In the latest Star Wars game, you crawl into the cockpit of the spaceships from the movies, something that is only reserved for the most avid gamers.
Star Wars: Squadrons plays right after Return of the Jedi off. The rebels have saved the universe from the empire, whose last troops are slowly but surely being eliminated.
The game consists of two main elements: a story mode and a multiplayer option. In the first one you play two pilots. One is in the service of the rebels, and another fights for the last remaining troops of the opponents.
That way, the game alternates between two perspectives, allowing players to talk to other pilots on a base between missions. As a rebel, players must protect a secret project called ‘Starhawk’ while the pilots of the empire try to find out what it is.
The story never becomes truly memorable and characters tend to have long monologues. It feels like padding for a game mode that’s really all about the gunfights.
Gunfights are very strong
Those firefights are in turn very well put together. You play the game from a first-person perspective, so you can look outside from the cockpit. The ship responds as you would expect from a ‘real’ spaceship. For example, you have to fly slower to make sharp turns.
The main part of the fighting consists of shooting down other ships. This can be done with a well-aimed laser beam or by firing target-seeking missiles. However, this is not always easy due to the deliberately unwieldy control of the ship: these are large flying machines that move at great speed, which you first have to master.
Extras also keep the game interesting. For example, you can adjust the shield so that you can absorb more blows from a certain side, or give the motors an extra boost for a short increase in speed.
Visually the game looks variable. The cockpit is beautiful and detailed, looking straight out of the movies. But the space fields and skies you see through the window are blurry and unclear. That’s partly due to the nature of the game: as a pilot, you rarely get close to your opponents. But this never makes it a visual spectacle.
Even in the cockpit with virtual reality
Feels like that Squadrons like a real simulation game, which comes into its own even more with the right equipment. The game supports virtual reality, where it feels like you are in the cockpit yourself. In addition, a joystick can be used to control the ship, such as a jet fighter.
The story is over after eight hours. A bit short and not something to buy the title for. The focus is more on the multiplayer mode. Here players can compete against each other in space battles. Simply in arenas where players compete against each other, or in the more complex ones fleet battles-stand.
Bee fleet battles Larger, computer-controlled ships must be guided as they attack the opponent. Whoever infiltrates the opponent’s lines in this way wins the pot in the end. It adds an extra tactical layer, although it is sometimes unclear what you need to do to play effectively.
Number of game options is somewhat limited
There are not many different game options, so the average player will probably give up quickly. The fun is mainly in mastering your X-Wing or Tie Fighter, which probably isn’t for everyone.
Developer EA tries to keep players interested a little longer with additional goals to pursue. By winning pots and avoiding enough rockets, for example, you gradually get more and more upgrades for your ships and outfits for your pilot. It gives you something to chase, but essentially the game stays the same from the first moment.
With that falls Squadrons actually prey to the same weakness that many modern shooting games suffer from: this is a fun game for a few days, only for the most fanatical gamers it remains interesting for a longer period of time.
But for that small group of players, this game is a phenomenon. Squadrons gives you the feeling of really flying around yourself. Anyone who has virtual reality glasses can even look around the cockpit with their own eyes. That will be a childhood dream for many gamers – and for them also justify the slightly lower price of 40 euros.