Like the Force itself, the Star Wars: Squadrons single-player campaign is a equilibrium. The balance between playing as both the New Republic and Empire, between arcade and also simulation-style controls, and involving fun and flashy activity and dull exposition dumps. It’s full of great references for fans and charming (in case ill-used) new personalities alike, all crammed into a collection of cockpits which are accessible to leap in and bunny without dogfights feeling dumb.
Squadrons has found a sweet spot between the point-and-shoot simplicity of this classic Rogue Squadron series and the insanely thorough simulation of Elite: Dangerous. You can, for the most part, simply get a controller and begin chasing down enemy boats — but there is also a nuance to correcting your throttle for improved turning, adjusting electricity between engines, weapons, and protects in the manner of the grand older X-Wing games, and countering missile locks. Things like this make flight much more engaging and give fantastic pilots a opportunity to excel without needing one to actually learn to fly a spaceship to be able to play.
The Empire Strikes Back
How it weaves the stories of two rival squadrons collectively sets up smart scenarios, sometimes letting you spring ambushes on your other half only to have the next assignment swap viewpoints so it is possible to take care of the aftermath of your actions. It’s very trendy, and developer Motive Studios proceeds to establish it understands how to make a match fit seamlessly into the Star Wars universe.
Part of that comes down to the cast of interesting characters, primarily composed of your squads on either side of this battle. Whether it’s the war-torn Imperial Shen with a battle-scarred helmet he never takes the mildly Force-sensitive prior racer Keo on the Rebel side, each one is distinct and well-designed enough to stick out in their own way — so much so that I could see any one of them because a Knights of the Old Republic or Mass Effect companion without them feeling out of place at all.
Actually, I expect that they do appear in an RPG some day, because they aren’t used very well here. Learning about them and their backstories is almost exclusively limited to optional conversations in your hangar involving missions, which frequently feels ham-fisted for a getting-to-know-you exposition-filled information dump. These stories are well written and acted, but they are just sort of irrelevant at the plan of Squadrons’ occasions. I enjoyed listening to them, but it’s unfortunate that you could skip every single person and it would not make a difference in your experience of the principal story whatsoever.
That story is a fun one however, centered across the New Republic’s development of a new kind of warship and the Empire’s search to stop that weapon from joining the struggle. It’s definitely amusing the whole way through, but it doesn’t strike me as particularly memorable.
2048 Star Wars Neither side makes much point about the larger battle, you are not requested to make any decisions or even really question anything that they do, along with both rival squads never even directly combat like I so hoped they would — now that would have been fascinating. It just seems like a missed opportunity not to do something much more interesting with this unique campaign format, where we have perspectives from both sides of this conflict.
Having said that, it will provide more than sufficient reason to hop into the cockpit and fly some very fun missions. Most objectives do boil down to"you are in distance and you want to shoot X item," (that is the whole premise) but the story’s installation for each one makes them feel more varied than that — especially when you are hopping between good guy and bad guy every point or 2. The dogfighting itself is really good that it got boring, even if I did occasionally wish there was a bit more objective assortment here — for instance, it could have been cool to see scenarios centered around piloting through tight spaces or maybe place nearer to the surface of a world (or even moon-sized space channel, although the galaxy is short on those in this time period).
Luckily, the areas you do go consistently show off just how unbelievably stunning Squadrons is. Even if goals start to feel like, weaving through cloudy nebulas or around shattered moons accomplishes them into stunning fashion. Missions are action-packed, but many thickly start slow and provide you a chance to take in some of the grandiose sights they must offer before the turbolasers start flying. That spectacle is present in cutscenes also, which often upstage those discretionary hangar conversations and allow them to feel like an afterthought by comparison.
Star Wars: Squadrons’ single-player campaign assignments are a feast for Star Wars fans’ eyes and ears, especially in VR. Its engaging space battle is a great balance of approachable arcade controller with the added nuance of all simulation-like platforms, which unite with astonishingly comprehensive ships and cockpits for its many authentic-feeling ride since LucasArts’ mythical X-Wing and TIE Fighter games back in the’90s. Star Wars: Squadrons does not end up doing anything overly memorable with its magical characters or interesting rival squadron installment, but this campaign still tells an entertaining Star Wars narrative I loved no matter that cockpit I used in.