Star Wars forced its way into viewers hearts in 1977, where it crawled up into a ball and stayed for years to follow. Almost 40 years and 6 films later, fans are still swearing their allegiance to the beloved franchise and probably will be a good 40 years from now.
It’s not often that a franchise explodes with such great loveability, fandom and force that it causes such a wide and diverse variety of related products; Star Wars is one such franchise. The massive success of Star Wars caused an influx of merchandise, ranging from bath towels to novels – and, of course, videogames.
Here’s our top 5 Star Wars videogames of all time.
5: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy was developed by Raven Software and published by LucasArts, Activision and CyberFront (depending on where in the world you happened to be) back in 2003. It sported both third and first-person action made possible by the very popular Quake III: Team Arena game engine which was the staple for most videogames around that time. Why is it on our list?
For the first time players could modify their characters gender, appearance, lightsaber and even force powers – creating a new level of customization that was still fairly uncommon at the time.
Jedi Academy also had 2 different endings, depending on how you played. Single-player gameplay aside, Jedi Academy also had some pretty fun multiplayer modes, which pitted players against each other either over the internet or LAN, there aren’t many things more fun than dueling your friends with lightsabers.
The plot in Jedi Academy is by no means complex, but it’s still appreciated. The player takes the role of Jaden Korr, a new student on his way to the Jedi Academy situated on Yavin IV, with fellow competitive student Rosh Penin. On your way to the Academy, the shuttle that Jaden is on is shot down by a mysterious enemy, forcing you to make your way on foot. En route to your destination, you encounter stormtroopers, as well as Dark Jedi, before spotting a woman using a strange staff to drain energy from the Jedi Temple.
Jedi Academy may have been focused on multiplayer arena combat, but it was still fun. Sure, it’s getting on a bit now – but it’s still worth playing.
Originally released back in 2003 by Sony Online Entertainment, Galaxies saw players teaming up with their friends and embarking on adventures in a persistent online world housing thousands of other unique players. Set between the destruction of the Death Star and the start of Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. While it was notoriously difficult to get into, it was nevertheless successful enough to warrant the release of 3 major expansions: Jump to Lightspeed, Rage of the Wookies and Trials of Obi-Wan.
The sheer number of features and choices at the players disposal made Star Wars: Galaxies a refreshing pleasure to play and explore with friends. The player had the choice between the 10 playable species: Human, Twi’lek, Wookie, Zabrak, Trandoshan, Bothan, Mon Calamari, Rodian, Sullustan and Ithorian and 10 playable professions: Jedi, Bounty Hunter, Smuggler, Commando, Spy, Officer, Medic, Entertainer and Trader.
Other gameplay features included the ability to drive vehicles and starships with friends; crafting; an extensive character creation system; PVP and a player-run virtual economy. With so many features and gameplay squeezed into one game it’s no wonder that Star Wars: Galaxies makes it onto our list.
3. Republic Commando
Republic Commando (released in 2005) is best described as a tactical first-person shooter in which the player follows the adventures of the Clone commando team Delta Squad. Set during the Clone Wars, the game has you traveling to various places in the Star Wars universe participating in increasingly dangerous missions.
A squad-mate order system allows you to issue orders to the other members of the Delta Squad, and serves as the core gameplay mechanic. Players can order his or her team members to hack computers, or take up vantage points to give your squad an advantage in battle. Republic Commando is simply a fun game, with solid gameplay and a surprisingly well-presented plot and ending. It still stands up well today, and fans remain eager for a follow-up.
It also featured a compelling multiplayer mode, with a variety of game types which saw up to 32 players battling it out in Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Assault and Capture the Flag.
2. Battlefront II
Released in 2005 on a host of platforms, Battlefront II was well received by critics and players alike. Players choose between 2 warring sides and battle it out in third- and first-person action: either as common classes that wield blasters and other ranged weapons, or unique characters such as lightsaber-wielding Jedi or Sith.
What earns the game a place on this list is its outrageously fun multiplayer. Players can play online or over LAN, and can choose between various game modes which task you with either capturing vital command posts, or eliminating an indigenous species. We spent countless hours blasting our friends in spacecraft, or dueling with our over-powered lightsabers. Good, clean and competitive fun made Battlefront a success, and we look forward to seeing what the third installment will have to offer.
1. Knights of the Old Republic
Knights of the Old Republic is undeniably deserving of the top spot on this list, and we recommend that any fan of Star Wars – or RPG games in general – pick it up and give it a try. You won’t be dissapointed.
Released in 2003 on Xbox and Windows PC, developer Bioware took Star Wars fans by storm. Everything, from its authentic sound effects, astounding graphics (for the time) and engaging plot managed to pull players deep into the fantastic world as they traveled to famous locations.
Oh, and it also had a rather infamous plot twist.
Players sat for hours unraveling the intricate and well-thought-out plot, which was riddled with surprising twists and turns. Knights of the Old Republic sported a morality system that was uncommon at the time and allowed players to make choices that ultimately decided what side of the force they were on. Over a decade on, Bioware’s work remains the standard way for developers to deal with moral choices in games.
It’s hard to explain why KotOR is so special; but it’s a bona-fide gaming classic, and a must-have for gamers everywhere. There’s simply no excuse for not owning this gem. It also recently enjoyed a spruced-up re-release on iOS. Pick it up; play it; praise it.
You won’t be sorry.