Many of today’s gamers weren’t even born yet when thousands of people were playing Return of the Jedi and Super Star Wars, X-Wing, Tie-Fighter and other best sellers of the early 90s. Ever since that time the market was flooded with dozens of Star Wars-themed some of which have become classic while the others were unjustly forgotten. Even the saga’s most loyal fans can hardly remember any cool projects, except for the legendary KOTOR, Jedi Academy and a couple of mediocre games from 2000s.
We’ve decided to eliminate such injustice and name the best of the best Star Wars games ever. We’ll abandon the usual rating style, where the games are rated 1st, 2nd or 3rd. This is way too commonplace for Star Wars universe as there are many successful and absolutely dissimilar games. Let’s give different nominations to the games instead. We’ll select the most interesting experiments with the genre, the ever-up-to-date retro games, 2000s classics and finally we’ll pick the 3 best of the best Star Wars games ever.
A LONG-LONG TIME AGO:
BEST STAR WARS RETRO GAMES
They are just like the first episodes. Poor graphics are offset by authentic atmosphere, specific humor and a rather intense game play. The developers of these hits weren’t afraid to experiment with the format, change the protagonists during the play and tried hard to stick to the classic Star Wars plot.
Which of them do we consider the best ones? Here are the top 3 retro games as per Gadgets-Reviews. These 3 games are as gold as the boring Threepio’s (C-3PO) chrome body under the Tatooine sun.
Super Star Wars –1992 (Nintendo for SNES, nowadays it runs on PS Vista and emulators)
This is an ancient game, of course as it doesn’t have SSW, 3D, smart units or complicated quests since all of that appeared on the gaming market only in 1995-1996. However, this is the most thought-through and dynamic Star Wars arcade in the world of 16-bit consoles!
Here you can easily change the characters and Luke’s, Chewbacca’s and Han Solo’s skills, health and moves are different. Arcade is smartly alternated with the military spaceship flight simulation. Yes, after long adventures on the surface of the Death Star you will destroy it. The true fans will be impressed by the full correspondence of the game play to the movies’ plot. Even the hostile mobs are not made up here (like they were in ancient console games), but are all from George Lucas’ bestiary.
While playing Super Star Wars you’ll have to constantly shoot, fly, jump and dodge. The pace and the rhythm of the game reminds us of modern slashers where you keep on killing the enemies before an epic battle with the boss mob of the level. Today this seems monotonous, but this arcade is quite enough for 30-40 minutes of fun gaming. You can walk through all three games within 5-6 hours provided you save the game regularly as this SSW is sinisterly complex even for today! It’s definitely worth playing at least for having some nostalgia. By the way, the fact that it was re-launched in a digital version for Wii in 2009 means a lot as well.
Temujin: This is more than just a platform game. It was able to maintain the traditions of SNES, Donkey Kong, Street Fighter and Link to the Past games which are classics to be played sometimes.
Why is it worth playing? The game lets you reminisce on your childhood and remember key scenes of the first three movies by George Lucas.
Price: from ~$14.60 Check the current price
Star Wars: Tie Fighter –1994 (initially was coded for DOS, now runs on Windows, Linux, Mac)
Many rating neglect “Tie Fighter” for the sake of its predecessor, “X-Wing”. Nevertheless we still consider TF more advanced and dynamic. This is a classic space simulator which can teach modern developers lots of things. It had everything it needed: short and dynamic missions, the variety of units and a first-ever chance in the gaming history to join the dark side of the Force, as all the shootings are made from the Imperial jets. This is very cool for the early 90s!
The only thing that has become obsolete nowadays is the reception of missions. The dialogues are long and tiresome. The game itself is pleasant (we recommend you to play an extended version, Collectors CDROM, where the graphics are upgraded). A variety of ships and missions is remarkable as you’ll have to ride jets, bombardiers, interceptors, and will even shoot onboard the Imperial cruiser. You’ll have to adapt to the functionality of each of 6 ships to be piloted which means you’ll have to use your brains all the time. We love Tie Fighter for aerobatic maneuvers in space, secret missions, and complex plot!
