The 10 Best Star Wars PC Games

There’s no shortage of ‘best Star Wars games’ features across this nerdly old internet of ours, but the majority focus on console games which don’t often stray from the action/shooting category. On PC, we’ve had so much more variety over the years: sometimes for better, sometimes for very much worse. With the warm reception to the The Force Awakens meaning we no longer need to hate ourselves for retaining an innocent love of Long Time Ago, let’s mix nostalgia and contemporary game design values into a big, colourful ball and determine which PC titles are the least unwise ways to indulge that love.

10. Star Wars Episode 1: Racer

Sadly forgotten, partly because unlike almost every Star Wars game it hasn’t had a digital re-release, and partly because popular opinion unfairly has it that Episode 1 is the very worst of the prequels. It’s mostly awful, yes, but the other two are only more highly-regarded because they go out of the way to include copious fan service alongside their insipid love story and weightlessly unreal CGI overload. The more restrained (Jar-Jar aside) Phantom Menace has far more physicality, and the two best scenes of the prequel series – the climactic Maul fight and the podracing scene. Racer is an entire game spun out of the later, set in a sort of alt-reality where Anakin told conniving old Qui-Gon to sling his hook and became a planet-hopping professional podracer instead.

Racer is a simple game, and far from any kind of simulation, but it nails the sense of speed and danger from that scene. Even looking as old as it does, it’s a thrill to boost through the canyons of Tatooine, on edge as engines catch fire or Sebulba rams into you, shocked at the abruptness of the explosion when you collide with the scenery. And, if you want, you can repeatedly slam little “Ani” Skywalker into a wall at several hundred miles an hour. The rickety, DIY look of the Podracers themselves is about as Star Warsy as the prequels ever got and hell, you get Jawas on mission selection screen. There isn’t much to it, but it’s fast, it’s careful and it’s exciting, and it still (I played it just today) makes me feel warmer towards The Phantom Menace than it deserves.

Notes: Doesn’t play at all nice with modern Windows or 64-bit systems, but I got it up and running reasonably well on Windows 10 with the help of this guide.

Where to buy it: Your attic, or eBay. Sadly no digital re-release yet: get on it please, GOG.

9. Star Wars Jedi Knight – Jedi Academy

A contentious inclusion, I know. Received somewhat suspiciously at the time because it all but abandoned the saga of Kyle Katarn (begun back in Dark Forces – see below) in favour of following an even blander but player-made rookie Jedi, and dropped the series FPS tradition in favour of third-person, primarily lightsaber-based combat. Thing is though, that lightsaber combat is arguably the best we’ve ever had it, particularly in multiplayer (and the many mods which have spun out of it). The saber is ever-present and joyously lethal, not something that’s teased out or underpowered, and in the right hands fearsome Jedi-fu is available.

As Being A Jedi action games go, this hits most nails square on the head despite a certain clunkiness of interface. In the cold light of 2015 it’s a more pleasant play than the traditionally more respected Jedi Knight II too, which despite having a stronger story suffers from some infuriating, pointlessly maze-like level design, as well as delayed gratification. Also, Kyle Katarn was wiped out as part of Disney’s scourging of the expanded universe, so you might as well play as a random newcomer who gets to choose their own lightsaber and power set.

Notes: Runs well enough on modern systems, though you’ll need to modify ini files for widescreen and HD resolutions. You should probably also check out the Movie Battles II mod, a conversion which recreates key original trilogy fights in multiplayer, with the option to play as a vast cast of beloved characters who don’t appear in the base game.

Where to buy it: Steam, GOG, retail

8. Star Wars: Empire At War

Making this list more because there isn’t any better Star Wars RTS than because it’s the Star Wars RTS we used to dream of. Force Commander was an over-ambitious headache and Galactic Battlegrounds was a rather dull Age of Empires reskin. Empire At War was a bread’n’butter 3D RTS which included all the right beats for large-scale, inter-galactic Rebel vs Empire tussles, even if it never quite soared.

It’s a better Star Wars game than it is an RTS, basically – I mean, you get to deploy AT-ATs. Can’t argue with that. Some nice ‘what if?’ scenarios like the one pictured above, too. A sandbox campaign mode, which saw an ongoing push’n’pull for control of planets, was more satisfying than a traditional singleplayer structure too. Fans loved it all the more because the Forces of Corruption expansion pack went pretty deep into the (now eradicated) expanded universe stuff. Someone even threatened to build a wax statue of me on my lawn then burn it down as vengeance for my being snooty about the EU in a review. Those were the days.

It still feels like there’s an open goal for a great, great Star Wars RTS, and though the genre’s out of fashion, perhaps it’s not entirely impossible now the original trilogy aesthetic is back.

Where to buy it: Steam, GOG, retail

6. Star Wars: Republic Commando

Realistically, Republic Commando is great in spite of being a Star Wars game rather than because of being one. Unless you’re fond of the Clone Wars, there aren’t anything like as many comforting touchstones to be had as in the other games here. It’s a solid, quietly inventive sci-fi first-person shooter which happens to have a few Yoda cameos and some Wookiees. The squad stuff is the highlight, working to manage (and take advantage of) three chums in addition to watching your own back and shooting whatever those not-Aliens-honest bug creatures from Episode II are called. This is a strategic shooter, not a mere blast ’em up, and better yet the game manages to build real camaraderie from a set of characters who, in all honesty, don’t ever reveal much about themselves. You’re a team. A gang. It works.

