Gaming

From A Console Far, Far Away: The 10 Best Star Wars Video Games

Has there ever been a fictitious science fiction world that lends itself better to video games than the Star Wars universe? I’d argue no. Star Wars is a universe enveloped in action and intriguing stories. Star Wars is full of complex characters and many, varying species with varying agendas. It is by no means a small universe, and for that very reason, the stories game developers can weave for Star Wars games can go in any direction. From being a bad guy born from Darth Vader (kind of) to being a coolly indifferent space pirate who just wants his cut, Star Wars games give you every chance to be any kind of hero or villain you want to be in that amazing world they created

It is by no means a small universe, and for that very reason, the stories game developers can weave for Star Wars games can go in any direction. From being a bad guy born from Darth Vader (kind of) to being a coolly indifferent space pirate who just wants his cut, Star Wars games give you every chance to be any kind of hero or villain you want to be in that amazing world they created among the stars and celestial bodies.

The other big part in all this is there is NO shortage of Star Wars games out there for people to pick up and enjoy, be they Sith or Jedi (wait, do we still call them Sith? Shit, we don’t, do we?). Problem is, when there are dozens upon dozens of games from the Star Wars extended U, how do we pick the best ones out there to ensure we aren’t wasting our time with Star-filler or star-shit? That is where I come in. You see, I have an emulator that plays every game every and recently sat down with it (for last year and a half) and replayed ALL the games in the Star Wars universe to determine which ones were the most fun to play and which felt most genuine to the Star War’s world(s) they were portraying. It was no easy task but…hell, who am I kidding?

You see, I have an emulator that plays every game ever and recently sat down with it (for last year and a half) and replayed ALL the games in the Star Wars universe to determine which ones were the most fun to play and which felt most genuine to the Star War’s world(s) they were portraying. It was no easy task but…hell, who am I kidding?

I got paid to replay all the Star Wars games. Do you even know how awesome my job is?

I mean, um, with Battlefront 2 just around the corner, here are the ten best Star Wars games, presented in no real numerical order but with number one definitely standing in as number one (and any true fan of Star Wars games knows what game made number one already).

Star Wars: Battlefront

Yes, this game was pretty much trash because of how limited the whole thing was. No single player campaign and a very limited number of maps made this game feel more like DLC than a whole game.

BUT (and there is always a juicy butt)…

The photo-realistic graphics were insane, the Hoth level was a geek’s dream come true (best in-game realization of Hoth yet), and the battles did get pretty intense. But too many of the game’s glaring flaws stood in the way of making it fantastic. Hell, some will hate me for even putting this on the list just for the graphics and Hoth level, s don’t kill the messenger. Also, you’ll notice, even though the list is in NO ORDER, Battlefront is very much LAST for a reason.

Moving on…..but not by much…

Super Star Wars Series (on SNES)

I know, I know. At no point in any Star Wars movie does Luke fight a giant sand scorpion, but you also need to understand, these games come from a time when movie licensed games all sucked ass. Comparatively, the Super Star Wars games were campy, unconnected, and brutally tough, but oddly fun. And up to that point outside the arcade, a good Star Wars game was all but unheard of.

It may have been a weird side scroller that took a lot of liberties but at least we played as Luke and it had SOME (though very few) similarities. That was enough to make me love it as a kid. Hasn’t aged too well, either.

And whilst still speaking of older Star Wars games……

Star Wars: Rebel Assault II

Granted, this game may be older than some others featured on the list (and even younger than some OTHER Star Wars games on this list) but when this game dropped in 1995, it ALSO dropped some jaws. It was a pretty basic action game playing off some of the key movie moments from the films. But what sold us on it for us back then was they digitized a lot of the presentation (making it more like an interactive Star Wars movie than a straight-up game) and the end result was pretty badass for the time. Cheesy now, yes, but NOT then!

Hell, you can still play this game today and people will find themselves sitting and watching if they are Star Wars fans, even with it being outdated with some lame FMV.

Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy

Man, those fine folks at Lego are really on fire right now, and have been for some time. Though we have had MANY a Star Wars games that took itself incredibly seriously, what made the Lego Star Wars games so fantastic was their self-satirical sense of humor and light-hearted tone.

Simple things like stormtroopers all being terrible at aiming get addressed and not in a way that mocks the series as much as it pays loving homage. And on top of all that, these games are just damn fun to play and easy enough that anyone can just pick up and play (which is great because of the multiplayer aspects of the Lego Universe games).

Obviously, II placed over I because II was ORIGINAL TRILOGY, BABY!

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Series

I know these games were disgustingly short and awful repetitive, but has anything in any Star Wars game universe come close to the opening level in this game where you actually play as Darth Vader with all his actual powers?

