There are quite a handful of different flight sims available on the PC and in other platforms. One of my favorite early flight-sims was F-22 Lightning by Novalogic. The game used a 3D engine that was considered to be quite state-of-the-art for its time. The main appeal of the game to me was the fact that I felt like I could fly virtually anywhere I wanted to as long as my fuel would last without any invisible barriers to hamper my flying skills (or lack thereof). It was like a little kid's dream come true to be able to actually pilot a top-class fighter jet with no restrictions and no repercussions in case of failure. What made the experience even sweeter was the fact that you could literally crash the jet in all sorts of places and even shoot your guns and missiles at your own base and destroy all the buildings on your own airstrip. The amount of freedom that you had in this particular flight simulator was quite unprecedented considering the fact that it was released in the mid-90's just before OpenGL and Direct3D became the standard for almost all 3D games.
The reason that I am bringing up F-22 Lightning is because I felt that even though the game had some flaws as far as game design was concerned, the realistic flying experience that it offered was unparalleled at the time it was released when most flight sims had this arcadey, game-like feel to them. This brings us back to the present time. At one point, I felt a bit nostalgic and sought a kind of free-roaming, do anything you want flight sim that was more up to date and would actually run on my modern PC. I did a few Google searches and after reading a few articles on various flight simulator software, I found several positive ProFlight Simulator reviews. Of course, what really attracted me to the software was that based on the gameplay videos and screenshots, it didn't require a very high-end PC, but the graphics were quite passable for a modern game. After mulling it over a bit, I decided to take the risk and make the purchase – fortunately, I wasn't disappointed.
Most people would probably be put off by ProFlight Simulator because of the somewhat dated looking graphics that would not look too out of place in an early PS2 launch title, but don't let that fool you. The fact of the matter is that when it comes to gameplay, ProFlight Simulator is arguably the best flight sim available on any platform. What really sets ProFlight Simulator apart from the completion is the amount of depth that was put into creating this game. There are over 120 different aircraft available in the game and all of them handle differently – presumably, as similar to their real-life counterparts as possible. You can even pilot the legendary Wright Flyer if you want. Furthermore, there are over 20,000 simulated airports in the game and the environments are actually updated in realtime using GPS Satellite data taken from the internet. This means that you can actually visit different countries from all around the world and they will look as close to the real thing as the game's graphics engine permits in realtime.
As far as realism goes, ProFlight Simulator is not for those who cannot stand a bit of a learning curve. This game actually simulates how a real pilot would fly a plane in real life. There are no shortcuts to learning how to control your aircraft and if you do not know what you are doing, you will find yourself in many epic plane crashes as you get used to the game's control system. Time may be the only difference between the game and flying in real life. Travel time is noticeably compressed in the game because it is quite doubtful that anyone would actually find piloting a 5-hour trip on a commercial airliner entertaining.
If you are looking for a realistic flying experience along with the ability to take your plane anywhere you want in the world, then ProFlight Simulator is the PC game for you.