I will forever mourn that this didn’t get an Imperial Commando follow-up: playing as merciless group of Storm Troopers as they raze Mos Eisley and Hoth to the ground would have been glorious.

Notes: Lead programmer Brett Douville recently ran his own commentated Let’s Play of Republic Commando, which is about as deep a dive into the making of a game as you could hope for.

Where to get it: Steam, GOG

7. Star Wars: Battlefront II

This year’s Battlefront is infinitely prettier than the now-decade-old original versions of Battlefield-does-Star-Wars, but it’s rather a hollow experience, especially compared to the scale and seamlessness of this one. Where nu-Battlefront’s spaceships are all about picking up icons then magically/clinically transforming into a TIE Fighter, Battlefront II allows you to run to a docking bay, climb on board a TIE Fighter, steer it through an X-Wing-peppered starfield, land it inside a Mon Calamari cruiser, get out and start laying waste on foot. I.e. Battlefront got there a long, long time before Star Citizen did. It still looks surprisingly great if you pump up the resolution and anti-aliasing too.

There’s no shortage of giddy land-battles between Rebels and Imperials, with famous faces looking a mite less ridiculous than they do in the new game because it’s nothing like as photo-real, plus you get two different, fully-fledged singleplayer modes in addition to bot matches. The partial focus on prequel-era stuff undermines the party a little but hey, at least there’s no Lucas dialogue.

Notes: Sadly LucasArts turned off the Gamespy-powered multiplayer servers a while ago, so you can’t just hop into a match. However, the ever-dependable Gameranger has stepped into the breach, offering a robust online option via tricksy LAN emulation. Several hundred people still play on a daily basis, though expect them to be frighteningly skilled.

Where to buy it: Steam, GOG

Next page: games 5-4.

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151 Comments

  1. amateurviking says:

    TIE Fighter is unimpeachable for me. Great game, formative time, great take on the fiction.

    MIDI music 4EVA.

  2. Creeping Death says:

    Wow Jedi Outcast didnt even get an honorable mention? Whole list invalidated!!1!

    • Immobile Piper says:

      You didn’t read Jedi Academy as a blanket recommendation on the entire series?

      • Premium User Badge

        gritz says:

        It’s a little frustrating the way RPS does these countdown lists, limiting a series to a single entry. We end up with lists like “10 Best Star Wars Games” without Dark Forces or X-Wing, or “10 Best Stealth Games” without Thief 2.

        I get that the tradeoff is that they highlight gems from lesser-known series (and that’s something that RPS does better than any site out there), and I get that those important games usually get mentioned under the lede, but it kind of undermines the idea that the list is really showing you the best games in a category.

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          gritz says:

          And of course I say that right before clicking on the page that has Dark Forces on it.

    • DevilishEggs says:

      I played through it recently. It’s sprawling and a very good shooter. But it falls into the usual Raven thing of being a B-version of an A-grade IP. Many of the locations feel like levels and less like places than in jedi knight 1.

    • neoncat says:

      I would vehemently concur, except that I only spent countless playing Jedi Outcast… on a console. Amusingly enough, it was no-lightsabers screen-split deathmatches that got me hooked, and I only recently learned how wrong I did the game.* >__<

      Also also, I need to express my displeasure with Republic Commando and KOTOR. RC was a kinda-tolerable shooter with a great setting (clone wars!), but the squad play was so limited! KOTOR had great writing, but I botched my character builds and couldn't even make it through the first stage of the end sequence. (PRO TIP: don't bring blasters to a lightsaber fight) The KOTOR story was so dense that I repeatedly got lost trying to keep track of what was going on, but that's probably just the completionist in me worrying about everything I missed.

      I do wish that later Rogue Squadron entries had made the leap over to PC. After those, sadly SWTOR (ignoring MMO stuff) is the only notable entry in the last decade on any platform.

      * Always worth reposting this: link to web.archive.org

      • SanguineAngel says:

        I have also never understood the praise Republic Commando received. To me it always appeared to be a mediocre fps with frustrating squad controls. It felt like a re-skin of Brothers in Arms (which I thought was underwhelming), though I think they actually came out around the same time.

        This is just me being grumpy though. I didn’t like the style of game and I was disappointed to not see anything a bit more meaty come along to really take advantage in a brief surge of interest in squad based shooters.

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          magogjack says:

          Commando and Brothers in Arms are two of the best shooters I hae ever played !! Alternate Reality confirmed! Also Jedi Academy is my favourite because it made the story about you, the player. It felt like playing a few seasons of a cartoon.

        • wwarnick says:

          I loved Republic Commando and would have put it a little higher on the list myself. I felt it was one of the more underrated Star Wars games.

        • suibhne says:

          I have Republic Commando and have tried to get it working, but it seems enormously fiddly on modern hardware and resolutions. Maybe I’m missing something. Alas, it seems a wasted purchase at this point.

    • Troubletcat says:

      Jedi Outcast should’ve been #1 in my opinion, but I also find Tie Fighter an acceptable choice for the top spot. So Jedi Outcast should’ve been #2.

