Star Wars: Squadrons (PlayStation 4) Review

By Luke Hemming 27.10.2020

Review for Star Wars: Squadrons  on PlayStation 4

With its last title from EA, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, it is fair to say that EA regained a lot of the trust lost after some of its other attempts at immersing players in a galaxy far, far, away. Fallen order built on a story worthy of its own movie with great level and character design as well as engaging gameplay. All eyes were focused on what the next offering would be and when it was announced Star Wars: Squadrons would be a multiplayer shoot-fest, players became wary at the thought of being burnt again by paywalls and loot boxes. Thankfully Squadrons not only rectifies these past mistakes, but also delivers an authentic 'Wars experience while doing so.

From the initial tutorial its almost impossible not to be sucked instantly into the feel of taking those first steps towards sticking it to the Empire or from the other side of the coin, dealing with Rebel scum. From the menu screen themes to the hum of a Twin Ion Engine, every effect and piece of music is spot on, already going a long way to ensuring a great experience. Nothing short of perfection would be accepted in this case and perfection has certainly been achieved in regards to that perfect Star Wars 'feel'.

Story mode is the first port of call to cut your teeth on the games complex but easily workable control system. Standard flight controls are present with the analog sticks controlling pitch and speed while the shoulder buttons control lasers and sub-weapons. Players familiar with the recent flight sections of Star Wars: Battlefront II will feel at home here however keeping a ship in one piece requires a true mastery of the Subsystems, a la classics such as X-Wing vs TIE fighter and Alliance. With a press of the directional buttons, subsystem power can be adjusted at will, adding a massive tactical element to a simple skirmish. TIE fighter on your six? Divert all power to the rear shields then cut all engine power to line the up in the crosshairs. Switch all power to weapons and then blow them out of the sky. It's the moments like these that elevate a simple shooter that anyone can pick up and enjoy to a delicate ballet of barrel rolls and concussion missiles.

Screenshot for Star Wars: Squadrons  on PlayStation 4

The story is a simple one of an Imperial squadron leader defecting to the Rebel Alliance to lead an Elite team of pilots known as Vanguard Squadron. The plot jumps between Vanguard squadron and the Imperial Titan squadron throughout missions, one protecting a secret rebel project while the other aims to destroy it and gain revenge on their defected leader. Cutscenes look fantastic and the plot is simple enough to follow but deep enough to begin to gain some connection to each character that fills the hangars and briefing rooms. As for the player, minimal customisation options create a silent protagonist to interact with each alien race and enemy. EA have ensured that all levels of fandoms are also covered throughout the story with Twi'leks and all manner of droid classifications lurking in corridors and sitting at consoles as well as little nods to all aspects of the universe. Casual fans will certainly pick up on less subtle call backs and for the real experts, there is enough to raise a wry smile. All characters in fact give good reasoning for being there and all fit snugly into the lore (Keo is awesome and should have her own movie or series).

What is most important in the 8-10 hours campaign however is that Wedge is in it. Any game that showcases the ability of Captain Antilles, the real hero of the Saga, is always going to have a massive tick in the plus box. One personal highlight to look out for is the propaganda video for the New Republic, keep a look out for it as even after completion it still feels baffling the Rebel Alliance would use such blatant Imperial tactics for recruitment. It still also feels strange to hear many English accents on the side of the Rebels too when most movies have confirmed an English accent means automatic Imperial enlisting.

Screenshot for Star Wars: Squadrons  on PlayStation 4

Multiplayer currently consists of two modes, the standard Dogfight with a 6v6 battle across some beautifully designed 'space-scapes' and the more involved and drawn out Fleet Battle. In Fleet Battles, players press an advantage firstly destroying basic fighters, the frigates until finally destroying the head of the fleet, Either Star Destroyer of troop command ship. These battles really showcase what Star Wars: Squadrons has to offer with a tactical game of chase between pilots as they try to push across the imaginary battle lines to victory. Each mode is also ranked and rewards any budding pilot with currency to spend on cosmetic skins, bobble heads and flight mods to suit whoever playstyle is most comfortable. The most rewarding of all however is that none of these features can be bought with real cash. All loot boxes and pay to play options are removed, rewarding only players willing to put the time in. Skill is the only currency here and hopefully this will remain indefinitely.

The cherry on the Hoth Ice-cream is the ability on both PS4 and PC to play the entirety of Squadrons in VR. It's quite simply the best VR experience on the market for a mainstream title and really is the only way to fly. Following a fighter's flight path which your head tracking from inside the cockpit of an A-Wing is phenomenal and if the facilities to play in VR are there for you, don't hesitate. Graphics are just as sharp and its really difficult to explain without trying it that this isn't just a tacked-on gimmick but a full-blown feature to be part of the story in an immersive way not seen in any Star Wars title to date.

Screenshot for Star Wars: Squadrons  on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Being terrible at any kind of multiplayer experience, but a lifelong fan of Star Wars (to the point of not changing my name even after years of school taunting) picking up Star Wars: Squadrons was a long and thought out deliberation. With a great single player story and addictive multiplayer mode that that puts any player in the heart of the movies, there isn't a shred of buyer's remorse. A few bugs have sullied enjoyment at time but these have been reported by the community and are sure to be patched out quickly. At a budget price, gamers are getting a difficult to put down flyer that currently holds the crown as greatest current-gen Star Wars title. Buckle up, make those pre-flight checks and don't get cocky kid.

Developer

EA

Publisher

EA

Genre

Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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