I was a huge Star Wars fan as a kid and one of my all time favorite videogames growing up was Rogue Squadron 64. Later I went on to play and love Rogue Squadron 2, 3, Jedi Star Fighter and other similar Star Wars games. I was also a huge fan of Star Fox 64 as a kid too.

Then for whatever reason they stopped making these sort of games and I really missed them.

One day out of nowhere EA announced they were releasing a new multiplayer focused Star Wars flying game. It would just cost $40, have no micro-transactions and looked pretty cool. It all sounded too good to be true. This cinematic trailer for the game looked especially amazing:

It was going to be just like those old Star Wars flying games, set just after Return of the Jedi with all the ship designs from the original trilogy. X-Wings, A-Wings, Y-Wings, etc. are clearly the best fighters from all Star Wars eras.

Interestingly enough the game was supposed to be more sim-like and a lot similar to the old X-Wing and TIE Fighter games on the PC. I had never played those games. I’d tried a few times to go back and play them but they’re just too old now and I could never get into them.

So I got pretty excited to play this. I’m usually not a huge multiplayer fan but it was supposed to have a campaign and I could always just play against bots. Check out a gameplay trailer for the game below:

The game came out and got pretty decent reviews and I eventually picked it up on sale for half price.

I played through the campaign which is supposed to give you an overview of everything and teach you everything, played a bit of the multiplayer and unfortunately I was not impressed. Not impressed at all.

Star Wars Squadrons gameplay screenshot

The Basics

So in this game you create a character and when you’re playing multiplayer matches which is kind of the default game mode you choose either the Empire or the Rebellion and then you pick one of 5 different ships.

You have your all around somewhat good at everything but not really specializing in anything type ships (the X-Wing and the TIE Fighter), then you have Interceptors fast ships with lower shields and firepower (the A-Wing and TIE Interceptor), Bombers (The Y-Wing or TIE Bomber), support ships that can heal and resupply your team mates (the U-Wing or TIE Reaper) and then in some later free DLC they added the B-Wing (always a fan favorite) and the TIE Defender (also a fan favorite).

Right away though I have to say the Imperial players are at a massive disadvantage to the Rebel ones.

This is going to sound kind of strange but I don’t like playing games like this in cockpit view, I like to see the ship from outside, more of an arcade sort of view. This game however forces you to play in cockpit mode which I’m not going to lie, I kind of hate.

It makes maneuvering through tight obstacles difficult and with ships flying around you going in all directions when someone flies over or across you it makes it very difficult to follow them.

But the main problem here is the windows on the TIE fighters are all super tiny and you see way less of what’s going on than the Rebel ships.

Seriously, would you rather play with a view like this:

X-Wing Cockpit Screenshot

Or fly a TIE fighter where all you can see is this:

TIE Fighter Cockpit View

The Imperial ships are also at a disadvantage because most of the TIE Fighters don’t have shields meaning you’ll get killed a lot quicker. To make up for this disadvantage they get this power shunting mechanic where you can shunt power quickly into your weapons to make them stronger or your engines to make them faster.

I honestly never really figured out what this did and it seemed pretty useless to me.

One of them sim elements of this is the ability to control how much power is going to your shields, engine and weapons so you could already sort of do this.

This is kind of cool I’ll admit. If you’re flying directly at a capital ship with tons of laser cannons you can take power from your weapons and add it to your shields plus you can also focus all your shields to the front and drop your rear shields for extra defense up front.

This is all handled using the D-pad. It’s quite simple and works well.  Pressing the button again can balance out your power across the different systems or easy add power to your weapons when you need to shoot something.

This part works well without being too complicated.

Star Wars Squadrons Battle Screenshot

The Multiplayer

The multiplayer basically works like this. You start off star fighters vs. star fighters. When your side starts winning you push the enemy back and go into the second phase where it’s you vs. the enemy star fighters plus some medium sized capital ships.

If you’re able to take those out you push them back further and go up against a capital ship, either a Star Destroyer or Mon Calamari Cruiser. If you’re able to take that out you win.

All the different ships have different strengths and weaknesses and you need to work as a team.

If you’re good at this and have a good team I imagine it’s pretty fun.

Unfortunately all the matches I played weren’t great and a lot of players just sit in place and shoot things like a stationary turret because that’s apparently the easiest way to play.

Going up against a Star Destroyer should be something really awesome and fun but it basically amounts to flying over it shooting a few things, flying far away from it, turning around, flying at it, flying over it in the other direction now while shooting a few things, flying far away, turning around, etc.

It doesn’t help that the capital ships have so many guns and will absolutely destroy you.

In theory you’re supposed to target and destroy different sub-systems on each ship such as shield generators to bring down the shields, a weapon control system to make it harder for the weapons to target you, power generators, etc.

Again, I imagine if you’ve got a really good team with different types of ships and everyone coordinates well then it should work pretty great but that never happened with me.

After playing just a few matches that didn’t really go anywhere I was done.

Star Wars Squadrons gameplay screenshot

The Single Player Campaign

There are some things the campaign does very well and some things it doesn’t do well.

The story here is about how the Rebels are trying to build a new super powerful ship and the empire is trying to stop them. One Imperial commander defects to the Rebels and the empire wants revenge against him too.

During the campaign you play one mission as the Empire, then one as the Rebels and go back and forth.

The whole point of the campaign is to introduce you to all the game mechanics so you learn everything by playing. You first play missions flying the X-Wing and TIE fighter. Then you do a mission where you’re in interceptors, one where you’re in bombers, etc.

You learn how all the different ships work and practice everything and this is something the campaign does very well.

The campaign also takes you to some great looking environments (the graphics and sound effects here are really great too) and has a varied set of objectives so you’re not doing the same thing every time.

You’ll practice bombing space stations, fighting medium-sized capital ships, fighting full sized capital ships, etc.

Some of the missions are pretty awful though, like one where you have to scan a bunch of abandoned bombs to see which ones are active then blow them up while enemy ships are close by. This mission in particular drove me crazy. I was never in the right position, the enemy ships were never in the right position, I always blew up the bombs too early or too late and constantly failed.

I constantly failed a lot of these single player missions to be honest and found a lot of them to be incredibly frustrating.

The story is pretty terrible, especially on the Empire side. The only character who’s alright is the former Empire guy who defected to the Rebels, every other character is awful, especially the Imperial commander who constantly disobeys orders and has no respect for authority.

There’s one mission where a superior officer asks you to defend his space station which is under attack by rebels and instead you pretend to do that while stealing supplies and then leave him on his own in the middle of a battle.

There’s also another Imperial Star Destroyer commander who’s incredibly stupid and gets himself and an entire Star Destroyer killed.

Things aren’t quite as bad on the Rebel side but they’re not much better.

Overall the campaign was a slog to get through and it’s really not that long. I almost gave up multiple times.

Star Wars Squadrons gameplay screenshot

In Conclusion

So those are my general thoughts on this game. I wasn’t impressed at all and I can’t really recommend you get this game. Even if you’re a die hard fan of Star Wars like I am.

What I need is a new Rogue Squadron game or maybe I need to check out Battlefront II. I hear that’s pretty good and what I’ve heard from that so far makes it sound like it’s more what I’m looking for.

Hopefully soon we can get some more Star Wars flight games that can live up to the legacy of the old ones like Rogue Squadron 64.

Until then this is all we’ve got and I can’t even recommend you play it to fill that gap.