DarkLord: You’ll see the advantages of the game if you play the version with the updated graphics. I like the fact that it’s possible to plan several scenarios of attack and defense in each battle. Combining the shields, armor, speed are all strategy elements. In addition, the rivals dodge the hits well so this isn’t a mere “90s shooter.
Why is it worth playing? The upgraded game lets you understand why the space shooters were so popular in the 90s. Moreover, there are different ships with different functions which is awesome!
Price: from ~$5 Check the current price
Star Wars: Rogue Squadron – 1998 (Nintendo 64 и PC)
This game is the dusk of romantic Star Wars games. The market will be bombarded with trendy shooters and RPGs within a couple of years. This is one of the last opportunities to test a classic space simulator with all the advantages and disadvantages of a military arcade. We promise you that some levels will take you hours while others will pass by within seconds.
You’ll be battling at one of the 5 military spaceships available on the orbits of planets which were not mentioned in the original George Lucas’ saga. The plot of the game takes place between the Episodes IV and V: the Death Star has already been destroyed, but the local battles are still intact. However, don’t let the history of this universe distract you, as the battlefield is far more interesting.
The levels vary greatly. You’ll have to destroy dozens of AT-ST, defend the headquarters at Han Solo’s home planet, escort the rebels’ space ships and kill the spy drones. The gamer is always surrounded by heavily armed allies and sensible rivals. You’ll have to shoot a lot and dodge many bullets, so a joystick will be a better choice for gaming. You’ll get bloodless but spectacular Star Wars-style fights.
Rogue Squadron isn’t outdated yet as you can play it now too. We recommend you to set a goal of winning a gold medal on every level. You’ll need to shoot accurately, not let your allies die and finish the level within the “golden” time limit.
Cher: This is a fine flight simulator and shooter. I really like the variety of levels and ships to say nothing of the atmosphere (the dialogues have contributed much to creating it). Of course, the game isn’t perfect as the game play is monotonous and both the control and the camera are weird, but I’m sure that the Star Wars fans will enjoy it still.
Why is it worth playing? The short but intense level made this game a great time killer. You can play it during the break at the office or race your friend to it on holidays.
Price: from ~$7 Check the current price
STAR WARS SHOOTERS & RPG
Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II – 1997 (Windows PC)
This fascinating shooter can be considered retro because of its production year. The idea and the game play of this game are rather modern, though. We like it best out of the entire Dark Forces series. Here we first encounter smart control of the Jedi sword and of the Force. The characters change as the timeline is not linear. The distribution of experience points for the Dark, Light and Neutral side of the Force was very unique back in the day.
By the way, Dark Forces II had the most promising multiplayer for its time. You could arrange epic fights with your friend. The lack of own game servers however ruined the project. Dark Forces have only recently become a mass hysteria.
There are only 20 levels in the game, but they are far more difficult than the ones in The Force Unleashed. Moreover, the game is broadened by the abundance of armor to shoot, cleave and detonate with. What a classic game it is!
The biggest perk of this game is the videos with real actors resembling the official saga. This revitalizes the game and makes it exclusive.
Why is it worth playing? The incredibly cool bonus videos in the game turn into a real sequel of Star Wars. This is a hidden chapter of the saga and you thus do not merely watch it but create it with your own hands!
Price: from ~$7 Check the current price
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed – 2008 (Playstation 3, PSP, XBox 360, PC, Mac)
“The Force Unleashed” was an attempt to create something more than just a game. It was launched alongside the novel and the comic series by Lucas himself. However, this project hasn’t been able to overshadow the glory of KOTOR. It seemed too simple and occasionally dull in comparison with it.
Our team enjoyed this product still, firstly because of the complicated plot devoted to the adventures of Starkiller, Darth Vader’s doubtful protégé and because of open ending. The second reason is the attempt of the developers to increase the functionality of the characters. We value emotions this product gives: you can truly feel the power of the Dark Side when you kill a whole squad of clones with the lightning of the Force.
