not have the technical or graphical prowess of its sequels or later releasing rivals, but finding a sim with this much customization and a still pretty dedicated fan base in 2020 is hard to come by. It will take more work than just downloading and staring in order to get its maximum potential, but with plenty of free add-ons, community mods, and DLC, this game has a lot to offer. So while you are waiting for the next release in the Flight Simulator series or perhaps aren't interested in shelling out the brand-new, state-of-the-art technology price tag, pick up FSX and have a good time.