Star Wars has a history in video games that goes deeper than almost any movie franchise. In fact, in some cases, the games provided insight to some unknown parts of the galaxy far, far away's lore. As experiences, many were of exceptional quality too, especially into the aughts. That was when Lucas Arts kicked up their production value and created some truly unforgettable titles.
Unfortunately, however, the series does have some stinkers in the game department. It's understandable, though. Considering how long-running Star Wars is, there were bound to be some stinkers. So, if you're looking to hop into some Star Wars games, here are 5 Star Wars Games Every Gamer Needs To Play (& 5 You Can Skip).
10 Must Play: Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Developers: LucasArts, Sculptured Software
Publishers: LucasArts, JVC, THQ, JVC Kenwood Victor Entertainment
Platforms: Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Wii
When looking through the old Star Wars game library, Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back stands out as one of the best in the series. There's no hyperbole here: this action platformer is challenging, rewarding, and fun. With iconic levels ripped straight out of the movie, this game is perfect for Star Wars fans.
To make the game even more impressive, the game features mode 7 graphics to give players a remarkable fast-paced piloting level on Hoth. You can even take out the AT-AT! Sure, that's been played out a lot in games since, but back on the SNES, that was something special.
9 Skip: Star Wars: Shadows Of The Empire
Publishers: Nintendo, LucasArts, Disney Interactive
Platforms: Nintendo 64, PC
When Shadows Of The Empire first launched on the Nintendo 64, it was a big deal. A big first-person shooter set in the Star Wars universe was something to get fans salivating, and for its time, it was great. Unfortunately, however, games of this era don't always age gracefully, and Shadows Of The Empire is no different in that regard.
We don't want to put it too close to the number-one skip because of its legacy. But if you can stomach that kind of game, it's worth it for historical purposes. Still, for the young people reading this, maybe just listen to us old geezers when we gush about the good ol' days.
8 Must Play: Star Wars: Battlefront 2 (Original)
Developer: Pandemic Studios
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Microsoft Windows
For many of us who lived through the age of Battlefront 2, it's a little frustrating to see a game release all these years later under the same name. There's just no way it could live up to the chaotic nature of this third-person shooter. The original Battlefront featured massive battles taking place in iconic locations in the Star Wars Universe. Yet, there's more to it than just playing with friends.
There are multiple single-player options on offer that can be experienced besides a few friends in split-screen mode. Whether you wanted to play through the story of the Clone army from their inception right up until the fall of the Empire, there's a lot to choose from.
7 Skip: Star Wars: Battlefront (New)
Developer: EA DICE
Platforms: PlayStation 4 Xbox One, PC
When EA announced they were bringing back the iconic Star Wars: Battlefront series for modern consoles, fans couldn't hold back their excitement. When the game came out, however, it was nothing short of disappointing. Lacking any real content, fans were given a barebones experience as the title was rushed to release alongside The Force Awakens.
With no single-player option to choose from, fans were forced to only play online with other players, which is fine if the game was going to be supported for a long time. Unfortunately, that wasn't quite the case, as its sequel launched not long after.
6 Must Play: Star Wars: Republic Commando
Platforms: Xbox, PC
Imagine a first-person SOCOM Ghost Recon-like game set in the Star Wars universe and you have Republic Commando. With a cast of characters easy to fall in love with and gameplay that's truly unique to games in this franchise, this game felt like something fresh.
In this particular title, players control an entire squad of Republic soldiers, implementing strategy along the way. Yet, don't let the "s" word put you off: this game still leans heavy into the world of action, giving players some frantic set pieces and huge firefights with aliens across the galaxy.
5 Skip: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Developer: Parker Brothers
Publisher: Parker Brothers
Platforms: Atari 2600, Intellivision
In the early days of video games, anything that could be licensed onto the old Atari 2600, would be. Unfortunately, that meant that there was a flood of sub-par games with big licenses behind it. While we won't say Star Wars was one of them, we're not going to sit back and recommend this one.
To start, these games age pretty poorly, and if you find a working Atari console, there are better games to get ahold of. Not only that but just by nature of what games were at the time, there's not really a lot going on here. For historical purposes, this could be fun to jump back to, but if you really want to sink your teeth into something big, this game isn't it.
4 Skip: Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi
In theory, a fighter filled with Star Wars characters should be fun. Unfortunately, this game is not. To start, characters there were random characters—Hoar and Thok—added to the roster. Never heard of them before? That's okay, neither has anyone else.
Strange roster decisions aside, the game is just poorly made. The characters are clunky, commands are delayed, and the characters feel heavy. Some carry weapons while others don't, making the game imbalanced as well. The whole experience needed more time in development, but it was probably doomed from the start.
3 Must Play: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation Portable
When Star Wars: The Force Unleashed first hit the scene, it was unlike anything we'd ever played before. Even to this day, it's hard to really classify that. Part hack and slash, part action, players jump into the shoes of Starkiller, an apprentice of Darth Vader's sometime between the events of Revenge Of The Sith and A New Hope.
What makes the game truly unique is its implementation of the force into combat. For the first time ever, it was at the forefront of fighting, and players were given a chance to go all out. With massive setpieces to destroy and enemies cluttering the screen and waiting to be mowed down, this game is a straight-up power fantasy in the best kind of way.
2 Must Play: Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic
Platforms: Xbox, PC, Mac OS, iOS, Android
When it comes to Star Wars stories, nothing really comes close to Knights Of The Old Republic. Taking place long before the Clone Wars when the Republic was still young, players jump into the shoes of a soldier unsure of his past as he trains to become a Jedi.
With an expansive galaxy to traverse filled with living, breathing planets ripe with things to do and people to talk to, there's a lot to explore. The real crown jewel of the game, however, is the morality system. While it's a little too black and white by today's standards, for its time, it was very forward-thinking. That's without touching on the fantastic plot and unforgettable party members.
1 Skip: Kinect Star Wars
Developer: Terminal Reality
Publisher: LucasArts Microsoft Studios
Platform: Xbox 360 Kinect
There's not much we can say about Kinect Star Wars that hasn't been said before. It's a barely functional game that was marketed as the first time fans could really be a Jedi. Instead, we got a collection of mini-games including, but not limited to, that embarrassing dance segment.
Maybe the tech wasn't there yet, or maybe the game could never be what we thought it would, but this is one of the biggest black eyes in the multi-media franchise.