      But I agree that if you pick the massively inferior (although still decent) Jedi Academy it belongs further down the list.

      In any case I’m pretty sure RPS does this kind of stuff (obvious glaring omissions/picking the wrong game in a franchise) on purpose with each of these lists to troll people into keeping the comment’s section healthy.

      Either that or it’s the need to be super hip and indie by liking the one that wasn’t most people’s favorite.

      • Phasma Felis says:

        Is this the well-spoken equivalent of those kids who throw tantrums when the latest Halo only receives a 9.5?

    • go4brendon says:

      Jedi Knight II Jedi Outkast is the best STAR WARS GAME PERIOD.

      • wwarnick says:

        Good story, but frustrating level design (the level with all the snipers) and annoying shooter levels at the beginning with enemies running back and forth constantly so they’re impossible to shoot. Jedi Academy may have had a bad story and some bad voice acting, but I thought it was much more fun to play.

        • horus_lupercal says:

          r.e. the level with the snipers… That level was even more infuriating because it’s the first one after you get a lightsaber and the snipers weapons blast straight through it. I loved the game by the end but that bit really irritated me and I reckon they should have introduced such a weapon a few levels later so you get a bit of time to enjoy the lightsaber before encountering an enemy whose shots it can’t deflect.

          One thing I did really love about the game was the little tricks you could do such as backflipping off walls, running along walls except you were enver told how to do such feats in game, I found them in the manual. They made the game so much more fun.

          (Note: all of the above are based on rather hazy recollections from many years ago so I might have misremembered a few things!)

  3. Hebrind says:

    Personally, I would replace Empire At War with Galactic Battlegrounds. But other than that, yeah, solid!

  4. Nicodemus says:

    And no mention of Supremacy either which was one of the best Star Wars games to ever come out. A very poor list.

    • Flatley says:

      Seconded. Of all the games my child self ever waited for in the mail, Rebellion (over here) was the most-anticipated and most-played. It’s an ugly, repetitive clickfest which should by all rights be a miserable experience, but somehow manages to capture the Star Wars atmosphere just as well as TIE Fighter or Jedi Knight. Maybe because it leaves so much to the imagination?

      I should also note that, as good as the Quake-III engine Jedi Knight games were, it’s the original Jedi Knight which should really be included here.

    • Jp1138 says:

      I was waiting for Rebellion to appear too. Tactical battles were messy, but the strategic part was nice. I liked the way it introduced events from the films in a strategy game that had a freeform campaign.

      • GrassyGnoll says:

        I loved playing Rebelion. The fun of building your Death Star, the Rebel’s trying to blow it up. How Luke couldn’t progress as a force user unless he’s captured and also escapes. Great Game.

      • Emohawk says:

        Nice try but should be higher up than that..

      • Jp1138 says:

        Evidently everybody would be happier with a 11 best Star Wars games list, including 11b, 11c, etc xD

    • JimboDeany says:

      Yes! YES! YES!!!

      Supremacy was excellent and I would love a remake.

    • Betamax says:

      Came here to mention Supremacy/Rebellion. Glad to see I’m not alone in loving that flawed delight.

      I would be endlessly curious to know how many hours I pumped into it in the long long ago.

  5. Paul says:

    Hmm, for me, first place goes to KOTOR 2 which in my view is the best Star Wars thing ever, and that counts all the films and games. Second would go to Jedi Knight 1, it had such an amazing level design, and it was the first game that let me control my lightsaber, in first person…pure awesome.

    • Polmansol says:

      This. KOTOR 2 spoiled us, i don’t think the movies will ever come close to this. What a shame.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        ‘What a shame.’

        Now there’s a reference I haven’t seen in a long time.

        This is the reference of a RPS commenter. Not as clumsy or random as a mere callback. An elegant word… for a more civilized age.

  6. Nico_101 says:

    No Rebellion ? You should be ashamed of yourself …

    • Laurentius says:

      Why ? It was medicore strategy back then and sure it is now. Yes it has SW flavour and as a Sw nerd I should like it and I tried to like it but it is not good. It also ctradicts the lore so much that is mind boggling, Bulwark crusiers to match Empire SSD, please…

    • Cartras says:

      I liked Rebellion too. One of my first “deeper” strategy games I got in to. A ton of clicking, but it made you feel involved in everything and had interesting gameplay and devilish AI. Let’s just not mention the 3D space battles though.

  7. LionsPhil says:

    >Imperial Commando

    Stop taunting us with these cruel visions of what might have been. D:

    Seriously, best friendly squad AI in a game bar none. I wish the useless player-substitutes in undermanned L4D2 and Payday 2 matches could be half as competent at not needing continual rescue, and actually being able to rescue you.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Thulsa Hex says:

    Played all of these, except Battlefront II! Star Wars games really used to be some of the best games out there! Totally agree about what made Tie Fighter so successful, as both a game and a piece of fiction — games, as a medium, can be great at that kind of expanded universe thing, given the right sensibilities. It’s too bad Lucasarts started chasing the mainstream and spending their money on flashy, crap games (I wanted Jedi Knight III, not the Force Unleashed!).

