It’s 2016 and we still have yet to outgrow our fascination with all things Star Wars. The glitzy effects, the epic-spanning story, the lightsabers, golden bikini and
midichlorians the mysticism of the Force: it’s hard not to be enamoured by this sci-fi universe. Let’s also not forget the video games that came with the Star Wars franchise. Unlike other games based on movies, most of the Star Wars games are not just licensed shovelware, they’re in fact great games that stay true to the series while being highly entertaining.
These were games that the latest Star Wars: Battlefront is trying to be. But there is no try…. But over the years, which ones have stuck close to our hearts? From action adventure to role-playing, flight sims to tactical, the Geek Culture crew recount their one favourite Star Wars game from their preferred era.
Any Lego Star Wars Game
Why It’s Awesome: How many ways can you tell a story about a teen who met a wise old warrior, and chose to embark on a harrowing journey into space from a desert planet, to help destroy a planet killer? No, I’m not making another comparison about how similar A New Hope and The Force Awakens are. The Star Wars Lego games have prove a long time ago that they are the master of retelling all your favourite Star Wars lore, in mini games that respect the original, yet reveal so much more about the Star Wars Universe.
If you love Star Wars, and think you know all there is to know about Star Wars, I bet that Lego Star Wars will still find ways to surprise you.
Star Wars: Rebel Assault
Why It’s Awesome: As a kid, having a father who’s a fellow geek had its benefits. This is especially so when he got a CD-ROM drive for me to play Star Wars: Rebel Assault. LucasArts placed gamers in the pilot seat, as players got to steer iconic ships such as the A-Wing or X-Wing from a first-person, third-person or overhead view. While the game is seemingly easy, I remember many sleepless nights as I held the joystick with an iron grip, only to crash into the terrain or into massive Star Destroyers. But nothing beats the thrill of aiming the crosshair at TIE Fighters, as I unleashed a torrent of laser fire upon them.
What made this arcade-like game so amazing and ahead of its time wasn’t just the graphics. Throughout the game, players would get glimpses of actual scenes from the original trilogy. And this was back in the day before DVD, Blu-rays and streaming services, so it wasn’t that easy to rewatch those classics. Needless to say, clearing missions and unlocking more cutscenes were achievements that I greatly enjoyed.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Why It’s Awesome: Do you want to be Sith or a Jedi? How about a Bounty Hunter or a Republic Trooper? You can be all of these roles and more in The Old Republic. Taking place years before A New Hope, it explored the great lore between the Jedi vs Sith, and the PVP grind here was insane. I levelled in on this game almost exclusively on PVP matches, and it was probably the best experience I’ve ever had in an MMO.
But alas it was simply not meant to be and this supposedly World of Warcraft killer ultimately fell apart like all MMOs do, due to a lack of top tier content. At least we’re left with a still fairly decent F2P game, and an awesome series of Pixar level animated videos.
Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance
Why It’s Awesome: Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance was the first Star Wars starship simulator that allowed players to pilot the Millennium Falcon in its story mode. My most memorable moment was piloting the Millennium Falcon during the Rebel’s assault on the Death Star II. There, you fly through the Death Star Core to blow up the reactor core and skillfully race out before the Death Star’s destruction and explosions catch up with you. Although X-Wing Alliance’s main campaign only featured the Rebel’s side of the story, you can access a custom mission mode where you can pilot almost every ship in the Star Wars Universe.
The game may have been released in 1999, but it is a personal classic that still lives on up until today, thanks to Steam and Good Old Games. Over the years, the modding community has also created a graphical update, to improve the 3D models and textures in the game.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Why It’s Awesome: It was a bit of a juggle for me to decide. At first, I considered Knights Of The Old Republic, which isn’t just one of the best Star Wars games ever made – it’s one of the best games ever. Then I thought of Star Wars: Galaxies, where I spent countless hours edging towards becoming a Teräs Käsi Warrior. But SW: TOR has the edge, thanks to two words: Vogue Squadron. SW:TOR is the dream merger between the classic storytelling of KOTOR, with the wide MMO qualities of SW:G, and so much more. SW:TOR leapt ahead of both the single-player RPG and SW:G because of the shared experience, where epic moments await, as you and your friends create your own Star Wars legends.
While I’m no longer on SW:TOR, in the early days you might have seen Vogue Squadron making its way through the galaxy while looking good. Then, with my best friends alongside me, we knew that The Force was strong with us.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Platform: PC, Xbox
Why It’s Awesome: Back when Bioware was still relatively unknown, this Western RPG took a then-lethargic Star Wars license, and crafted an awesome tale that was barely touched upon in the movies. Being able to make choices and see your character evolve and be one with the Light/Dark side meant roleplaying took on a whole new meaning for Star Wars fans. The twist that you were someone extremely integral to the plot certainly captured the attention of many a players, and having the endgame change, based on choices made during the game, meant this was a game and story that was truly yours to remember.
Awesome combat, wonderful story, and being a Sith Lord – what more could you possibly want?
Star Wars Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast
Platform: PC, Xbox, GameCube
Why It’s Awesome: More than being a great sequel to Dark Forces II, and expanding Kyle Katarn’s storyline, this game introduced the very first online lightsaber duel in its selection of multiplayer modes. I fondly remember trying to one-shot opponents with the leaping saber sweep, pushing them off a ledge using Force Push, and annoying them by going invisible with Mind Trick.
Ahh.. Good times.
Star Wars: Dark Forces
Why It’s Awesome: The 90s was when LucasArts was at their prime and could do no wrong. When it was not creating great adventure games about time travelling miscreants, or a dog-rabbit-freelance police duo, it did many great things with the Star Wars brand. And what better way to exemplify that, than to mash-up a first-person shooter with Storm Trooper-slaying and Gamorrean genocide? Dark Forces placed you in the shoes of Kyle Katarn, a soldier who can wield a ton of weapons, except for the lightsaber; he does that in the later games. Just being that one man army to steal the Death Star plans (before Rogue One retconned that and killed his story), to doing Rebel espionage missions to take down the Dark Trooper project… it’s just so badass.
You have long-spanning creatively-designed maps and stages. You have bucketheads to shoot down, and exclusive enemies like the aforementioned Dark Troopers to take down. Along with a kick-ass score, Dark Forces was the start of a long line of great shooters starring a brand new hero who wasn’t a carbon copy of Han Solo. Oh, and if you’re diligent enough, you can find a secret area that’s shaped like Max’s fuzzy head, from Sam & Max Hit The Road.
Yes, the Jedi Knight series were superior, but much like physical love, you never forget your first time. I’m so glad that Dark Forces made that moment last for me.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
Platform: PC, Mac, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, Nintendo Wii
Why It’s Awesome: Longtime Star Wars fans have always known the name Annikin Starkiller – it was Luke’s original name in the early scripts for Star Wars. While Anakin was later used as Vader’s real name, Starkiller remained an unknown element lost in the rich history of a galaxy far, far away, until George Lucas motivated the folks at LucasArts to come up with a new character for a video game. As Vader’s secret apprentice, Starkiller served as a player’s choice within the Star Wars universe, where he could succumb to the Dark side, or walk among the Light. Starkiller’s insertion into the origins of the Rebels was a rather innovative one, and the game allowed players to fully embrace a wide selection of Force abilities.
It’s a pity that the game and its sequel have been relegated to being apocryphal in the new Star Wars universe. The Force Unleashed served as a powerful look into the individual abilities of a Force wielder, and its story established what the prequel movies failed to do, which was to craft an intriguing narrative that led to A New Hope.