The style of The Force Unleashed is a combination of an action RPG and a slasher. You’ll accomplish some complicated missions on behalf of the Sith Starkiller: you’ll slash the opponents with the light saber, smother them with the Force, and attack the enemies with lighting. You’ll have to do plenty of varied killings but you’ll have to think before you do it. Your character will even be able to drag the Star Destroyer down to the surface of the planet with the help of the Force! The control doesn’t seem to be overloaded; it is instead clear and intuitive.
This game could have been named legendary if only it wasn’t over so fast. Any drawbacks however are offset by the atmosphere of the game and the real choice between the good and the evil, in our opinion.
Why is it worth playing? You’ll truly have a chance to become a destroyer and a lord of the Force. In addition, the fans will love bonus theme merchandise, comics and books. If you try hard enough, you’ll be able to find all of that for sale. For example, here is the book “The Force Unleashed 2” (from ~$4) and some theme posters are still sold for ~$7.89.
Price: from ~$8.94 Check the current price
Star Wars: Battlefront (I/II) – 2004 (PC and all consoles)
Mid-2000s were an epoch of Battlefield in the online gaming world. People were astounded by the opportunity to play against dozens of live opponents on the immensely huge maps. As a result, the developers have come up with a whole range of games among which there is the “Battlefront” series. We won’t yet speak of the latest Battlefront but will instead focus on two classic games.
They are rightly criticized for many shortcomings, such as poor game mechanics and second-rate graphics. But it is the Battlefronts which give us an opportunity of the most complete penetration into the Star Wars universe up to this day. Where else can you participate in so many global fights surrounded by other series fans rather than by the bots?
You needn’t tune in for a long time: you can kill any opponent immediately upon entering the game. You can get into a laser turret or AT-ST or ride a jet if you like. Other than the authentic Star Wars armor there are dozens of vehicles and other deadly perks at the gamer’s disposal.
However, we should admit that the popularity of Battlefront has reduced substantially with time. The second part had too many bugs and the gaming servers have become less crowded. Still, today up to 2000 people play the Steam version of the 2nd part simultaneously. In that sense the “Star Wars Battlefront” inherited the curse of Battlefields by not being able to repeat the success of 2000s.
Yoda: I spent practically all my leisure time in high school playing this game. I probably regret this now, but I had a great time back then. It was nice to play both on your own and with your friends. I didn’t give a damn about graphics; everyone was simply a fan of Battlefield and naturally moved on to play this very game. Read over 1000 customer reviews about Battlefront II on Amazon.com.
Why is it worth playing? If you love Battlefield, this is a game for you. Nowhere else you’ll have an opportunity to participate in such large-scale battles with live allies and rivals.
Price: from ~$24 Check the current price
UNUSUAL STAR WARS GAMES:
FROM RACING TO STRATEGIES
It is foolish to think that the best Star Wars games are limited to shooters and RPGs. The developers have been able to tame some less predictable genres. They say there even used to be a Star Wars-themed Arkanoid and pinball. However, we are not interested in these wonders of the world. We’ve been able to list a strategy game, a classic race and even themed Angry Birds as the best ones.
Star Wars: Empire at war – 2006 (PC)
Let’s start with a strategy. George Lucas’ philosophy is far from this genre as everything in his movies depends on the actions of single characters rather than of a company of soldiers. Fortunately, he has invented so many units, locations and epic battle that it has become possible to devise RTSs based on the saga as well.
The fans of strategies could have reminded us of Galactic Battlegrounds, which was a pure (yet very entertaining) copy of AOE, and Empire at War has become more independent. The plot of EAW takes place within the time frame of Episodes IV – VI of the Star Wars saga. The gamer is to choose one of two modes which imply either participating in the plot of game or in separate epic battle of any difficulty.
What is memorable about Empire at War? The answer is the interaction with the complicated Galaxy map where the battles take place take on each planet and special perks for both Imperials and rebels. The idea of cosmic battles is interesting (although I personally enjoy the interplanetary ones more). Other features include a complex range of characters (from Darth Vader to Boba Fett) and the planets’ indigenous population which can take any side. You can even hire some bounty hunters here which will complete the mission for you in exchange for something. As for the drawbacks, the balance of the forces is very biased when it comes to the interplanetary battles and the economics are practically inexistent.
