First Look: ‘Star Wars: Squadrons’ Gameplay Reveals A Jaw-Dropping VR Space Combat Experience

Fight for both the Empire and New Republic from the cockpit of your customizable starfighter.

Earlier this week EA, Lucasfilm, and Motive Studios announced Star Wars: Squadrons, an upcoming space combat game set after the events of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Yesterday, we received our first look at the high-stakes dogfighter via an in-depth gameplay trailer, revealing a rich singleplayer campaign and tactical multiplayer battles.

Yesterday’s trailer also revealed a small sample of the various starfighters you can expect to pilot throughout your career, as well as the many different cosmetics and unlockable components you can use to modify your ships for battle.

Gameplay

Taking place entirely from the seat of your cockpit, Star Wars: Squadrons promises an in-depth flying experience unlike anything offered in past Star Wars games. Before you do anything, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the instrumentation located in front of you. These tools provide critical feedback about your ship, including targeting, shields, power management, ship status, sensors, and other key information you’ll need to survive.

There are eight ships in total, each offering their own pros and cons based on their type. Fighters are the most well-rounded and flexible ships, perfect for handling any situation that may arise. Bombers, on the other hand, excel at taking down larger capital ships via their heavy weapons.

The most interesting class, in my opinion, are the Support ships, each of which designed to aid friendly vessels with additional supplies and security while disrupting enemy movement using instruments such as the tractor beam. There’s also the Interceptor class, great for hunting down enemy fighters thanks to their incredible speed and high-maneuverability.

Single-player

Before hopping into online multiplayer, you’ll first need to log some flight time with each of the eight ships available in Squadrons. As you battle your way through the single-player campaign, you’ll go hands on with each vessel, getting a better handle of their respective pros and cons before taking the fight online.

Throughout the campaign, players will jump back-and-forth between two main protagonists, experiencing the story from the perspective of both the Empire as well as the New Republic. Before starting your journey you will have the chance to customize each characters race, gender, and personal features. Once finished, you can then jump into an explosive campaign featuring a variety of dangerous missions set across the Star Wars galaxy.

Several eagle-eyed fans have already pointed out a handful of small cameos featured throughout the original launch trailer; here’s hoping we see even more friendly-faces throughout the campaign.

Multiplayer

After familiarizing yourself with each ship, you can the hop into online multiplayer for some intense 5v5 dogfights. Before each match, you and your team can meet up in the social briefing room to plan out your attack and customize your ships appropriately. According to EA, strategizing ahead of time will be key to securing victory, as will modifying your ship to better compliment those of your teammates. If all five of you are playing as Fighters, for example, it may be smart to relegate at least one teammate as Support and another as Bomber. Each engagement will require its own unique approach, so be sure to communicate with your teammates.

So far, EA has confirmed two multiplayer game modes. The first, Dogfight, has you duking it out with other players in all-out 5v5 battles. Squadron’s signature mode, Fleet Battles, centers around multistage battles in which teams of five must attack or defend enemy capital ships in an attempt to wipe out each others fleet. Here’s how it works: teams must first work together to push the front-line by winning a dogfight at the center of the map. From there, they must then attack or defend two medium-sized capital ships before targeting the three subsystems of the enemies primary flagship.

Customization and modifiers

As previously stated, Squadrons offers you the chance to unlock various cosmetics and ship modifiers just by playing the game. This includes everything from ship skins and bobble heads to over 50 ship components capable of altering your ships control, damage, and protection.

These customizations will play a critical role in your many battles as you constantly modify your ship to meet the needs of each individual mission and skirmish.

While the initial reveal and $39.99 price tag had me somewhat concerned over the games overall depth, yesterday’s gameplay trailer has left me far more optimistic. Personally, I can’t wait to see how the experience shown translates to a VR headset. Who knows? This may actually be one of the few multiplayer titles in which VR players have a distinct advantage over other platforms.

Star Wars: Squadrons is available for pre-order now and is expected to launch October 2nd for $39.99.

Image Credit: Electronic Arts

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Tyler Lindell - Like Ginkgo for your Virtual Self