    Solid, solid list, even if I do raise an eyebrow at the omission of JK II: Jedi Outcast.

  9. Orix says:

    I was rather fond of Droidworks, an educational game build on Dark Forces 2’s engine. You had to build droids and then control them through missions, using basic knowledge of science to solve puzzles. For a kid in the 90s, it was a great intro to science and design.

  10. RedViv says:

    KotOR2 is possibly the biggest best-written Star Wars thing, but not possible to make without much of the other Star Wars media. A difficult favourite.

    Don’t look at me like that I do adore the Vader comic written by lingering presence of the Hivemind Gillen but it is not a big thing okay.

  11. Turin Turambar says:

    Tie Fighter in no. 1 and mention of Movie Battles 2?

    All fine then!

  12. Bull0 says:

    Rogue Squadron 3D is pretty good fun. You don’t need two x-wing flight sim sequels on the list.

  13. Solidstate89 says:

    Republic Commando is such a good game. It remains the last true FPS game I’ve ever played (no, I don’t count Fallout 3/New Vegas/4.)

  14. Premium User Badge

    Jekadu says:

    Ever since I saw the latest movie I’ve been itching to play a new Rogue Squadron. The second one is so short I know it inside out by now, the first one is probably horrifically ugly at this point and the third one I never got my mitts on.

    • Premium User Badge

      magogjack says:

      I suggest Freespace 2 all modded up. It looks great with the newer graphics and I suspect will give you a more enjoyable experience (assuming that you don’t NEED to have X-wings and just crave the fighter pilot experience.

  15. Laurentius says:

    Tie-Fighter is the best. Flight model is supreme, only z-axis rotation is missing, part from this it is unsurpassed. It gets a bit wierd with Missle Boat battles but it is make up by some clever missions and cool story.

    Kotor2 is great as SW cRPG and Jedi Academy if you want cut enemies in half with lightsaber, never gets old.

    PS. Play Tie-Fighter Collectors Edition with imusic, find some good samples on the for MIDI and music will be glorious. Also, you want to feel that badass Empire vibe, Battle 5: Battle for Honor:Mission1 , oh yeah !

    • Cederic says:

      When I saw Xwing Alliance on the list I got worried that might be the only entrant for the space sim contingent.

      Tie Fighter remains one of the finest computer games ever made, let alone merely a list of PC Star Wars ones.

  16. Moraven says:

    While I did play them on the N64 and not PC, Shadows of the Empire and Rogue Squadron were good fun.

    Shadows set the modern future requirement that a Snowspeeder cabling AT-AT level should be in every game. Which makes Battlefront all more disappointing since its a basic version of it.

    Rogue Squadron continued that solid 3rd person vehicle combat and feels a lot better than what DICE Battlefront offers us.

  17. renner says:

    Growing up, I never really cared about Star Wars until I played Jedi Outcast, which I loved (despite the main villain just being a dude with a t-rex head). I’ve always liked the games way more than the movies, for whatever reason.

    There’s a bar downtown with an N64 and Podracer– its a great game for drunken throwdowns with strangers.

  18. Velko says:

    Aww come on, the new Battlefront… it’s not that bad, is it now? Pretty immersive, if you ask me. Casual fun, yes, but fun nevertheless.

  19. Sinjun says:

    I’m enjoying the new Battlefront a lot. Don’t think it deserves the hate just for being a fun pick up and play game, though $30 is definitely the right price.

  20. kud13 says:

    No Yoda Stories = invalid list, :)

    Seriously, though, I guess I never was as into Star Wars as some. I played Galactic Battlegrounds, and it was just a poor reskin of AoE II, with only a few memorable setpiece missions. And I never got on well with KOTOR, though that’s a general issue with me and Bioware (need to give that one another try someday)

    But Yoda Stories- yes. In certain moods, it’s still my preferred timesink, even today.

    • BlackestTea says:

      I also loved Yoda Stories, but I feel oddly content with it not being on the list. It would almost feel a bit out of place. It sits contently in a Dagobah hut with a kettle on the fire not caring too much about the world out there.
      Also, as a little recompense, it got a “Have you played?” not too long ago all for itself.

  21. BlackestTea says:

    Wow, a friend of mine had both Racer and the Jedi Knight games. Going over to his place and playing those was a highlight of the week (Racer might have been the first racing game I ever played).

  22. Artea says:

    “For many it remains far superior to KOTOR 2, with some arguing that the latter is only more acclaimed in some quarters due to some RPG fans’ long-held preference for Obsidian (and particularly Chris Avellone) over Bioware. ”

    Kotor 1 is awful. It’s so shamelessly derivative of the original trilogy that it even has a space ship named after a bird, like the Millenium falcon (the Ebon hawk). Instead of taking advantage of being set thousands years in the past, it just copies the setting, technology, armor design and everything else of the original trilogy with minor tweaks. Instead of exploring moral ambiguity, it uses the light/side dichotomy to create ridiculously binary/good moral choices.

    Contrast that with Kotor 2. In the very first conversation you have in that game, it manages to offer more commentary on what it means to be a Jedi than the entirety of Kotor 1. “Your stance, your walk tells me you are a Jedi. Your walk is heavy, you carry something that weighs you down.” This simple sentence for example comments both on the physicality and the weight of carrying a lightsaber as well as the burden the player character bears for being an exiled Jedi.