Danny: This is a cool strategy and I know very few of them devoted to the “Star Wars”. The cool thing is that the battles take place not only on the ground, but in the space as well. It also has a cool add-on pack where there even is the Imperial-II class Super Star Destroyer Executor. This is Vader’s flagman spaceship destroyed during a battle on Yavin. The Death Star, which is general incarnation of fear and imminent death, has also been featured.
Why is it worth playing? Its biggest advantage is the combination of land and space battles as well as the interaction of the infantry and space fleet. The possibility of attracting the saga’s main characters into the mass battles where they really affect the outcome is interesting too.
Price: from ~$15.49 Check the current price
Star Wars Episode I: Racer – 1999 (Dreamcast, Nintendo 64, and Gameboy Color, PC)
This is a wonderful race arcade. It could’ve made it to the top retro games rating, but the Racer turned out to be the real trendsetter in the world of futuristic race. It is not in vain that it has often been included into the top 5 best races ever in the 2000s. Mind that the high-speed duel of Anakin and Sebulba is far from being the central event of the saga. The developers of the game managed to turn the episode into an entire game!
The main plus of Star Wars Episode I: Racer is that you can physically feel the speed. It is incredibly difficult and dangerous to control the pod as the slightest wrong turn can become a nightmare. And there are many maneuvers to be performed! Long story short, this will be hardcore. This is one of few races where how tuned your pod really matters. One extra spare part can make you lose half of the possible speed, and it’s not easy to save enough money for another one.
Today there are truly no games like this, which are fun and difficult at the same time. If you want to play it, we recommend using a joystick by all means. And don’t forget to install a quality emulator, as the game will scarcely run on an x64-bit PC! It also some reincarnation prospects in the virtual reality. The game would be priceless if the developers created something similar for the VR helmets!
Why is it worth playing? With Racer you’ll feel the speed and it will tickle your nerves throughout the game play. Moreover, the arcade elements contribute to improving the game experience.
Price: from ~$8 Check the current price
Angry Birds Star Wars – 2013 (Android, iOS, consoles)
Of course, we risk being scolded by the orthodox fans as many consider the idea of depicting Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia as Angry Birds to be a sacrilege. However, it is a fun and cool time killer. We are positive that the Star Wars theme helped revitalize Rovio’s project the popularity of which diminished at that time.
Here the developers put their hearts into the game, and it’s obvious! Now the birds swing their light sabers, their flight trajectory in the outer space has become uncanny and they can attract objects with the Force. It’s fun! It’s addictive! Rovio’s job on game physics and the appearance of the familiar locations is especially remarkable.
I have played Angry Birds Star Wars for two weeks in a row and got my friends hooked on it as well. Perhaps this is more of fan-art than gaming. The whole ideas of pig Darth Vader and the Empire of pigs are epic! But this is the very case when the joint venture of two global brands has become a success. It would’ve been even cooler if the developers didn’t pull out so much money from the users for the doughnut.
Why is it worth playing? This is one of the best time killers for smart phones and consoles. This is the most difficult and interesting edition of Angry Birds.
Price: from $6.73 Check the current price
THE GOLDEN THREE:
THE BEST OF THE BEST STAR WARS GAMES
Now it’s the time to name the coolest Star Wars themed games according to Gadgets-Reviews. We’ve barely pondered upon this question, as the three most popular games have come to our minds instantly. We wouldn’t like to rate them, as these are too different and authentic products. Let’s instead pay a tribute to them for hundreds of hours of exciting gaming and real gaming pleasure. We won’t beat around Chewbacca and we’ll name these games right now!
Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy – 2003 (Windows, MAC, xBox)
This is the first time ever when the author of the review has pulled rank and listed his favorite game as one of the top ones. I personally love Jedi Academy, so this is quite subjective. This was a breakthrough in the world of first-person and third-person shooters in 2003. The customization of the character was really cool, for example, as you got to pick from 5 races, you could choose clothing style and color of the light saber as well. The gamer lived an individual character’s life, which is memorable. And just like in Battlefront, you could ride Swoop or use AT-ST.
