I’ve been right here earlier than, ready for takeoff at Edinburgh International. The sky is cloudy, the air buzzing with the sound of jet engines, anticipation constructing for a fast hop right down to London. The cabin lurches, and we take off—not forwards, however straight up. Because as a substitute of an Easyjet, we’re taking our hols within the entrance seat of Halo’s iconic Pelican dropship.

Over the weekend, Microsoft introduced that it was including Halo’s hefty spaceship to Microsoft Flight Simulator as a free download, letting you discover the game’s 1:1 recreation of the Earth in Master Chief’s favoured plane. It’s not solely unprecedented, after all—Forza Horizon has lengthy allow you to reduce about actual world landscapes within the Halo Warthog

But that is smart, in a wierd manner. Horizon is an arcade sandbox, and the Warthog does not really feel misplaced as an absurdly large jeep with which to stomp throughout Mexico. Flight Sim then again is deathly critical, a posh mechanical beast that goals to completely map the controls, aerodynamics, flight routes and visitors of real-world plane travelling to real-world airports.

Frankly, it is that self-seriousness that makes the entire nonsensical affair work.

Most of those buttons are necessary, most likely. (Image credit score: Microsoft)

By placing an enormous daft UNSC spaceship in Flight Sim, the Pelican is given a weight of respect and presence as a car we have by no means seen earlier than. In the Halo video games, it is a vessel for getting you between missions, however you by no means have to consider the way it works. Microsoft Flight Sim’s problem, then, is to determine map a flight mannequin meant for jet liners and single-user propeller craft to a heavily-armoured fusion-powered VTOL spaceship.

It does this by giving the Pelican two distinct flight modes. A VTOL mode that makes use of the thrusters for vertical raise whereas letting you pilot freely in any path horizontally, and a cruise mode that acts extra like a conventional jet. The VTOL mode feels just a little janky, a indisputable fact that belies the actual fact MFS wasn’t constructed for this sort of imaginary craft, but it surely does allow you to simply discover the game’s mostly-accurate cities with absolute ease.

Once cruising, nonetheless, the Pelican works flawlessly. It’s a heavy craft with large engines that give it a singular flight really feel, all whereas conserving in thoughts the little issues like airspeed, raise, stress, turbulence, and stresses on the craft that you just’d have to contemplate in a extra up to date aeroplane. Once you are at cruising altitude, the factor mainly flies itself.

See extra

Look, I do not know aeroplanes. But by giving me a ship I recognise, the Pelican lets me really admire the depth of MSFS’s simulation, even in comparison with area sims like Elite: Dangerous (that are solely simulationist so far as wanted to promote the spacefaring fantasy). Almost each button within the cockpit has a perform, from monitoring gasoline and altering altitude targets to opening the cargo bay door and de-icing the engine pods. 

You can pull the digicam out of the chair and discover the airlock chamber and crew/cargo compartment. The total factor even lurches and groans with the sounds of a machine a number of centuries forward of the time. By treating one in all my favorite fictional autos with the extent of care and consideration normally solely afforded to real-world machines, I’m given a brand new perspective on a setting I like. 

This is, after all, one thing that solely occurs as a result of Microsoft owns each Halo and MSFS. But I need to see extra fictional autos recontextualised on this straight-faced gentle. What does a Warthog or Mass Effect MAKO appear like in a simulation racer? What does a transatlantic flight really feel like within the cockpit of one in all Destiny 2’s many absurd ships?

We could by no means know. But because of Microsoft Flight Sim, I’m about to search out out what it feels wish to hurl a Pelican into the center of an arctic storm. See you on the opposite facet!