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

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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.