Today is Star Wars Day, May the 4th be with you! and here at Gamify, we would be amiss if we didn’t take this opportunity to shine a light on some of our favourite Star Wars video games on such a special day.
Before we get into this list, it is worth prefacing that there is a surprising large amount of Star Wars games out there and this list has been whittled down to 10 choices that we have subjectively found to be superior to those that didn’t make the cut. With that in mind, please feel free to comment your own selections and lets get into this countdown.
Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance
Who didn’t want to experience what it would be like to fly in an X-Wing squadron after watching the original Star Wars movies? I remember watching the rebels attack the Deathstar as a kid and wishing they would make a video game version of this scene.
Since then, there have been multiple Star Wars games that offer you the opportunity to experience what its like to be in the cockpit of some of the most iconic starfighter in cinema history, some offer experiences that are better than others but to kick this list off, Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance is definitely one of those stronger flight simulator examples.
“X-Wing Alliance” is the third and final game in the “X-Wing ” series, and what sets it apart from a lot of other flight simulators is the fact that it takes place exclusively from inside of your ship’s cockpit.
Players can choose from recognisable ships like the X-Wing and TIE Interceptor and playthrough more than 50 single player missions. Multiplayer dogfights are also available for up to eight players.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
This action-adventure game has always amazed me at how well they managed to interlace a side-story of Darth Vader’s apprentice with the preluding events of the original cinematic trilogy.
You play as a young but gifted Jedi under Vader’s training named Starkiller (this is a cheeky nod to the original Star Wars script that had Luke’s character named “Luke Starkiller”). Using a variety of powerful force abilities under the Sith banner, Starkiller as the main protagonist, begins to question his masters and embrace the light side of the force.
There are now plenty of games out there that allow you to experience the ways of the Jedi, yet at the time there were few examples and to a lesser extent, examples that did a good job. This game not only gave you access to an array of force abilities and lightsaber moves, but also attached them to a story that exceeded expectations.
Star Wars Dark Forces
What do you get when you cross Star Wars with DOOM? You get a good time… but more specifically you get a good time titled Star Wars Dark Forces.
This first-person shooter from ’95 looks and feels exactly how you think a game developed by the team behind DOOM would, yet it has small improvements that make the game feel that much more dynamic, such as being up to look up, down, duck and jump (by today’s gaming standards it seems ridiculous to even put a spotlight on such arbitrary in-game functions).
After a number of extended universe titles began to surface with all new characters and plots, Star Wars started exploring new genres and ideas. It’s around this time that protagonist Kyle Katarn, a scrappy young mercenary questing to prevent the completion of a deadly form of stormtrooper, made his debut in Dark Forces. Punching, shooting and exploding his way through enemy forces with his grizzly persona, Kyle’s character made Han Solo look dull by comparison.
This Star Wars shooter was a brave step into unexplored territory for the franchise, brimming with fresh faces, pulsating action and a brave new vision for what a Star Wars game can be.
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga
The Lego games series never miss. They always manage to strike the perfect balance between staying true to the source material while also conveying the light-hearted campiness of Lego’s interpretation of the material.
This action-adventure puzzler may be targeted at a younger audience, but there's no shortage of references and gags that appeal to grown-ups, too. Swinging our lightsaber haphazardly and breaking things is a blast, especially with the movie-authentic sound effects and music contrasting with the brilliant slapstick action. Inadvertently smacking our co-op partner and watching them explode into Lego bits is always pretty damn entertaining too.
There are around 50 playable characters with their own unique abilities to choose and mess around with. While the game is called The Complete Saga, it was developed before the latest game movie entries in the franchise, however, it does take you through the events of the first six movies, allowing you to relive everything from the dramatic dual of the fates, to the destruction of the second Death Star. It doesn't get much better than that.
The Complete Saga offers simple but engaging gameplay with a silly, tongue-in-cheek sense of humour that reminds you why you fell in love with Star Wars as a kid. With the added bonus of a cooperative two-player campaign, Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga is a fun ride for those looking to relive the movies.
Star Wars: Republic Commando
This Xbox exclusive has more in-common with Halo than the Star Wars universe and yet it works, despite the lack of Jedi, lightsabers and starfighter combat, this game has enough of a Star Wars feel to put you in the universe yet let you have a whole new game experience.
This game is a first-person shooter with an emphasis on squad mechanics. Players control an elite squad of soldiers in a Clone Wars era setting, specifically the conflict between the Republic and the Trade Federation depicted in Episodes II & III. Each member of your squad has a very unique and likeable personality, that comes across through the entertaining chatter each will dispense over the course of the game.
While the gun-play in “Republic Commando” is pretty run of the mill by modern standards, the amount of strategic control players can exert over their AI control squadmates is impressive. Players can give their teammates specific commands based on the situation, or give them general objectives, like guarding a particular location. It's comforting to note that the inclusion of these squad commands doesn't mean your teammates act like idiots without you ordering them around. On the contrary, they are fairly intelligent about following you around, finding their own cover, and, most importantly, killing the enemy as you encounter him. Certainly, taking advantage of your squad commands and asking your teammates to man turrets or sniping positions makes every encounter easier. But in many cases, you can get by without doing so, at least on the medium difficultly level.
