With Flight Simulator 2002 and IL-2 Sturmovik, it looks like the drought in PC-based flight simulators is finally over. Apart from Fly! 2 or the very elitist X-Plane, not a single new title has revolutionized the genre in recent years. This means that this is as good a time as any to do a joystick comparison - here, we take a look at which ones are best adapted for use with flight simulators, although most of them could be considered universal joysticks, as well.
Even if you aren't a flight simulation enthusiast, you may well consider buying this type of game-playing apparatus at some point so why not buy the best; a lever that can also be used for action game-play? In compiling the list, we decided to choose models by well-known makers, ditching the clunky models studded with all the bells, whistles and flashing lights that serve no particular purpose. Our choices were narrowed down to a powerful foursome of products by the leading manufacturers: Microsoft, Thrustmaster, Logitech and Saitek.
For starters, we rejected anything that moved or vibrated randomly in all directions. These "power" effects have never been much use in flight simulators; in fact, they are more of a handicap than anything else, because they make it all the more difficult to guide the joystick with precision. We'll be doing a comparison study of these jittering and vibrating levers at a later stage, for the benefit of fans who still prefer the 'live' stick.