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Star Wars: Squadrons forms up on EA Play in March

With Madden NFL 21 and NHL 21 as wingmen

artwork of a Rebel pilot and an Imperial pilot, with a variety of starfighters, from Star Wars: Squadrons Image: Electronic Arts
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Star Wars: Squadrons, the excellent space-combat sim from EA Motive, joins the EA Play lineup in March, and by extension Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers will see it then, too.

The modern take on X-Wings vs. TIE Fighters launched in October, and Charlie Hall, our resident HOTAS guru, called it “the total package.” Even with a standard gamepad, players will have “a wonderful time.” Though console players do have throttle-and-stick options, they’re pretty spendy (and hard to find because of wider spread supply chain problems).

The game’s VR presentation remains a PC-only feature, and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers are still waiting on EA Play to become available on PC. The EA Play library was added to Game Pass Ultimate for Xbox One and Xbox Series X in November, and was due on PC in December. The latest word said EA Play’s availability on PC has been delayed to sometime this year.

Also coming to EA Play on March 2 is Madden NFL 21, now that American football has wrapped up its season. It launched in August on PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One, and was roundly panned for its lack of overall new features. But the game that rolled out for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X in early November is easily the best Madden for running the football, ever, even at the game’s more challenging difficulty settings.

NHL 21 will likewise arrive to EA Play in April, about a month before the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin. EA Sports’ hockey sim features an expanded Be a Pro career mode with more role-playing choices, but our review says it quickly loses its appeal after the rookie season.

EA Play by itself is $4.99 per month, $29.99 per year, available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Windows PC via Origin and Steam. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is $14.99 a month.

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