Star Wars has a long history in the gaming world. Most systems, and every advancement of the PC, have had at least one good game, and at least one bad one. In its vast gaming catalog, Star Wars has titles in other franchises, like Angry Birds and LEGO. It has produced Age of Empires, like real time strategy games, one-on-one fighters that made no sense, and even a few pinball games.
So it was no small errand to determine what the best five of all time could be. We headed to Metacritic.com for their scores, and compared those with user-generated ratings. Here are the five best Star Wars games ever made, based on those numbers.
5. LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
When you first saw it, you were pissed. “Why would they waste time on a LEGO game? What about all the other series that I’m waiting on next gen iterations of?” You had a fair point. LEGO games are goofy, they look silly, and there’s not a ton of skill involved.
But they’re so fun.
Everything about this game had the same innocent magic of the original trilogy: The dry humor and the hope. For once a Star Wars game wasn’t bogged down by soap opera levels of drama, and the characters felt more lively, less stoic.
The important thing about Star Wars games is that they’re supposed to be fun for all ages. After some darker episodes, and more mature ratings, this reminded us that games could be made for all ages, and still fun. Thanks, LEGO.
4. Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
With a long sabbatical for new advances in graphics and technology behind it, Jedi Outcast hit the market as the long-awaited Jedi Knight sequel in the Dark Forces series. While the name and the patronage of this game may have been confusing to explain and understand, the controls were not.
Kyle Katarn was a fast-talking Han Solo-like rogue re-becoming a Jedi under the tutelage of Luke Skywalker. He had everything you wanted in a hero. The lightsaber controls were none-too-complex, and in wide-open multiplayer arenas you could be civil and request duels, and learn massive hit point reduction techniques that were never quite patched with updates. It was a lobby-based multiplayer game where more experienced players could teach younger ones, and everyone could have fun without being pissed off all the time. Oh, and force lighting looked amazing.
3. Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II
If you owned a Nintendo 64, you likely spent hours getting all of the perks and unlocks for the original Rogue Squadron game. The Millennium Falcon? The Naboo Starfighter? Remember when it was cool to acknowledge The Phantom Menace?
Alright, it was a long time ago. But those memories are likely the only reason that, several years later, you bought a Gamecube, learned its hideous controller, and experienced the long awaited sequel, Rogue Leader.
If you paid $150 for the system, and $50 for the game, you likely felt it was well worth it. Responsive fighter controls, some great levels (finally in space, not just skimming along the surface of planets) and most of all, an improved Death Star trench run. not to mention the B-Wing. This game will forever be the best fighter experience in the Star Wars world (Sorry, Battlefront. You Tried.) Heck, it’s even the third best piloting game of all time.
2. Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II
Multiplayer force powers, first person lightsaber dueling, and the first FPS that got the balance right between guns and lightsabers. Dark Forces II had everything the first game needed to grow as a franchise. And that’s important, especially seeing as the long and winding Dark Forces saga starring, among others, Kyle Katarn, was the longest series of games within the larger franchise.
In many ways, this game doesn’t show its age even today. Sure the graphics are wonky and the details are bare, but at the end of the day you have a near-perfect mechanic that lets anyone with a mouse and keyboard get into the melee and mayhem of half a dozen force-attuned warriors duking it out for kill points. Just remember to hit the water when you make those epic, evasive force jumps from the top of the map to the bottom. Oh, and learn where the ammo placements are. And find the railgun, like, as soon as possible.
1. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Knights of the Old Republic or KOTOR was a game changer to the world of Star Wars games. Choosing between light and dark, open-world explorations and side missions. Training to become a Jedi, building a lightsaber. This game was everything fans had wanted since the beginning. If you planned your characters right, you could level a field of adversaries with a single burst of force lightning. You could forge stronger bonds with companions you liked, and be a total dick to the ones you hated. I booted up my Xbox after looking at screenshots of this game just to see if it holds up. (It does.)
Even in casual exchanges, you got to have fun. Settle a dispute between a thug and some poor soul with words, or kill them both and loot the bodies. It was your call, and the more fun you had, the more the game would give you entertaining options for dialogue. We wish, very sincerely, that there will be a final chapter in this trilogy one day, because The Old Republic, however great, was not the end cap that we all wanted.
Now, if you’re ready for it, check out the worst Star Wars video games in the galaxy.