Star Wars Squadrons: Best Art Direction

I’m not giving out any awards for games in 2020, but I do want to talk about one specific game and one category that it should win in every video game awards show this year. The game is Star Wars: Squadrons. It’s a small Star Wars game that consists of starfighter missions and online squad battles (I call it a “small game” when compared to something like Star Wars: Battlefront I & II, which had all kinds of online battles including large and small ground battles along with starfighter assault — and a campaign in Part II).

Squadrons isn’t my favorite game of this past year, it wasn’t even my favorite Star Wars game — Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order was my favorite Star Wars game. And yes, technically Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order came out in November of 2019, but as I wrote in a previous post it wasn’t included in all of last year’s awards shows. Squadrons is a very fun game though, once you get used to the controls and I’ve barely played any online battles yet.

The one thing that makes Squadrons stand out is the amazing art direction. I’m not even talking about the gameplay, which is definitely a step up from the recent Battlefront games with more control of your starfighter. You’re able to choose what aspect of your ship you want to focus on: weapons, shields or boosters.

You can tell that this game was made for VR though, with the pre-mission briefings and the click-to-move vs just walking around (which is a thing of VR). I’m sure the VR is extremely immersive. I can’t imagine how cool it is to fly an X-Wing or Tie Fighter in VR and be able to freely look around the cockpit and your surroundings. Even with that, it still feels amazing on a high quality screen.

Some click-to-move VR-style exploration.

The game is graphically very well designed. Flying through the galaxy in first-person view from your cockpit is absolutely stunning. It almost reminds me of riding Star Tours in Disney’s Hollywood Studios at moments. Seeing giant Star Destroyers and Dockyards during a galactic battle is also just beautiful to look at. But that’s not the art direction I’m talking about.

I’m talking about menus and cut scenes. I mean look at this beautiful image you get to see while the game loads.

Opening load screen for Star Wars: Squadrons.

The motion graphics used during cut scenes and mission/story explanations are all so beautifully simple. The colors and simple designs make everything look more complex and it’s all so visually appealing. I don’t know if we haven’t seen much of these bright colors in a Star Wars game before, but it’s quite different and aesthetically pleasing.

More loading screen footage or pre-battle tips.
Another short load screen.

The images I’ve shared have only been loading screens, but they are just so well-designed. They combine the simple shapes and lines of classic Star Wars design with the newly highly-realistic design of starfighters and battleships. There was also some imagery before the game was released (most likely in a trailer) where they blended pilots and starfighters in such a cool way, that may have been what made me pre-order this game.

I highly recommend this game, seeing as it’s only $40 and I’ve seen it on sale for less recently. If you love Star Wars it’s just always good fun to fly around in a starfighter (especially in a time where it’s much harder to visit Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland or Disney World to fly the Millennium Falcon or ride Star Tours or Rise of the Resistance).

Pre-mission breifing (Empire).

Here’s one last beautiful image from Star Wars: Squadrons to stare at.

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