Anakin couldn’t have said it better when it comes to the sheer thrill of playing Star Wars Squadrons in VR, so head on down below to check out my review of this mode and the game’s campaign.
The modern form of VR gaming has been around for about 4-5 years now, but I bet you can’t even name five must play VR experiences that have released over that same span of time.
While the medium can provide insanely immersive gaming experiences that transport players to worlds beyond their imaginations, the software that has released so far for the current lineup of VR headsets has been spotty at best.
Luckily, there’s a new VR experience in town that also happens to be a Star Wars game, and for the first time since playing Farpoint VR, I’ve been reminded of the sheer level of joy and amazement that this tech brings to a gamer’s life.
I’m referring to EA’s Star Wars Squadrons, which has instantly become one of the best and most satisfying VR titles I’ve ever played.
While my Star Wars super fandom most definitely is playing a role in my excitement over this game’s VR, I can assure you that the experience of sitting in the cockpit of a New Republic or an Imperial star fighter is unlike any other entertainment experience I’ve had in my life.
If you have dreamed about being Red 5, Wedge, Poe, or even Vader as they take the controls of their chosen fighters, then look not further than Squadrons.
From the first moment I slapped on my PSVR and was placed into the hull of TIE fighter I couldn’t help but place a Joker sized grin permanently on my face. I felt like a kid experiencing a thrill ride for the first time, but with the added cherry on top of it being in the Star Wars universe, one I’ve loyally been a fan of since birth. The sheer giddiness I felt was enough to make me forget that I was sitting on a couch in a basement, so Squadrons fully immersed me in its VR world from the get go.
The feelings of being in a TIE fighter hull were uncanny, and the VR tech, outside of the usual visual resolution drop, performed perfectly in tricking my brain and senses into thinking I was zipping though space and dogfighting with the best pilots the Rebels could throw at me.
This surreal experience only was heightened when I was placed in an X-Wing, which allowed me to faithfully live out a childhood fantasy I’ve had for 38 plus years.
Like I said, the VR tech is freaking money in this game outside of the resolution hit. Spatially you 100% feel as if you’re sitting in a cockpit. You can look around at your body, all of the dials and knobs, and depending on what ship you’re in, you can even check out the cargo hold behind you.
The realness of this VR experience is further bolstered while flying, especially when your in formation in a fleet. Looking at your cockpit window at New Republic, or Imperial forces once again completely makes you lose sense of your own sad reality, and places you right in the war between the forces of good and bad.
I found it nearly impossible to not yell out commands, or reply to in-game chatter thanks to how well the VR in this game sucks you into its world and experience. I was a part of the game, I was actually flying a ship with my squad. It wasn’t just my hands and a controller. The immersion was real, which only heightened my excitement and wonder while playing.
I mean at times I felt like I was the pilot of the single greatest amusement park ride of all-time. You feel every sharp turn and close dogfight. Your heart races as you weave in and out of debris fields while avoiding incoming fire and trying to take out your current target. It truly is hard not to feel like you thought Luke, Wedge, Anakin, and other famous Star Wars pilots felt like. I mean let’s be real. Squadrons probably offers a more Star Wars correct star ship flying experience than the actors who played these characters experienced on set while filming.
The VR just absolutely shines in this game, and has easily made it my favorite VR game of all-time, and one I want anyone who hasn’t tried VR yet to try. To me, it’s hardware selling good, as in I’d tell you to spend hundreds on a PSVR just to play this one game, but if you’re a Star Wars super fan, I can’t recommend a better Star Wars in real life experience outside of spending thousands to go to Galaxy’s Edge and take a ride on the Smuggler’s Run. It’s that damn good. Enough said.
In terms of the campaign, I of course enjoyed it thoroughly, but that’s mostly due to the sheer fun factor that the VR adds to this game. I played it without my PSVR and definitely felt like the experience went from “This is Wizard Annie” to “We’re Jedi, we’re smarter than this”. It just feels flat without the goggles, but I do have to wonder how I would have responded to it if I never played the VR version.
The story is rather light in terms of adding major bits to the overarching Star Wars canon, but for what it is meant to do, which is to teach you all of the game’s nuances to use in its multiplayer modes, it gets the job done. I did enjoy the light story as it gives your nameless character a backdrop to zip around in, and it does make you feel each faction’s point of view a bit more clearer. If anything, it’s a decent tale of what it was like to be a pilot during the fall of the empire, and how crucial they were to both sides of the war.
The campaign is definitely more about making you feel like a Star Wars pilot, which with VR is excited perfectly, but don’t expect a deep narrative that will shock your Star Wars lore meter.
When it comes down to it, Star Wars Squadrons is a VR gem with a decent single player campaign. The VR is truly masterfully done, and offers a level of immersion that Star Wars fans would pay for handsomely at an amusement park or professional arcade. I can’t stress enough how amazing it feels to be in the cockpit of a Star Wars fighter in virtual reality. I was blown away by what Squadrons did with VR, and I’m jonesing to throw my headset on while talking about it. It’s the damn good.
Star Wars Squadrons VR alone earns the game an 8 out of 10 review score, and that’s with not even playing multiplayer yet, so take that for what its worth and buy accordingly. Star Wars fans will not be disappointed.
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