Seemingly out of nowhere, Star Wars: Squadrons popped up last week after it was ‘leaked’ just days before its official unveiling. It surprised many, especially those who have really fond memories of Star Wars: Rogue Squadron on the Nintendo 64, which was released 22 years ago. Oddly, the game is also coming out very soon; as soon as 2 October 2020 so you will be forgiven that this may not be fully fledged title not getting the care and attention that a Star Wars title deserves but you may be dead wrong. Star Wars: Squadrons looks like it has the potential to be a surprise hit and one that could be regarded as a classic and we discuss why.
Single Player Campaign
When Star Wars: Squadrons got leaked a few days before its unveiling, rumours were abound that it would be an online-only affair. What a surprise then to find out that Star Wars has not only one but two story campaigns, allowing you to play as the Republic and the Empire. Replete with cutscenes and a proper story mode, this is welcome news and hopefully the campaigns dont just act as filler for the multiplayer.
Full VR Capability
With this being a first person space combat game, it would be a shame if it did not support Virtual Reality. Impressively however, not only does it do so, it has full VR support on both the PSVR and PC. From the gameplay shown, it looks like a reliance on your typical hub is being replaced entirely by the actual cockpit of your chosen ship so this will just really add to the immersion. Many of you may not be sold on VR but that may change when someone you play with/against is using a VR headset to get a distinct advantage over you. Spatial awareness is absolutely fundamental in games such as this and your typical flatscreen TV view cannot compete with a VR headset that allows a player to simply look around to locate enemies. Neck strains are a small price to pay for increased combat efficiency!
No Microtransactions? EA?!
A game like this would be ripe for milking especially when it has an abundance of customisation options available to players. You can customise your ships, internally and externally, customise your character and more crucuially, have access to 60 loadouts to modify your ship. EA however appears to have learned from its severe missteps that really served to harm Star Wars: Battlefront 2 because players earn these customisation options by playing the game, not by purchasing microtransactions. That is an extremely welcome move in an industry where this kind of practice is sadly a rarity.
Cross-platform play is back and we really have to commend EA here from supporting it from the get go. There really is no reason why all 3 platforms cannot enjoy a game such as this together. Xbox players could potentially lose out though owing to the fact that they dont get the opportunity to benefit from VR support. A Playstation versus Xbox playlist would not go amiss!
Fleet Battles Looks Fantastic
Star Wars: Squadrons’ signature game mode, Fleet Battles looks fantastic and could lead to incredible space encounters. Meeting up at the social hub to strategise and coordinate the best loadouts adds more tactical depth to the game. This multi-staged game mode requires squads to first take control of the centre of the map. The second phase involves taking out the enemy capital ships whilst defending your own until the final crescendo which requires the enormouse flagship to be disabled by first destroying its sub-systems. This is a great approach to the game and one that adds depth beyond the standard 5v5 Dogfight mode. Our only regret is that the game mode doesn’t support more players. Can you imagine 10v10 battles?
For a game that just appeared out of nowhere, there is a lot to be excited about; especially if one is a Star Wars fan. It remains to be seen how well each ship handles but hopefully the handling is intuitive yet retains enough depth to ensure longevity. The single player campaign has some inherent challenges in terms of ensuring variety to make it feel like a proper campaign. Nonethess, what little has been shown looks extremely promising and we can’t wait to get our hands on the game. 2 October 2020 cannot come soon enough.