Star Wars: Old Republic
Set thousands of years before the republic’s iron-fist rule under the Emperor and Darth Vader, the Old Republic stood for thousands of generations. This rich history is the foundation in which this MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) is built.
This game was built around exploring a vast, ancient galaxy that is unaffected by Star Wars movie canon, giving you the choice of what type of hero or villain you want to be.
You can take roles like a Jedi Knight struggling to maintain peace and justice, a shady Bounty Hunter looking to cash in on their next big contract, or a dedicated Imperial agent. Between the intricate storytelling of the main story (which is entirely unique to each class), abundant side-quests, and getting to know your ever-growing crew, The Old Republic lets you build your own space adventure one encounter at a time.
Having a large online playground means that you’re constantly rubbing shoulders with other online players that contribute to the world feeling more lived in than other entries on this list.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
The latest Star Wars game in this list and clearly one of the best, Fallen Order took what was good about The Force Unleashed and turned it up to 11.
Cal Kestis is the young Jedi protagonist that you follow on his coming-of-age journey that captures the same spirit of adventure the Star Wars saga tries to convey to the audience. As Cal’s Jedi training is cut short due to the Empire’s untimely rise to power, you help Cal reconnect with the force and restore his powers and abilities along the way while taking down the invading enemy forces.
Much like Battlefront, Fallen Order has put love into its intricate level design, making level exploration throughout the varying collection of planets a joy. This attention to detail is laid over level structures that feel almost like… Crash Bandicoot? It’s an odd statement to make, but when you find your character traversing a jumping game segment, followed shortly by a fight, then a wall-run, into a puzzle area and then a big boss, you’d be forgiven for having this new release game oddly give you feelings of nostalgia. Is this a bad thing? Absolutely not.
Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron 2
Taking what X-Wing Alliance built and propelling it to icon status, Rogue Squadron 2 became Gamecube's best launch title, and with good reason, it’s damn good!
Dropping players into the cockpits of a number of different ships from the Star Wars universe, amid some of the most memorable parts of the films and some new ones too, its as complete a Star Wars air-combat experience as you could want. Name an iconic starfighter moment from the original trilogy and you can guarantee you have the ability to experience it first-hand for yourself.
Now, has there been improved flight simulator games since this release, you betcha, and still this game look and handles beautifully. Very few of the games on this list can hold their head up high and declare that they’ve aged well like Rogue Squadron 2 can.
Taking you to new and classic locations that range from the Cloud City of Bespin to hidden Imperial bases. Rogue Leader is a blast to play giving you a chance to take on the Empire as you engage in dangerous frontal attacks on massive Star Destroyers and blast your way through innumerable enemy TIEs. This is the ultimate star fighter pilot experience.
Knights of the Old Republic
Set in a much earlier time period to the Star Wars Saga just like Star Wars: Old Republic, this games RPG style is perfect for getting a much deeper backstory and understanding of why locations and characters are the way that they are.
The malleability of the story makes playing through the game multiple times vital to the full experience, and you'll always be happy to oblige. Knights of the Old Republic is a must play game for Star Wars fanatics. It has everything: witty characters, good versus evil, bucket-of-bolts starships and a plot twist that is just delicious.
Star Wars Battlefront 2
While this entry’s reputation has been besmirched due to its since revoked loot box and microtransaction-heavy functions. I, personally find Battlefront II to be the best Star Wars experience out there, I’m sure there are plenty of people that feel otherwise but I mean this game cannot be beat graphically, with character line-up, story locations, original soundtrack, iconic weapons & vehicles, and so on. This game is a smorgasbord for all types of Star Wars fans, as it has a little something on offer for everyone.
A lot of Star Wars fans want a gaming experience that is heavily story-centric. They want side-stories and universe building that is considered canon to the Star Wars series, and to that I say enjoy, but for me I am satisfied with the story presented to me in the series, I don’t have an expanded story itch that needs to be scratched. I just want to have the opportunity to fly in the cockpit of an X-wing undergoing a Deathstar trench run, or be a part of the snowy frontline fighting AT-ATs on Hoth, or even be Darth Vader as he force grips and slashes his way through a squad of unfortunate Rebel fighters with his lightsaber.
If you're looking to feel like you're actually amidst a battle in a galaxy far, far away there are few better places to turn than Battlefront 2. While the story campaign is short and somewhat underwhelming, what you're really here for is the iconic multiplayer gameplay. The star of the show this time around is the Starfighter Assault mode, as hurling through space above Endor is as thrilling as you think it would be, dodging the debris of the ruined Deathstar, makes for a heart-pounding spectacle that always looks cinematic. Galactic Assault too stuns with its enormous 64 player battles.
The epic scale of Battlefront makes for a very atmospheric experience. It’s hard to see the edges of a battle, as the environments feel so grand in scale and players are scattered throughout. This game is a must-play if you’re a fan of the franchise in any way.
So that is our list. I know, there are so many eligible entries that have missed the cut. If you want to put forth your own top 10 for this May the 4th list, then please enter your list into the comments below.