The storyline of the game is well thought through. You play a new side character of the universe who can contact the famous heroes who destroyed the Death Star only 10 years ago. Even Boba Fett is featured here :D You fit well into the favorite and familiar story.
The product was popular for a long time after its release, for example the multiplayer game had about a dozen of useful add-ons. They changed the mechanics and physics of the game and turned it into something like an RPG. Only recently it began to be undeservedly forgotten by the gaming fans. Let’s fix this delusion.
Marcus: As for me, I liked Outcast better. It has the same advantages as the Academy, but the latter seems unfinished and has more bugs. Play Outcast, it is a must for all who are interested in Star Wars. And the 2003 edition is really optional.
Why is it worth playing? The storyline of the game fits the original Star Wars plot very well. You’ll play for hours without even noticing thanks to the well though game play and challenging game mechanics.
Price: from ~$15 Check the current price
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (Parts I and II) – 2003, 2004 (PC, xBox, Mac, iOS, Android)
Hardly anyone would argue that KOTOR is the most adequate and complete Star Wars-themed game series. It’s hard to find any drawbacks of it. And we won’t! Of course, the first part is better than the second one. But combined as a two they present a perfect example of interesting and challenging RPGs.
The plot of both games takes place long before the film saga’s events. We’ll pay the tribute to the developers who didn’t go too far with their imagination and created two very plausible storylines. Such charismatic characters as Darth Revan, Kreia and Bastila Shan appear and you really worry about. It’s not in vain that many fans consider KOTOR to be an official prequel to Star Wars (which is not true, by the way).
Why are both parts of KOTOR worth re-playing? The complicated system of training your character with which you can end up with a powerful warrior Jedi or guardian Jedi, the cutest droids ever in the universe and fun mini games, the attention-grabbing sub-quests which are 100% recommended for taking (even for those who usually pass) are all the reasons. The main competitive edge of KOTOR is its hardcore game play! The humanoids are best killed with the one type of armor and magic, droids are killed with another type and Siths – with the third type! The balance of the Force is not a joke either as it affects the behavior of all the characters. The second part introduces various techniques of using a light saber. Everything is thought over down to the tiniest detail! This is a great excuse to spend 40-50 times of your life on playing a legendary game!
Why is it worth playing? This is simply the best RPGs of all we know. This is a researched and balanced game world.
Price: from ~$11 Check the current price
Star Wars: Battlefront – 2015 (PC, PS4, XBOX ONE)
In general the developers have fulfilled all of the earlier requests. Battlefront finally got rid of being unfinished and of its mediocre graphics. Moreover, the graphics are now perfect as everything looks and shoots and flies and explodes just like in the Star Wars movies. The game play is pretty much the same as this is the good old multiplayer shooter which we loved so much back in 2000s.
There are still some points to be disappointed at as there are too few adjustments in the game. We haven’t seen any radical change in terms of the map, use of weapons and interaction with other players. Obviously, the creators tried to maintain the atmosphere of the old Battlefront, but maybe they tried way too hard.
The main drawback of the project is the limited content in general. There is no global campaign and there are too few maps, the armor is all the same and there are few team interaction options for the multiplayer mode. Perhaps, the add-ons will save the situation but so far there is not enough content.
Time will show the true value of this game. For now we still recommend playing it and take part in the never-ending Star Wars game saga. Who knows, perhaps this Battlefront will also be considered classic by the reviewers in 10 years or so.
Bill: This is still a fantastic breakthrough and a hit! The graphics are as real as photos! We play it together with the friends and we love it. The main disadvantage is that it costs a lot! Read other 1800 gamers’ reviews on Amazon.com
Why is it worth playing? Play for the sake of fantastic graphics and new sensations, of course.
We’ve included this game into our rating because… we want to give it a chance. We still haven’t fully encompassed all of the impressions after the first play but without any doubt this is the most up-to-date and skilled Star Wars game today. Moreover, it wins all the prestigious gaming awards on the world festivals and presentations.
Price: from ~$39 Check the current price