    • Wulfram says:

      KotOR offers memorable characters and a good, solid story. KotOR2 doesn’t. KotOR2 also made the mechanics worse. And it was never properly finished, so it didn’t even live up to its rather mediocre potential.

      • Artea says:

        How did Kotor 2 make the mechanics worse? Not only is the crafting system expanded (and crafting being genuinely fun and interesting), but skills are actually worth a damn and frequently checked in dialogue. There is also the influence system which better facilitates role-playing and the many added feats.

        No clue how anyone can rate Kotor 1 higher when it comes to story and characters. It’s incredibly juvenile and easily one of Bioware’s weakest efforts. By contrast, Kotor 2 is written by the lead writer of Planescape: Torment who brings much of the same nuance and depth to the table as he did to that game.

        • Wulfram says:

          The mechanics were worse because they added fiddlyness without adding challenge. KotOR’s mechanics weren’t great, but they at least didn’t get in the way. Though to be fair, part of the reason I find them fiddly is because the game kept forcing me to play companions and thus making me shuffle equipment so that the random jerk I’ve been letting sit on the ship can do more than tickle the enemies.

          I think we’ll just have to disagree on the merits of the story. I’ve never really gotten along with Obsidian’s writing to be honest, except perhaps in Alpha Protocol.

        • ansionnach says:

          Well said on both KotOR games. Crafting and reactivity definitely much better in the second. First one is one of Bioware’s worst RPGs with its dumbed-down consolised take on an NWN engine stripped of the scope for strategy. Second one suffers from having no difficulty balancing beyond the early game, while the first does provide a more consistent challenge. Many bosses are massive difficulty spikes on hard in the first game, though, requiring stupid “strategies” like having tonnes of shields or having them chase you around a field for an hour while your party members fire on them with ranged weapons. In the battle with the dark jedi on their planet this was not an option so I had to hide behind glitchy scenery. While less challenging and a push-over past the early stages, KotOR2 isn’t necessarily clearly worse for it in this department: at least it doesn’t have annoying bullet sponge enemies. The KotOR engine is the problem when it comes to strategy and difficulty and perhaps the second game’s “solution” is a better one: to accept that the combat can never be good using this engine and make it a minimal barrier to the rest of the game.

          KotOR2 also suffers from a narrative perspective in ways. The railroading of a binary choice in the beggar scene is plain dumb. Gripes aside, number two is vastly superior to the terrible first game, with its insulting and childish narrative. The supposed “mind-blowing” twist isn’t very predictable but it is foreshadowed enough so you can see it coming (I did). Jolee is really its only stand-out character, providing an ounce of perspective on the force here and there. The Jedi council is comically stupid. HK is more of a stand-up since he’s not very good in combat.

          Take away the Star Wars skin and KotOR is a terribly generic, dull and limited game that doesn’t even deserve to be called an RPG. I’d take the vanilla NWN campaign over it. At least it has a better engine with scope for strategic combat.

    • Bull0 says:

      I think by and large people were fairly happy with the content of KotOR – maybe if your shelves are full of Timothy Zahn books you need an insane amount of navelgazing in your fiction but Star Wars is at its best as space opera, and KotOR nailed it.

      • Artea says:

        But Kotor has none of the charm of say, a New Hope. It’s just dull.

        • Geebs says:

          That’s a perfectly fine opinion to hold, unless you’re comparing it with the much duller KOTOR 2. I can prove my point: think of a memorable plot point, conversation or player choice that happens between the start of the game and the end of Telos, without looking at a walkthrough. You can’t, right?

          It was also pretty unfair to criticise BioWare’s (fantastic) art direction in KOTOR 1 when 2 just reuses the same assets to produce much less interesting spaces.

          • Supahewok says:

            I don’t agree with OP about KotoR 1, but as for your question about KotoR 2…

            I thought Peragus was pretty riveting, the first time through when the mystery is new. You work your way through the station, slowly but surely putting together the pieces of what went wrong, and on the surface, it appears as if a faction of the miners led a rebellion to claim the bounty on your character… but then midway through you find an HK unit. I thought that was rather brilliant; as the player, if you’ve played KotoR 1, everything immediately clicks right there, while your character is still understandably left in the dark. HK-50’s weird asides and mannerisms act as an inside joke between you and the game. And one of the great parts of that (and one of the examples of Obsidian having the best understanding of video game narratives in the industry, or at least that Avellone does), is that later on, as you’re escaping and run into the HK-50 again, you get a dialogue option along the lines of “Crap, I saw this coming.” So you can retroactively, within the game, establish that your character DID figure out that HK was the one behind the massacre of the station, but wisely held their tongue until they could reunite with their party members.

            There’s so many brilliant little bits like that in KotoR 2. As your character reveals their backstory to the player, the player is able to make choices to flavor that backstory. In the end, though, that didn’t amount to much. It was great roleplaying but it didn’t really affect the game. The curse of cutting out a third of development time for the publisher to push a Christmas release.

            Oh, and to loop back to HK-50 real quick, it was also neat, even after the reveal, to continue on and see just how it managed to kill off the entire station without firing a single shot. Really fed into the whole HK mythology that KotoR 1 had only ever told, not showed.

