Saddle up and strap in folks, because we’re about to catch some serious Gs. When I said that to my roommates and plonked the Thrustmaster T.Flight Full Kit X down on the table, they looked at me real weird. It didn’t help that I was wearing a full flight suit, I’ll admit, but if I’m reviewing a flight stick, I want to review it right.
The T.Flight Full Kit X really is a full kit, too. It’s got a flight stick, pedals, and a throttle. It’s easy to set up, connecting to my Xbox Series S via USB with a cable long enough that I could pop it down on my coffee table without worrying about ripping my console out of place.
However, it’s still not as convenient as simply using a controller. While it barely takes any time to connect, the flight stick is far from an ideal tool to navigate menus, and the ABXY button placement on the throttle takes a bit of getting used to. There’s also the bulk of the kit to consider. The stick and throttle are lightweight but stick up, so storing them is tricky, and the pedals have a good heft to them so your feet don’t slide all over the place, but again, the shape of it means it’s hard to find somewhere to store it all neatly.
I found the lightness of the stick and throttle actually worked against them. I tested the kit out on Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown with the Top Gun Maverick DLC installed. We’ve all sat on the sofa and leaned wildly to the left or pushed the X button harder to try and turn sharper and go faster, and that’s fine when you’ve got a light controller not connected to anything, but with the flight stick on the table, when I pulled up hard to try and get out of a stall, the thing lifted straight off the surface. Not the airtime I was looking for.
The two sticks can be connected, but the Allen key that it ships with is a touch too small for the screws, so I wasn’t able to lower them enough to actually clip the parts together. I assume this would help prevent the sticks from moving about so much, but again, the convenience just isn’t there. If you really want to roleplay and feel like you’re doing preflight checks, then this could be part of that, but I just wanted to hop in the cockpit and dogfight.
The flight stick has a solid range of motion, twisting left and right so you can yaw a plane as well as fully pivoting around its central axis. Initially, I found this didn’t translate to much movement in-game. It’s not quite a dead zone, as shifting the stick slightly will move the plane, it just feels glacial at first. It’s a learning curve I didn’t have to deal with when using a controller, but after a few missions, I was just as precise with both.
Where all my complaints disappear is when I’m in the middle of a dog fight, or cruising along enjoying the views. Hearing the tone as an enemy fighter got a missile lock on me sent me into a frenzy as I pulled back hard on the thrust and tilted my flight stick forward so I could dive under it. Slamming the thrust forward as I then twist and turn the stick to accelerate out of the dive to prevent a stall and get a lock on the plane that just fired on me is a thrill you simply can’t get with a controller – at least until the stick lifts off the table and you crash back down to reality.
Ergonomically, everything is fantastic. The stick, thrust, and pedals all feel comfortable and are intuitive to maneuver. The button placement takes some getting used to, but once I’d figured it out I much preferred where everything was on the T.Flight to where it was on the controller. However, actually setting it all up somewhere comfortable is a bit trickier. If you don’t game at a desk, you’re going to have to settle with a table to place everything on. This leaves it a little low and meant I had to lean forward, so after not long my back and arms started hurting. This issue could be easily solved with a lap tray or something similar, as the lightweight sticks wouldn’t feel uncomfortable on top of you, but it’s annoying you have to MacGyver that solution yourself.
As an immersive tool, the T.Flight Full Kit X is wonderful. I wish it were easier to piece together as that would help keep the sticks planted on the table, but at £159.99 RRP, it’s a big investment for something that’s tricky to store and just not as convenient as a controller. But, if you feel the need for speed and want to experience those Gs up in the stratosphere, the T.Flight Full Kit X is a solid piece of hardware.
TheGamer was sent a Thrustmaster T.Flight Full Kit X by PR for the purposes of this review.
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