Star Wars is one of the few movie franchises that is able to maintain excellent quality in both its films and its games (apart from a slight dip in the early 2000s…) so it comes as no surprise to most people who know Star Wars fans that just as many people like the video games as the movies, so it makes sense to do a list ranking those as well. Now bear in mind, I’m only ranking the games that I have actually played here, and although I have played a lot of Star Wars games, I haven’t played them all. Noticeable absences will be The Force Unleashed II, Rogue Squadron and all the early Jedi Knight/Dark Forces games. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the list, and coming in at number 10:
10 – Obi Wan
Poor Star Wars: Obi Wan. If only you had been in development for another 2 years. The main reason why this is even on the list at all is that I used to have great fun with it as a kid, and for the life of me I can’t understand why. It has terrible controls, terrible gameplay, terrible dialogue and terrible voice acting. Not to mention the graphics are terrible, and the game crashes more times than I could count. They tried to get Ewan McGregor to play Obi-Wan in this game and I presume he said no, so they got another Scottish actor to take his place. Unfortunately, he doesn’t drop his Scottish accent, and so Obi-Wan goes through this entire game sounding like a Scotsman with a cold pretending to be Obi-Wan. But theres something about the game still… maybe I’ll give it another chance. Until then, Scottish Obi-Wan saying “DUH YUH UNDERSTAHND MAH LANGUAGE” will haunt my every waking thought.
9 – Republic Commando
Republic Commando is one of those games that you have to play to truly understand. On the surface it looks like just another Clone-orientated first-person shooter like the Battlefront games, but it is altogether different to what you might expect from a game in this genre. In much the same way as Halo defies its genre to deliver excellent story, world-building and music, Republic Commando delivers a refreshing new look on the internal composition of the Clone Army as we take control of an elite squad of Clone Troopers who are sent on daring covert missions involving stealth and tactical teamwork. The plot is excellent, and there will be no spoilers here – but it’s great.
8 – The Force Unleashed
Hype was in the air when The Force Unleashed was first announced, particularly due to the announcement that you would be playing as a dark side warrior, an angle that had been touched upon before in Star Wars games but had rarely been the sole focus, certainly not of a whole game. The Force Unleashed offers the ability to truly unleash the rage of the Dark Side of the Force, but the Wii’s controls make it obscenely difficult to do that, so I got the DS version instead. The story is fairly good, but what really makes this game fun is customising your lightsaber and collecting all the points necessary to upgrade your character.
7 – Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga
Come on, this couldn’t not be on the list. Lego Star Wars is a masterpiece of videogaming, not least because it is quite literally fun for all ages. The game is straightforward and simplistic, and yet it offers a certain level of challenge with the collection of minikits and other bonuses. I chose Complete Saga to go here because it really is the best of both the earlier games combined, allowing for seamless cross-trilogy travel with a huge amount of levels. Admittedly, I completed this game 100% my sister over the course of 3 months, and its arguably the greatest achievement of my life.
6 – Battlefront II
It may interest some people as to why Battlefront II is 6th and yet its predecessor, Battlefront, is 5th. It seems to be a commonly accepted belief that the second game improves on its predecessor in almost every conceivable way, and it is true that Battlefront II has many added features – the ability to play as heroes, space battles, sprint, more units, tracking points, ranking etc. I love this game in its own way, not least because of the excellent array of mods that are available, but there is something about the original game that means I can’t put the sequel higher.
5 – Battlefront
This game was one of my absolute favourites as a child, and I still play it to this day. What is undeniable now is that Battlefront trumps Battlefront II in terms of maps. Bespin: Platforms, Geonosis: Spire, Rhen Var: Harbour, Kamino: Tipoca City, Tatooine: Dune Sea, the list goes on. And the original Battlefront had much more focus on the Episode II era, which the sequel lacked due to the hype surrounding Episode III at the time.
4 – Jedi Knight: Jedi Outcast
Since this was probably one of the first games I ever played I have a nostalgic attraction to Jedi Knight: Jedi Outcast. I used to play the first level over and over again when I was younger, not understanding how to progress but just loving the idea of shooting up Stormtroopers. As I got older and actually managed to complete the game, the story enthralled me, not least because I had been baffled by it to such an extent as a kid. The multiplayer was brilliant too, even against bots, and there is a fantastic depth to the customisation in this game.
3 – Knights of the Old Republic
I am not normally a fan of RPGs, but KOTOR is the exception. The best thing about this game is that it is set so far before any of the Star Wars films are set that it can essentially create its own universe, having the Jedi be an Enclave of peaceful monks on Dantooine, the Sith a legion of soldiers who destroy planets with orbital bombardments, and the Galaxy an unknown place for your character to explore. This is like Star Wars as you have never seen it before…
And there’s a fantastic twist at the end. But again, no spoilers.
2 – Empire at War
Addictive games are sort of cheating when it comes to ranking lists, because when I’m in the mood for a game of Empire at War I’m usually there until 4am. The Galactic Conquest mode is fantastic, allowing you to build your own fleet and defend planets as you attempt to seize control of every corner of the Galaxy. One of the best things about this game is the ability to choose whether or not you wish to personally take control of land or space battles, so if you want to just focus on space then you can have the computer auto-resolve your land battles and turn the game into a fleet command simulator. Or, you can forego the space encounters and turn the game into a Star Wars version of Age of Empires. Speaking of which…
Shockingly, I didn’t have this as a child. Despite putting countless hours into Age of Empires II: The Conquerors in my younger years, I didn’t realise there was a Star Wars version, which is strange since it uses the same engine and you’d think that searching for cheats and secrets about AoEII would have led me to encounter something about Galactic Battlegrounds. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case, probably because very few people even remember that this game exists anymore, which is a shame.
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (DS Port)
Bit of an odd one here, but this is another Star Wars game I used to play a lot as a child and it’s actually quite good, the side-scrolling 2-D sections when playing as the Jedi remind me somewhat of beat-em-up games that you find in arcades, until the game suddenly shifts to a fully 3-D space battle simulator. The only thing that really brings this game down is the boss fights, which mostly boil down to memorising the enemy attack patterns and whacking them when they’re vulnerable.
Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
The problematic little brother. Of course, this game was not made by BioWare, and was actually created by Obsidian, who unfortunately shipped the game but forgot to put most of the things they had made onto the disk. Using mods this game can be returned to its original state but the release version remains a broken mess with too much content missing.
1 – Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
The undisputed King of Lightsaber Combat. Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy lets you take control of a budding young Jedi apprentice with a great deal of raw untapped power. Thanks to massive upgrades from the previous game, Jedi Knight: Jedi Outcast the already fantastic sandbox is bolstered with new moves, new force powers, new enemies, new vehicles and even new types of lightsaber to use: double-bladed and duel-sabers. Overall, this game builds on all the successes of its predecessors by refining the already damn fine lightsaber combat system and telling a well-crafted, self-contained story.