    • MisterFurious says:

      I hated “KOTOR”. It’s just a Star Wars reskin of every other Bioware game. The same story (you wake up with amnesia!), the same characters, the same quests, just Star Wars instead of D&D. As soon as I met the female Jedi companion, I immediately thought “Oh, I bet she gets tempted by the Dark Side and leaves the party and at the end of the game I’ll have to decide to kill her or save her. I better not give her any good items in case she takes them with her when she leaves”. I didn’t need to be so careful because she left her crap when she left, but left she did. I really don’t get why Bioware got so much love when all they ever did was remake “Baldur’s Gate” over and over and over again.

  23. McCool says:

    Glad to see X-Wing Alliance get some of the love it so dearly deserves (and it DOES pack more emotional punch than almost any other Star Wars game ever in its campaign, I’d argue), but the lack of Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II is just criminal.

    By almost every metric I can think of it’s the best Star Wars game, amazing that it doesn’t even get an honourable mention.

  24. Stevostin says:

    – absolutely avoiding to mention the last game despite it being very popular, a visual milestone for gaming and being likely to be the most played of all star wars games : check

    – bashing Episode I II III to dust each and every possible time despite for the younger generations being for them way better than IV V VI (checked in classrooms repeatedly by a teacher, friend of mine, as well as me with my family) : check

    Super pedant geek journalist award : but of course sir.

    PS : didn’t play the Battlefront one, do prefer IV and VI. But I’ve quit pretending the ultimate judge on thing in favor of fact based assertion since quite a while now.

    • Alexrd says:

      Indeed. This is about Star Wars games, not shoving your (author) subjective opinion about movies down the reader’s throats, over and over, as if it was an universal fact. Specially with ignorant claims like “CGI overload”. Don’t like them? Others do. Move along, specially when there’s a new movie made to pander the arrogant crowd who couldn’t accept that a storyteller wanted to tell his own story on his own fictional universe.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      despite for the younger generations being for them way better than IV V VI

      I’ll grant you that tiny babies like Jar-Jar, but no human being deserves the vomit-inducing “love” dialogue of Episode 2. They are objectively awful films.

      “B-but all taste is subjective!” No.

    • Bull0 says:

      Battlefront’s not that popular, particularly on PC. It’s doing OK on PS4. Also, who cares if you’ve found some young’uns that like the prequel trilogy? It doesn’t change the fact that they’re fucking awful. “Ooh it’s subjective”, sure it is, subjectively they’re fucking awful. How would one objectively measure the quality of a film

    • Premium User Badge

      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      Yeah but everybody knows that kids these days are really into trade disputes.

    • Alec Meer says:

      It’s the Clone Wars the kids like though.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      The original Star Wars films were loved because they were good movies with likable characters going on fun adventures (and having special effects like no one had seen before helped). The prequel movies are a bunch of people no one cares about sitting on couches and talking about trade disputes and midichlorians inbetween completely emotionless battle scenes. They would have been a massive failure if they hadn’t said Star Wars on the box. The new one goes back to focusing on placing likable characters in fun adventures (in a setting that actually feels like Star Wars) which is why people are connecting with it despite how derivative the setting is.

  25. SanguineAngel says:

    “In the cold light of 2015 it’s a more pleasant play than the traditionally more respected Jedi Knight II too, which despite having a stronger story suffers from some infuriating, pointlessly maze-like level design, as well as delayed gratification.”

    I… but… this… I mean… what? *fall dead as reality crumbles away*

    Call me insane but I think there’s nothing wrong with “Delayed gratification” which is nonsense anyway. Gratification starts right away. To me, this game captures something about the star wars universe that seems to have gone by the wayside in later years. Namely that the force is not the focus of that universe so much as a delicious side dish and I am fairly sure the puzzly, maze-like levels (minus the key shuttling of the first game) are half the reason I adore that game in particular.

    • Supahewok says:

      Nah, as much as it pains me to say, Alec’s in the right here. Jedi Outcast has one of the best Star Wars stories in Star Wars games, but after replaying it a year or so ago, I learned that that doesn’t mean much.

      So what other high points is it supposed to offer?

      -It did away with the FPS gameplay of its predecessors, aside from a couple of legacy levels at the beginning (and Academy’s legacy level was better)
      -It has the closest thing to both realistic and fun lightsaber combat that we’ve ever gotten (which Academy expanded, and offered more opportunities for duels)
      -It had several multiplayer modes (so does Academy, and Academy expands on them)
      -The levels are rat warrens with all the complexities of old-school shooters but none of the intuitiveness of the best shooters it’s drawing from (Academy’s level design takes a step back and simplifies, which may have made the levels linear but they’re a hell of a lot more playable)

      Once you get tired of Outcast’s story, as I have, it offers NOTHING in gameplay that Academy doesn’t match or exceed. To this day I keep Academy installed with save files for the various best late game lightsaber combat heavy levels with all of the different lightsaber styles. Every once in a while, I get the urge for some lightsaber combat, and pop in there and get it.

      Alec is absolutely within his rights to put Academy where it is on his list.

