Microsoft Flight Sim's Top Gun tie-in teaches you how to fly like a skillful maniac

by John Stapel

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Microsoft Flight Simulator Top Gun Maverick DLC
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft Flight Simulator is brilliant for a lot of reasons, but for me, it's pretty much just an opportunity to take leisure cruises through parts of the world I've always wanted to visit. With a new Top Gun: Maverick expansion released today, we're now invited to perform ridiculous, high-skill manoeuvres in a specially decked-out F/A-18E Super Hornet, thus eliminating every trace of "chill" this game normally offers.

The free update is a promotion of sorts, but there's no Tom Cruise skin. Instead, it adds a bunch of missions and challenges, all themed around teaching us how to command high-speed fighter planes. These center around the aforementioned Super Hornet, which is already in the game, but now has a special Top Gun: Maverick Edition livery to really drive the point home.

The three new training missions teach players how to pull off "radical flight maneuvers" like unrestricted take-offs, split S maneuvers, and navigating really hectic terrain at low altitudes. There's a carrier deck landing challenge, which is apparently much harder than it sounds (I guess landing on a big ship would not give much room for error), and most excitingly, "a never-before-unveiled hypersonic aircraft that can attain speeds of Mach 10 and altitudes greater than 150,000 feet above sea level." Heck!

Elsewhere, there's a mission to reach the stratosphere, as well as five "high-speed, low-level" challenges that are also focused on navigating tricky, mountainous terrain without crashing and exploding and dying. 

The update is free and available now. As for Top Gun: Maverick itself, the film hits cinemas on May 27, and received an impressive five-star rating on our sibling site Gamesradar.  

Shaun Prescott

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.