Saitek X52 Joystick Review :: The X52 & Gaming

01-15-2008 · Category: Hardware - Misc

By Vlad Mihaiescu

The Saitek X52 Flight Control System does a great job of handling both new and old games as well as space and gravitational games.

Freespace 2 is by far my favorite space shooter; as a matter of fact it is my favorite space game period. It was made by Volition and published by Interplay and it came out in 1999. Windows has gone through some serious changes since 1999 and until Windows Vista came out I was unable to play this game for several years. Vista’s compatibility mode and the Saitek X52 joystick allowed for my favorite space game to entertain me once more.

One of my favorite things about Freespace 2 was the detail. For example, when facing the large capital ships it is unwise and depending on the difficulty level, mostly impossible to take out a large ship head on. For them the “divide and conquer” strategy applies where you have to first disable the ship and then take it out one section at a time. The X52 and its many buttons added a brand new twist to a very old game. Targeting subsystems became much easier with the help of my new joystick. As a matter of fact, everything became easier with the aid of the X52.


Saitek X52 Joystick Review
Saitek X52 Joystick Review
Saitek X52 Joystick Review

As mentioned earlier, Freespace 2 is ship to ship shooter in space. No gravity is available thus making the game truly three dimensional and extremely fast paced. The big capital ships move slowly but pack a big punch, while the enemy fighters move extremely fast, and some of them carry a big punch as well. After yanking on the controllers for a short period of time I decided to pause the game for a quick second and adjust the tension and handle positioning. The adjustment helped even more with the required quickness necessary to prevail in Freespace 2. After several missed phone calls and a little over six hours of gameplay, I decided that it would be a good time to switch games before I end up with a seizure from all the flashing lasers.

Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator is another game that falls in the “one of my favorites” category, only instead of fighting aliens in outer-space, in Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator you get to take on evil Nazi Luftwaffe, or fight the Allies (depending on your preference).

Instead of jumping strait in the action, I took the slow path by playing career mode. I did not do well in the beginning. After playing Freespace 2 (no gravity in space), I found it rather difficult to master the art of finesse flying of WWII planes because of the gravity factor. For a while it seemed that the only thing I was able to do was stall my plane. Once I readjusted the tension on the throttle controller and changed some of my buttons around the suite the new game, I was doing just as bad; and then it hit me.

It wasn’t the joystick that was hindering my gaming ability but just an overabundance of gaming for one day. After a good night’s rest, things went a lot smoother the next day. I actually had to relearn to play a WWII flight simulator. Unlike the space game, Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator focuses on smoothness and finesse. Jerky movements lead to unpleasant results, usually crashing. After some practice and a good warm-up round, clearing the skies of the infernal Nazi Luftwaffe turned out to be extremely fun on my new joystick. The Saitek X52 Flight Control System passed the WWII test with flying colors. I just had to remember to handle the controllers gently and smoothly for ultimate joystick results.

When it comes to the demo version of Microsoft Flight Simulator X, I was honestly not impressed.

To be fair to the Saitek X52 Flight Control System, I need to explain that my disappointment is not directed towards the joystick but towards the demo version of Flight Simulator X. I love flying games, but I know I’m just an amateur and commercial flying games are just out of my league.

So after a few failed attempts at flying, I uninstalled Microsoft Flight Simulator X and I installed a flying role-playing-game: Space Force – Rogue Universe. Space Force is a very interesting game in the sense that it can go from slow and boring to extreme fast paced action in a matter of seconds and vice versa. Once again, I was able to use the excuse “I’m working” while spacing out and enjoying a new product. Thank you Saitek!