While having full-time jobs prevents us from grinding all the way to the top of the American naval fighter tech tree, we do at least have a consensus from the rest of the community. That said, we did get the chance to try out the F-14A TGM edition in Ace Combat 7, so let's start from there.
For those unaware, the F-14A Tomcat hadn't featured in a non-spinoff Ace Combat title since the fifth game almost 20 years ago, as that's been relegated to the newer F-14D as of late. All the better for our purpose here, because the F-14A is also in War Thunder. At face value, the F-14A in both its standard and Top Gun attire isn't ostensibly that much different compared to the F-14D.
Their statistics in speed, mobility, stability, ait-tor-air/air-to-ground, and defense don't seem to be different at all. That is unless looking at them both back to back several times gave us some form of optical illusion. Instead, it's in the weapons loadout that the biggest non-cosmetic upgrade is seen between the two respective AC7 F-14s.
What does this equate to? Well, if you can't get enough of the world's most beloved Navy jet, you're going to adore Ace Combat's F-14A for its awesome ordinance loadout, exhilarating performance, and timeless variable geometry wing action. Even so, that latter comment may have more to do with Ace Combat's iconically addictive gameplay.
Across the aisle in the War Thunder community, there appears to be a polar opposite reaction to the new Tomcat. A feeling that at this moment in time, the F-14 was the last thing the game needed. We learn this when we hear directly from the horse's mouth in, of all places, a posting titled "The F-14 is the last thing this game needed".
Sometimes the joke just writes itself. So then, need we say more? Well, for the sake of balance, let's dig deeper and look at some facts and figures. The first round of grievances revolves around that, at the current date, there really isn't a one-to-one direct counter to the F-14A in a number of the non-American tech trees.
As for Sweden and Israel? Well, the Israeli Kfir C7 and Swedish Saab Vigen could theoretically keep a Tomcat pilot at bay, assuming they carry the upgraded RB71 and RB24J air-to-air or American Aim-9D Sidewinders and Shafir missiles in tow in the case of the Kfir. As for Japan, fans seem to believe the best option is the introduction of the Mitsubishi F-2, essentially a JDM special edition F-16 Fighting Falcon. Alternatively, the F-15J, the Japanese domestically produced F-15 Eagle, could also be a solid fit.
Other complaints levied at the F-14A in War Thunder include its new AIM-54A Phoenix long-range AAMs. These jet busters have proven to be able to lock onto targets from across the game map as soon as shortly after takeoff in Realistic Battles. Which sounds as boring to the Tomcat's pilot as it does the person now eating a missile from across the map.
A maximum payload of 8,000 lbs of bombs, or about as much as a quad-engined B-17 Flying Fortress, is bound to cause a world of hurt as well. So then, either Gaijin needs to make bigger maps or perhaps try nerfing the Phoenix missile not to be so brokenly OP.
Check out the sub-Reddit thread mentioned if you want to learn more about what WT players really think of the F-14A.