Posted 2 years ago By kingquagmire - David Collins
As a total fanboy of all things 80’s, Top Gun holds a special place in my heart. I mean, what 11-year old didn’t watch the movie and then immediately begin swaggering around like he was the reckless, yet brilliant F-14 Tomcat pilot, Lt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell? Although the film was well received, I suspect nostalgia carries it more than anything else these days. None-the-less, it’s that nostalgic feeling that draws me back to the property time and time again, no matter what form it takes. Now Top Gun is no stranger to the world of gaming, but it has been awhile since we last saw the franchise make an appearance. Does this iteration reclaim enough of the high-speed aeronautics to make it worth the trip into the “Danger Zone” or should this flyboy have stayed grounded?
The answer will fall firmly on how much weight your dollar carries for you. The game itself is tremendously short, not that I necessarily expected otherwise. As a downloadable flight-combat game, I can’t say I was really looking for a long and in-depth experience - especially after playing through the incredibly short and limp campaign that After Burner brought to the table a few months ago. At best, you’ll get four or five hours out of the 11 available missions (consisting of the prologue, three at the Top Gun academy and the final seven in the Indian Ocean.)
So what do you have left? Well, one of the selling points is the fact that one of the original Top Gun screenwriters, Jack Epps Jr, is handling the scripting duties here. Not that it mattered really as the flat voice overs combined with the almost mirror image of the film’s story made it very difficult to see anything extraordinary about the writing. It felt like Ferris Bueller’s Economics teacher was reading the cliff notes for Top Gun, only minus any of the romance and drama. (Buerller? Bueller? Bueller?) On top of that, the visuals don’t help the experience. The game isn’t ugly by any stretch, but it isn’t going to stand out or add any pop to counteract the monotone voice work either.
So all that’s left is the flight combat itself. Fortunately DoubleSix does a decent, if not repetitive, job of adding some intensity to the game. Carrying a heavy focus on lock-on missile combat, you’ll be tasked with blowing up anti-air guns and shooting down opposing fighters. Jetting through the air, launching you missile at an enemy and then hitting a loop while exiting it with your after burners can be wonderful. However, as I indicated, it does get a bit repetitive as the same formula can be applied with pretty much every encounter. Maybe if the enemy fighters would run for a bit, allowing you to give chase - instead of the constant tight circle they make once you get in close - would things have got more interesting. Is it bad? Not really. It just felt a bit lazy. There are an abundance of multiplayer modes which does help elevate the combat somewhat. Human vs human is much more enjoyable and really highlights the fast paced actions a lot better then the AI did during the campaign. Of course, this is dependant on if you can find enough people online to play with.
There is one aspect that will help spice things up no matter if you are facing the computer controlled opponents of the campaign or the PvP of online multiplayer. CFI (or Controlled Flight Instability) allows for the camera to be pulled way back, providing a direct line of sight to your target, even if it isn’t right in front of you. Seeing things from that perspective, it can be quite entertaining to watch as you flip your jet around like a Cirque de Soleil acrobat in an attempt to gain missile lock and blow your opponent out of the sky. It’s only available for a short amount of time and needs to recharge after each use, but it can be quite handy when the enemy’s blip on your radar is overlapping your own.
Considering the dull and truncated story delivery, the short amount of playtime, and the borderline lazy AI, $15 could be a tough sell. Even with six different fighters to choose from (five are locked at the beginning of the game) and the enjoyable multiplayer, the character and spirit of the Top Gun franchise is still lost amongst the clouds. It’s a shame that the story component came out the way it did as that could very well have been just the push this title needed to put it firmly in the ‘Buy’ category. Top Gun ends up being fair to middling; and is certainly a long way from being the best flight-combat game out there. Although, you could do worse...
+ CFI is a nice touch
+ Multiplayer shines when there are enough people to play with
+ Multiple fighters
- Voice work and story are flat
- AI does just enough to get by...and nothing more
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Release Date : 2010/08/17
System : PlayStation 3
Publisher : Paramount
Developer : doublesix
Category : Action
ESRB : E
7.0 / 10
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