You know what they say about big Star Wars properties? They’re like Intergalactic Star Destroyers: you wait ages and ages for one to show up, and then two arrive at once! Or something like that…
What we really mean is that winter is looking pretty good for Star Wars fans. Not only does Star Wars Episode VII come out just in time for Christmas, but the long-awaited, hugely anticipated new Star Wars Battlefront drops today to whet your appetite for lasers, lightsabers and, er, Princess Leia.
While SWBF is already looking like one of the best Star Wars video game adaptations of the franchise ever, we thought the time was about right to round up 10 other titles you should give a shot between now and December 18.
10. Star Wars Jedi Knight II – Jedi Outcast (2002)
You might start the game without any of your Jedi abilities, but once you access a lightsaber and unlock your Force powers the full hilarity of this game is revealed. Be it force-pushing an enemy into a wall like a cannon or slicing off limbs left, right and center – being a Jedi Knight has never been so cruelly entertaining.
What’s more, Jedi Outcast explored lore that many fans of the Star Wars universe may have been unfamiliar with. If you fancy delving further into the Star Wars world than the films allow, you could do a lot worse than pick up a copy of this great game (available now very cheaply).
9. Star Wars Episode 1: Jedi Power Battles (2000)
This action/adventure game takes place during the events of Episode 1, and is at its best when its played with another friend in co-op. While some of the game’s platforming sections are incredibly frustrating, frequently resulting in death due to ill-timed button tapping, the simplicity of its combat system coupled with an unashamedly arcade feel made it easy to pick up and enjoy.
8. Star Wars: TIE Fighter (1994)
Originally released way back in July 1994, TIE Fighter was a phenomenal success. Set somewhere between the events of Episode V and Episode VI, the game is essentially a Star Wars flight simulator, and the sequel to X-Wing (which released the year before).
The game managed to capture the feel of the Star Wars universe beautifully, thanks to some amazing plotlines and stunning visuals for the time. For anyone who always secretly found themselves rooting for the Empire, this was the galaxy-crushing opportunity they had always longed for.
7. Super Star Wars (1992)
Reminiscent of run-and-gun titles such as Metal Slug and Metroid that dominated the era, Super Star Wars is a unique entry into the franchise. The game features some amazing boss battles that take up almost half the screen, as well as a full re-enactment of the trench run to destroy the Death Star.
It might look dated by modern standards, but this is an absolute must play for any Star Wars fan — and you don’t even need to own a SNES to play it! The game can be purchased via the Nintendo Wii’s virtual console and will be out later this year as a digital download for the PlayStation 4.
6. LEGO Star Wars – The Complete Saga (2007)
This game spans the whole Star Wars saga with all the fun you would expect from a LEGO game. And don’t be fooled by the cutesy LEGO appearance; the fact that the timeline spans all six films means there’s a ton of different segments – including some of the darker moments – with action that takes in elements of the main story, bounty hunter side missions, pod races and loads of extras.
Once you throw in a ton of collectable items and some solid platforming levels you have a title that truly offers something for all ages. Perhaps it’s fitting that the definitive Star Wars experience comes dressed as a lucrative toy franchise…
5. The Force Unleashed (2008)
There have been a lot of Star Wars games with an emphasis on lightsaber battles, but The Force Unleashed is the closest you’ll come to feeling like a true Jedi. Taking place between the events of Episode III and IV, you play as the new (rather dubiously named) protagonist “Star Killer.”
One of the best aspects of The Force Unleashed is that it is you who ultimately decides your fate, torn between the forces of good and evil. The game is relatively simple to pick up, and once you master the move sets and combos that are on offer, you’ll be finding all new ways to play through the sequences. This is a must-have for anyone who owns an Xbox 360 or PS3. Get it here.
4. Star Wars Episode 1: Racer (1999)
While the first three Star Wars films (Episodes IV–VI) involved source material that was fairly limited in its scope of gameplay, when Episode I arrived it brought with it something completely new: Pod Racing. Naturally, this lent itself to the video game format very effectively, and the resulting title was a real breath of fresh air amid the scores and scores of action, adventure and flight simulator titles.
While the title was firmly rooted in the tradition of the arcade, the scope for tuning and upgrading your racer added an extra level of depth to the blisteringly fast pace of the racing itself. And, with many of the film’s original voice actors lending their talents to the cut sequences, the overall effect was the perfect distillation of arguably that film’s defining moments.
3. Star Wars Battlefront II (2005)
The much-loved Battlefront franchise had already replicated the intensity of Star Wars warfare beautifully, introducing huge multiplayer games that spanned a variety of massive maps from the Star Wars universe. Star Wars Battlefront II then expanded on the success of the original, addressing some of the criticism that the original’s campaign was rather lackluster in terms of its story.
The new objective-based battles included in the follow-up were a massive hit, making this just about the most fun you can have playing as an Imperial stormtrooper. Until, that is, the follow-up title releases today…
2. Star Wars Rogue Squadron 2: Rogue Leader (2001)
The Rogue Squadron trilogy was a huge hit for Nintendo, and they’re still some of the finest Star Wars games on offer today. In Rogue Leader you pilot a variety of different vehicles, with unique missions given to you based around the weapons they have to offer.
Taking down your first AT-AT in the snowy plains of Hoth was a real gaming milestone for many (the first time such an experience had been offered much as it’s seen in the films), as was storming down the trenches of the Death Star with Vader chasing after you. Despite the campaign being pretty short lived, getting all the gold medals in the game required a lot of patience and dedication, making this a title well worth picking up if you still own a Gamecube (or are tempted to seek one out).
1. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (2003)
Developed by the legendary minds at Bioware (makers of some of the finest RPGs ever produced), this Star Wars RPG is everything you would expect it to be. Regarded by many as being the greatest Star Wars game ever released, not only did KotOR expand into whole new areas of the Star Wars universe never previously explored, it did so in a way that had never been done before — slowly, methodically, and with an emphasis on character development rather than just action.
It was great to see a Star Wars title focus on an original plot filled with complex relationships and unique personalities. Even better than that was the fact that Bioware constructed the game so that every choice, action and conversation you undertook would influence the game’s plot, and influence your own path towards either the Dark or Light sides of the Force. Certain parts of the game would be far easier if you indulged in especially villainous or virtuous deeds, and the best of the game could only be seen if you committed yourself wholeheartedly to one path or the other.
Without doubt, Knights of the Old Republic is the most immersive Star Wars experience out there, and very possibly the best one to date.
- Words: Mat Ombler