If there's one thing that Flight Simulator fans can't wait to have, it's the ability to rewatch their flights. The Replay functionality is at the top of Asobo's weekly published Top Wishes list by the community, and is currently ranked #2. According to Asobo, their replay functionality for the sim is in "Prototype" state and will be released sometime in 2021. That could mean in a few weeks, or in the worst case, not until the end of 2021. Yet for many, a replay functionality is an essential core feature of a Flight Simulation game that should've already been included with the release of Flight Simulator.
However, a third-party application being sold on simMarket now opens up the possibility to replay of your own flights - it's called FlightControlReplay by Fabio Merlo. The application was today updated to version 4.5, making it also compatible for Microsoft Flight Simulator. FlightControlReplay previously allowed to record flights in FSX and P3D. Customers who already own FlightControlReplay receive the update free of charge, others will need to buy it.
How exactly does FlightControlReplay work?
This application is not quite comparable to a native built-in replay functionality. Basically, you open up the application and click the Record button from the moment you want to record your flight. After that, you can minimize the tool, because from now on, it records the most important flight movements and parameters. After you finished your flight, you click on Stop Recording. To replay your flight, you need to Load the previously saved data within the tool. At this time, Flight Simulator will load a new flight / scenario, so to speak. But this time you won't be flying yourself, instead Fabio's tool will fly the plane, using the previously saved information, and you can sit back and watch this flight from different angles. You can also change the weather or the playback speed, for example. Captain Mayday explained the most important features of this tool.
Is it worth to buy?
Admittedly, the design and user interface are more reminiscent of a toy from the last century. However, it does what it is supposed to do. FlightControlReplay closes an essential gap for many people, as the replay feature is still missing in Flight Simulator. For many, there is nothing better than watching your own landings or your crazy stunts from a passenger's perspective, for example. Nevertheless, one should be aware: Asobo is obviously already working on a replay function. We just don't know when it will be released, yet it is expected to drop this year. In doubt, the in-house solution by Asobo will be better and more user-friendly integrated - and most importantly: it will be free.
If you can't wait and have been longing for a replay functionality, FlightControlReplay will be a good interim solution, and the price of about 20 USD is worth it, as it is a savior for those who desperately need a replay function. However, if replays are only a minor matter for you, I'm sure you will have no problem waiting for Asobo to implement the feature themselves. In addtion, Fabio's tool still has some bugs, as it just came out of closed beta. At least for me, the game crashed a few times at the end of a replay, for example. Some users complain about random crashes and malfunctions, others can't get the replay working properly, as it it may take you some time to get used to the tool in general. As it uses workaround to enable replays, a seamless playback in flight will probaly not be possible.