Finally decided to give DCS. After watching a couple hours worth of tutorials on youtube (got to part 4 of 10!), I have established that I can start the jet the game comes with, and I can take off and fly it too. Landings however are a little iffy. I made three attempts. On the first and last I slammed into the ground 500m from the runway. On the second attempt I hit the runway itself, while attempting to convert stray carbon into diamonds with my landing gear. I and my plane survived this landing, however I did blow out both rear tires and I'm pretty sure I broke the landing struts for good measure (this landing would have been considered a 'tad rough' in microsoft flight simulator X I think).
I've also learned that you have to avoid the "I'm in a jet fighter, look at all the crazy stunts I can do!" mentality. It's one thing to watch someone fly a jet fighter, and another thing altogether to realize just how on the edge of control something like a simple banking turn at 30 degrees and slow speed can be riding the edge between gracefully turning around and performing the aerial version of a spinout. The Su25T does recover like a dream, but it can't turn super tight.
The level of simulation is fantastic, as in, this is a proper simulation with little to no compromise made for the sake of making the game more playable (like allowing hard landings). The planes are complex, the flight model is I presume pretty top notch. If you have a joystick or controller, and some spare time to watch youtube tutorials, it's totally worth taking a look at (and it's free, with the option to buy other planes).