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Review: Star Wars Squadrons

Review

Emperor PalpatineImagine with me, for a second, that you are a fighter pilot. You must choose — will you fight for the fledgling Empire following their loss at the Battle of Endor or will you fight for the brand new New Republic?

In Squadrons, you don’t have to make that choice. The story mode (the only mode in which I’ve played — a review for online gaming coming soon), takes you back and forth. You score some wins for the New Republic as a member of Vanguard Squadron and then you swap over to the Empire as a member of the Titan Squadron to try to reclaim your dominance in the galaxy.

You don’t just fly in an X-Wing or TIE Fighter, rather, you end up in various different star fighters. In that respect, getting to know the different star fighters, loadouts, and weapons systems is a lot of fun and adds a complexity that will leave you satisfied once you’ve learned the keybindings and different features each fighter provides.

Where controls are concerned, I recommend utilizing some kind of HOTAS or joystick (I use the Logitech Extreme 3D Pro joystick). I will occasionally play with the DualShock 4 controller tied to my PC, but it adds a level of complexity that is not helpful. I find the force feedback vibration comforting (or terrifying, depending on if I’m getting destroyed or am the one doing the destroying) with the DualShock controller. I have not tried with mouse and keyboard, but looking at the key bindings, it’s got to suck, but I’m sure EA has thought that through and made it possible for those who can’t (or don’t want to) purchase a joystick or controller. This is not a true Flight Simulator like games like Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, so you’ll be able to play this game whichever way feels comfortable. It’s far closer to an arcade game than a Flight Sim.

The biggest issues that I’ve run into are online connectivity and occasional performance.

Online connectivity was completely broken on launch night if you bought the game through Steam. My assumption is that, unlike Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order which requires Origin and runs the game through Origin, Squadrons runs directly from Steam leading to confusion on EA Account settings. I’m not entirely sure what the issue was, but it set me back a couple hours on launch day. I reinstalled the game and searched the Steam Community forums for these issues. It appears to have been fixed. Also, it can also take a long time to connect to online services (but it gives you the option to cancel connection so you can play offline). 

The other issue I run into has to do with performance. For the most part, the game runs fantastic on my Dell G7 gaming laptop with an i7, Samsung 960 Pro NVMe, and Geforce RTX 2060; However, there are a few moments where the game seems to glitch out and studder pretty badly making combat next to impossible. When this happens, even changing the graphics settings down to Medium keeps me lagging. I tend to just fly around and hope I don’t fail the mission until the lag works itself out. Hopefully your rig can run it better. This game is beautiful, though.

Ignoring these issues, which aren’t something that are game-breaking — now that online connectivity works for me — or super annoying, Squadrons is chock full of fun for gamers of any age. The game is rated T by the ESRB, due to the violence, but it’s a very mild game comparatively. 

Summary

Star Wars Squadrons is a fantastic game with amazing graphics and fun gameplay. The story is captivating and you feel like you’re truly a member of the squadrons. Unfortunately, even with my gaming laptop (I know) with an i7 and RTX2060, this game has some serious choppiness at times no matter what graphic setting I choose. Hopefully your rig will run it well, because you must buy this game.

Overall Rating
4.4/5
Graphics
5/5
Performance
3.2/5
Gameplay
4.5/5

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