Star Wars Squadrons at EA Play

Following on from Monday’s announcement trailer, we got more footage and information at EA Play with a gameplay reveal. The 3 and a half months until the game’s release will pass in no time at all, but we know so little about this game and I definitely want to know more.

Story Mode

So this is the bit of the game I’m currently most interested in, being the canon fan that I am. It’s been confirmed that we will play both sides during the story mode as we follow a member of Vanguard Squadron and a member of Titan Squadron on alternating missions. Now what surprised me is that I assumed the playable characters would be the pilots heavily focused on during the original trailer, but a shot of picking the characters seemed to suggest that we will actually play as someone else in the squadron. That said, they were also discussing customising the pilot at this point, so I’m not sure how set this pilot is or whether we get to decide. Now as much as I love being able to create my own character, I’d rather that was kept out of the story mode in a Star Wars game due to their links to canon – it would be odd if we’re building up these squadrons but can never show them elsewhere because the details of the final pilot aren’t canonically confirmed.

The quick glimpse of Hera from the first trailer was replaced with a very clear showing of her this time, while it also looks like Rae Sloane appears in the footage, with her uniform suggesting that this is set before Aftermath as she is not wearing the uniform one would expect from a Grand Admiral. The use of the word “Rebel” on the pilot select screen during the Story Mode section also makes me wonder if this story will actually begin during/before the Battle of Endor, as the Rebellion became the New Republic soon after.

Still, we have no idea how long the campaign is and this worries me. I hope that we get something more substantial than the Star Wars Battlefront II story mode, but with the lower cost of the game, I’m not expecting much.

Flying simulator

You just need to watch the few minutes of footage we have to see that this is going to be very different to Starfighter Assault on Star Wars Battlefront II. Though the different starfighter classes remains to some degree, this is a much more in depth piloting experience. The first person view in the cockpit will probably take some getting used to if like me you usually prefer third person, while the inside of the cockpit certainly has a lot to pay attention to, which will vary between fighters, meaning it will take some time to get accustomed to knowing where to look. I’m also very interested to see how the “support” ships play out as they are very different to anything in Starfighter Assault, while I really appreciate the slight differences in stats between the fighters of the same class (TIE Fighters are slightly faster than X-Wings, but X-Wings have better shields), which makes everything feel much more realistic.

What interests me as well is the pre-mission briefing. We’ve heard it discussed, but not really heard what it entails, either for multiplayer with friends or if you’re playing on your own against the AI. In terms of the missions away from the Story Mode, they appear to be 5v5 dogfights or fleet battles, which are multi-phase battles with 3 phases: Get fighter dominance in the middle, take out the support ships, take out the capital ship. That seems a very realistic flow of battle, while I also really appreciate the capital ships having specific sections to target, such as the shield generators or targeting system.

Customisation

It looks like customisation is going to be a big part of this game. As we go along, we will be able to unlock a number of upgrades for our starfighters, such as repair droids and different ordnance.

It’s not just performance customisation, though, as we were already aware of visual upgrades with paint schemes and deals from the pre-order bonuses, but the gameplay footage also suggests that there may be fun visual customisation options for inside the cockpit, as noted by an Ewok bobblehead.

We also see some customisation of the pilots, including race, appearance and outfit, so I’m very excited to get into this.

 

Am I fully onboard for this game yet? Not really, as I’m not sure it’s quite my style of game and I still feel like I know very little about it. However, I d find myself excited to have another game coming out – especially one with a story – so I’m sure that I’ll convince myself to pre-order pretty soon. How about you?

Thanks for reading.

Al wings, report in.

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