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Platform: Xbox 360

Top Gun: Hard Lock Review

A flight combat simulator that takes pilots straight into the danger zone

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Outside of Hard Lock mode, the gameplay is almost mind-numbingly simplistic, placing the game on the brink of basically playing itself. Being a modern story with modern equipment, most of the weapons used are guided. All a player has to do is get in the general area of lining up a shot, wait for the missile guidance system to lock on to the target, and press the button to fire. Some targets are more difficult to destroy than others, but most will be annihilated with one such shot. This is balanced somewhat by the fact that 99% of the time, there are people or even ground-based anti-air batteries shooting back, but the prompts again appear to allow you to dodge the enemy fire. These prompts work much better than their Hard Lock counterparts, too. Even players who are relatively inexperienced with the flight genre will be hard-pressed to find any real challenge in the campaign beyond the shortcomings of the controls.

Top Gun: Hard Lock

The game's two other modes, Danger Zone and Multiplayer, share many of the same problems and are equally unimpressive in terms of entertainment. Danger Zone is comparable to Gears of War's Horde Mode or Firefight in Halo: Reach, with the player simply trying to survive and rack up kills while waves upon waves of enemies are thrown into the field. Players who just want to get into the jet-fuelled, high-intensity action promised in the advertisement for this game will come a bit closer to it in Danger Zone than in the campaign. This mode allows the player to choose from aircraft and other features unlocked in the campaign and take to the skies against seemingly unending MiG’s, a feature perilously reflective of the trend toward throwing Communists in as bad guys no matter how little sense it makes in the game. Multiplayer also has a limited selection of game types that provide a good balance between action and objective. Though it does include online play, finding a decent match is probably more of a challenge than the game itself proves to be. The multiplayer must also be unlocked with a code that comes with new copies of the game or by paying for it separately as DLC for used copies. This is almost like adding insult to injury for a game that is already painfully mediocre.

The graphics in Top Gun: Hard Lock are average. They show a decent amount of detail on the aircraft, but most other objects are seen as simple flat shapes, including enemy planes and ground structures. The environments are rather barren, consisting of mostly open ocean or a plain sandy shoreline. The game also simulates sunsets or bright sunlight in many levels, which, though realistic, can be downright annoying. There are a few unique map areas that are somewhat challenging and fun to fly, but they are in the minority. The music for the game consists solely of two tracks from the movie, repeated over and over again in the menus and while playing the game. Not surprisingly, these get old very fast.

Top Gun: Hard Lock

Top Gun: Hard Lock is not a terrible game, but it is terribly average. There is just enough decent content to redeem its distinctly negative drawbacks. But even that content is rather lacklustre. The ideas behind the Hard Lock mode are imaginative, but the implementation of those ideas could definitely use some refinement. Fans of flight games may consider it a good addition to the genre, but for your average Renaissance Gamer, the experience will likely be a forgettable one.

Our ratings for Top Gun: Hard Lock on Xbox 360 out of 100 (Ratings FAQ)
What might have been a redeemable game is torn down by overwhelmingly dull story, visuals, sounds, and design.
Some interesting ideas help to give character to an otherwise generic design, but fail to overcome the boring experience in practice.
Single Player
A wide variety of missions just barely makes up for the dry setting and story, but make for a mediocre experience that is dragged on for far too long.
Feels like it was thrown in just for the sake of having it, with no real substance to make it worth the time or money.
Little distinction in areas or objects and poor consistency in display of speed, position, or depth make the action very hit-or-miss.
Top Gun: Hard Lock infuses a stagnant genre with some new ideas, but ideas with such poor implementation are just not enough to make the game anything more than a flight of fancy.
Top Gun: Hard Lock
Top Gun: Hard Lock box art Platform:
Xbox 360
Our Review of Top Gun: Hard Lock
The Verdict:
Game Ranking
Top Gun: Hard Lock is ranked #1601 out of 1800 total reviewed games. It is ranked #135 out of 145 games reviewed in 2012.
1600. BreakQuest
PlayStation 3
1601. Top Gun: Hard Lock
1602. Killer is Dead
PlayStation 3
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Top Gun: Hard Lock
10 images added Nov 29, 2012 20:36
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