FS Traffic 2002 modifies the artificial intelligence in Flight Simulator 2002 by adding more aircraft traffic, and several other features which improve the realism of the simulator such as extra voices and numerous extra airlines which makes some of the more major airports look as busy as they do in real life.
The main feature of the expansion pack is the traffic, and there's plenty of it to be seen, especially at some of the more major airports. It doesn't take long for a sizeable que of planes to be queuing up on the taxiway at a major airport such as Heathrow, or for a row of aircraft lining up for their final approach and handover to the tower before landing at somewhere like New York JFK.
Fifty airports have been specifically modified to work with FS Traffic 2002, including several major British airports, as well as an impressive line-up from around the globe including Amsterdam Schipol, Hong Kong, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Seattle, Stockholm and Vienna - each of which have more parking bays, and improved taxiway and runway operations.
Extra flight traffic isn't just limited to the enhanced airports though, as there are more than 40,000 flights which are modified as part of the package, meaning some 750 airports all receive more flights, with the real airlines operating in and out of them based on the proper airline timetables.
The expansion pack features a number of extra aircraft in a range of operator liveries including both long haul international names such as British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, United Airlines, and Qantas, as well as a range of European low fare operators including Buzz, Ryanair and EasyJet. The manual states that the aircraft are designed for use as artificial intelligence planes - for which they work fine - and says that they aren't set up to fly as realistically as the real aircraft when flown by the user, although they're perfectly good enough to fly if you want a bit of variety and aren't too worried about specific flight dynamics.
You also get several new voices which adds variation to the pilot and air traffic control voices which you hear, and finally you can use a British English voice instead of Flight Simulator's default American accents. They seem to be well recorded and do add some welcome variation to the ATC conversations, especially at busy airports such as Heathrow.
One of the novel aspects to FS Traffic 2002 is the virtual flight spotters bag (called Spotty) which lets you watch flights as they taxi to the runway for takeoff, and line up for final approach as they come in to land, as well as hear the air traffic control conversations taking place as it all happens. Features of the virtual spotters bag include a GPS system, pocket radio with manual tuning, and a flight map window allowing you to see where you are located.
The only real criticism of FS Traffic 2002 is the fact that controlling of "Spotty" isn't quite as easy as we hoped, and took quite a while to get to grips with moving the view to exactly where we wanted due to the jerky "flight" that happens when you try to "take off" in what's not really an aircraft. Luckily it's all a lot easier than first apparent, and once you work out the basic turning and panning movements, then it's easy to move about your chosen airport picking the viewpoint that you're after, and viewing the action from near the terminal buildings, perimeter fence, active runways or anywhere that takes your fancy.
Several tools are included with FS Traffic 2002 to let you edit airport AFD files so as you can include other airports in to the destinations which are covered by the program, modify flight plans, rebuild the traffic database, and generally manage your installation of the expansion pack to ensure it all performs correctly.
FS Traffic 2002 is a very thorough expansion pack which has a lot of enhancements that improve several aspects of Flight Simulator, with improved airports, more planes and liveries, extra voices for pilots and air traffic control, flight plans for the other aircraft, and the added flight spotter function provides for an alternative way to experience Flight Simulator.
When you consider all of the extra liveries which are included in the pack, you end up with a very cost effective way to populate Flight Simulator with realistic operations which closely resemble what you'd find if you were to visit the real airports.Overall score: 7 out of 10
Publisher: Just Flight
Recommended Price: £24.99
Available: NowBuy FS Traffic 2002 from AmazonRelated articles in our add on pack round up review:PC review: London City 2003 Scenery for Flight Simulator 2002PC review: British Airports for Flight Simulator 2002