The last couple of years have been amazing for all Star Wars fans. The two new movies -- The Force Awakens and Rogue One -- and a video game reboot of the Battlefront series from Electronic Arts reinvigorated the interest of millions of people all over the world.
The Star Wars universe is so rich that it inspired the production of over a hundred games in the last 30 years. Most of them have been alright, but only a small fraction deserves to be mentioned when speaking of the video games set in the galaxy far, far away.
Here are 15 of the best Star Wars games ever released, covering the periods of the 90s, early 2000s and a few games from the recent years as well. So fasten your seatbelts and let’s get started!
Arcade-styled Star Wars game for Nintendo 64 was something new and risky back in 1998. It was the year of the announcement of the new movie trilogy by George Lucas, so the stakes had been high for this one.
In the game you take on a role of a pilot who controls an X-Wing (and other four possible aircrafts) for one and only job -- to destroy as many TIE-Fighters, TIE-Bombers, and AT-ATs as you can. The difficulty was moderately challenging, so you would have a lot of fun playing this on a lazy night.
Rogue Squadron turned out to be really good and was a huge success that spawned two more sequels -- Rogue Leader and Rebel Strike.
This was the first 3D-action game in the Star Wars series for PlayStation 1. It offered 14 huge and well varied missions that took you on the surface of the ice planets, inside the alien mansions, and onto the very bottom of the sewers.
You played as a Kyle Katarn -- a former Empire soldier who turned into a rebel. Dark Forces took you on a journey to find the plans of the Death Star and then destroy it. Apart from the great story, this early Star Wars game had a huge arsenal of weapons, such as laser shotguns, ion blasters, mortars, etc.
In the times when DOOM was the lord of all first-person shooters, Dark Forces managed to take all the best features of the genre and improve upon them. Even today many fans consider it superior to DOOM.
The game that took place after the events of Empire Strikes Back hit you with action right from the very first mission. It combined the arcade style of Rogue Squadron and the 3D-action experience of Dark Forces, but this time from a 3rd person perspective.
However, unlike Rogue Squadron, you could change the view while piloting an aircraft and see everything from the cockpit, which added greatly to the sense of speed. You could also pilot other types of machinery, such as AT-STs and even huge starships in an outer space.
And, if you really wanted to challenge yourself, then Shadows of the Empire contained an option of a hard mode that had been praised by fans for its high level of difficulty.
What Dark Forces did good Dark Forces II did better. The levels became bigger, the graphics improved greatly, and although the AI of the enemies didn’t improve too much, it never distracted you too much from the excellent old school gameplay.
Dark Forces II also introduced the first multiplayer maps to the series, which added a whole new dimension to an already great game.
You may have disliked the prequel movies of Star Wars (which this game was based on), but you would most likely enjoy the fluid team-based gameplay of this Lego-themed action adventure.
Lego Star Wars was designed in mind for two players, and even if you didn’t have anybody else to play with, the game had an AI player that helped you throughout the entirety of the campaign. But of course, it was much more fun to play along with a friend, since you could try out different things in this way.
The best part of Lego Star Wars: The Video Game was the pod-racing segment from Episode I. It was just as intense as it was in the movies, and would definitely keep you glued to your screen for many hours.
Lego Star Wars returned with the original trilogy in 2006 after an enormous success of the first Lego game based on Star Wars prequels. It utilized the same gameplay mechanics as the first installment, so you didn’t need to learn any new tricks.
This time you could play as Luke Skywalker or Princess Leia. Also, all characters could use Lego blocks to solve the puzzles, unlike the first game, where only Jedi could use the parts with the help of the force.
There were a lot more vehicle-based levels than before as well. But other than that you wouldn't be able to find any differences -- it was the same high-quality gaming experience.
Unlike the latest Battlefront reboot that was released in 2015, this one had both a multiplayer and a single-player campaign, which was required back when not everybody had access to unlimited internet connection.
Actually, Battlefront was the first Star Wars game, which had its main focus on the multiplayer component. The levels have been designed so well that they have been almost identically copied in the reboot. The only thing that got upgraded was the graphics, which wasn’t too bad in the original either.
It is no secret that Battlefront was inspired by the success of Battlefield 1942, and even today you can see that both of the franchises are still going incredibly strong on the market.
