A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, a billion developers made untold numbers of Star Wars games. Of all the franchises turned into games, few (if any) are as prolific as the one from the house of Lucas. Games and Star Wars fit together better than C3-PO and R2-D2, than Han and Leia, than womp rats and lasers.
It was hard to whittle them down, and we had to pass on a lot of games that have great moments (the hoth level from Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire) or are just weirdly fun (Star Wars Jedi Power Battles) for ones with an iconic style. Let’s take a look at the absolute best games this universe has given us.
Here is Screen Rant’s list of 12 Star Wars Video Games You Need to Play.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
This is it. This is the game that provided us a better story than any of the prequel films. This is the game that directly led to the creation of Bioware’s Mass Effect series. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is the game that showed us how good a Star Wars RPG could really be.
The sheer amount of player choice in the affectionately acronymed KOTOR made if feel, for perhaps the first time, that you were truly immersed in the Star Wars universe, despite the fact that it takes place thousands of years before Luke and Leia were a twinkle in their father’s eye. KOTOR still holds up today as one of the greatest RPGs of all time, let alone Star Wars game. This is the Expanded Universe property we all hope sticks.
Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader
A launch title for the Nintendo GameCube, Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader is perfect arcade shooter for people turned off by the simulation feeling of the X-Wing series. It also cleverly avoided the mistakes of its predecessors like Shadows of The Empire by keeping you in vehicles; everything from the X-Wing and the Snowspeeder to the Millennium Falcon. It’s still an absolute blast of the game, and fans were happy to find that it features new voice acting by Wedge himself, Denis Lawson!
This was the best game that the GameCube could have launched with, showing off incredible graphics ( in glorious 480p!) and Dolby Pro Logic II surround sound. It still holds up as one of the best Gamecube games and possibly the best action title in the Star War franchise itself, although perhaps that will change with the release of the upcoming Star Wars Battlefront.
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga
It’s hard to imagine a world where we don’t get multiple Lego games a year, and that’s all because of the first Lego Star Wars. This game exploded upon release, selling millions of copies and making TT Games (then known as Traveller’s Tales) a major studio almost overnight. Without the success of this title, the Lego brand would have never have surged the way it did, and we wouldn’t have Lego properties of almost every major franchise – let alone The LEGO MOVIE
Lego Star Wars still makes some of the most sense of the series, too. You use the force to put together Lego objects and play as dozens of characters across the movies, and with so many iconic characters you never grew tired of unlocking new ones. This Complete Saga version puts together both games and is perhaps the best value of any of the games thus far.
Star Wars: TIE Fighter
The sequel to Star Wars: X-Wing, TIE Fighter was significant in a lot of ways. This was the first game to really let you play as the Empire, fighting against the dirty rebels in the period after the Empire’s victory on Hoth. The game added a bunch of new, welcomed features to X-Wing, such as a targeting system that lets you aim at specific parts of capital ships, like their shield generators, making the battles that much more entertaining. You can also finally see your mission objectives in-game, something that was only provided in briefings before.
This led to an improvement on an already incredible game, one so successful it was released multiple times with improvements to resolution, added voiceovers, and Red Book audio to replace the MIMI soundtrack. GOG.com recently released these games and despite the dated graphics the gameplay is as solid as ever.
Star Wars X-Wing Alliance
The sequel to both TIE Fighter and X-Wing vs Tie Fighter, X-Wing Alliance offered 53 combat missions and 27 different ships to pilot, making for an absolutely massive space sim. That may have seemed like more than enough but it was the game’s multiplayer battles that really shined.
For the first time in the franchise, multiple players can jump into a big ship, like the Millennium Falcon, and either choose to pilot it or man one of the turrets. This made for a level of co-op play not seen before. Skirmish mode allowed you to tweak tons of options, allowing you to play 16-player battles in teams of two, four, or eight. You can fight in the middle of mine fields and asteroid fields, populating space with everything from capital ships to space stations.
Tip: the new GOG.com digital version allows for multiplayer matches over GameRanger.
Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds
Take Age of Empires and put Star Wars in it? What could go wrong? Nothing! Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds is a real-time strategy game utilizing all of our favorite characters and vehicles that makes a ton of sense, and still stands up to this day as one of the better titles.