      • SanguineAngel says:

        Ahem. Unless I miss-read something then I believe the traditionally more respected game being referenced was JK2 not Outcast

        • SanguineAngel says:

          Oh no! I have been a fool! I got Jedi knight and Jedi knight 2 conflated! Silly me, ignore my rant!

          • Supahewok says:

            Another victim of the most obtuse franchise name scheme in videogame history.

  26. Muzman says:

    Jedi Outcast with realistic saber damage on = solid goddam gold

    The first wave dies horribly. The second is killed by the first wave’s flying limbs.

    It is a cheat that puts the proper game out of whack for much of what happens. But those occasional saber duels were (now) intense and certainly the inspiration for Academy.
    The less said about Jedi powers regained by jumping through geysers the better.

  27. Spacewalk says:

    If Jedi Academy makes the list and MOTS gets downgraded to honourable mention status than this entire list can go have sex and travel.

  28. ansionnach says:

    Good picks, especially one and two! Also, good work on getting the non-digital games going… so nobody can make the usual “only games for XP+ work on modern Windows” comment.

    Dark Forces is a superb game. I’ve said it so many times but the lives system with no saves is inspired and makes it terribly compelling.

    What’s this about X-Wing Alliance being the first 3d Star Wars space sim and TIE Fighter (and presumably the others?) being pseudo-3d? TIE Fighter and X-Wing had polygon engines too, albeit software rendered. The overlay of the cockpit wasn’t 3d but that was it, right? There was also a 3dfx version of X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter.

  29. Petethegoat says:

    Can someone please explain in what way Republic Commando was a good game? I tried playing it recently, and close family of mine enjoyed it.
    But it’s awful. Terrible, unfun shooting, bullet sponge enemies, bland missions and level design.

    Maybe it got a lot better past the first 2-3 levels. But it really didn’t seem good at all, especially not compared to Dark Forces II or Outcast.

    • Gengar says:

      I would also like to know the answer to this question. I made it about 6 hours in before I gave up for the exact same reasons you mentioned, and no, it does not improve as you progress.

      Every time any game site makes a post that so much as mentions RC, there are multiple posts from commenters proclaiming it the greatest FPS ever, but I just don’t get it. Is it unwarranted nostalgia for the first FPS people played back when they were 10, or am I just missing something?

    • Agnosticus says:

      I don’t get it either!

      I’ve bought it in hope of a good tactical fps, because of the “Have you played…” recommendation.

      But after a two hour go, the tactical element turned out to be overly simplistic, the shooting kinda boring and the story unengaging.

    • Immobile Piper says:

      It’s a gritty military take on the Star Wars universe with bullet sponge enemies. To me that’s 50-50 good-bad. Overall, I quite liked it. I don’t think it holds up that well if you’re not into the theme of it.

  30. Turkey says:

    I’m glad you mentioned some of the awful level design in the Dark Forces/Jedi Knight series. No one seems to mention that aspect when they when they wax nostalgic over those games.

    • pepperfez says:

      I have a soft spot for levels that just are without regard to pacing or readability. It makes them feel more real somehow.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      What is this heresy? The levels are the exact reason they are beloved!

    • Premium User Badge

      Philopoemen says:

      The dianoga in Dark Forces gave me my first proper jump-scare in gaming. Much more so than Mecha-Hitler in Wolf 3D :)

  31. Ooops says:

    You forgot to say which game Fighter is tied with for the #1 spot.

  32. boundless08 says:

    RPS, how dare you own a website you pay for and express your own opinions one. I chastise you vehemently!

    Great list in all honesty. I made the mistake of installing the force unleashed after seeing the latest movie. I remember it being a lot better when I played it on the xbox years ago; I remember it being kind’ve fun, but oh no. Never have has a game embodied the dark side so much. I’ll power through though. Then on to the dark forces saga. Hurrah!

  33. Soulstrider says:

    Spot on list but I could get without all the prequel bashing. As much as I like the new one everyone using every single opportunity to bash them is actually starting to upsetting me since I did enjoy them.

    • Immobile Piper says:

      I too enjoyed them. But do you really enjoy Jar Jar’s antics? Does Anakin’s troubled feelings and romance with Padme tug your heart strings?

      Those films get a lot of flak and some of it is very much justified.

      • Soulstrider says:

        TBH Jar Jar for me it’s like the Ewoks, mildly annoying but I can easy tolerate him. The only thing I absolutely hate in them is the awful romance of Attack of the Clones.

        • Immobile Piper says:

          What makes Jar Jar worse for me is that he speaks. Or speks. It’s a lot easier to ignore some gibberish. It also helps that they look a bit like muppets.

          Although I was amused that it was he who called a vote for a certain supreme chancellor.

      • pepperfez says:

        And the horrible yellowface Trade Federation? I honestly can’t believe even late-model George Lucas was tasteless enough for that.

  34. NephilimNexus says:

    TIE Fighter in 1st place. Leaving satisfied.

  35. remon says:

    “some RPG fans’ long-held preference for Obsidian (and particularly Chris Avellone) over Bioware.”

    What???

    • Troubletcat says:

      This has been true for a while and becomes more true with each passing year. BioWare’s been gradually atrophying all of their good writers to the point where there are now absolutely none left at the company, and good writing is super-important in RPGs.

