Star Wars: Squadrons is the great VR game you’ve been waiting for

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As an early adopter of PC-based VR, I have been led down the street of that one must-play, high-gloss VR sport earlier than. However regardless of a handful of actual winners, from Rec Room to Beat Saber, my first-gen Rift and Vive, and newer Oculus Quest, all spend extra time amassing mud than anything. 

My massive drawback has all the time been that the video games individuals actually need to play — primarily based on massive franchises and fashionable characters — are few and much between. Even when an organization like EA or Activision dips a toe in, it is often a one-off expertise, like the one VR ranges present in Star Wars: Battlefront or Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, each of which had been shortly deserted. 

However now, my brow is sweating and my head strap is pulled tight, as a result of this season’s solely massive new Star Wars sport is a full VR-first expertise hiding in plain sight. Star Wars: Squadrons is, so far as I can inform, primarily meant for virtual reality play, it is simply that nobody bothered to jot down VR-only on the entrance cowl (maybe as a result of a VR-only Star Wars sport could not promote sufficient copies to justify its prices). 

For instance, the whole lot of the playable elements of the sport are performed from a seated cockpit view throughout completely different spacecraft. Once you’re in a hangar or different frequent space, the protagonist is actually rooted in place like a tree (or like a VR sport avatar), capable of level and click on on just a few issues from a distance, triggering cutscenes. 

Frankly, it is not that a lot of a sport, which might be why it prices lower than most new sport releases. However when you strap on a VR headset, both on a PC or PS4, out of the blue somebody has made a really costly trying Star Wars dogfighting simulator for the underappreciated viewers of VR avid gamers. 

The expertise jogged my memory, in the very best methods, of numerous hours spent in traditional space-fighting video games like Freespace 2 and even the unique Wing Commander video games (sure, I am that previous). Now, that typically means attempting to line up a blip on a radar show in entrance of you, capturing previous it, then slicing the throttle to half and executing a decent flip to strive it once more, however that is dogfighting video games. No less than the best way I fly, which is poorly.

On a extra sensible degree, this is what I discovered:

Getting VR headsets to speak to your PC and a particular sport accurately stays a transferring goal. On this case, I used an Oculus Rift in PC mode (which suggests connecting it through a USB-C Thunderbolt cable). However the right order by which one would launch Steam, Steam VR, the inescapable Oculus software program and at last the Star Wars: Squadrons VR model by no means appears to work precisely the identical means twice. 

Higher put a flight stick in your vacation want record… for 2021. Each respectable flight stick is bought out, between this sport and the current decade-in-the-making Microsoft Flight Simulator replace. GameSpot has a good list here, however good luck discovering any. Most are $150-$300, however I do know the Rebel is on a decent finances, so that you would possibly attempt to discover the $40 Logitech 3D Pro, however once more, it is bought out all over the place I’ve seemed. 

You will find yourself utilizing a gamepad… and that is OK. Like many gamers, I ended up utilizing a normal Xbox gamepad. It truly labored high quality, utilizing the left stick for throttle and rolling and the best stick for pitch and yaw (that is up and down and left and proper, for the remainder of us). 

I would personally like to see extra $40-ish standalone VR-first video games primarily based on massive film or sport sequence. Particularly with the Oculus Quest and Quest 2 making VR extra reasonably priced and straightforward to make use of (and offering a bridge to PC-based VR, too), VR gaming appears to have extra lives than a cat. For those who’re contemplating Star Wars: Squadrons as a non-VR sport, I would not essentially exit of my means for it. However should you’re searching for an excuse to interrupt out that headset, then that is good as you are going to get this vacation season.

Learn extra at GameSpot: Star Wars: Squadrons early review impressions

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Dan Ackerman