Consider this a total conversion of the classic Age of Empires 2 (it even runs on that game’s Genie engine). That was perhaps the biggest complaint about the game, that it didn’t feel as much like a Star Wars game as it could, but with over 200 units taken from the universe, everything from Gungans and Wookies to AT-AT’s and Swoop Bikes, even the staunchest critic will be able to appreciate all the massive battles you’ll take part in.
Super Star Wars
The SNES game (you can tell from the name) Super Star Wars is based entirely on the first movie, or at least, mostly based on it. You likely won’t remember Luke killing the Sarlacc monster in the first film, or that Luke’s landspeeder is decked out with a laser cannon. But anyone in doubt that Han always shoots first need only check out this game, where he shoots first on hundreds of occasions. So do his pals and like-minded killers Luke and Chewie, who laser-blast their way through level after level.
The game was notoriously difficult (even on the easy setting) and the most difficult setting is called “Jedi,” likely because you need the reflexes of one to beat it.
Star Wars: Battlefront II
Until the sequel comes out, or unless you know some interesting LARPing groups, Star War: Battlefront II is the closest you’ll get to recreating massive battles with dozens of real people. Like some of the best Star Wars games, it took the style of a successful existing franchise (Battlefield), and crammed its own universe into it.
For both PC and N64, players could battle over the internet in classic locations. Battlefront II upped the stakes by adding new vehicles, maps, and missions. But most of all – you could finally fight space battles and control Jedi on land battles.
The upcoming Battlefront looks to take everything great about this game and improve it, allowing you to play battles that takes place both on land AND in space, and that will include co-op missions. The force will be strong with this one.
Star Wars: Republic Commando
Republic Commando is one of the best arguments for a short campaign that you can make. This is a first-person shooter with a tight, enjoyable story and tons of fun battles that don’t wear out their welcome. It’s also remarkable for being one of the few Star Wars games that doesn’t put the player in the role of a Jedi.
Here you play the titular character, an elite clone trooper that leads a squad through some tough missions. Of course, all clones are the same, but your group has better weapons and training than the regular soldiers, which allows you to play with some real fun attachments to your rifle that transform it into anything from a sniper rifle to a grenade launcher.
Star Wars Episode I: Racer
“But… but…. the pod race!” was the rallying cry of many fanboy deniers of the sheer badness of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Surely, a scene as neat (on the surface) as the Pod Race made up for the rest of that lousy movie?
It didn’t, of course, but it did make for a fun racing game tie-in, as Star Wars Episode I: Racer proved, even if you did have to hear Anakin’s little yelps (“woohoo!”) when you hit turbo. There are no weapons in this arcade racer, but it doesn’t matter when you have the greatest sense of speed to exist in a racing game to that point.
Star Wars Arcade
This 1993 arcade game is set during Return of the Jedi and lets you sit in an X or Y-wing to take on the entire Empire. Admiral Ackbar briefs you on missions and sends you out through a series of four missions: a dogfight through an asteroid field, a fight to take down a Super Star Destroyer, a battle with TIE fighters on the surface of the Death Star, and a final flight into the unfinished (but fully operational) beast to destroy the main reactor and take it out for good.
A console port hit the failed 32X and is considered by many to be among the best games ever released for the notorious Sony Genesis add-on, but of course, that’s not saying much, considering its tiny library. Playing it at home also makes you miss the amazing feeling of sitting in that arcade, which replicates sitting in the ship, complete with seats and joysticks.
Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
This, the last Dark Forces first-person shooter, was by far the best. Right from the start of Jedi Academy, you are a character that can use the force, wielding a lightsaber and using all sorts of fun powers to knock around your enemies. New to the series is that the game allows you to customize your character and light saber, choosing a hilt style and blade color for the latter.
You play a student training at the Jedi Academy who has to complete missions by Luke Skywalker. Unlike past titles there’s much more of an emphasis on lightsaber combat and much less on gunplay. Why use a gun when you have a sword that can block bullets and cut through anything? A fun multiplayer component lets you fight other Jedi in six different multiplayer modes, including Deathmatches and Capture the flag-type matches.
What do you think? Did we miss any of our favorites? Are you dying to play through some of these classics again? Let us know in the comments below!