Review: Multi Crew Experience by FS++ Limited

MCE-review-logoHello fellow sim-pilots! Today’s review is another first for me. It is an add-on, but not the usual mission based or even scenery based add-on. This one is called the Multi Crew Experience. It requires a headset with microphone, or speakers/headphone and a microphone (All sold separately) because it is a voice recognition based virtual crew. This gem is made by FS ++ limited. I strongly recommend the headset simply for ease of use, and face it, pilots with headsets look cool. 🙂

Okay this is new, but let me start this review with a question for you. Have you ever wondered how to markedly increase the virtual experience of sim-flight without spending tons of money on a virtual cockpit, or a three screen display etc? Well if you are anything like me the answer would be yes. Well I am here to tell you there is a way to make Flight Simulator step up the reality notch on a scale of 1 to 10 to about an 11. (Spinal tap fans will get that silly reference).

There is a lot to cover here and I think super long reviews can be a bit much, so I will try to keep it as short as possible while being as informative as I can, I think that is the best way to approach this review. So if you want to really feel like a pilot when you fly FSX and flight simulator 2004, make sure to read this review.

The voice recognition is simply amazing. If you want to set your altitude at 1200 feet, you simply tell your “copilot” to dial it in. You can go through every checklist with your copilot. Use it for crew coordination, realistic ATC interaction, your copilot can call out deviations from standards, (these can be turned on or off depending on what you want) and to be totally honest, the deviation callouts can get a little frustrating LOL. But that is realistic. You can also use the voice activation for your usual keyboard interactions, for example, if you wanted to look at your GPS, instead of pressing shift 3, you would say “display GPS” and poof there it is. Your copilots vocabulary is simply massive ranging from funny to actually getting mad at you LOL. The other important function that makes this fun is that you don’t have to say exactly the right thing to get the proper response, there are many ways to say the same thing and this program almost always understands what you are asking. An example would be show GPS instead of display, that would work too. You can even change your views by saying view left, if that doesn’t display enough say more left, and if you use your manners, you are treated with the same respect. Simply amazing.

Unbelievably, this is not a super expensive program, it is completely reasonable and well worth the cost. If you want immersion in your sim experience this is a perfect way without spending hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Okay, now for the technical stuff. Obviously voice recognition and voice control are still just scratching the technological surface of what can be achieved. FS ++ limited has in my mind made a very deep scratch with this program. However, they will be the first to tell you that this is the infancy stage of voice recognition. They are the first to tell you that this may not work with every system out there. (Keep in mind I do not have a killer gaming machine myself and this program worked extremely well). However they (FS ++ limited) strongly suggest that you download the demo version, and test this program thoroughly before purchasing. Now to me this is another plus for this company. They want a satisfied customer not a quick buck from you whether it works well or not. I can also vouch for their superior customer service. I had a simple question, for which I didn’t expect a response for at least a few days, I got a response the same day. So being the devious person I am, I made up a question to test the quality again, guess what same day answer. So you don’t just get a great product, you get fantastic support as well.

The graphical interface is simple, nonintrusive, and almost not even necessary because the program makes pretty much everything necessary a simple voice command away. I tried to take screen shots of the interface in every window as well as minimized plus when you set the option for full screen you don’t even see the minimized bar. (The minimized bar is like 10 mm anyhow so it’s very easy to ignore when you are flying).

The other thing that I found very impressive it that this program is very compatible with other programs. I especially found it extremely fun, not to mention very useful with Air Hauler (Sold separately) as well as FS passenger (Also sold separately) without a single problem. It does not slow down your frame rates to the point of being noticeable anyhow. I have mentioned more than once that I have an average computer, and I did not notice any stutters of any kind and again I turned all the bells and whistles up to full.

So I guess I should stop gushing about this program, and let you see for yourself at the web site what exactly it is I am talking about. There is a video available at www.simmarket.com I am not sure why, but the version I am using has a less computer sounding voice, but as mentioned, this is the very early stages of this technology and even with a computery (I know it’s not a word LOL) sounding voice, it still makes you feel like you are running your crew, and face it barely touching your keyboard and focusing on flying, pulls you right on in and the enjoyment is not decreased in the least.

So in conclusion, you will need this program and a reasonably good headset (Although to be honest, I have been using the USB headset from my Playstation LOL, but seriously they do strongly recommend a good headset (Sold separately). That is all you need to open the door to a totally new experience. I almost feel like I need to rename FSX because the simulation is so much better, so different, and so much more pleasantly immersive.

Okay…I said I would stop gushing already right?…well now I will. 🙂

1: At a glance: Fantastic value for the cost. Just try it and you will know what I am talking about.
2: Installation: EXE. No problems with installation, and if there were the customer support is excellent.
3: Documentation: Good. Everything is explained in simple English, with several suggestions on what types of things to say to get the response you are looking for.
4: Textures and presentation: Not really applicable as far as graphics. Presentation again they get an 11.
5: Extras: Complete immersion, makes the simulation feel fresh and new, excellent support. Oh and did I mention….it’s on sale!!! Check it out at www.simmarket.com

I guess all that is left to say is test it, like you are recommended to. If you are anything like me, this will be a guaranteed must have for your collection.

Doug Zabizewski
zmanff

P.S. I welcome opposing views, suggestions, comments, recommendations, etc. I will do my best to respond to any and all comments.

At a Glance:
============

  • Installer: EXE — Easy installation.
  • Documentation: DOC — Good.
  • Modelling: FSX Format — Not really applicable.
  • Texturing: BMP — Not really applicable.
  • Extras: Complete immersion, makes the simulation feel fresh and new, excellent support. Oh and did I mention….it’s on sale!!! At www.simmarket.com
  • Download Size: 193 Mb
  • Price: EUR 47.59 without VAT EUR 39.99 EUR  – Current Sale: 35.69 without VAT EUR 29.99 (See I told you it was on sale :-)) ends October 31st 2009.
  • Link: http://secure.simmarket.com/fs-limited-multi-crew-experience.phtml

Test System: Intel Core2Duo E2220 @ 2.40 GHz-2.40 GHz, 4Gb RAM, Nvidea Geforce G100, Windows Vista Home Premium SP2 (DX9)

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