Middle-aged weeb crashes expensive jets in Microsoft Flight Simulator’s Top Gun update

I was in the mood for a bit of fun this Friday afternoon after everyone else has been having such a lovely time today, so I booted up Microsoft Flight Simulator and downloaded its brand new — and completely free — Top Gun: Maverick expansion. This provides a series of scenarios for you to participate in, as well as three lessons in handling the F/A-18 Hornet, and a supersonic jet that you’re supposed to be able to take into the stratosphere, but I haven’t quite figured that bit out yet.

It’s a really fun bundle of things to do that is ideal for those who enjoy the more “gamey” side of Microsoft Flight Simulator — plus gamers of a certain age will doubtless have fond (or perhaps excruciating) memories of attempting to land on the aircraft carrier in Konami’s 1987 adaptation of Top Gun for the NES that you can recreate with modern technology right here.

Anyway, please enjoy your Editor’s questionable flying skills and apparent inability to break the sound barrier!

The Top Gun DLC bundle can be installed from Microsoft Flight Simulator’s “Activities” menu, and from there you can also access the various training missions and scenarios.

The three training missions in the Top Gun DLC take you through three important skills to master in the F/A-18 Hornet: a short-distance takeoff using your afterburners; the ability to cross ridges without pulling negative G-forces; and the “Split-S” aerobatic manoeuvre. You’re talked through all of these and provided with a checklist that includes button prompts — just make sure you’ve assigned all your buttons if you’re using a custom control setup, because the first time I tried I discovered I didn’t have an “afterburner” button!

Most of the included challenges in the Top Gun DLC are low-altitude races, in which you must get from a starting point to a finishing point while remaining as low to the ground as possible. You can take whatever route you want so long as you’re flying in roughly the right direction towards the goal point, and the course is split into ten segments. In each segment, you earn points that relate to both your speed to clear the section and the average altitude you held throughout, and optionally you can compete against a ghost of either a default performance or your own best run.

While the fundamental idea of the challenge is the same across all the courses, the varied terrain makes for interestingly different-feeling challenges. In some, you’ll be skimming across the surface of water for the majority of your run; in others, you’ll be flying through valleys and just missing the tops of the trees beneath you. So long as your PC (or, indeed, Xbox) is up to the job of running Microsoft Flight Simulator at a decent frame rate, the sensation of speed is very good indeed, and this makes the challenges very exciting.

Top Gun for Microsoft Flight Simulator

While it’s a tad more complex than the Pilotwingses of this world, it’s good to see Microsoft continuing to include game-like challenges in Microsoft Flight Simulator. The package as a whole is quite astonishing in what it offers, so it can easily be very daunting; activities like those found in the Top Gun DLC can act as a good starting point for players who don’t know quite what they want to do with the simulator!

There are also two “Advanced” challenges included in the Top Gun DLC, one of which involves landing an F/A-18 on an aircraft carrier — difficult, but not impossible — and the other involves flying an experimental supersonic “Darkstar” plane into the stratosphere. I managed to clear the former of these within a few attempts, but the latter eluded me; I’m not entirely sure what I was doing wrong, but I was simply unable to get the damn thing going fast enough!

I’m keen to try again, though — if they’ll let me get my hands on another multi-million dollar plane, that is…

Microsoft Flight Simulator is available now for PC and Xbox, or you can play it as part of the Xbox Game Pass programme.

Join The Discussion

Rice Digital Discord
Rice Digital Twitter
Rice Digital Facebook

Or write us a letter for the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page by clicking here!

Disclosure: Some links in this article may be affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on them. This is at no additional cost to you and helps support Rice Digital!

Pete Davison
Spread the love!

Related post