If you have seen some of my pieces in the past you would know that some of my favourite games are set in the Star Wars universe. Thinking in that vein I’ve decided to count down my top five best Star Wars games. There are quite a few critically acclaimed games I haven’t played so despite how good they might be or how much you might love them they won’t probably be on this list (sorry Republic Commando). If anyone would like to send in any games I’ve not included it would be great to do a follow up article focusing on other games.
5) Knights Of The Old Republic (PC)
While I am still yet to complete this game (terrible I know), it’s setting and characters are some of the most interesting things to have ever come out of this universe. Knights of the Old Republic is a RPG set thousands of years before the events of the films. You play as an amnesiac who wakes up onboard the Endar Spire in the midst of a Sith attack and from there on you follow either follow the path to become a Jedi or something more sinister. The twist at the end of this game still remains brilliant up to this day and makes use of the roleplaying element in an extremely creative way. In addition to this there are a distinctive roster of characters to form your party including my favourite: a homicidal combat droid by the name of HK-47. In his words: “Statement: I see you have purchased me, master. I find this a satisfactory arrangement. Am I to accompany you now? Shall I kill something for you?”
4) The Force Unleashed (Wii)
While this game is flawed in a lot of ways it was also pretty creative in the way that it approached the gamification of the Force in a beat-em-up context. At the time, me and my friends were all blown away by the over-the-top powers which you could use. The story was pretty good (although perhaps flawed in the greater Star Wars canon) and followed Vader’s secret apprentice, Starkiller, as he hunted down the last remaining Jedi. The game sold well and was enjoyed by fans, although didn’t do critically that well. For me at the time the best part about it was being able to use the Wii motion control to swing the lightsaber and the one on one duels you could do with your friends. On a sad note this and its sequel were the last original* single player Star Wars games to be released.
*not including the Lego Star Wars Games
3) Lego Star Wars I & II (PS2)
Many days after school I would rush home to play these games and for a good reason. These were first two Lego games that Traveller’s tales would make in their now signature style, and have left a significant mark on mine and many others of my ages memory. The quirky, often hilarious Lego take on the events of the Star Wars saga was underpinned by a simple but effective puzzle based gameplay, utilising the nature of Lego Bricks to its fullest. The games didn’t just stop after finishing the levels as there was a ridiculous number of collectibles to find and challenges to complete. The fact that this was co-op also meant that it was a firm favourite to play with friends and the kids who managed to get 100% gold bricks are still revered to this day.
2) Star Wars Battlefront 2 (PS2)
Battlefront 2 was a brilliant class based shooter set in the many war-zones throughout the Star Wars galaxy. Rather than focusing on the Jedi it focused on the ground troops of the Star Wars universe which gave it an unique perspective. The single player campaign exemplified this perfectly, following the 501st legion of the Clone army (the Clones that stormed the Jedi temple) through the events of Order 66 and beyond. This is back when solo campaigns in multiplayer games were still appreciated and made well. It put a darker twist on the events of the films, bringing up themes to do with the horrors of war which would get explored further in the Clone Wars Tv show. The multiplayer battles themselves were fun, fast and ferocious, combining the best settings of the Star Wars galaxy with great gameplay experiences. Countless games were spent trying to reenact the Wookiee who climbed on top of a Droid tank, blew it up and jumped off again. The space battles which were introduced in this iteration were a favourite of many with nothing really coming close to that feeling of crash landing your X-Wing into the enemy’s cruiser and destroying it from the inside.
1) Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast/Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy (PC)
Ah the Jedi Knight games. My favourite two Star Wars games of all. How I love your clunky gameplay, your cheesy writing and your questionable animation. This was a brief era of Star Wars games where they were all a bit like a B-Movie; probably why I love them so much. The main protagonist for these games is the Chuck Norris of the Star Wars universe, Kyle Katarn. Apart from having the most ridiculously cool name ever this guy was not to be messed with. The man stole the death star plans on his own with just a blaster pistol (before Rogue One retconned that). Apart from the charming nature of the game, the lightsaber combat is ridiculously good, like the best in any Star Wars game. Rather than just being a glorified glow stick which hardly hurts enemies when you hit them, the lightsaber acts like it should. You could be having a gruelling boss battle but the right swing can end their life in a few seconds (and vice versa of course). Jedi Academy is cool as a follow-on game as you create your own character following in the footsteps of Kyle and has an interesting lightside/darkside decision at the end which precedes what Kotor would later do. Although I have a special hatred for the extreme difficulty of some levels (I’m looking at you Nar Shaddaa), these games will always be two of my favourite of all time. In addition to this there are some great mods and an active online community for these games despite there age so it is always a good time to start playing!
Something a friend of mine pointed made me realize I didn’t mention any tabletop Star Wars games. There are a wealth of great Star Wars boardgames, wargames and roleplaying games which I hope to cover more in a future article (especially X-Wing Miniatures game).