Star Wars: Squadrons is a space combat game set in the Star Wars universe. It was released in October 2020 for PC, Xbox One and Playstation 4. It was made available for free as part of a PSPlus subscription in June 2021.
Set after the events of Return of the Jedi (the one with the Ewoks), the main story campaign follows a New Republic fighter pilot and a Galactic Empire pilot alternately as they get involved in the New Republics new secret project. Of course, one wants it to succeed, the other to fail – reasonably standard, right?
Squadrons follows in the footsteps of some epic starship battle games, the likes of Tie Fighter – a PC game from back in the 90’s, which I spent many an hour failing to complete – and more recently to the Rogue Squadron – unique title, eh? – games that were around in the late 90’s early 00’s. I didn’t play any of the latter, as I was so bad at the old ones, I didn’t really fancy giving the newer ones a go.
For this reason, I knew that Squadrons wasn’t going to be something that I would pick up as soon as it came out, or probably ever really. But as it was on PSPlus this month, I figured I would give it a go.
You start the game by creating a semi-custom character for each side of the fight. I say “semi” because you only have a limited number of things you can do. It’s not as detailed as games like Mass Effect, but for a first-person game that you don’t spend the majority of your time looking at your character, you can argue it doesn’t need to be.
After character selection, you’re thrown into the prologue level as your Galactic Empire character. This level serves – like in most games these days – as the tutorial level. It helps you get to grips with the flying of a Tie-Fighter in a fight that you would be hardpressed to lose – spoiler alert; I died a couple of times. This level also serves to set up the game and introduce the new characters that you will interact with throughout the campaign.
Once you’ve fought your way through this, you’re into the game proper as your New Republic pilot. The levels generally consist of flying around, blowing your enemy out of the sky and trying to protect various assets to your fleet. On the Empire side of the coin, you spend your time trying to attack these assets, and yep, you guessed it, trying to blow your enemy out of the sky.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much else to this game. I know some people will enjoy the continuation of the Star Wars franchise and story and will probably love the multiplayer angle. Still, there just wasn’t enough to hold my attention – and that’s not just because I wasn’t very good at it…I did get better.
I’ve enjoyed past Star Wars games, and I’m a fan of the franchise, but this game was more of a miss than some previous entries. I feel like the game makers spent more time trying to make multiplayer work than they did on the story of the solo campaign, which is a shame.
This game had the potential to be really good, and although I freely admit that it’s not something I would drift towards often, I would play it occasionally if it had some replayability – I just don’t feel it has this. It’s a good looking game, the graphics are incredible, and the character detail is first-rate, but this just isn’t enough to make me want to play it any more than I already have for this review. In addition, the story feels like a rehash of something that’s been told many times over in the Star Wars universe and so doesn’t really add anything unique to the player experience or universe lore.
I’m going to give Star Wars: Squadrons a mid-range 6/10. I wouldn’t say avoid it, but there are far better games out there to spend your money on.