No.

You are sending Stormtroopers flying by the dozen over ledges (why I was killing my own men was beyond me, but it was fun as f*ck) and just the power of Vader’s presence in that scene alone is worth playing these two games. Yes, they are short. Yes, they are kind of generic, but guess what? By the end of the game, once you have all your Force abilities master, playing as an evil bastard smashing people together until they die is a great deal of fun. Four hours for a full-game? Not okay, but at least now you will find these two in bargain bin for closer to ten bucks than sixty. Scoop them up and try them out. There are far worse ways to spend an afternoon.

Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire

If Battlefront never came along, the crazy thing is, this game from the N64 would STILL HAVE the best Hoth level of any other Star Wars game. You really had to use the ship to fly around it and attach the cables to its massive legs and feet to bring it down, just like in the movie. It was tough, and you ended up doing it again and again because you HAD TO pull it off but died a lot in the process.  But once you did, it was a boom of adrenaline from living out one of the very best moments from any Stars Wars movie!

Also loved how the game switched between on-foot and ship sections. Made it feel more massive in scope and befitting of the SWU.

Definitely one of the N64’s true gems IMHO.

Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast

I, and many gamers alike. agree on this. Outcast was one of the first games that, in giving you force powers, actually made you feel like a “force” to be reckoned with (God, someone kill me). The first time I lifted some Storm Troopers in the air and tossed them into a wall or tossed some lightning their way, I always felt like a badass Jedi. AND WE FINALLY GOT LEGIT SABERS TO PLAY WITH!!!!!

Even as generic is the main character was to some people, I loved me some Kyle Katarn. He’s the smug, badass, outcast we all wanted to be in the Star Wars U. It was also very cool you could switch between FPS and 3rd person view, depending on how you liked to play.

Hell, there are games now that don’t even do that. GTA V made you buy the game again JUST FOR THAT FEATURE.

Star Wars: Republic Commando

First off, it gets points for its unique approach and telling a somewhat darker tale than we usually get from Star Wars lore. Republic Commando was a tactical FPS meaning it wasn’t a straight run-and-gun and involved giving out orders to your A.I companions and trying to take out certain scenarios in the most effective ways possible.

Also, playing as a clone with three other clone soldiers offered a very unique take and perspective on a universe we had always pretty much seen from only one perspective. And when the A.I actually listened and took orders and whole attack plan fell into place, you truly feel like part of that world leading a genuine squad.

It’s a cool feeling.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

No, it is not the Knights of the Old Republic part 3 we diehard fans have all clamored desperately for now for decades. But it is a Star Wars games made by the same team, featuring the same world, same timeline (though earlier) and similar gameplay. I often think the one thing that kept this game from being the KOTR 3 everyone wanted was the simple fact they made it into an online game.

While still very much adhering to the way the other Old Republic games were made, the problem with online gaming is that it just moves slower (grinding, leveling, etc) and in making it an MMO, they took away the element that made you feel so powerful. That element was solitude. You were alone in those powers and in that universe, and for that reason, you felt like you HAD to rise up or you would space-ash. When the game is an MMO, some of that lonesome tension is lost.

All that shit-talking out of the way, though, the Old Republic was a nice fix for fans of KOTR and evolved in some pretty interesting ways. And it was LEAGUES better than the first Star Wars MMO which I refuse to even mention by name here.

Honorable Mentions:

All Star Wars Arcade Games

From the booth game based off the trilogy that ended with an actual Saber fight in first-person against Vader (watch video above) to the very first arcade game that used basic vector graphics but still made you feel just like Luke when you blew up the Death Star at the end, arcade games have always repped the Star Wars movies really well.

I once worked at an arcade that had the above game and could eventually beat it without taking a single hit on any level (that is how sad I am). Speaking of repping the Star Wars U really well, finally time to reveal the greatness of….

Knights of the Old Republic (Duh)

In many ways, this game ruined me for action/RPG’s all the way until the team behind made it an original I.P follow up with Mass Effect series. Fact is, Knights of the Old Republic is not only the best Star Wars game, but one of the best action-RPGs of all time, despite labels and titles.

Unlike many of the above mentioned Star Wars games, KOTR puts you in an integral part of a new story in the extended Star Wars U, and the way that story unfolds is nothing short of masterful storytelling. This was also the first Star Wars game that, in my opinion,  TRULY gave you reign over if you were dark or light side, and gave you real, damning consequences for those actions. I did some despicable things in that game, and they still haunt me. If that is not the sign of a damn-near perfect Star Wars game, then I don’t know what is.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go herd some nerf.

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