The unveiling of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order has brought back fond memories of many of the great Star Wars games over the decades. While recent history is littered with forgettable launches and many a cancellation, Star Wars fans need only look back over the past decade (or two) to see just how great a license it’s been from a gaming perspective.
It’s unsurprising that, given how rich and diverse the Star Wars universe is, that there would be so many great offerings available. While some haven’t aged as well as others, ageless classics like Super Star Wars and Rogue Squadron continue to make older gamers nostalgic for a better era of licensed games.
While Star Wars games did unfortunately suffer from an era of rushed and low-quality license games — Revenge of the Sith on PS2 immediately springs to mind — it’s been in the expanded universe where much of the quality lies, and occasionally in the embracing of major motion pictures, where iconic films and battles are recreated in the virtual setting.
Let’s take a look through time (and space) at the best that Star Wars has had to offer gamers. Here are the top 10 Star Wars games of all-time.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Peak Bioware, KOTOR came to the Xbox in 2003 without anywhere near as much fanfare, hype, or expectation as any game from the developer since. It was perhaps in this moment of triamph that Bioware firmly established itself as one of the industry’s premiere RPG studios.
Undeniably one of if not the best Star Wars game of all time, this deeply engaging and thoroughly enjoying RPG, set thousands of years before the original trilogy, allowed players to battle — or join — the Dark Side in a way not yet experienced in games.
While its sequel was still well received, it didn’t quite establish itself in the same way as the original, which to this day is still a revered piece of gaming software.
Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II
While its predecessor was equally stunning and fun, Rogue Squadron II on Gamecube was perhaps the most enthralling and memorable gaming experience of 2001. Jumping back into an X-Wing or TIE Fighter to take part in iconic battles was just as fun as it was on the N64, and the refined controls and graphics made for perhaps the Gamecube’s first true “system seller”.
The second sequel was still solid and hard to fault, but Rogue Squadron II stands on its own, if not for how significant it was in establishing the Gamecube as a must-have console, than for expanding upon what made the first game so amazing.
Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
Jedi Outcast first came to the PC in 2002, and at the time quickly established itself as one of the most technologically advanced and detailed Star Wars games on the market. Having also launched on the Gamecube and Xbox, it offered players one of the first real opportunities to wield a lightsaber in a virtual setting.J
While many consider this to be the best Star Wars offering on Xbox, ousting even the likes of KOTOR, it was far from perfect, with a steep learning curve and excruciatingly slow opening few hours. However, once it picked up it quickly became to be one of my favourites, and is a game that still holds up to this day.
Super Star Wars
Super Star Wars was the type of game I — and I’m sure many others — used to rent multiple times, just because it was so much fun to go back to. Extremely challenging but enjoyable in its mastery, Super Star Wars was just one of the side-scrolling action games that truly helped define a generation.
We saw a bit of its legacy in the likes of Revenge of the Sith on DS (an honourable mention on this list), with simple gameplay mechanics blended with complex and detailed level design. While the 2D side-scrolling has made somewhat of a comeback in recent years, Super Star Wars still stands as one of the all-time greats of the genre.
Star Wars: Battlefront (2015)
Love or hate what EA has done (or not done) with the Star Wars franchise, 2015’s Battlefront was a neat ode to decades of Star Wars lore and video games. While it wasn’t as complex a shooter as a Battlefield, or as smooth as a Call of Duty, it had what Star Wars fans wanted, and that was the absolute best of Star Wars in a multiplayer package.
Iconic battles, heroes, villains and locations were all there, and while Battlefront 2 in 2018 went a long way to damaging the franchise’s legacy, it’s still important to recognise just how solid and fun a game Battlefront was.
Star Wars Battlefront II
Not to be mistaken with the 2018 mess of a game, Battlefront II came at a time in 2005 when console gaming was really just starting to kick off with the release of Halo 2 only a few years early, and the online PC scene was arguably also closing to peaking.
In much the same way Rogue Squadron and the newer Battlefront allowed players to battle it out across iconic Star Wars landscapes, 2005’s Battlefront II set the scene with a diverse and deep character roster and progression system, made all the more better with great matchmaking, and a superbly balanced experience.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
While it may not have aged especially well, The Force Unleashed is still a solid third-person action game in its own right. Given its focus on lightsaber action, exploration and puzzle-solving, it reignited interest in the genre and license.
The sequel didn’t fare quite as well, but The Force Unleashed had still achieved enough to firmly establish it on this list.
Star Wars Episode 1: Racer
Perhaps the only good thing to come out of Episode I, Racer on Nintendo 64, PC and Dreamcast was a surprisingly awesome racing game.
Intense, hard and fast, it managed to establish itself as one of the N64’s must-haves, despite the console’s kart-racing dominance by the likes of Mario Kart 64 and Diddy Kong Racing. It didn’t reinvent the wheel, but it did racing well.
LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
It’s actually difficult to split all of the LEGO Star Wars games, because they’re all quite great. Even the most recent in The Force Awakens is fantastic, but The Complete Saga was basically the franchise’s Super Star Wars moment.
It took everything we’d come to love about the LEGO games up to that point, dressed it all up in the best of the LEGO Star Wars games prior, and then added the iconic backstory of the original trilogy. What more could you ask for?
Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter
An oldie but a goodie. X-Wing vs TIE Fighter is well up there with the Rogue Squadron series when it comes to Star Wars aircombat games. At the time it was a superb technological achievement, both for the genre and gaming in general.
Sure, it hasn’t aged particularly well, but its legacy lives on, and it still has a large contingency of hardcore fans that swear by it to this day. Further to that, we probably haven’t seen air-based multiplayer combat in a Star Wars game reach the heights of this gem.
Honourable Mentions …
Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
This unique story set amidst the backdrop of the original trilogy, Shadows of the Empire is a memorable, if aged action game. It managed to effectively mimic iconic battles from the trilogy, including the Battle of Hoth from The Empire Strike Back.
Unfortunately, playing the game on the N64 controller was a massive chore, and held the game back from being an all-time classic. Despite that, its story, world, and mission structure keeps it close to the top, and among the best Star Wars games ever.
Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (DS)
With Revenge of the Sith stinking it up on the PS2, Revenge of the Sith on DS (and GBA) somehow managed to offer a fun and action-packed side-scrolling action offering. It still holds up as a fun game if you can get your hands on it, and while certainly not among the best DS or GBA available, is still a solid entry among the best Star Wars games.
What are your favourite Star Wars games? Tell us in the comments below!