George Lucas’ blockbuster sci-fi movie franchise seemingly touches every corner of the multimedia spectrum. And in the case of interactive media, there’s a long list of the best Star Wars games to recognize within that media takeover.
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope landed in theaters in 1977 and changed the landscape of movies as we know it – the jaw-dropping space spectacle that moviegoers were treated to back then blew their minds and even inspired most of them to create amazing sci-fi epics of their own.
The smashing success of Star Wars helped spread its influence and spread out its grand mythology within books, comics, cartoons, and so much more. The video game medium has also played host to a wealth of Star Wars adventures that focus on the iconic escapades of Jedi warriors, members of the Galactic Empire & Rebel Alliance, Pod Racers, etc. With so many Star Wars games to choose from, it can become a bit of a tough endeavor to focus on the very best.
We’ve played through the majority of the top-tier Star Wars games and are here to reveal them to you all. It’s time to embark upon a grand adventure in a galaxy far, far away…
3D color vector graphics were all the rage back in the 80s. Asteroids, Tempest, and Battlezone are just a few of the arcade classics that offered that trippy art style to gamers of all ages. The original Star Wars arcade game from 1983 also employed those graphics to power an amazing space shooter that let players revisit the Death Star assault. Hopping into Luke Skywalker’s X-wing fighter and downing some TIE Fighter’s in this game surprisingly still holds up.
During the age of licensed games that were usually more bad than good, Super Star Wars bucked that trend by being a great way to experience the first invigorating film’s events. This 2D action platformer is hard as hell, but enduring its high difficulty factor is always worth it just so you can run, gun, and Lightsaber slash across the galaxy. The Death Star run flight shooter stage that brought this game to an end is memorable for all the right reasons.
The follow-up to the second pick on this list retold the events of The Empire Strikes Back wonderfully. And when it comes to improvements, this second Super Star Wars game gave Luke Skywalker even more invigorating powers to play with – his usage of Force Powers and the ability to deflect laser shots back with his lightsaber in hand are among those newly mastered tools. Han Solo and Chewbacca’s updated toolset also gave players more to do within this second installment in the Super Star Wars franchise.
And here we have the finale in the Super Star Wars series. Return of the Jedi marked the return of Luke Skywalker during his final crusade against Dark Vader and Emperor Palpatine. The addition of Princess Leia as a playable character also upped the ante for this final entry in the Super Star Wars series – smacking baddies over and over with her bounty hunter staff and broken chain as Jabba The Hutt’s slave was pretty damned compelling, to say the least.
It was one thing to play as the heroic Rebel Alliance, but it was a whole ‘nother thing to take flight and do battle as the Galactic Empire. Star Wars: TIE Fighter embraced the side of evil and let players engage in epic space dogfights as an Imperial starfighter pilot. The game’s graphics were amazing for their time, plus the well-tuned fire-person flight and combat mechanics had everyone in awe back in the day. Managing one’s ship by tinkering with all of its systems was complex, but super realistic for those who stuck close to Star Wars vehicle lore.
When it comes to quality 90s first-person shooters that stick close to what DOOM accomplished prior, you just have to mention Star Wars: Dark Forces. Stepping into the role of Kyle Katarn was an awesome time thanks to the wealth of well-designed levels, puzzles, and combat scenarios he found himself in within this classic game. On a visual front, Star Wars: Dark Forces looked quite impressive at the time and even featured a wealth of mechanics that pushed it past its main inspiration.
And here we have the sequel that improved upon its predecessor in each and every meaningful way. Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II finally threw a lightsaber into players’ hands from a first-person viewpoint, which gave way to even more enjoyable ways to beat back the opposition (it even comes in handy as a handy flashlight tool!). The usage of Force powers made each battle scenario a million times more fun, too – Force Choking your enemies during the campaign and LAN multiplayer matches never got old.
Sega’s light-gun, rail shooter games dominated the arcade during its most prominent period – Virtua Cop, The House of the Dead, and Gunblade NY took a whole lotta gamers’ coins due to their overwhelming quality. Star Wars Trilogy Arcade is another game that deserves to join that list. Hopping into a virtual ship cockpit to relive the original trilogy’s greatest moments is so damn fun. And getting to wield your Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber against Boba Fett and Darth Vader was mindblowing at the time of this game’s storied arcade run. That retro sitdown cabinet is our favorite version of Star Wars Trilogy Arcade.
What’s one of the best parts from the woeful Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace? It’s either the 2v1 lightsaber clash that took place at the end of the movie or the epic Podrace sequence! Star Wars: Racer Arcade was a vastly superior version of its home console counterpart, Star Wars Episode I: Racer. The visuals are cleaner, the sense of speed is way more exhilarating, and the arcade cabinet’s throttle controls truly brought the Podracer experience to life. Racing through all those wide cavernous regions at top speeds in this game will forever be amazing.
