Frank Dainese’s X-Plane debut Dolomiti 3D was X-Plane’s best areal scenery of the year 2017 (see our review here in case you have missed it). After such a magnificent first release expectations are certainly high. Frank’s second offering Matterhorn Park for X-Plane 10 and 11 which was developed in collaboration with Fabio Bellini is now close to release and Frank was kind enough to send us a pre-release review copy of Matterhorn Park which features the area around the famous Matterhorn mountain, including its nearby settlements Zermatt on the Swiss side and Cervinia on the Italian side of this famous landmark. Let’s dive right into it!
As already stated, Matterhorn Park features a high-resolution rendition of Matterhorn mountain and its nearby settlements on either side of the mountain. See the official coverage map:
As you can see this is a much smaller territory than Dolomiti 3D which basically covered an entire region of Northern Italy. However, it was the teams intent to pack even more detail into this smaller area, even though it’s a summer only scenery. To give you an idea, here’s some sections from the official manual:
The whole territory has been rebuilt on a photographic basis but without the use of orthophotos. All the vegetation has been mapped and faithfully reproduced in 3D. The houses are reconstructed in 3D according to a typology typical of mountain areas, but also with many buildings reproduced in the two locations, and even if simplified, very well recognizable. In addition, more the main sub-structures have been added (Tralicci, roads, railway …)
The protagonist of the entire scenery, the Matterhorn has been reconstructed in 3D according to DEM (digital elevation model) at 5m / pixel and further elaborated with many structural details. All textures (over 60) based on 4K (4096×4096) are derived from HD photographs and positioned respecting the real position. This long and laborious procedure required a considerable effort, but it made the 3D model of the mountain very realistic, such as to allow a close flight to the walls without loss of quality, setting the graphic configuration always at the high quality / extreme level.
The scenery features 2 airfields and 11 heliports:
- LICER Cervinia (airfield)
- LIZER Zermatt-Täsch (airfield)
- HELOR Rif.Oriondè
- HELHH Hörnli Hütte
- HELCR Cervinia Helipad
- HELBR Cervinia – Breuil
- HELCV Cervinia – Centro
- HELPM Cervinia – Plan Maison
- HELPR Plateau Rosa
- LSEG Zermatt Gornergrat
- LSST Zermatt Stafelalp
- LSSW Zermatt Schwarzsee
- LSEZ Air-Zermatt
At least the two airfields are entirely fictional. But what the heck, we all need a place to start somewhere, right? That said, being a GA man myself I will only focus on the two airfields for the purpose of this review (fans of helicopter flight should jump to the end of this review for some helo love). But before we start, as usual, find here a list of all the additional add-ons I used for this review:
- Ollie’s custom cloud set-up for the weather
- Carenado C152 II in combination with a yet unannounced and unreleased community mod. A story on this particular mod is currently in the works. Spoiler: You definitely should get excited!
I decided to do an early morning flight from Zermatt-Täsch to Cervinia (so basically from one side of the mountain to another). Check out the screenshots:
Only minutes after our southbound departure we are already above the scenic village of Zermatt. Personally I had the luck of visiting this town a few years ago so I got a lot of fond memories of this place. That said, there’s a lot of detail packed in this little town as the below screenshots clearly prove. If you know this place as I do, it’s easily recognizable in the sim. Great work!
After I passed Zermatt I had to gain altitude before I could think of crossing the ridge and begin my descent to Cervinia. The C152 is not exactly a heavy climber so I had to do some turns above some glaciers of the area (there’s basically a load of glaciers in this area). Check out the screens:
The Majestic Matterhorn
In the C152 it took some time to reach the final altitude but once I was up there, the scenery was mind blowing. Especially the majestic Matterhorn. There’s reason why it’s considered the most beautiful mountain in the Alps by many.
The detail is astounding. For the most part all you can see is razor sharp textures, no matter how close you are. Sometimes, however, certain textures appear blurry. This seems to be a known problem according to the official manual:
Despite the high quality of the textures, with excessive approach to the mountain you can see some blur effect.
I also loved the tiny refuges and bigger alpine huts on or near the mountain. I don’t want to spoil everything for you so I didn’t take screenshots of all of these structures but rest assured, there’s a lot to discover in Matterhorn Park.
And off we go to Cervinia! Cervinia airfield is just short hop from the top of the Matterhorn so, again, I had to do some turns to lose altitude. Here’s my approach:
Cervinia itself is a nice little mountain village. What else should I say? It’s crafted nicely, see for yourself! 😉
It’s no secret, I have always been a fan of Frank’s. I loved how he crafted his mountains in P3D and I love it even more now that he’s developing these products for X-Plane. That said, although I am totally biased (why is that a bad thing in flight sim anyway), I love Matterhorn Park. It’s beautifully crafted, there’s a lot of detail to discover and it’s a joy to fly. Fans of the 777 and alikes won’t find joy in this product but for all us low and slow GA Joes this is a no-brainer, especially given it’s low price tag of just $24.95. I do recommend you get this!
Matterhorn Park is available now for just $24.95 directly from x-plane.org here.
A Helo Pilot’s View
My friend Sergio of HeliSimmer.com also did a review of Matterhorn Park. Naturally he focused on aspects and features of the scenery a helo pilot would want to know. Find HeliSimmer.com’s review here.