I bought it last night and it downloaded as I slept. Premium Deluxe install is about a 95 ~ 96 Gig in size. Fired her up this morning and here are my initial impressions after about 4 hours of goofing around with it.
First of all, the specs:
Intel i5-9600KF overclocked to 4.8Ghz
32GB DDR4 RAM
NVidia RTX 2070 Super 8GB GDDR6
40Mps DSL Internet
Overall impression is that, like her predecessors, MSFS2020 will be the "gold standard" by which all other flight sims are judged. That said, I give it (in it's current state as of 23 AUG 2020) a grade of C+, or about a about a 2.6 on a 4 point scale. Let's talk about the bad stuff first.
While the sim is hugely impressive and the visuals are every bit as advertised, there are some nagging issues that, for me, won't have it replacing X-Plane 11 as an actual sim platform just yet. First thing is the Garmin avionics. While I certainly wasn't expecting a true to life Garmin experience, it would be nice if the map on the navigators could be set to Track Up. Currently, you only have North Up available. You also cannot, on the G1000, Declutter the map nor can you deselect the Topo map. On the 530/430, you're stuck with North Up as well, no terrain, and rather limited Declutter. I noticed that when selecting a waypoint with the Direct To button, on the screens it says USER -> rather than D->. Another issue that needs addressing is when you zoom in on your location on the navigators while at the airport, in sim you'll see sat imagery of your location. The real units don't do that.
The built-in ATC is the same glorious "not quite baked to perfection" from previous versions. Non-standard phraseology is the biggest issue. For example, when handed off from one controller to another while on a flight plan, once you check in with them, the AI controller will advise you to "continue as planned." Every handoff, every time. That doesn't happen IRL. You'll get a "resume own navigation" after being vectored by real ATC. I'm guessing MS still takes suggestions as well now as they have in the past. While on a flight from ASE to TEX, I was given a clearance to descend to 11000ft. I was in the Caravan, so I set up the autopilot for a 500fpm descent. ATC kept harping on me to "expedite." Then the moment I leveled off at 11000, ATC wanted me back up to 14000. Same stupid shenanigans I remember from FS2002. Wouldn't surprise me if that AI code was just copied and pasted in to this version.
DEN is one of the "Hand Crafted" airports in the version I bought, and it looks really great. However, the jetways at the east end of the B Concourse (United Express Gates) are wrong. In reality, these jetways are the small RJ variety and naturally sit really close to the ground. In the sim, they are "regular" jetways and you'll be able to park full size jets there (and maybe see AI aircraft there too). The Ramp Tower Cabs (atop Concourses A and B) look a bit off too. Then there are the GA aircraft parked at the gates. Before you accuse me of being too
nitpicky, keep in mind that this airport is one of the "Hand Crafted" airports and DEN is only "Hand Crafted" in the Premium Deluxe version (autogen in the others). It's interesting to note, though, that a third-party provider has KDEN in the official marketplace available for $15 and I believe it was available on launch day. Things that make you go hmmm...
I visited other "Hand Crafted" airports in the area, ASE and TEX, and found them really impressive. I've been to real ASE and I'd say it's nearly perfect.
I don't know how old the navigational data is in the sim, but I do know that the airport just to the east of KDEN is still known as Front Range Airport (KFTG) even though a few years ago (2018) it changed its name to Colorado Air And Space Port (KCFO).
The deficiencies in the Garmins and AI ATC are enough, in my view, to say that the sim isn't release worthy. These issues can be fixed, though, but only time will tell if they will or if third-parties will have to fill the void. MS has already shown that they are unwilling, or unable, to improve the AI ATC.
Let's talk about the good stuff now. Install and initial set up were quick (well, except for the several hour initial download) and painless. I chose to use the stock settings as determined by my hardware. The software chose to set quality levels to "High End" (next level up was Ultra). I didn't give "Ultra" a shot since, as learned while watching YouTubers play around with their early access release versions, people with slightly higher machine specs than me were struggling with "Ultra." Still, "High End" gave me a really fluid and consistent experience. I don't know the FPS as apparently there is no way to view this natively within the sim. It "felt" like in the low 50s range, though, even while low level over downtown Denver. Using the Windows Task Manager, the GPU was working the hardest and almost always being nearly maxed out but well under thermal limits. I never saw the CPU above 87% load. I used real-time weather and traffic and didn't have any storms or heavy cloud buildups to contend with.
Setting up my first flight revealed either a bug or a odd feature. While I could type in an airport code, it couldn't find my hometown airport, nor could I select it via the map. I was able to find Albuquerque International (KABQ) via the map and subsequently begin my first flight there, but could not locate it via the search box. After my first flight, the search box worked as one would expect.
While there are quite a few issues with the scenery due to the nature of sat imagery (roads on the side of mountains that carved into the side in real life, it is absolutely possible to do real VFR navigation in this sim. It was sort of possible in others by following major highways, but in MSFS2020, you can grab a recent copy of a road atlas and go off navigating your happy self that way. Also, if you're familiar with an area, just do it from memory. My first flight was a flight that I'd done a few times when I lived in New Mexico. It looked exactly as I'd remembered. The only issues I saw were the image of an airliner trailing contrails on the ground textures and ground textures that were from winter time sat imagery. I was able to find a wind farm that nearby and the wind turbines are modeled, placed exactly as they are in real life, as you can "see" a flat image of them on the ground.
Yes, I did try to find my childhood home. Since that area is too rural to be "high quality," the buildings were autogen and generic, but surprisingly well done. I couldn't fly slow enough to locate the exact house, but the scenery (ground textures and terrain) was accurate enough that I certainly found the street it's on.
With that out of the way, it was time to try out the DEN area. Flew out of APA (default autogen) and found my apartment complex and my place of work. The imagery was quite old as the Denver Broncos Training Facility (just down the street from APA) in the sim was still in the process of being built. When I moved here at the end of 2016, the construction had been completed. My workplace was of similar vintage.
So far, I've only flown the C172 (Analog), XCub, and C208.