Top Gun – The PS3 Attitude Review
Top Gun is a classic 1980s movie starring Tom Cruise and centres on elite American pilots trained to be the best of the best. This iconic movie has spawned several games over the years, and now it’s the PlayStation Network’s turn with a brand new HD title.
With the film’s popular following even to this day, does the game live up to the big name? Well not exactly.
First and foremost, Top Gun is an arcade title, and not a simulation experience. This is no surprise of course as it’s the most obvious and easiest for Doublesix to develop. Essentially the gameplay centres on the basis of flying from a small choice of now mostly redundant fighter jets to destroy ground and air targets from a selection of missiles. All your weapons and health after time will replenish meaning if you run out of fire power, you can just take a short break from the fight to recover. But don’t be fooled into thinking this means the game is easy!
Mostly the gameplay works very well as the planes once mastered are actually quite fun to fly. Granted it can easily get repetitive as your objectives don’t have a wide scale of variety, but it helps make the title far more accessible.
The CFI gameplay feature is a welcome addition to the title. This enables you to keep a steady eye on the enemy in the distance while performing insane stunts to turn your aircraft in the right direction. We also found this to be a helpful feature to dodge incoming missiles when you temporarily run out of flares. However like flares, the use of the CFI is limited to a few seconds at a time.
Sadly the rest of the game doesn’t live up to the same level of entertainment and quality. Both the story and cut scenes are extremely dull and uninspiring, with poorly delivered key plot moments from the film – many of which will feel completely out of the blue to Top Gun movie virgins. Plus all the cut scenes take the form of watching you and your other pilots fly over the landscape while listening to embarrassingly scripted and spoken “banter” between you.
What makes this whole affair even more frustrating is that Maverick – that’s you – never talk in the whole of the game and so you must rely on Goose to deliver any pathetic comebacks or to take your complements – Sure signing up Tom Cruise would have been a huge expense for a download only title but providing no voice actor whatsoever just makes the game’s release feel premature.
But before too long you graduate from the Top Gun academy, and are sent on a number of missions in the Indian Ocean to defend bases and boats against Soviet planes and ships. We’re happy to say that unless you’re playing on easy, these aren’t as short and sweet as you might expect for a PSN title, taking away many hours of your time before completing them all.
In addition to the main campaign, Top Gun also provides a bonus single player ‘Horde’ mode which we found far more entertaining and a fine way to jump in the game if you only care about the gameplay as it simply blasts you with waves of enemies to fight off until you’re defeated.
Beyond the basic single player modes is multiplayer. If you’re expecting significant improvements in this area then we’re sorry to disappoint. With five different modes such as deathmatch and capture the flag, and space for up to sixteen players, multiplayer is fun for awhile, but it’s nothing revolutionary. Because of the imbalance in difficulty between attack and defence thanks to your trusty supply of flares, the multiplayer can very rapidly turn into a stalemate. Although this imbalance is also apparent in single player, it’s far more obvious when playing with other people.
The multiplayer community is also significantly lacking in numbers, with a slim number of sessions at your disposal and very few players in each of them. Hopefully the population will grow over time, but we were expecting far more gamers to be playing so soon after the launch of the game.
For a film that sticks in so many minds for the right reasons, this game will do it for all the wrong reasons. We had high hopes, but even at its current price tag of £7.99/ €9.99 / $14.99 is too expensive for this half-hearted attempt of a game. Luckily there are far better air combat games on the market, such as the new HAWX 2 or even our old favourite Warhawk. If Doublesix had given more time to refine the game, the story of this review could have been very different. Sadly it feels unfinished and rushed.
Doublesix also appears to have taken the approach of solely targeting fans of the twenty four year old film, but have failed this task with embarrassing voice acting and memorable film quotes that are somehow spoken by the wrong characters.