Here at The Elite Institute, we are keen on highlighting a variety of great games to our audience. Whether it be indies, AAA titles, or anything in between, we want to show off as much as possible in order to help guide your purchasing decisions.

That’s why we’re not entirely restricting ourselves to the Nintendo Switch. Thanks to Nintendo Labo VR Kit (check out our review), we’ve fallen in love with virtual reality and as a result have invested in a PlayStation 4 along with PSVR. There are some truly great experiences on the system, and we’d love to share our thoughts with you.

One of my all time favourite series back in the late 90s / early 00s was the Star Wars Rogue Squadron titles; whilst the first entry certainly had its issues, the other three are nothing short of sublime. Factor 5 mastered space flight and made what are arguably the best Star Wars games to this very day. It’s such a shame that we never saw more after Rebel Strike, as even remasters to modern platforms would have been very welcome.

2020’s Star Wars: Squadrons is not another entry in the classic franchise; but, after playing it I feel like it probably could have been. And considering this game was published by EA, that is one hell of a compliment.


Set over a surprisingly lengthy sixteen mission campaign, Squadrons has you playing as two different pilots from opposing sides. Starting off in the Imperial Army right after the destruction of Alderaan, your team is instructed to destroy a refugee convoy. Captain Lindon James, your commanding officer, doesn’t feel great about doing this and decides to defect mid-mission to the Rebel Army.

Fast forward to after the events of the original trilogy, and now the Imperials are struggling to fight back against the New Republic that formed after their defeat at Endor. Javes is now a decorated commander of the Vanguard Squadron and in charge of a secret project, codenamed Starhawk. Meanwhile, his old work-mate Terisa Kerrill now leads the Imperial Titan Squadron as they attempt to put a stop to the project and get revenge on the traitor.

Whilst the overall plotline doesn’t attempt to do anything particular grand in scale, it still does a good job at immersing you in the Star Wars universe. Everything looks and feels like you would expect it, and the inclusion of a briefing room for you to receive your instructions is definitely something I appreciated.

Unfortunately, focus is pretty much entirely on this sense of immersion and doesn’t extend much to character development. The two rival commanding officers are particularly well-done, but the assortment of wing-mates just end up feeling kinda… there. It’s such a shame as I felt like I wanted to know more about a lot of my comrades, but outside of some mid-mission dialogue and trite banter in the hangar, there’s very little more to them. Hopefully we see their return in a future game, as it would be nice to see them developed some more in the future.


From the moment you strap on your PSVR headset and enter the cockpit of an Imperial TIE Fighter, the game really makes all your childhood dream of being a fighter pilot in the Star Wars universe come true. There’s so much attention to every facet of the interior to make it exactly as you would expect, and the TIE Fighter is almost claustrophobic due to the tiny viewing area. The most important area of the cockpit is, of course, your dashboard, and it contains all the information you need to become a professional space pilot. There’s a radar that allows you to track targets in three dimensional space, ship and target information that tells you how much damage has been taken, and systems information.

The systems information is where the bulk of the experience lies. The idea is that you can direct power into your weapons, engine, or shield systems depending on your situation. If you want to dogfight aggressively, a weapon-focused approach will grant you extra power and prevent your weapons from overheating so easily; using your engines will increase speed and control, even granting you a boost that can help you get the hell away quickly; and the shield systems obviously bolster your defense. It seems pretty overwhelming at first, but it becomes second nature surprisingly quickly allowing you to adapt to your current situation.

In addition to systems management, each ship also has its own functionality that sets itself apart. Whether its unique auxiliary systems that can block enemy radar, ion cannons to freeze ships in place, or even bombs that can devastate a target, they all feel unique enough to give them a sense of functionality. Many missions will require you to pilot a certain ship, but others will allow you to choose – and that choice can really affect how easy the mission will be.


During the course of the campaign, you’ll be given an assortment of tasks that need to be accomplished. Some of them are pretty straightforward and have you attacking opposing vehicles, but others can have you doing things that are a bit more exciting. One standout mission sees you going on a bombing run as re-orientate yourself sideways in order to take out the side mounted power generators of a cylindrical structure. Another memorable one has you activating mines for an ambush, thus allowing you to destroy the fleeing craft with ease. These missions make a nice break from the (still admittedly rather fun) dogfighting, and stops things from becoming stale.

Unfortunately, I also felt that the game didn’t quite have enough of these moments to make the game live up to the Rogue Squadron series. Comparing them against each other may seem quite unfair, but given how the older games had you doing some incredible things in almost every mission, it’s hard to deny that some of the Squadrons stages can feel a little bit forgettable.

But then you play the game and all that is forgotten as TIE Fighters zoom by whilst you’re trying to take down the shield generators of a Star Destroyer. This is fan fantasy fulfilment at its finest, and when it looks and plays as damn good as this, it’s hard to care all that much. Sure, I’m sure the game would be even more impressive with a trench run, or a snow-speeder stage, but this is still undoubtedly the best PSVR flight experience.


And the fun doesn’t even stop after the nine-ish hours taken to get through the campaign. Replayability is encouraged through the addition of a medal system that awards you for pulling off some incredible feats (and there are even platinum medals to be obtained too if you’re good enough to take on the Ace difficulty), and also a series of cosmetic options that you can unlock to pimp up your ride.

For those who want to continue the fun outside of the story, fleet battles are also available and can even be played offline solo with AI. The objective of these battles are to take down the enemy’s capital ships, and offer a nice bit of fun as a distraction. Whilst it’s something that probably won’t maintain interest for long periods of time, it’s a nice way of extending the gameplay beyond the story mode. Online is available too, although this is something I am unable to comment on due to the lack of PlayStation Plus; however, I imagine that forming a squadron with your friends is probably going to be incredible for the more socially inclined.

Star Wars: Squadrons is an absolute must-buy for any owners of PSVR. Even if you’re not into Star Wars, the space combat just feels sublime. It may not quite have the same level of set-pieces as the Rogue Squadron series, but it comes surprisingly close. You did good, EA. Now let’s blow this thing and go home.