Top Gun Hard Lock Preview

Many gamers are well aware of the fact that movie games are traditionally not that great, but that hasn’t deterred 505 Games as they try to make a Top Gun video game that doesn’t only appeal to fans of the film, but all fans in general. Top Gun: Hard Lock is a new game developed by Headstrong, and — believe it or not — it’s actually pretty fun.

The first thing that stands out are the graphics. The graphics currently look rather impressive, with the details on each of the fighter jets standing out the most. The water also looks very cool as the ocean rocks back and forth, and really helps immerse players in the game’s atmosphere. The explosions also provide their own visual zest, but one of the members of Headstrong assured me that the game will looks even better by the time that the game launches.

While the overall attractiveness of a game is a very important aspect, it’s the way the game plays that really makes it stand out. Top Gun: Hard Lock has some very solid controls, and the best part is that they are extremely simple to get the hang of.

I’m by no means an expert at flight-filled combat games, but after a quick tutorial from the game’s designer I was flying around and disposing of enemies with lethal efficiency. Pushing forward on the right joystick will speed up the aircraft, while pulling back slows down the jet. Moving the right analog right and left throws the plane into a bevy of barrel rolls that would make even Peppy Hare weep tears of euphoric joy.

Top Gun Hard Lock jet

One feature of Top Gun‘s combat is actually named after subheading of the title. “Hard lock” is a feature that allows players who are right on the tails of their nemesis to launch a one shot, one kill rocket. This is achieved by locking onto an opponent from behind, and keeping your reticule on them until it signals you to launch your missile. The end result is a glorious slow motion explosion.

Players will be able to tackle the game’s campaign in the infamous F-14 Tom Cat from the film. Unfortunately, there are currently no plans to include a Tom Cruise cameo. This could certainly change by the time the game releases, but as it currently sits there will be no cameos for fans of the hit film to look forward to in Hard Lock.

Fortunately, the game features co-op so that you and a buddy can team up and cause some air-splosions. Co-op is always a great feature in any game, but Top Gun: Hard Lock also includes the ability to play online with up to 15 other people. This competitive online mode splits the 16 players into two teams of eight, and this mode should require quite a bit of team work.

Overall, Top Gun: Hard Lock is the first movie-based game that I’ve been excited for in a long time. The franchise is surely in great hands with Headstrong and 505 Games, and the game will likely only get better as we progress towards its pending release. It’ll be interesting to see what kinds of changes are made to the game between this point and launch, and we’ll be sure to to report more news on the title as it become available.

Top Gun Hard Lock gameplay

Top Gun: Hard Lock is currently scheduled to land on the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC in Spring 2011, and should help ease the pain of waiting for Top Gun 2. There are currently no plans to release the title on Wii U. That could change, but Nintendo enthusiasts shouldn’t get their hopes up.

Stay tuned to Game Rant for more news and updates as E3 2011 continues through the week.

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