I love Top Gun. I have seen that movie more times than anything else; my mom likes to tell me that I watched it at least 100 times in my fourth year of life alone. So am I all that capable of Impartially reviewing Top Gun: Hard Lock
? Well, I like to think that professionalism wins out over geek-lust, but I'll be honest with you, GNers: I had a pretty good time.
Playing as "Spider," a hot-shot pilot 20 years after the events of the original film, players take to the skies in more than 20 licensed aircraft against waves of enemies with one significant advantage: the Hard Lock system. Once a virtual fighter jock enters Hard Lock by keeping an enemy centered in the HUD, the aircraft enters a sort of "assisted flight" mode that takes care of the general turnin' and burnin', allowing the pilot to focus on shooting down the bogey.
Obviously, TGHL leans towards the "arcade/action" side of the flight sim genre, but that doesn't mean that it's not a good time. The dogfight I found myself in was fun if not genre-defining, twisting and turning for a hard lock, which also incorporates some QTE-like events that, if the player succeeds in will continue the dogfight, but if they fail, finds themselves in their opponents' gun sights.
Now-a-days, with console flight sim lovers relegated to once-every-couple-of-years installments of a particular franchise, it's nice to see a new wingman in the skies. Search your radar for TGHL on 360, PS3, and PC in Spring of 2012.