I so desperately wanted Star Wars: Squadrons to be a huge success. If I could snap my fingers and change whatever I wanted about the games industry, I would give Star Wars: Squadrons the playerbase of Call Of Duty. It's an absolutely phenomenal cinematic experience, and it's also an amazingly deep competitive game that rewards tactics, skill, and keeping calm under high pressure.
I adore games with high skill ceilings, which is why you'll most often find me neck-deep in the latest battle royale or FPS. Squadrons was a big departure from my usual genres in many ways, but that high skill ceiling hooked and reeled me in as inescapably as any game before it. I found the singleplayer campaign to be supremely mediocre, so I spent most of my time from the very start in the practice map, flying about wreckage and finding just how much there was to learn about piloting your ship properly. The number of micro-decisions you have to make, ranging from direction and velocity to the distribution of your shields across your ship, scanning for the next incoming threat, properly balancing energy between weapons, engines, and shields... It took a little while for things to click, but once they did, Star Wars: Squadrons was my game.
I went into multiplayer 6v6 dogfights and flew rings around my rivals. The immersion was doubled because I actually felt like I was pulling off moves that a real starfighter pilot in the films could pull off, rather than just splatting my Interceptor against a gigantic piece of space debris like a fly against a windscreen. I learnt so much in a short space of time about how to master dogfights. I learnt how to boost, and then how to drift, and then how to chain-microdrift. I learnt exactly how to abuse the TIE emergency power converter to give myself infinite boost. I learn that, contrary to what young Anakin may have thought, spinning is not a good trick.
It's a hugely rewarding skill-based game, and it also looks and runs fantastic. Here's a short vid of me pulling off some Sweet Moves in the training area. All settings are at max, and I can still record a solid 60+ FPS on my ultrawide monitor. What a game.