Thoughts On…Star Wars: Squadrons

I am horrendously excited about Star Wars Squadrons.

Some might even call it dangerously excited. A lower RRP with an extreme focus on Starfighters? Woo boy.

Before I jump into what may equate to me grabbing you by the shoulders and screaming in your face, let’s talk about the possible pitfalls.

EA

There you go – EA. That’s the pitfall. So far they’ve released three games onto PC and console; Battlefront, Battlefront II, and Fallen Order. BF was fine? Fallen Order was well received by plenty of people, but not me. But BF2? Woah boy, that was a mess. Microtransactions and loot boxes still dominate the discussion a couple of years later, despite the game itself moving away from that and with a host of updates becoming quite the solid game. EA have a burnt a lot of political and good-will capital.

One of the first things we’re told about Squadrons is how it has no microtransactions. Everything is earned through play, as it should be. I’d be happy to pay for DLC if the game is good, especially as it’s coming in at $40 (usual RRP is at least $60 for a new game).

Maybe, just maybe, they’ve learnt their lesson. Everything that Creative Head Ian Frazier has said so far is pure awesome. So I’m parking the ‘booo EA’ sentiment aside until it shows up. Right now there’s an awful lot of be excited about.

Inspirations

TIE Fighter, Rogue Squadron, X-Wing Miniatures have all been stated as influences. This is HUGE. Anyone who knows their K-wing from their TIE Avenger will see those and smile.

LucasArts were on fire in the nineties, and their Star Wars flight sims were top of the pile. For me, TIE Fighter was a seminal video game, with a cool story, fantastic design, and the true feeling of being in Star Wars.

Why So Excited?

As this is not supposed to be a lengthy piece I’ll bullet point the main positives that I can think of so far.

  • Energy Management – Just like in the 90’s LucasArts simulators, you can finely balance your shield/lasers/engines! This is amazing. Shuffling some pips over to cover your shields getting hammered, or slamming full pips into engines to avoid trouble was always fantastic and cool. It put you in control, and that engagement added a lot to the games.
  • Shields – TIEs that shouldn’t have shields don’t have them. They can’t even be upgraded with them! Great to hear. I gather they have other methods of transferring pips that may balance things out. But this commitment to lore is promising.
  • Upgrades – There are loads! So plenty of ways to trick out your ship, which reminds me of X-Wing Miniatures (also great).
  • Customisation – This is one area I can see micro-transactions creeping in. But if someone wants to drop a few quid on a cool skin for the their ship that’s fine by me. I’ll likely do it myself.
  • Team Play – This is exactly the kind of game I can see myself and my siblings getting stuck into.
  • Compatibility – Hopefully it’s cross play, but Sony have previously said that all PS4 games entered for certification past July will need to be compatible with PS5.
  • Flight Model – Many people had complaints about how the ships moved in both Battlefronts. With Squadrons seeming more like a simulation, hopefully there will be finer control and less assistance. Got to lead those shots! It’s not about flying how a real ship would fly, it’s about how a Star Wars ship would fly.

Optimisitic

I’m not one for wishing away time. But October should be very cool indeed. The developers are saying all the right things, and I’m inclined to trust their positivity. EA looms over it all of course, but I’m optimistic overall. Right now there’s plenty to be excited about with Star Wars: Squadrons.

Sign me up for a Y-wing please!

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