“Star Wars: Squadrons” Review

Story posted October 7, 2020 in Arts & Entertainment by Colton Pleslusky.

“Star Wars: Squadrons” is EA’s latest addition to the Star Wars universe. Developed by Motive Studios, the game puts players into the cockpit of various fighter classes, flying under either the Imperial Remnant or The New Republic, which the Rebel Alliance became following “Return of the Jedi.”

“Squadrons” begins with the player customizing the appearance of the Imperial and Republic pilot right down to the name. This customization is, of course, purely cosmetic and doesn't really serve any importance in the campaign.

That being said, knowing what one looks like, from the helmet to the flight suit, adds a degree of immersion to the game even if they only see it in the strategy room that takes place before multiplayer games and the main menu.

Back to the beginning, the game puts players in the prologue right after the destruction of planet Alderaan occurs in “A New Hope.” This is where the player assumes control and makes their mark, which sets up the rest of the campaign taking place after “Return of the Jedi.”

The player swaps perspectives as the campaign unfolds, flying as either Vanguard five of the New Republic or Titan three of the Empire. Both of these squadrons contain their share of interesting characters who players get to chat with in between missions.

For a small project game, the campaign is a nice length and provides a lot of thrilling moments as players experience the Imperial hunt for the Starhawk Project, which the Republic hides with absolute desperation.

Heading into multiplayer is where the starfighter customization really shines. Each fighter can be equipped with various weapons, engines, shields, hulls, skins and even unique dashboard ornaments.

All cosmetics are acquired with in-game credits that are earned through leveling up. As for the starfighters themselves, players can choose between a fighter, bomber, interceptor or support ship, each with a unique role to play.

The interceptor is fast but fragile, best for handling enemy starfighters. The bomber is obvious, best for attacking capital ships or keeping multiple enemies on their toes with multi-lock missile systems.

The support ships keep the squadron alive and well with varying abilities like repair droids, shield buffs and remote turrets. The fighter is the multi-role, handling both fighters and capital ships well but not excelling in either yet very balanced.

All of these ships can be outfitted with what the player chooses and, much like cosmetics, the player earns points through gameplay to purchase these upgrades.

Players take those starfighters into one of two game modes: Dogfight and Fleet Battles.

Dogfight is simple. Two teams face off in an aerial deathmatch. Fleet Battles is a bit more interesting with two fleets clashing on the various maps that the game offers.

The game mode is a bit of a tug-of-war with both teams seeking to gain “morale” by destroying enemy fighters. Gaining morale in turn allows players to advance and attack enemy capital ships, but should the morale drop players will find themselves on the defensive.

It should also be noted that “Squadrons” offers fantastic attention to detail.

TIE Fighters don’t have hyperdrives, so they can’t jump planet to planet like other ships. This is showcased in the campaign when the player is tasked with flying their TIE to a nearby cruiser to link to it for a jump.

That’s just one example of many. “Squadrons” also has a lot of thought out physics present. Want to drift like Poe Dameron at the beginning of “The Last Jedi”? Yeah, players can do that.

“Squadrons” is going for the relatively cheap price of $40 and is available on PS4, Xbox One and PC. It is VR compatible as well as with various flight simulator controllers.

There are no plans for additional content updates. Also, there are no microtransactions present in the game, a lesson EA learned following the disastrous launch of “Battlefront 2” back in 2017.

“Squadrons” may be a smaller project, but the game definitely gives a fresh take on aerial combat in the Star Wars universe. It's fun, thrilling and rewarding once players finish blowing up that capital ship, especially with friends.

This game truly seeks to fulfill that childhood dream of flying a starfighter.

Rating: 4/5

Colton Pleslusky is a Junior majoring in Telecommunications. To contact him email csp5289@psu.edu

About the Contributors

Colton Pleslusky's photo

Colton Pleslusky

Fourth-Year / Telecommunications

Colton S. Pleslusky is a fourth-year from Aliquippa, Pennsylvania majoring in telecommunications at Penn State. He is a director and writer for the CommRadio Arts & Entertainment Department as well as the host on Nittany Stories and a co-host on Nittany Record Club alongside Emily McGlynn. He does behind the scenes tasks, including directing, producing, programming and more for the Centre County Report. To contact him, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).