Top critical review
Probably better to get the new one
on September 10, 2017
I wanted a flight simulator to practice "the scan", the required checking of all important gauges during instrument flight. Microsoft FS went dead and no longer works since the latest Windows 10 update due to conflicts with the DVD copyright method, and even the no-CD patch available on line no longer works. So I investigated X-Plane.
Before you buy an X-Plane 9 DVD set, there are certain problems and issues you need to be aware of. First, just because this is an older program, don't think that it is not highly demanding of your hardware, especially your video card. I run an Intel dual-core 3.00 GHz processor with on-board video, admittedly a rather modest system. With X-Plane 9 I immediately received pop-ups that I had way too many rendering options that required higher video power. No problem, I was not interested in fancy scenery anyways, so I set it all to minimums. But you should know that X-Plane needs a lot of video processing power.
On three different DVD sets the sceneries did not load. Turns out this is a well established chronic problem with X-Plane 9. As a result I was limited to flying around Aachen, Duesseldorf, and Liege, Belgium. What is very frustrating is that the program offeres you a huge list of airports, but then after loading an airport it says with a pop-up: "There is no scenery installed for this area. You will just see ocean around this airport." The problem is that with no scenery you also have no nav-aids, no VORs, nothing.
If you install sceneries available on the web, the program simply crashes, even if you install it very carefully and preserve the exact file structure the program needs.
So I started flying around Germany with a Cessna 172. Much like the one in FS, this Cessna is not anything like its real-life name-sake. It's violently unstable. You let go of the yoke and it goes into a sudden roll and crashes within about 5 seconds. You cannot adjust the sensitivity of the yoke, so you spend a lot of time recovering from dives, stalling climbs, and rolls left and right. Ridiculous and completely unrealistic.
So, if you think you can get an older version of this program and run it on a modest machine, think again. It will not happen. My conclusion is that X-Plane appears to be very promising, and I intend to purchase the new X-Plane 11 since it has a modest price tag. However, to run it I need a real "gamer" machine, minimum price tag probably around $ 700.00. The emphasis needs to be on a powerful video card. Anything short of that will probably not work.