If you’ve ever wanted to be a storm chaser but would prefer not to risk your life, Microsoft Flight Simulator might just scratch that itch. Dozens of virtual pilots have spent the past couple of days hurling their planes into Hurricane Laura as it bore down on the US Gulf Coast.
As Texas and Louisiana braced for impact, the real-time weather featured in Microsoft Flight Simulator was providing a visual spectacle for those flying directly into the storm. The stunning screenshots and videos that followed demonstrate the game’s incredible realism and accurate depiction of storm cloud formations. Virtual storm chasers have been eagerly capturing sights by flying above the hurricane, hurtling through its all-encompassing outer edges, and soaring within the surreal calmness of the eye of the storm.
For as impressive as this all is, it’s also worth noting the seriousness of Hurricane Laura. The storm made landfall overnight near Cameron, Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane, bringing catastrophic storm surge, extreme winds, and flash flooding to portions of the state, as reported by CBS News. It was downgraded to a Category 2 several hours after coming ashore, but the National Hurricane Center said the storm is still extremely dangerous, with a life-threatening storm surge continuing early Thursday along much of Louisiana’s coastline.
Aside from accurately mapping the weather, Microsoft Flight Simulator also throws up some unusual sights from around the world.
The latest flight sim earned a score of 9/10 in GameSpot’s Microsoft Flight Simulator review. “Microsoft Flight Simulator is a tremendous experience that makes you appreciate natural beauty and man-made ingenuity in equal measures,” said critic Edmond Tran. “Being encouraged to dive into the rabbit hole of learning how to operate genuine, complex machines to perform amazing feats of science is giddying, as is being able to journey across a realistic, mostly accurate depiction of our entire, beautiful planet. Microsoft Flight Simulator is a spectacular technical achievement and a deeply inspiring experience filled with glorious possibilities.”
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