Developer Asobo's Flight Simulator is, as even the swiftest glance in its direction will confirm, a staggeringly beautiful game, but it's not always the best at capturing the finer details; that's where its semi-regular World Updates come in, and its latest, available now, gives the vast sprawl of the United States a much-need upgrade.
Fly over Manhattan or Disney World and it might feel like Flight Simulator's rendition of the US is plenty detailed enough already; head out to admire the country's countless geological wonders, though, from the staggering depths of the Grand Canyon to the iconic majesty of Monument Valley, and the illusion can start to fall apart rather dramatically thanks to the somewhat woolly satellite and elevation data used to generate the Earth in the launch game.
Enter Asobo's second World Update, which follows on from its gorgeous overhaul of Japan back in September, introducing a significant number of welcome improvements to the United States' multitudinous geological and man-made landmarks, turning an already beautiful game into an even more breathtaking one, if at all possible.
Monument Valley, for instance, is no longer a series of disappointingly indistinct mounds, and is now much closer to its dazzling real-life counterpart; it's a similar story for the Hoover Dam, no longer a weird undulating series of woozily impossible textures, and now a solidly imposing structure James Bond would be thrilled to launch himself off.
Alongside an improved digital elevation model for greater geological fidelity in certain areas, World Update 2 adds four new hand-crafted airports (Atlanta, Dallas/Fort Worth, Friday Harbor, and New York Stewart), visual improvements to 48 existing ones, plus 50 new points of interest, including Yosemite's El Capitan, Kansas' Monument Rocks, the Mesa Verde Cliff Palace, Kennedy Space Centre, Tucson's Airport Graveyard, and more.
In addition to all that, Asobo has added new Discovery Flight options, taking in some iconic locations across the eastern seaboard, and a new Bush Trip across the Alaskan wilderness. Full details, which include various fixes and performance improvements, are available in the patch notes accompanying today's free World Update 2 release.