It’s the Fourth, and for most geeks that means Star Wars day. A franchise of movies, books, comics and games embedded deep into our nerdy dna we celebrate the universe created so long ago by throwing our money at anything even tangentially related. Yes, little figures of the most obscure characters are still highly prized with collectors and cosplayers love to build or buy their own Stormtrooper uniforms or lightsaber hilts. But for most of us without the dedication, time or money, the games do just well and while the game vary in quality from Abysmal (the 8 and 16 bit console era games, specifically the handheld ports) to Amazing (see below) we all have our favourites and here are mine.
For those who enjoy the massive epic sprawling battles, on the ground or in the sky, the Battlefront series services well. The second one in particular, with epic campaign and mix of both ground and space battles spanning across all six films, is a shining example of how to do tie in games correctly. That doesn’t mean it’s the end all and be all, but this game sits in many hearts simply because it’s so broad. Allowing us to speed around on Endor (the moon of Endor is also called Endor) and almost feel the cold wind whipping our skin on Hoth, they manage to compress every iconic aspect of the movie battles into one game and fans have extended that through modding to even more fantastic battles.
Honourable Mention: Empire At War.
For the patient Jedi (or savage Sith), the Kyle Katarn driven series of games (Dark Forces, Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast and Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy) are games that are probably the closest feeling to playing a film. Although the first one doesn’t give us a force filled fun fest, the rest allow us to play as Kyle the Jedi Knight (or make our own in Academy) and basically mess up foes with the powers of the force. Lightsaber battles hit their peak in Academy which is why it’s my pick of the whole series for ‘best’ but they’re all excellent games.
Honourable Mention: The Old Republic (both the single player series and MMO games)
Lastly not everyone enjoys the arcade feeling of the Battlefront series or Rogue Squadron and wants a more in depth space flight game. While the X-Wing series has the undoubtedly cooler ships the Tie Fighter series has much more going for it in terms of space flight. The campaign for both games are great (still, prefer Tie Fighter) and both series can be purchased to run on Steam or GOG (my recommendation is GOG, comes with nicer goodies). The X-Wing vs Tie fighter game was a marvel at the time, but really didn’t age well.
Honourable Mention: Rogue Squadron.
Now there are some other very amazing and unique Star Wars games everyone should try. Being the undoubtedly evil secret apprentice in “The Force Unleashed” feels great (if feeling less like Star Wars than other games). Being the Han Solo replacement Dash Rendar in Shadows of the Empire was super fun, with a variety of gameplay across the board from space battles to platforming and even having a little jetpack action. And for those who preferred Jetpacks and Blasters to the force and a Lightsaber, the PS2 era “Star Wars: Bounty Hunter” was quite fun.