Top Gun: Hard Lock Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | PC
Top Gun: Hard Lock Box Art
System: Xbox 360*, PS3, PC
Dev: Headstrong Games
Pub: 505 Games
Release: March 13, 2012
Players: 1 (2+ Online)
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Language, Violence

This is the kind of move that a big-name publisher can get away with, especially on a high-profile game. Also, I sympathize with the fact that multiplayer support costs money, and I know that used game sales don't produce any revenue for publishers. But when I tried to access multiplayer games on Wednesday and Thursday nights (following the Tuesday release), I couldn't find a single game. The bottom line is that to provide paying customers with online opponents, this game needs all the players it can get, and instead the suits are discouraging people from playing online.

Top Gun: Hard Lock Screenshot

Quite frankly, whether you buy a new copy or pay $10 for the multiplayer add-on, I can't make any kind of assurance that you'll be able to play online with regularity, unless you talk your friends into buying the game too. This calls into question the $40 price tag. Therefore, my recommendation is to treat this as a single-player game only, and either rent it or wait until the price comes down to buy it. If it's multiplayer dogfighting you want, I hear that the $10 Snoopy: Flying Ace XBLA title still has some players, not to mention that it includes a local mode. (Also, it's adorable.)

That said, here's a quick rundown of the multiplayer modes on offer. Deathmatch and team deathmatch are it for competitive dogfighting, unfortunately, but the cooperative options are a lot more impressive. They include "carrier strike," "base defense," and "aircraft escort."

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The multiplayer frustration might leave a bad taste in your mouth, but it shouldn't detract from the fact that the campaign in Top Gun: Hard Lock is a heck of a lot of fun. Renting this game is a sure way to spruce up a rainy weekend, and once the price comes down, a purchase won't be a terrible idea—especially if the game manages to attract more multiplayer action and the modes run well. Is it perfect? No, but it's weirdly lovable—just like the quarter-century-old film it draws its inspiration from.

By
Robert VerBruggen
Contributing Writer
@RAVerBruggen
Date: March 16, 2012

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
2.7
Graphics
They often look washed out and insufficiently detailed.
4.5
Control
They feel intuitive and offer the player a wide range of maneuvers.
3.2
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The voice acting is cheesy.
4.0
Play Value
The multiplayer is disappointing, but the single-player game is a blast.
3.5
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Hard Lock Mode: The Hard Lock mode allows players to engage the enemy during dogfights, enabling them to lock on to targets and unleash their powerful arsenal of weapons.
  • Challenging Missions: The single-player story campaign offers 15 challenging missions set across diverse backdrops.
  • Multiplayer: Fans of multiplayer are well catered for too, with three distinct modes for up to 16 players.
  • Fancy Flying: Top Gun: Hard Lock offers one of the most accessible and exciting aerial arcade action games this generation. Officially licensed aircraft include iconic jets such as the F14D Super Tomcat, F22 Raptor, and F/A-18F Super Hornet.

  • Screenshots / Images
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