Majestic’s Dash 8 Q400 is by far my favourite aircraft. It’s sophisticated, very in depth, performs amazing, provides a fun challenge when flying it and it looks really amazing. However, the guys over at FSFX Packages thought these looks could get even better, and decided to upgrade this already amazing plane with one of their famous immersion packages. So is this immersion package an absolute must have for everyone flying around in Majestic’s prop-liner? Let’s find out!
After purchasing the product from the FSFX website it will automatically be added to your account. To install it, all you need to do is open (or install) VFX Central, the addon manager that FSFX Packages provide. The installation of this manager is very straightforward and could hardly be any easier. The same can be said about installing the Q400 Immersion Package. All you need to do is select the effects that you’d like to include in your installation. Assuming you want the full experience you don’t even have to change anything here and can continue right on with your installation. That’s all there is to that. After doing this you are ready to jump in your plane and start flying. Updating is done in the same way, so if there’s an update available all you need to do is open up VFX Central, click the update button and the update will automatically download and install.
While using the Q400 immersion package I have never noticed a significant performance drop. Even with many effects being “in effect” at the same time while being at very detailed and heavy airports such as FlyTampa’s Schiphol or Aerosofts Frankfurt the frames were very smooth and the VAS usage was not impacted in a significant way either. Should you be running into performance issues due to the Q400 Immersion package regardless it’s very easy to disable certain effects by simply toggling them off in VFX Central.
The immersion package is full of features. There are touchdown effects, there is volumetric lighting, propellor vortices, contrails, cold start smoke, engine jet wash effects, volumetric rain effects and wheels spray. And my opinion on them is a little mixed. Let’s start off with the good. The effects are really, really nice to look at. They look very detailed, very realistic and are really worth the title of immersive addon. One of my favourite effects by far is the volumetric lighting and rain. This looks so incredibly cool! Especially when flying through clouds, fog or rain these effects are particularly noticeable. One of my least favourite effects however are the prop vortices. I find them to look a little awkward, cartoonish and not very realistic either. However, these effects are experimental according to FSFX installer so they may still be subject to change.
However, despite the effects looking very amazing, it is very hard to actually get to see them. And that brings us onto the less good side of this addon (I don’t wanna say bad because that’s too big a word to use). Though nice, most of the effects are incredibly hard to notice. Mostly because almost all of the effects are not noticeable from the cockpit of this plane where you’ll be spending most of your time. Think about touchdown effects, prop vortices, engine effects, wheel spray and more. The only effects that you can notice when in the cockpit are volumetric rain (which looks a bit odd because it seems as just small, horizontal lines) and the volumetric lighting. And for these lighting effects, only the landing lights are really noticeable. The position lights and logo light (which again look amazing) are obviously not noticeable from the cockpit. Though you can certainly switch a camera position with an outside view to see all the effects in action, many of them will only appear on very critical moments in which you need all your attention in the cockpit. Think about starting the engine, taking off or landing. This is a real shame in my opinion. But it will certainly make your screenshots look amazing. And if you’re someone that flies a lot with the outside view, make videos from the outside or like to watch a rewind from the landing or take-off you just performed you will love the effects that you can see.
So.. worth your money or not? To be honest, I find this incredibly hard to judge. The effects look amazing, there is no denying that. But during a flight you’re gonna miss most of the effects provided by this immersion package. And that is a real shame. Even at the price of $23 I can not recommend this addon if you don’t regularly use the exterior view. However, if you find yourself often making screenshots, videos or just watch your own flights back this addon might become of more interest to you and then the price isn’t too bad. Perhaps a tad on the high side.