Review: Star Wars Squadrons

Having played X-wing and TIE Fighter (a lot) back in the day, my having had a PS4 given to me to use made investing in Star Wars Squadrons a given. I pre-ordered it (a first!) so that it'd be ready to play just as soon as the game was released. After playing it on a semi-regular basis over the course of the last couple of weeks, I haven't been disappointed.

As the name suggests, you're a fighter jock flying with a part of a squadron in the Star Wars universe, with all of the pew-pew-pew that this entails. The game comes with a single-player camp gain baked into it that takes around eight or nine hours to complete, depending on how shitty your piloting skills are.

Mine… were bad.

I'm the fella that avoids driving vehicles in Grand Theft Auto and Grand Theft Horse as I can never seem to get them to get my ride to take me where I want to go. Having what amounts to an eight-hour tutorial teaches you how to fly all of the games fighters, interceptors, bombers, and support ships was definitely a win, so far as I'm concerned. You'll spend a little time flying for the Imperial Navy and some hours zipping through space on the behalf of the New Republic. All of it leads up to your getting your ass handed to you, for at least the first few hours, of mixing it up with other space folks in the game's multiplayer sorties.

If you can avoid flying into any of this crap, you'll feel accomplished.

Once you're ready to step up to multiplayer, you'll have likely decided on which ship suits your playing style best/that you crash into the debris and star destroyers the least with. In my case, I like to rock the New Republic's A-wing. It's fast, nimble and makes me feel like I'm half-competent as I zip through debris fields and floating ship yards. In order to unlock any mods for your ship, you've got to duke it out in dogfights in order to earn points. With enough points, you'll be able to upgrade your ship with a new paint job and the few mods that the game has to offer.

Now, about those dog fights: it's a five-on-five affair. Playing with friends makes in the same squadron makes for some good times. If you're a moody hermit like I am, however, you'll find that Squadron's matchmaking system works ok, as well. During the first week it was out, the game's multiplayer squadron building was all over the place. I was killed, repeatedly by some droog in a TIE bomber, 15 levels higher than me. Things seem to have levelled out this week, however, matches feel more even and as such, a whole lot more enjoyable. Once you've gained a little more confidence, you can engage in Fleet Battles as well. It's you and four other flyers trying to take down an enemy capital ship, all the while doing what you can to protect your own. It's intense and, in turns, both frustrating and fun.

For some, the fun that the game offers could be short-lived. You'll only dog-fight in a handful of locales and fleet battles, while occasionally ass-puckering can quickly become old hat, depending on how often you fly them. Word around the campfire is that EA has no current plans to offer any additional DLC for Squadrons. What you're playing now is very likely, what you'll be playing six months from now. But that's OK! There was a time when video games didn't come with add-ons new levels or in app-purchases. If you're old enough to have played them, the first time around, I'm certain you'll remember enjoying yourself. I don't doubt that I'll be digging Squadrons for some time to come.

It's not a game I was drawn to for a strong storyline, loot boxes, or a constant push for new gear. I came to live out my childhood dream of flying an X-Wing, taking down Tie fighters, and seeing laser and ion bolt zip past my cockpit. No doubt, a lot of other players log on for the same experience. I'm betting this alone will keep the game feeling fresh, for some time to come.