When you played Republic Commando the other game came to mind -- Halo. You could definitely notice many similarities, but it didn’t mean that the game was bad, on the contrary -- it was one of the best first-person shooters based on the Star Wars lore.
Although it had no Jedi represented in the game and the single player campaign was one of the shortest in the franchise, generally the audiences really liked the concept of Republic Commando. Despite a massive success, Republic Commando never got its highly-anticipated sequel.
Even after more than 10 years the game still holds up in both the graphics and sound departments. So, if you want to know what happened in between Episodes II and III, then check this game out.
The problem with Republic Commando was that it didn’t feature Jedi, but here you had a game that was literally all about Jedi and their most elegant weapon -- lightsaber. On top of that, the game offered a full customization of your hero, including the design of the lightsaber and your fighting style.
It was a rare thing to see so many customizable features in an action-adventure game back in the days. Maybe at first Jedi Academy received a short burst of criticism for its lackluster story, but it really wasn’t a big deal, since the action completely made up for it.
Here is another installment that focuses on the Jedi. This particular game was greatly praised for its lightsaber combat as being the best in the franchise.
The story element was much better here than in Jedi Academy, but it did take a bit of time for the plot to evolve into something truly great. It featured a set of unique abilities that the main protagonist could learn after each mission, and that made the game ever more enjoyable.
Jedi Outcast was a perfect choice for those who really wanted to feel the power of the force.
The hopes have been extremely high for this MMORPG set in the Star Wars universe, as it was developed by none other than BioWare. Although The Old Republic didn’t revolutionize the MMO genre, it was a quality game with hundreds of hours of content.
Many MMORPGs struggled to deliver the story in a proper way, but BioWare fully committed in this department. The developers made the story ever more fascinating with the help of excellent cutscenes and dialogue choices.
It’s not a flawless game. There are some elements that could have been much better, such as more variation in the quest lines, but overall, the game had a blast at the launch and it deserves the spot in our top 5 of the best Star Wars games.
The story of The Force Unleashed closed the gap between Episodes III and IV. More than that, it offered a truly engaging action-adventure gameplay in the best Star Wars fashion.
As the title suggests, it’s all about the force in this game. Your characters had incredible powers to destroy everything on their way just with the power of their mind. And, if you were looking for a classical combat, then you could use your lightsabers that hacked and slashed with more power than ever before.
The visual presentation and the graphical design of the game was the best you could ever see in any of the Star Wars games up to that point. The levels were inventive and really let you experience the beauty of alien landscapes in all their glory.
While Battlefront from a year earlier had its foot in the multiplayer market, it had a pretty weak storyline for a single player campaign. So LucasArts decided to fix this in the sequel Battlefront II.
The story truly shined here with an engaging plot circling around the creation of the Death Star by Senator Palpatine and the emergence of Darth Vader and his own army. It wasn’t entirely a new concept, but the way it was executed had trumped everybody’s expectations.
The Knights of the Old Republic is undoubtedly the best series of games in the entire Star Wars franchise. The Sith Lords continued the story of the first KOTOR game and it was just as engaging. You couldn’t just sit and play for an hour or two, as the gameplay was so invigorating that you just had to finish it all at once.
Also, this sequel was the very first development project for Obsidian Entertainment -- a company that later worked on such projects like Fallout: New Vegas, South Park: The Stick of Truth, and Pillars of Eternity. It was a huge fit for a newcomer to follow in the steps of BioWare, but they managed to make The Sith Lords a worthy successor to the very best game in the series (see the next slide).
Just think about the fact that KOTOR won over 40 GOTY awards from almost every major video game publication. It is without a doubt one of the best games of all time.
This was the game that mixed the elements of the traditional Star Wars universe and the new approach to storytelling. You were given an opportunity to become either a good Jedi, or a cruel Sith, travel between the planets on your own spaceship, and perform multiple tasks that would decide the fate of many other characters.
If you’ve never played Knights of the Old Republic you are missing on one of the most incredible plot twists in video gaming history. So, if you decide to play one Star Wars game in your spare time -- KOTOR is the way to go.
Is there a Star Wars game that you thought was better? Let us know in the comments section below.