After looking at the Top Gun themed DLC that was added to Ace Combat 7 last week, it’s only right that we jump back into the cockpit and have a good look at the FREE content that has just landed for Microsoft Flight Simulator based around the blockbuster flick. But if you’re expecting an easy fly-by, you’re in for a wakeup call as unlike Ace Combat, Flight Simulator is taking no prisoners and often sits on the wrong side of the brutal line when it comes to taking to the blue sky blue. Though right off the bat it hits you that there is a lot of love for the source here, as the missions have their own built-in menu complete with an interface. Click on the tile and you’re taken to a menu allowing you access to the content all the while the Top Gun theme playing in the background and that is a huge plus right there.
As for content itself you get access to the F/A-18E fighter which was released last year, as well as a new Top Gun: Maverick skin for the jet, two fighter pilot models to put in the cockpit, and a special Maverick specific pilot model (with iconic helmet) for the challenges, but sadly this digital rendition of the sky jockey isn’t available outside of the challenges… yet. Also like Ace Combat you get to jump behind the stick of the fictional Darkstar prototype hypersonic aircraft. The Asobo team’s version of the Darkstar gives you the opportunity not only to go hypersonic, but also shows off what the Microsoft Flight Simulator engine can do when you start getting into the more extreme side of the altitude spectrum. And yes if you’re a pure blooded Flight Simulator fan this may be all a bit over the top, but that’s what Top Gun is all about, as let’s be honest at heart it’s ultimately an action movie when all is said and done. Gameplay wise there is a number of training modules and challenges to take on. There are three training modules including how to do an unrestricted climb. These are all fully voiced over and are clearly aimed at people new to the jet fighter experience, which is welcome given this is an extremely different kettle of fish from your standard Cessna.
The standout feature of this DLC pack is the low level challenges, which unlike Ace Combat are all built around the action from the latest flick which is a very nice touch. Here you’re challenged to fly as low as possible as fast as possible across a scenic course. The result is a very fun, tension filled, obstacle course where a combination of low and fast flying will net you the most points and higher grade. Beyond trying to beat Maverick at his own game there are two other “experiences”. The first of which we think is the best and most Top Gun feeling of all… the DLC, as you have to try your hand at a carrier landing. The hook works, the FLOLS is displayed on screen, there’s even a voice over telling you to call the ball. And yes this is far from easy, but very rewarding when you hit the deck the right way. The second experience is the Darkstar challenge, where you have to get this “what-if” fighter into sub-orbital flight and – you guessed it – hit Mac 10. Getting it to the required Mach 3 for switchover requires very precise flying and timing, but get there in one piece and you’ll get to see Microsoft Flight Simulator the fastest and highest way available to date: going Mach 10 and at an eye watering 120,000 feet.
If you’re a Top Gun fan you’ll get your mileage out of this DLC and if you’re a Microsoft Flight Simulator fan with an open mind you’ll have a blast. For some it maybe “light” on content, but it’s FREE and truly crafted with love for the source. If you’re looking for a more realistic high speed thrill after leaving the cinema this is the one.
The Top Gun: Maverick DLC for Microsoft Flight Simulator is available now for FREE on PC and Xbox.