Star Wars: Squadrons Review – Space Combat Done Right

A brand new Star Wars flight sim has arrived and it brings the franchise into the modern world. With VR technology gradually taking a foothold, the developers  Star Wars: Squadrons, Motive Studios, opted to make this a hybrid of some sorts – employing new tech without alienating fans of Star Wars flight sim games. Did it pay off? Today we review and see how Star Wars: Squadrons performs.

Check out a review another Star Wars game published by EA, Battlefront 2, here!

Star Wars: Squadrons Review – Singleplayer Story Campaign

Star Destroyer Battle
A lot of Star Destroyers were destroyed in the making of this game.

Star Wars: Squadrons tale plays alongside the movie franchise’s main events. The game spans several years, encompassing the major events of Star Wars Episodes IV to VI. The story starts with the Destruction of Alderaan, then abruptly jumping right after the Battle of Endor.

Without spoiling too much, the plot involves betrayals and the personal vendetta of commanders from both sides. Barring the illogical plot headaches and the “WTF?!” moments, the story is of cookie-cutter variety but is serviceable enough to warrant attention.

The Best Pilot The Galaxy Has Ever Seen

Destroy the Frigate

To jump in, you get to choose a pilot for both sides of the conflict: one for the Empire and one for the Rebels / New Republic. You also get to customize their appearance and their genders to a limited degree.

You get to play as the “elite” pilot (and possibly the Force incarnate) in both sides. With that said, you get a front-row seat in decisive battles for the Empire and the New Republic. Missions range from typical dogfights to blasting gargantuan space ships and stations. Missions alternate as you progress, pulling you out of a faction to see how much the other is reeling from your attacks from the previous mission and how they plan to counterattack.

Good Practice For Multiplayer

The singleplayer campaign also acts as a glorified tutorial for the meat of the game: the multiplayer. In the story, you get to use all of the available ships in the game, complete with their strengths and weaknesses. This gives you a general idea of how the game works and it also teaches you maneuvers and techniques that can be useful in PVP combat.

Multiplayer

Fleet Battles is Star Wars’ version of a tug-of-war.

2 Multiplayer modes were present by the time this game was reviewed: Dogfights and Fleet Battles. Dogfights are PVP matches centered on eliminating members of the opposing side. The first side to reach 25 wins the match. Fleet Battles, on the otherhand, is more objective-based. It is akin to that of a gigantic tug of war with both sides fielding a capital ship that the opposing side must destroy.

Character Progression & Customization

Player customization in Star Wars Squadrons
Progression system in the game. Players can acquire points to purchase cosmetics to customize the appearance of their pilot.

A progression system is also employed here. Completion of several games rewards you with XP that allows you to level up. Once you hit a certain level, you will be rewarded with resources that will allow you to purchase new armaments or new skins to customize your starfighter and your pilot.

Does It Have Bots?

Dogfight Star Wars Squadrons
Dogfights is the conventional PVP game. No bots, just players with their skills.

Multiplayer can be fun if you have some mates to play with. But if you really want to play solo, you can ultimately play with bots. The AI for the multiplayer is competent enough to offer you real challenge in terms of your flying skills. But as they are AI, they can be a bit predictable once you get the hang of things.

Probably the best thing about the inclusion of bots is that this makes the game a pick-up-and-go title. You can level up with bots to further your career in multiplayer to unlock additional tools, but you can also just fly and fight without getting frustrated with losing to experienced players.

Presentation: Graphics & Audio

There is no question about it. Star Wars: Squadrons is great to both the ears and the eyes. Although the gameplay of previous Star Wars games from proved to be divisive, all are unanimous in praising the quality of their presentation. Same as with this one.

Visually Brilliant

Conversations inside the hangar
Players can converse with characters in-between missions.

Graphically, Star Wars: Squadrons makes use of the proven and tested Frostbite 3 game engine. Everything’s pretty well-rendered and this can be attributed to the game being a VR title. This can easily be seen during cutscenes and conversations inside the hangar of both the Empire and the New Republic. The same can be said even in combat. Although most of the things on screen are in motion, the background and the battlefield show that distance and quality are not something Star Wars: Squadrons has skimped on.

Blasting Audio – IN SPACE!

Mission briefing
Mission briefings are simple yet feel incredibly formal.

In reality, sounds in space would sound like soft farts but in Star Wars: Squadrons, everything feels like you’re part of a movie. The iconic sounds of lasers blasting through the vast expanses of space can be heard in its full glory. Inside the cockpit, you will be barraged by the fast whizzes of Empire and Republic ship. Everything feels like they have their own distinct sounds to offer.

Microtransactions & Other Paid Content

Even weeks after the release, Star Wars: Squadrons is still free from any paid content and DLC. Players must labor through and work hard for all the cosmetics and the weapons by playing the game. Is this a good thing? Definitely.

Star Wars: Squadrons Review – Verdict / Final Thoughts

Space Station mission in Star Wars Squadrons
The game keeps you on your toes with a great variety of missions.

To summarize, Star Wars: Squadrons is something you should definitely try if you’re into Star Wars or the old space fighting sims. I highly recommend that you get it if you fit either category. However, it might off some of the old veterans with its simplicity and VR-centric design. If you find yourself looking for a Star Wars-themed game filled with stellar visuals and audio, then this is what you are looking for.

The game is priced lower than the standard with it being PhP 2,100 on Steam here in the Philippines. With Christmas fast approaching, it’s more or less to expect this one to go on sale. Also worth noting is its less than standard price, and if you’re getting it at a discount, better. Moreover, if you have a VR set and a joystick, this is a no-brainer.

You can get Star Wars: Squadrons on PC on EA Origin or on Steam.