Welcome to my new series “Squadrons Revisited”. A couple of years ago, I did something similar with Star Wars Battlefront II, running through each mission in the story. In that game, we were introduced to a new military unit in Inferno Squad, well now I’m back looking at Squadrons, which also introduces two new units in the Imperial pilots of Titan Squadron and the New Republic pilots of Vanguard Squadron.
Why am I doing this? Well first of all, it’s a canon story that could easily overlooked, due to just being on a video game. But it is also a fun chance to look back at a game itself, and potentially some of you who read this may decide to try the game for yourselves. I will warn you though, there will be spoilers for the story.
Now before we start, I want to give you an idea as to how his will go. Each article will cover a mission in the game, I’ll talk through any cutscenes and conversations that we can have, talk through how the mission basically plays out (including my thoughts on the gameplay and highlighting some achievements available and the “medals” you can earn on each mission—this will be my second playthrough, having smashed through the story in a couple of sittings when the game first came out but then not really touched the game much since) and finishing each article with something you may be used to from my reviews: “Moments in canon”, anything that I have picked out that can tie into other stories within the Star Wars universe.
So today, as part of this introduction I will be looking at how the story mode begins ahead of the opening mission and introducing our 2 characters. We get a couple of sentences to set the scene, setting the start of the story as following the destruction of Alderaan and setting up the idea that the story will be shown from the view of pilots on both sides of the conflict.
And then we come to the character creation, the chance to create our playable character for both the Empire and the Rebellion/New Republic. For each of the 2 characters there are a handful of things we can customise:
- The face. 10 faces per character with an even split of male and female. While it’s nice to see that there is a good range of ethnicities, it is a shame that all of the faces were human (though 2 humanoid alien faces have been added to the Imperial side somewhere down the line), especially as there are a handful of alien faces available for the Rebellion/New Republic in the wider game. I also think it would have been simple enough to give a wider variety of faces simply by making all of the human faces created (which are different between factions) available for either.
- The body. It’s just a simple male/female body, and frankly it’s not always obvious what the difference is with some of the flight suits.
- The voice. 5 personalities, with a male and female version for each. It’s nice to see different voices between the two factions.
- The name. Here we have options, with a number of presets we can cycle through or the ability to pick out own.
And so we have our 2 playable characters, but while all of that was fun, it was ultimately pointless as we will never actually see our characters beyond just one or 2 shots and they are never called by name. We may as well have had pre-created characters and just got into the story, which could have actually created a situation more like with Star Wars Battlefront II, where we feel more involved with everything going on due to a fully voiced and fleshed out character who we see go through the emotions in the cutscenes.
With our characters created, there’s just a few more settings to decide on. You can select for standard visuals or instruments only. While instruments only would be super realistic, I am nowhere near good enough to go without the helpful graphics that standard visuals gives us! And finally the difficulty, with the options of story mode/pilot/veteran/ace. I’ve gone for story mode just because I haven’t played this game at all in so long (and was never that great even back when I played daily), so don’t be surprised if I make things sound pretty easy at times. And then it is time to begin the story.
But that is for next time. So before I leave you today, let me introduce you to the 2 protagonists we will be following through the coming series, along with a short backstory I have made for each of them as none is really given in-game.
Our hero of the Rebellion/New Republic is the human female Tavana Trace. Born and raised on Naboo, young Trace grew up on stories of the Liberation of Naboo and always dreamed of becoming a pilot within the Royal Naboo Starfighter Corps. Unfortunately with the rise of the Empire, her family no longer felt that Naboo was the peaceful home it had been and they sold as many of their belongings as they could to buy passage offworld. With limited money, they found work with a humanitarian outfit, with Trace choosing to become part of the transport crews once she was old enough. In this role, Trace saw some of the horrors being committed by the Empire, but also put her in contact with some members of the growing Rebellion, and after deciding that she had to make a sand, she got her parent’s blessing to join the Alliance.
Our hero of the Empire is the Pantoran male Vash Exalta. Born and raised as art of the wealthy elite on Pantora, Exalta and his family were staunch supporters of the Emperor Sheev Palpatine. As money was not an option, Exalta was taught by some of the finest flight instructors in the Empire, and once he was old enough he attended the Skystrike Academy, with all of his cors in the top percentile. Upon graduation, Exalta joined the Imperial Navy, where he quickly gained a reputation both for his versatility and his ferocious resolve in battle.
Thanks for reading. May the Force be with you…