My turn: after flight time 28 minutes, I am not sure what to report. My view is slightly tainted by all the hype/un-hype the game has recieved and I think whatever I write might not be what I truelly feel deep down. Oh well, here goes.
I am enjoying FLIGHT. I know, prepare the firing squad but first let me finish.
I'll start with the engine. The graphics are good, better than FSX even at medium and, from a distance, low. Performance is better too, but then many things are missing.
Aircraft: I only have the Icon and the Stearmann, both are alright, better than default FSX but not a sight on paryware and decent freeware. The resolution of the cockpits is alright, way better than FSX but with the Icon's night lighting, the dials become blurry. My favourite feature of the cockpits is the lighting/selfshadowing, seeing the shadow of the wings moving over the fascia is something new to FS I believe. The flight dynamics are pretty good suprisingly, after looking at the promo videos it looked like they were flying like a DS game but in reality: brilliant. Again, a massive improvement over FSX (default). The aircraft handled suspiciously stable though with the arrow keys: but then, I have just mastered the art of flying with arrow keys in FSX (flying, not landing). A great feature of the FD is the ability to perform spins (I don't know how realistic, I've never flown a plane in real life), I tried mine in a 'job' which caused my passenger to throw up (complete with sound effects). I now have a 100% sick passenger rating (more on the pilot profile later). Next time I'll wait till an aerobatics mission before I try a loop.
So all in all, the aircraft are a darn sight better then FSX but are not exactly FSX payware.
Scenery: In a word, brilliant. Dare I say it: ORBX level (except for ORBX's more detailed parts like their photoscenery areas) for the most part, landclass is perfect, aligning houses with drives and roads, no trees where photoscenery underlay houses are. This I think is FLIGHT's greatest leap forward. A word of warning though, from a distance the scenery is indistinguishable from FSX so if you see a screenshot with an island in the distance looking like a surfacing whale, give them a bit of slack. From close up, the taxiway texture resolution even at low settings is, yes my confidence has grown, ORBX level. You just can't knock it. So realistic. The airports are about FSX payware/excellent freeware (Max Kraus) quality, especially the textures. They lack dynamism though, no AI, planes cars or characters.
Interface: This is where FLIGHT is most 'arcadey'. You must (technically you should, you have a choice, but you won't get far without it) get a Games for Windows Live account which is actually an X-box account but made to sound less teenager-ish for oldies I guess. You get a pilot profile with stats such as, flight time, happy passengers, cargo hauled, highest flight, time spent inverted and all sorts of other useless and pointless yet 'fun' stats. And of course XP points, where you progress through levels to unlock new missions. When I first started FLIGHT, as mentioned by someone before, I was apprehensive because when you click play (the other menu options are GFWL related), you are taken and detained without trail int eh cockpit of the Icon, amde to fly a balloon course. Then you play another mission, taking your instructor to a wedding and your first water alnding for which you recieve a coconut bra (?). Then you are free, to explore the interface which is centred around a map of Hawaii where you can select an airport, mission or Free Flight. When you select an airport, you can select a job from the airport, usuall there are a few though most rely on the Maule Orion. These are three categories: freight, passenger, $100 hamburger (I have only flown the hamburger: I love the stereotype american, 'wow, you got your pilot's licence, now lets get a burger!'). The general game seems to be continous, when you complete a mission, then click free flight, you start where your plane was after the mission. Options include weather (presets only). The map conatins useful unformation about the airports. The last screen is the aerocache screen, right now, there anly four aerocaches, I found one by accident in free flight but you collect aerocaches to earn XP, then you move up a level and unlock more missions. It is a lot more career-based than MSFS. Overall, the interface is nice and slick, adn this continues into your flight where the top of the screen is dominated by and info bar including heading, airspeed etc, a bit like when you used to press shift>z in FS. After my hamburger flight, I opted to shut down with the checklist, which, once you're in the cockpit, highlights in order the switches you need to flick to shut down the aircraft. With the Icon, it's only about three but it's good learning. I don't have many new games (games developed in the past year) apart from take on Helicopters which is very similar in scenery, aircraft and the checklist idea. In fact, they're almost identical superficially except ToH has more intersting areas to fly in. Overall, I've spent more time on the menus than flying today. But I do that in FSX too.
Overall, I'm enjying FLIGHT. For now. I loved the FSX missions at first, collecting postcards and working up my hours. But after about, oh, perhaps, six months tops, interest (in missions)was gone. And that had the whole world. So FLIGHT perhaps doesn't have much of a future in it's current state. SOme might say I said that just to save myself, for traitorously siding with MS (which I didn't, I want to see a real FS12 as much as the next man). But FLIGHT has drawbacks too. I don't want to get started on how much I miss AI and crosswinds, because this review is too long anyway, so instead I'll talk about the drawbacks you can't tell form the screen-grabs. When I knew (before I had it,) FLIGHT had excellent scenery, planes like the Vans and Maule, I thought it would be an excellent GA sim. Some people still think it could be aan airliner sim. Or in fact, it might be good with third party. But no. For all the praise I've heaped on it, it is NOT a sim. Of any kind. And I think that because it's so rigid. That arcadey interface at the top of the screen, IT CANNOT GO AWAY, there is no 'alt' bar, a favourite of mine in the past. The list goes on. It is not the MSFS we know. But we already knew that, so I'll shut up now. You can still shoot me if you want, I've had my say and that was all I wanted.
PS. Yes I know I neglected to mention loads of glaring omissions but we discussed those to death before it was released
PPS. Also, why do people say 'played it for five minutes and hated it'. You probably think me saying that is hypocritical since I've only played for half an hour but I would hate it too if it was all a balloon course.
PPPS. Sorry about all the typos