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‘Star Wars: Squadrons’ is whatever you want it to be, and that makes it fun

‘Star Wars: Squadrons’ came out last week. The Deseret News got an early sneak peek.

A screenshot from “Star Wars: Squadrons.”
A screenshot from “Star Wars: Squadrons.”
EA

“Star Wars: Squadrons” is the latest “Star Wars” video game from EA, bringing fans back to a ‘90s era of “Star Wars” video games with a game solely focused on star fights, major battle and, well, wars among the star.

In several ways, “Squadrons” feels like a small game. There’s a campaign mode and a multiplayer mode, and that’s relatively it. Games in years’ past tend to have an ever expanding story mode with some multiplayer missions and options.

But that’s the beauty of “Squadrons” — the game can be whatever you want it to be, and that makes it perfect for any and all “Star Wars” fans.

The Deseret News got to try out the game before it was released, and there’s a lot to take away from it. Here are our immediate findings from the game. This list will be updated as gameplay continues.

Campaign mode is a simple story that adds to ‘Star Wars’ lore

The “Squadrons” campaign mode allows gamers to flip between a pilot for the Empire and the New Republic. As the pilot, you need to complete missions that will further the story along. It takes place in the years after “Return of the Jedi,” which gives “Star Wars” fans a little new material to add to the timeline.

A screenshot from “Star Wars: Squadrons.”
A screenshot from “Star Wars: Squadrons.”
EA

The campaign kicks off with a handle of cameos, which will instantly hook all fans. The challenges within the campaign mode can be accomplished pretty easily since there’s a “story mode” that gives you the easiest battles so you can see more of the story. It’s still challenging, though, so be prepared to really focus on what’s going on around you.

We’re still working our way through the campaign. But the story seamlessly brings gamers from one battle to the next, while also offering a dramatic story about the fight for the galaxy.

Multiplayer is where the fun begins

“Squadrons” boasts a multiplayer mode that’s similar to “Fortnite” or other major video games in that it offers challenges, rewards and a quick matchmaking system that throws you right into the competition. You can compete in ranked, unranked and casual modes online, giving you a chance to just embrace flying in your ship at your own pace.

A screenshot from “Star Wars: Squadrons.”
A screenshot from “Star Wars: Squadrons.”
EA

The game boasts an impressive collection of “Star Wars” planets, too. Each battle takes you to a specific world across the galaxy, which allows you to see more of the universe. It was fun battling on new planets — some we’ve never heard before — and then quickly zooming off to the next one.

Choosing between your ships is another fun aspect. You get an opportunity to pick a different vehicle that helps your team in different ways. For example, the Empire has a “reaper” vehicle that can aid the rest of your ships. Most games will include ships battling each other with lasers, so maybe that “reaper” ship will be more reserved for you and your own squad of friends.

A screenshot from “Star Wars: Squadrons.”
A screenshot from “Star Wars: Squadrons.”
EA

I already noticed a few different moments where I knew I would be laughing if my squad (shouts to Toothpaste FC) was flying together. The game shows replays, which shows you some of the hilarious crashes again and again.

It’s a fantastic mode that will only grow as the game becomes more popular.

The controls can be frustrating

“Squadrons” controls are a double-edged sword. From one perspective, the controls remind you of an actual flight simulator. We played on the Xbox One. The left joystick controls your ship’s left-to-right motion, and the right joystick controls the ship’s upward and downward motion. It takes some getting used to, of course, because the screen is filled with your ship’s cockpit, so it feels like you’re actually in an X-Wing. But the controls are hard to maneuver at first, since you also have to control which part of your ship — engines, weapons, shields — get the most of your ship’s power.

A screenshot from “Star Wars: Squadrons.”
A screenshot from “Star Wars: Squadrons.”
EA

That said, it is a harmless but totally realistic set of controls that make you feel like you’re actually soaring through the “Star Wars” galaxy. You’re literally a pilot. And that’s impressive for a game to give you that chance of being an actual star pilot. Once you get ahold of the controls, it’s smooth sailing from there.

The game is absolutely beautiful

“Squadrons” does a remarkable job with its graphic detail and presentation. Each of the planets shines on screen. Sitting in the pilot’s seat on the X-Wing or Tie Fights looks so realistic. We highly recommend putting the game on the big screen so you feel like you’re in ship. Heck, we got a little nervous before the first flight because it really felt like we were in the cockpit of an X-Wing. It’s a tremendous experience, and EA did a great job forming a game that puts you right behind the pilot’s chair.

A battle in “Star Wars: Squadrons.”
A screenshot from “Star Wars: Squadrons.”
Electronic Arts