When I first watched the video that Wilco had made of the CRJ Next Gen on their website, I immediately thought, those graphics are great it must run so slowly and they must be using some sort of super computer. As it turns out this is not the case most of the time. As with any add-on aircraft you will see a slight slow down on game play if you are not using the best computer in the world. There will be a decrease of frame rates if you do use this aircraft with add-on scenery if you have a standard computer. If you turn the graphics down a bit then if will run as smooth as silk. First, the exterior of all aircraft is exceptional. All variants of these aircraft looks near identical but a bit shorter/longer. Some may be disappointed by this but it is not that big an issue. This package has very nice reflections and minor details. The lights all work and are in the correct place. The nav lights are not miles form the wing tips.
This detail continues to the interior. As with many of Wilco’s fleet, there is a virtual cabin. This one comes equipped with a flight attendant who is frozen in place and at the back. The cabin is much smaller than I originally thought and is identical for all aircraft. The interior is very nice. I have never be particularly bothered about the actual cabin as I just want to get on with the flying, but it is there and is very nice. The cockpit fits in with this nicely. All the buttons and levers are in the correct place and all work. Most of the buttons in this cockpit are 3D and useable. Lots and lots of cockpits have the important buttons in 3D and the others unclickable in 2D. You may see in the video that there is a rainbow affect on the windscreen when looking around the cockpit. I can only imagine that this is to add realism and is meant to replicate the sort of glass in the real thing, or if it is just a mistake that was never fixed. I like to think that it is the former! Everything else in the cockpit works. The displays are nice and bright and there is a good overhead panel. I was a little disappointed with the 2D cockpit as it doesn’t seem that well thought out. You do not get the standard of displays and autopilot and so on. You just get the autopilot, some buttons and a pretty basic overhead.
The sounds for this add-on are mostly good with some key sounds missing. The engines spooling up and running are great. You can hear them roar as you increase the power to take off thrust and you can hear the satisfying reverse thrust sound. However, some basic sounds are missing. As far as I can work out, there is not gear sound. There are no sounds of large pieces of metal moving as you extend or retract the gear. There isn’t much of a flap sound either. You can just about hear the extension and retraction of the flaps as you fly. Some other small sounds seem to be out of place but this was not what I expected. The Wilco Legacy had great sounds (read here) so I had high expectations, but even the standard aircraft with FSX have better sounds at times.
Going with this disappointment, the flight controls are way too light. As you can see in the video (below), you can throw this plane around to extremes instantly. If you are flying a light aircraft, this is what you expect. The CRJ-700/900/1000 are not light aircraft. They should react relatively slowly but they don’t. This can be seen as a good thing or as a bad thing. Most casual simmers probably won’t notice, but if you want everything to be as realistic as possible you will have issues with this. I have heard that it is possible to change this in the aircraft file but most people don’t want to get involved in this. You just want it to be real out of the box without much fiddling around.
So, who should buy this? If you really want a detailed regional jet then get this. For what it is it comes at a good price and apart from a few sounds and the ridiculously light flight controls, buy it. You couldn’t do much better. If you want everything to be as realistic as possible and are prepared to edit things, get this. This is of course only if you want a regional jet add-on. If you are considering it, be careful. You wont miss this if you don’t buy it. The default one will probably be good enough for you as it covers the basic points.
In conclusion, this is a highly detailed aircraft that looks just as good on the outside as on the inside. There are some issues with it but most can be fixed easily by you. This is a great add-on and I highly recommend it. It would get 9/10.