I paid 60 US$ for X-Plane 10.3 in October 2014.
If Steam had a refund-button I would use it.
I do NOT recommend X-Plane in its current state.
If this was the year 2002 X-Plane would be up to current standards, but this is 2014 and today you can find even free simulators that are better than X-Plane.
In fact, there is not much realism to be found in X-Plane (except that it's expensive, just like real flying)
- The runways. They look good and fairly realistic when you're lined up for take-off at night. Seeing the lights on the sloped runway appears quite well-done.
- The cars on the roads, at night, look pretty realistic (but taxes the system quite heavily, which basically makes it useless)
A few examples:
- The clouds look like nothing I've seen on planet Earth = unrealistic.
- The cockpits are alpha-status. Gauges are missing and when they are there some of them doesn't actually work. For example; the heading-bug in the King-air (a default aircraft and not a 3rd party aircraft!) can't go from 350 degrees to 010 degrees unless you turn it counter-clockwise. The NAV1 Locator shows negative degrees (puts a minus in front of the degree number) if you turn it past 360 degrees counter-clockwise. Not even Flight-sim 98 by Microsoft was this buggy (and that was in 1997!)
- The aircraft are not optimized for typical PC-joysticks, so the control of the aircraft does not compare to the same levels of work-load and stress-level that you feel in a real similar type. There also is no force-feedback (not even a simple stick-shaker or runway-rumble shaker which even FSX had in 2006) so you have no feeling for what the aircraft is doing in relation to ground or air-flow.
I also want to mention the menus, although they're obviously not related to flight-realism. When you see the menus... you just can't help but feel it's a crazy person who made this sim. For example; if you want to turn the sloped runways off you get a pretty nutty pop-up text about how X-Plane is so much more 'awesome' (a word the X-Plane author seems to use a lot) than FSX because of these runways. A lot of the graphic-settings also has options such as 'Burn your CPU' or 'Too much' or 'Siberian winter'... it's really a joke to see something like this in a 60$, supposedly FAA-certified, simulator.
So, to sum it up, if you want realism from your flight-sim... X-Plane 10.3 is NOT the best choice in my opinion. It's more than 10 years behind current technology standards for home-PC flight-simulators.
I do feel cheated paying 60 bucks for this incomplete software.