Flight Simulator X: Acceleration
An expansion for a Flight Simulator is extraordinary on one side but not all that fantastic on the other. The games get daily updates with hundreds of freeware and payware aircrafts, made world wide by enthusiastic fans and specialised companies. On the other side, an expansion pack by Microsoft themselves is an unicum. Is it made for profit, or made out of love for the community? On top of that: what’s there to expand on Flight Simulator? The games are delivered complete and magically adding a new part of the world is impossible. Onto the answer!
Flight Simulator X: Acceleration offers 2 new planes, the powerful Boeing F/A-18A Hornet fighter and the North American P-51D Mustang, a classic post WW2 airplane. Next to that you also get a chopper, the EH-101 Merlin. The three models have been finished perfectly and are of better quality than those that were delivered “standard” with FSX. And it’s not just about the graphics – just think of the silver shiny painting of the Mustang or the flaming exhausts of the Hornet – they also fly realistically, something that’s in the end still the goal of a flight sim like this.
Will you pay 30 euros for three new planes? Certainly not. It’s always fun to step in a new ride but the most fun addition are the many new missions. Many just let you fly from here to there in certain weather conditions, but the missions are a perfect way to learn to know the beautiful places in FSX. On top of that there are also some fun things like a UFO-intercept, and with the grappler of the Merlin you have to complete some very challenging transport missions.
This time there are also more Red Bull races present which just like in the first races of the original FSX will bring you the necessary adrenaline and which you’ll need to practise a couple of times before getting the hang of them and are able to take every curve as short as possible. The new racing made, based on the famous real Reno Air Race – for the newbies, this is like NASCAR for planes – also makes clear why there’s “Acceleration” in the title. Both modes are surprisingly enough played online quite a lot.
Together with FSX: Acceleration also Service Pack 2 and DX10 support arrive. The first solves a couple of problems and bugs and makes the game run better than ever before. The long awaited DX-10 update is quite disappointing. Forget the beautiful showcase images from before the release, the only obvious changes are the dynamic shadows in the virtual cockpit and the heads of the waves on the water. Of course FSX already looked mighty fine on release.
30 euros is a lot for a title like this one. The absolute FSX fan no doubt has to get it, even if only to have the box in his closet. The game brings enough new missions with here and there some innovation like the grappler of the Merlin and the aircraft carrier landing with the Hornet. The planes are great, the give a tougher image to FSX. They offer the same quality as payware planes for which you get to pay 50 euros for only one of them. Also the racing modes are cool but I remain with doubt as those that look around enough can find similar fun with freeware. Why couldn’t this title be released out of love for the community, free and for nothing? Capitalism…