The SimHQ Best Simulations of 2012:
Air Combat and Civil Aviation
By any standard, 2012 was an exciting year for Air Combat and Civil Aviation fans. It’s always difficult to pick out the best items, and this year was no different, with so many great products to choose from.
Best Air Combat Simulation: Rise of Flight English Channel
Continual improvement seems to be 777 Studios philosophy and it shows. 777 Studios DLC business model can rack up the cost for purchasing every item in their store, but users can pick and choose which items will give them the most value. The Channel Map is a clear choice for all fliers – the additional terrain and scenery is open to all aircraft, even the ones that ship with the free-to-play version of Rise of Flight, water views are always a crowd-pleaser, and the naval traffic is amazingly detailed and realistic, even including submarines! Of course, the real way to enjoy this map is buy one of the seaplanes and fly it in its native habitat.
Rise of Flight Channel Map image courtesy of “Scoobe”
Best Civil Aviation: Take On Helicopters
As a flight simmer who enjoys high-levels of realism but also appreciates a good game, I was thrilled to see BIS take on real physics in their flight sim, Take On Helicopters. Even though TOH arrived in 2011, with the v1.04 patch, which arrived in March 2012, BIS now has a winner. True, there are still a few key pieces missing (vortex ring state, hello?) but the final product is pretty good. The brawn of the physics package is dressed up in some very nice visuals (poor building and ground textures not withstanding) and delivered with some amazing gameplay and a fun campaign. Free DLC has added other aspects to add to TOH’s depth. As one of the few high-fidelity helicopter simulations out there, BIS’s Take On Helicopters is a great way to get your rotor-head fix.
Best Scenery and Terrain: Orbx FTX England
Good flight simulator scenery is addicting: once you fly over a beautiful piece of terrain, even at 30,000 feet, you immediately understand why flying is so enjoyable. Orbx makes some of the best scenery and terrain out there, and FTX England was the highlight of this year’s products. This product doesn’t just include the picturesque English countryside’s modeled in 5 seasons (the normal four, plus a “hard winter” setting), but all the airfields have received the typical Orbx high-quality detailed updates, fine-tuned autogen items, and highly detailed cities (London!) to really enhance the flying experience at all altitudes. If you can’t see England from the air in person, this is the next best thing.
Best Hardware: Obutto R3Volution Gaming Cockpit
No flight-simulator setup is complete without a home cockpit. While not exclusively made for the Air Combat or Civil Aviation genres, Obutto’sgaming cockpits make fantastic setups for those of us who don’t have the time, money, or technical skill to invest in making our own custom simpits. Easy to set up and reconfigure as needed, the Obutto R3volution is a great addition to the home, adapting for just about every controller and monitor configuration out there.
Obutto R3volution cockpit image courtesy of “mhe_at”.
No matter what your personal favorites were for the year, 2012 was a great year – and 2013 promises to deliver even more! It’s a good time to be a flight simmer!
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