Microsoft

Star Wars: Squadrons (Xbox One)

It’s a misfire to see the post-Return of the Jedi Empire so flush with diverse faces. While the industry pushes for inclusiveness, that message trickles down and places all genders and races onto the side of a directly Nazi-esque regime. In brief, one-sided dialog exchanges, hearing phrases akin to real world authoritarian power grabs is a disconcerting, even defeatist story aesthetic.

Occasionally, Star Wars: Squadrons finds an allegorical winner, leaning on militaristic revenge, and believing those in power decide who lives and dies. Note Star Wars: Squadrons doesn’t make this case directly; it’s optional when in hangars, kvetching with others before or after missions. Otherwise, it’s standard Star Wars, the good/evil sides dueling, leading to a planetary-scaled climax and escape.

No question then the idea is to pump up the online versus duels, since they bring energy lacking in the narrative. Squadrons feels small scale, akin to The Last Jedi, where most everything takes place near a minor, otherwise insignificant system. Multiplayer can brush that aside – each encounter doesn’t need galactic scope, just more intimate dog-fighting, slightly advanced compared to Battlefront II, if the lesser in pacing. The kineticism isn’t there, shrugging off the film-to-game comparisons for something more “authentic,” if such a term applies to space lasers.

3/5

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