Star Wars: Squadrons Review
Seventeen years after the last Rogue Squadron, Star Wars: Squadrons flies in to fill the void. Was the wait worth it, or should we hold out for remasters of the Rogue Squadron series? Check out our review and find out.
Star Wars: Squadrons Review
Squadrons starts with you making two characters: one for the Empire and one for the Rebellion. After a brief training mission, you are pushed forward in time to after Return of the Jedi.
What’s left of the Imperial fleet is still in control of the skies, and the new Republic is trying to push them back. The story isn’t anything to write home about; it’s serviceable, but after Fallen Order, it’s just okay. It’ll run you roughly seven to nine hours, depending on difficulty and how quickly you get used to the controls.
I commend the story mode for teaching you all the tips and tricks for each of the ships. After the prologue, you can jump right into multiplayer, but you will be blown out. Learning to drift, how to target correctly, capital ship weak points, and how to handle the ships is an absolute must. I foolishly jumped into a fleet battle and had no idea what to target on the enemy Star Destroyer, and we lost as a result. Put your time into the Story Mode to become a superior pilot.
There are also interactions with your crew members on in your hangar in Story Mode. These are mostly forgettable, with a few exceptions. Wedge showing up was pretty cool, but his first mission was actually pretty dull. The other thing comes when you talk to your fellow pilots. They look at you and there is occasionally a delay after the say things. It’s almost like they had a choice system in place for your responses and dropped it, leaving an awkward pause in some conversations. Choices would have made the story much more interesting, that’s for sure.
Now let’s talk about the gameplay. If you are looking for Rogue Squadron, this is not the game for you. Star Wars: Squadrons is more of a flight sim than an arcade dogfighting game. There is no third person perspective, which is a huge bummer for me. You will always be looking out of the cockpit, trying to find your targets. It can become extremely frustrating when you don’t know where the enemy is shooting you from, and you die without ever seeing them. There is a radar and an auto-target system, but the results are often a mixed bag.
One really cool feature is the power management system. Basically, you can give your weapons more power, get more speed, or increase your defense. Doing this will lower your other stats, but the payoff can be massive if timed well. Using the A-wing at max speed to track down an enemy bomber, switching to attack stance, killing them, and then speeding away before another guy can get you feels great. It does mean you will need to be doing a lot of micromanagement in the middle of combat, but it’s as simple as pressing a direction on the d-pad.
Speaking of ships, you have four on each side. For the Republic, you have the X-wing, A-wing, Y-wing, and the U-wing. The Imperials have the Tie Fighter, Tie Bomber, Tie Reaper, and the Tie Interceptor. Each one plays a little different and is designed for certain things. The Bombers are great against big capital ships, but are slow and not as good against fighters. Fighters are good at blowing each other up, but not as good against capital ships. Support ships can resupply your missiles and heal allies while doing a moderate amount of damage to enemies. Then the speedy ships get in and out without being hit because their armor is trash. A good squad has a mix of these ships in order to achieve victory.
Each of these ships can be customized to your personal preferences. You can change the color and adjust a few cockpit items for cosmetics. Most of it will come down to new lasers, hulls, missiles, and other upgrades. Some lasers have less distance, but can be charged up or can be made to shoot quicker. You can make your hull more sturdy, but you lose a bit of speed and maneuverability. You can change missile countermeasures and special weapons to help spice it up. These options help keep things somewhat fresh, but sadly there are only two online modes, where you will spend the bulk of your time.
Dogfight mode is the team deathmatch mode of the game. It’s a 5v5 battle in space where you pick your ship and go at it with the enemy team. You don’t have to worry about any AI pilots or capital ships taking you out in this mode; the first team to get up to 30 kills wins the game. Teamwork is a requirement, and if you don’t communicate, it can be very frustrating. You will often have someone on your tail trying to burn you down. Still, this is the mode to test your piloting skills against other space cowboys.
The other mode are the Fleet Battles. Fleet Battles consist of three stages: There is a dog fight stage where the fighters battle it out until one team breaks through. From there, one team will defend, and another will attack with the idea being to either destroy enemy support ships or protect the support ships for your faction. Finally, the capital ships are the targets. You’ll have to break multiple parts to disable shields, weapons, tractor beams, and other parts. If you destroy the enemy capital ship, you win. If yours is destroyed, you lose.
Star Wars: Squadrons is a solid Star Wars game, but it will only have legs for a specific kind of player. If you are okay with more sim-based fliers instead of arcade ones, be sure to check this one out.
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