Taking down the Galactic Empire from the skies has always been one of the easiest aspects of the Star Wars universe that carried over amazingly well to the video game medium. Star Wars: Rogue Squadron is all about that objective and stands out as one of the finest Star Wars games ever released on the Nintendo 64. Participating in intense dogfights within the X-wing, Millennium Falcon, and even a 1969 Buick Electra 225 is definitely worth the price of admission for this top-tier space shooter.
When the PlayStation 2 finally got a piece of the Star Wars flight shooting action, it do so within the first part of the prequel trilogy. Star Wars: Starfighter featured some of the most exceptional space battles we’ve ever played – the well-tuned controls made the entire experience feel as fluid and comfortable as possible. Doing big damage within the confines of the Naboo N-1 Starfighter is a joy that we think about daily thanks to this game. Star Wars: Starfighter will forever be a shining beacon when it comes to early 2000s Star Wars games.
And then they gave us Starfighters with Force Powers! The sequel to the previous game on our list made us feel damn near unstoppable as it gave us command over The Force to really take the fight to The Trade Federation. The Jedi Starfighter is so dope since it’s able to use the Force Shield, Force Lightning, Force Reflex, and Force Shockwave. When you package all that together with the already strong gameplay mechanics of its predecessor, Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter sticks out as a bonafide gem.
During the American launch of the Nintendo GameCube, it was mandatory that purchasers of the console get their hands on Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader. This vastly improved sequel sported gorgeous visuals that looked that much closer to the early Star Wars films, which helped immerse players into all the laser-blasting action even more. The ability to send out commands to your nearby wingmen added an extra layer of strategy to the proceedings and made you truly feel like a trustworthy leader. Taking down Galactic Empire ships feels and looks oh so good in this GameCube classic.
Kyle Katarn popped up once again to swing his lightsaber to and fro in this retro gem. Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast mixed in first- and third-person gunplay & melee mechanics, which ended up being a smashing success for anyone that took this game for a spin. The retooled lightsaber combat reached near perfection and made us feel like the ultimate Jedi. With a darker tone and plot behind it, Jedi Outcast sticks out as the quintessential Star Wars action/adventure romp.
Instead of reprising the role of Kyle Katarn, Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy introduced the opportunity to play a new character known as Jaden Korr. This Jedi Padawan got to wield a lightsaber from the very start of the game, which was a nice change of pace from its predecessor. The game’s vast character customization options, excellent lightsaber duels, and varied fighting styles all combined to create one of the finest Jedi simulators in Star Wars history.
Ask anyone who considers themselves a Star Wars fanatics and gamer which title they hold up as the very best and they’ll most likely mention this one. This turn-based RPG from Bioware offers an engrossing storyline that takes place 4,000 years before the Galactic Empire takes shape. Venturing through this grand prequel means you’ll get to interact with a host of memorable characters, decide if you wanted to be aligned with the Light or Dark Side, and get embroiled in some intense skirmishes on the regular. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is held up high to this day as a must-play for diehard followers of Star Wars lore. Thank god we’re getting a remake!
The first-ever Star Wars: Battlefront was a revelation for those looking to hop into some bombastic multiplayer battles in a galaxy far, far away. This game marked the debut of the beloved online mode Galactic Conquest, which stood out as the best part of this Electronic Arts series debut. Doing battle alongside your online buddies was a blast during this game’s heyday – we always looked forward to swinging the match in our favor when hero characters like Count Dooku entered the fray. The 2004 version of Battlefront is still a blast and we much prefer it over the 2015 reboot of the same name.
Now was this sequel to the original KOTOR just more of the same from a graphical and gameplay standpoint? Yes and yes. But is that truly a bad thing when you consider just how great those visuals and turn-based battles were in the first place? We think not! Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic II: The Sith Lords delivers another rewarding RPG experience that offers one of the best storylines within George Lucas’ sprawling galaxy. The motto of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” certainly applies here. KOTOR II is a quality follow-up that we still can’t get enough of to this very day (big shout out to Kreia!).
Mixing in the tactical gunplay seen in games such as Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon with the Star Wars mythology was a win-win that resulted in Star Wars: Republic Commando. If you haven’t spent some time with it, here’s the gist of it all – you take control of Delta Squad, which is a group of four genetically-enhanced clone troopers. The high fun factor from this strategic FPS comes from its well-crafted gunplay, enjoyable squadmate order system, and surprisingly solid plotline. Star Wars: Republic Commando definitely needs a sequel, right?
And then came the 2005 version of Battlefront II. This game came with a much better single-player campaign that took players into the tumultuous battles experienced by a veteran Imperial Stormtrooper. The multiplayer side of things introduced the ability to actually play as legendary characters from across the Star Wars universe, new ways to maneuver quicker on the battlefield, and the addition of two special classes for all four factions. Battlefront II came with so much more to do, see, and blow up – this game is one of the best ways to get caught up in some of Star Wars’ most climactic battles.
