Written by  :  piltdown_man (145828)
Written on  :  Feb 24, 2012
Rating  :  2.75 Stars2.75 Stars2.75 Stars2.75 Stars2.75 Stars

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Great detail but frustrating to use.

The Good

This add-on looks drop dead gorgeous. The detail that exists in these airport models is among the best I've seen at an airport, although having said that I am a new-comer to aircraft simulations so I haven't seen that many.

It's the little things that show the amount of work that's gone into this like the green see-through windows in Rome's control tower, the static scene in the outlying buildings where a cargo plane is being loaded, the signage on the buildings from the Hilton hotels to the Korean airways hangar.

I also liked the ability to load the airports into the scenery library individually. Some airport models are very large and come in two parts. This allows the player who's, say, flying a heavy jet from the northern terminal to load just that part of the airport if p.c. memory is a problem. Not a feature I'd use but a nice touch.

I enjoyed using my little Cessna as a runabout, taxiing around the airports looking at the big planes parked there, and at the buildings on the outskirts of the airport from which the cargo planes operate. In short I behaved like a cross between a tourist and a little boy in a toy shop. Great fun.

After a couple of weeks of using these airports on & off there's still a lot I haven't touched which is good 'coz to me this represents long term playability & hence value for money. I've seen the sights and marvelled at the detail but I haven't got grips with the special features that a more dedicated e-pilot would probably expect and appreciate. These, according to the manual, include ;
  • the de-icing facilities available at Manchester, Philadelphia and Newark
  • the driveable 'Follow Me' vehicles
  • the service 'armada' feature which automatically brings baggage loaders, catering trucks etc to parked planes
  • and there's a 'jet dock' feature (aka the tunnel that passengers walk down) that can be triggered at certain docking bays.
  • The Bad

    Other airports I've loaded work. I mean they just land in the scenery library and they work. Not so with these airports. They look great close up but from an altitude as reasonable as 2000 feet I found that chunks of the scenery went missing only to pop into existence as I flew closer. This ranged from jets parked on the ground to swathes of airport buildings.
    This may be my fault in either the way I've configured the flight sim or a result of my having high expectations. I did expect to see the airports in detail in their entirety as I flew over them. I have 16GB of memory on my pc and I did not expect any problems with lack of memory. Tweaking the flight sim settings did help a bit but didn't cure the problem and, when all's said and done, what's the point of having a detailed model if you have to suppress the detail in order to view it?

    It's not just the planes either, driving around the airport I noticed a lot of two wheeled trucks. There were actually four wheels but the two on the far side did not appear until I got really close.

    My other problem was with some of the airport scenery. The models are good, there are detailed roadways around the airport but I found I could not land on them, the plane sank to the ground beneath. The same thing happened in some places when I taxied over undulating ground on certain parts of the airport, the lower half of my plane disappeared into the scenery.

    I also have a very minor quibble with the title 'World Airports'. 'Big Airports' I would agree with but 'World Airports' should be more than America and Europe. Where's Asia and the Middle / Far East? Where's Tokyo, Bankok, Dubai ....??

    The Bottom Line

    Very good at what it does. Using this it's possible to get some very detailed screen shots with which to impress other pilots.

    It has some features which I class as 'advanced' and which, as a novice, I probably won't use for some time.

    Ultimately though I found this product a little disappointing. The initial 'Wow!' gave way to a frustrated 'Bother! Where did that come from / go to?' as bits of scenery appeared & disappeared.

    To sum up - I probably won't keep this installed on my pc. I'll keep it safe and will dust it off when I want to fly a passenger jet 'for real' at which time those advanced features will be worth experimenting with.