Ever since I was little, I've always wanted to be like Anakin Skywalker. The T. Flight Full Kit X from Thrustmaster reminded me of that. No, not the smoldering psychopath in the metallic-black breathing apparatus, but Ani from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. That kid exudes this unbridled excitement as he's locked inside of a cockpit and is sent hurtling off into the Battle of Naboo – fighting with the flightstick of a shining starfighter, wrestling system control away from a belligerent AI companion. His smile is infectious, even as he's outflanked by formations of Trade Federation Fighters. Look, I'll just come out and say it: I want my own "now this is podracing" moment.
Now, I'm not going to sit here and tell you that the T. Flight Full Kit X got me all the way there, but it came close enough. It might do the same for you too. Ducking and weaving through enemy fire in Star Wars Squadrons, the Thrustmaster T.Flight Hotas One joystick translated my frantic motions into equally frantic maneuvers that quickly begin to frustrate my squad as I fail to hold formation. As I attempt to rejoin the squadron, spotting enemy rockets tracing through the stars behind me, my feet dig instinctively into the TFRP Rudder pedals and my ship enters into a disorientating spin-cycle. I'm out of control. The missiles are closing in. My knuckles white as the throttle is pushed to max speed. Maybe this is podracing.
Take to the skies
The T. Flight Full Kit X from Thrustmaster is designed to bring more immersion to your interactive flight experiences on Xbox Series X. While the Xbox family of consoles has always had some degree of support for niche-interest peripherals with limited staying power – Steel Battalion on Xbox, force feedback racing wheels on Xbox 360, and, well, whatever it was that Kinect was doing on Xbox One – this flight stick bundle is making me consider a permanent living room reconfigurations.
I mean that literally, too, because the T.Flight Hotas One joystick comes equipped with a surprisingly short USB cable. It's just 1.5m long and necessitates me pulling my couch away from the wall to connect the device to the Xbox Series X comfortably. Given that Thrustmaster has explicitly designed this package to bring what was once an experience primarily oriented to PC players to console, the short cable is something of an oversight. Still, if you can make it work for you it's a small complaint in the grand scheme of things.
In fact, that's what we've got here – a great package that comes equipped with a number of small complaints. For example, you're able to alter the tension of the flightstick itself – achieved simply enough, by playing with a dial underneath the base of the unit – which is fantastic for fine-tuning the joystick to more closely reflect the aircraft that you're piloting, especially helpful in games like Microsoft Flight Simulator. However, you aren't able to do the same with the pedals, which let you control the rudder of the plane with both of your feet. They're easy enough to use in practice, but I'd have appreciated the option to increase the tension in Thrustmaster's Sliding Motion Advanced Rail Track system to further hone the simulation experience.
The ease in which the rudder pedals slide can be a problem, particularly in intense Xbox Series X games like Star Wars Squadrons or Elite Dangerous, where perilous situations can force your instincts to take the wheel – leading to jabs at that the rudder controls which will ultimately roll your ship around uncontrollably. Maybe that's on me for being rubbish under pressure, but there's a reason I'm sat at a desk writing this review and not a licensed pilot responsible for ferrying people around the world.
Still, the T. Flight Full Kit X lets me pretend that I am for a few hours. The TFRP Rudder pedals are less of an issue in Microsoft Flight Simulator, a calming experience once you're in the air. Now that's a game designed to let you explore the planet from the comfort of your couch; playing Microsoft Flight Simulator with an Xbox Series X controller is akin to controlling an interactive screensaver, whereas with the T. Flight Full Kit X it feels like the world's most beautiful vistas are out there waiting for you to find them.
Teasing the plane onto a flight path with the Thrustmaster T.Flight Hotas One joystick is a delight, pulling the throttle back to slow the engines, and then sitting back while slowly course-correcting the rudder to keep the airship steady. It's an immersive, intuitive experience. The build quality of this package is also fantastic; the joystick and throttle feels weighty enough in your hands that you always feel like you have total control over it, especially helpful for when you start reaching for the flaps and buttons positioned all over the chassis of the modular device.
It's worth mentioning that your mileage with the T. Flight Full Kit X will be largely dependent on the game you're playing. Thrustmaster can't, after all, force developers to support the peripheral. So while a game like Star Wars Squadrons will automatically detect the device upon launch and let you get straight into the action, others, like Microsoft Flight Simulator, will not only require a degree of fine-tuning at startup but also necessitate that you pick up your Xbox Series X controller from time-to-time to navigate the menus and quickly activate some in-flight functionality. It's a small issue, ultimately, but it can be a bit of a frustration, particularly after making the investment in such a resoundingly specialist bit of kit.
But if you can get over a little friction in-game on occasion, you aren't likely to find all that much of an issue with the T. Flight Full Kit X. It's a sturdy and enjoyable bit of kit that comes in at a reasonably accessible price-point – a small price to pay given that it will utterly transform your experience with simulation games on Xbox Series X. While that's only a few games now, I hope more are on the near horizon because, truth be told, I don't want to unconnect the T. Flight Full Kit X from my Xbox Series X. I probably won't ever have my "this is podracing" moment, but it sure is nice to sit back on my couch and take to the skies every once in a while.