You haven’t performed Microsoft Flight Simulator till you’ve performed it with an Oculus Quest 2

When I was reviewing Microsoft Flight Simulator I thought it was one of the best games of the year. At a time when you couldn’t leave your home, Flight Simulator allowed you to travel the world and fly over everything from the pyramids to the Great Wall of China. More than just a sightseeing tour, the flight simulator offers an incredibly realistic view of a range of aircraft, from tiny Piper Cubs to Boeing 747s. All in all, it’s pretty awesome.

And then I played it with an Oculus Quest 2.

Suddenly it was like playing a completely different game. No all-round monitor setup could compare with the immersiveness of a VR headset.

It was pretty easy to set things up. I downloaded the Oculus desktop software and connected the headset to my laptop using the Oculus Link cable ($ 79). You can do this over Wi-Fi too, but I wanted the security of a more stable connection. In the Oculus app, you have to enable unknown sources in the settings in order for it to work with apps outside the Oculus store.

I then started Microsoft Flight Simulator and selected the VR headset in the General Settings menu. To immerse myself in the VR experience, I decided on one of the exploration flights around Paris. I was immediately transported to the cockpit, with the Eiffel Tower and the Champs D’Elysees right outside the window. I turned my head and could look around the cockpit and actually watch the controls move as I turned the plane. I could look up and see the sky or just stare sideways to watch the sights go by.

In the cockpit, too, I’ve gained a new appreciation for the details; The textures of the plastic, metal and leather seats reached a new level of realism. At first I thought the instrument dials were a bit fuzzy; Then I leaned forward and they came into focus and gained details. Incredible. The headset even managed to show such subtleties as small scratches on the canopy of the aircraft and distortion of light when the sun reflected off the glass.

It wasn’t perfect; was a bit nervous here and there as the headset tried to keep up with the images outside the plane. I also noticed that if I turned too much or got too close to where it was, the headset would sometimes have trouble rendering a support column of the aircraft.

I also got a little dizzy when moving the plane too fast; I’m a bit prone to motion sickness as I discovered during my DJI FPV drone test. I tried a few barrel rolls in Flight Simulator but kept things in slow and steady turns for the most part.

The other trick is that you have to learn to completely feel the plane; You can’t use the Oculus VR controllers with Flight Simulator, so you’ll have to rely on a joystick and keyboard shortcuts. If you are wearing a headset, you have no way of knowing which button you are pressing unless you have saved the layout. More than once I have lowered the hatches or turned off the engine because I accidentally pressed the wrong button. It would be pretty awesome if I could reach into the virtual environment with my hand to flip a switch or turn a knob; I am sure it is only a matter of time before that is possible.

There is also the problem that you need a Facebook account to use Oculus Quest 2. If you don’t want to mess with the social network, check out our list of the best VR headsets as some of them work with Microsoft Flight Simulator as well.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll just enjoy flying around the world without worrying about baggage fees and crying babies.

Today’s best deals on Oculus Quest 2

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