When you consider all the warring factions the films have featured, it made all the sense in the world for a Star Wars game to adopt real-time strategy gameplay mechanics back in 2006. Star Wars: Empire at War lets players step into the galactic struggle on the side of either the Rebel Alliance or Galactic Empire. Stepping into the role of a commander to participate in epic land & space battles is the name of the game here – thankfully, it still holds up well in all aspects. Make sure you pick this game up on Steam if you’re trying to enjoy some multiplayer mayhem via Skirmish mode.
Those famous Lego games are always a safe bet when you’re looking to keep the young ones busy with a game you can equally enjoy. Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga features a whimsical trek through Episodes I – VI, so you can be sure that you’re getting your money’s worth if you decide to give it a chance. There’s a massive array of recognizable characters to play as, a dizzying amount of collectibles to pick up, and some hilarious interpretations of Star Wars’ most iconic moments. Lego and Star Wars are the perfect match in both the real world and digital realm.
On the MMORPG front, Star Wars Galaxies started out on a hot note but turned into something wholly unrecognizable during its last expansion. On the other hand, Star Wars: The Old Republic holds the honor of being the more superior entry in the genre. After players made their initial decision to join either the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire, they then set out to explore the galaxy during a seemingly never-ending space expedition. Like most MMORPGs, The Old Republic featured its fair share of raids and dungeon crawls. The strong focus on interacting with NPCs in order to access special plotlines and even romances gave this game a whole lot more to invest in compared to its genre contemporaries. BioWare Austin’s past experience with the Mass Effect series shines bright here.
Star Wars Battle Pod looks and feels like a natural progression of what we got with Sega’s Star Wars Trilogy Arcade. Like its predecessor, this coin-op offers two versions of play – a big-screen rendition and a smaller yet more immersive pod version that lets you get closer to the action. We’ve spent far too much of our Dave & Busters’s currency trying to get past that dammed Vader’s Revenge stage! But at least we had so much fun attempting to do it every time. The on-rails blasting in this arcade gem is some of the finest we’ve ever played.
You guys know how terrible the loot box mechanics and microtransactions were during the troubled launch for this game. But EA and DICE eventually righted their many wrongs with Star Wars Battlefront II and turned it into the game that fans had been clamoring for since the series reboot. All of the cinematic episodes get proper representation here and there’s a wide swath of heroes from each one to do battle with. Now that this game is finally complete, it’s overflowing with multiplayer modes that will keep you busy until the eventual sequel drops. It may have taken a while to reach its full potential, but thank god Battlefront II got remedied and turned into the classic it was always meant to be. Now excuse us while we catch some dubs in Hero Starfighters…
The presence of home console-powered virtual reality devices is a blessing for Star Wars fanatics who’ve always wanted to feel like a badass Jedi. The three chapters included within Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series helps players realize that dream scenario through a first-person trek that incorporates the powers of The Force. Seeking out a mysterious artifact for the one and only Darth Vader puts you on a harrowing journey – luckily, you’ll be able to put your trusty lightsaber and Force powers to good use during the entirety of it. Shout out to filmmaker David S. Goyer for penning a quality storyline to this VR escapade.
It was just a matter of time before Star Wars games took a turn into the Soulsbourne sub-genre. That welcoming mashup resulted in one of the best action/adventure games with a sole focus on wielding the powers of a Jedi Padawan. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order puts forth a perilous journey that takes players to various biomes, pits them against difficult foes, and places them in rewarding exploration segments. The focus on single-player helps this game thrive as a rewarding experience that has no need for tacked-on multiplayer, loot boxes, and needless microtransactions. We can’t wait to cut down some baddies as Cal Kestis once again in a well-deserved sequel.
One of the most immersive space shooting simulators every Star Wars fan needs to play is this one. Star Wars: Squadrons takes place exclusively from a first-person viewpoint behind the cockpit, which brings you evermore closer to the incredible visuals put on display during your explosive dogfights. The online multiplayer component is the best part of this game’s replay value-filled package – the 5v5 Dogfight and Fleet Battles modes will enrapture anyone that gets embroiled in them. And in virtual reality? Star Wars: Squadrons goes from a 10 to a 20!
Development studio Traveller’s Tales upped the ante as much as possible with this amazing kid-friendly foray into that famed “galaxy far, far away.” LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga encapsulates the most recognizable moments throughout all nine films by presenting them with a huge roster of characters to take into action. The retooled third-person combat helps this LEGO game feel immensely different from its predecessors, which helps it feel so refreshing. For the young ones who want their first taste of Star Wars lore, this is the most efficient way to do it.
Swinging around a lightsaber as a do-gooder Jedi is cool and all, but going on a rampage as a Sith Lord in the making is even more of a legit joy. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed presents that amazing scenario by letting everyone take control of the red lightsaber-wielding, lightning-fueled Darth Vader apprentice known as Starkiller. This action/adventure game encapsulates all the fun that comes with being a bad guy – hacking, slashing, electrocuting, and flinging everyone all over the place is simple yet still so gratifying. This game makes being a Sith feel like the ultimate power trip worth going on.