      Their games have also been becoming increasingly casual and dumbed down over the years, something that many old-school RPG fans absolutely hate.

      Dragon Age: Origins was the last good BioWare game, probably ever unless they seriously reverse direction.

      • Sandepande says:

        But I thought DA2 and DAI were good.

        • Supahewok says:

          DA2 tried to go somewhere interesting but its rushed development led it to fall flat on its face. I never played DA:I afterwards, but from what I hear, it puts a lot of MMO into a single-player RPG; I don’t think it affected it much writing wise, but it made the gameplay tedious.

          • Betamax says:

            It really doesn’t feel like an MMO. It has one optional element that is kinda MMO-y and some people got all carried away. I’d play it before jumping on the bandwagon.

            The rest of/majority the game is ace and well worth your time.

            Also, most of the same writers from DAO are still working at BioWare, hell they still have writers from the BG days.

  36. flojomojo says:

    There’s a good alternative soundtrack for Tie Fighter 1998 that simulates the nice reactive soundtrack of the DOS original. It removes some dead spots as well. Search for “Tie Fighter Reconstructed” to find it.

  37. temujin33 says:

    Totally agree about Tie-Fighter. Too bad it’s totally unplayable. What’s that say about the rest of ’em?

    • Flatley says:

      Unplayable? What are you talking about? I blasted through the original campaign pretty quickly when they went back on GoG a while back; didn’t make it all the way through the expansions though.

    • revan says:

      What are you talking about? I’ve been playing it non-stop since it came out on GOG. Both versions are perfectly playable.

  38. Premium User Badge

    Philopoemen says:

    Though a mod, rather than a game, the Star Wars Warlords Homeworld 2 total conversion (was?)is one of the best Star Wars experiences I’ve played – proper capital ship action, and the lore delved into lovingly.

    As far as I know, it’s the only game that captured the feel of those mass space battles

  39. johnnyboy101 says:

    Everyone knows Rebel Assault is the best Star Wars game. Nuff said.

  40. JustAchaP says:

    Thinking of picking up Tie Fighter because its apparently the best Star Wars game. What should a new player know before going in?

    • Det. Bullock says:

      Buy it on GOG.com so you can have both the CD-rom DOS version (Steam has only the incomplete version for floppy disk, if I remember correctly) and the windows version.
      While a gamepad is viable, a Joystick is better.
      Do the basic gunnery training mission in the combat chamber (tie fighter mission one) then the training simulator then the rest of the combat chamber missions and then, and only then, start the campaign.

      Also remember, there is no shame playing the campaign on easy the first time, while the difficulty curve is well calibrated even on easy it’s not a walk in the park, especially if you are using a mouse (dos version) or a gamepad.

      Also, doing the secondary objectives while not too influential on the story it’s cool, let’s just say there is a reason why in the option menu you can see your arm.

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      A tie fighter takes two hits and has no shields. :)

    • revan says:

      Also visit X-wing and Tie Fighter community thread on GOG.com. Lots of people there giving advice on technical and gameplay aspect of the game. Also, enabling 3d acceleration takes some work, but it’s worth it.

  41. Gengar says:

    2nd only to Yoda Stories.

  42. DizzyCriminal says:

    Pit Droids!
    It’s a great puzzler and thinking about it makes me want to see more pit droids in the films.

  43. mrwonko says:

    Anybody interested in Jedi Outcast / Jedi Academy would do well to take a look at the JKHub, where the community tends to be these days, and which is also the prime source for mods other than the aforementioned Movie Battles 2. And soon-ish (in a couple of months or so) there should be the first official release of OpenJK, an improved Jedi Academy Engine that should run a little better than the original.

  44. Sui42 says:

    I always find comments to these types of articles rather amusing. People always get so irritated that THE GAMES ARE IN THE WRONG ORDER, even though ranking something as subjective as ART is entirely subjective.

    On the topic of WAR STARS, the most fun I ever had was messing about with the console in Jedi Outcast / Academy (can’t remember which). I used to load up the Jedi Temple level (which had some rather large, open spaces) and spawn opposing armies of jedi / sith, with rebel / stormtrooper henchman, and watch the ensuing chaos with godmode turned on.

    You could also enable a code that made the lightsabers one-hit-kill. Turning that on made the game SO much better. There’s nothing more disappointing than having to hack a sith lord 10+ times with a fucking LIGHT. SABER. Those things cut through steel!

    Someone does need to make a PROPER lightsaber game, all about blocking, parrying etc etc, where the first person to let their guard down gets cleanly sliced in two.

    • Geebs says:

      There’s really nothing wrong with people arguing the merits of the things they like, you know.

      • Sui42 says:

        Oh, of course; this was more directed at people who say “ALEC IS WRONG” as opposed to “I would choose differently”

        • SanguineAngel says:

          I thiNo you’d find this is a lot of hyperbole – people often have their tongue firmly in their cheek when they make those statements, particularly around these parts

  45. Chaoslord AJ says:

    Jedi academy is my favourite hands on. It’s so relaxing to play but Tie fighter is a good general choice for #1 regardless.

  46. Barberetti says:

    Ah yeah, Jedi Academy. The one where they took away the first person view when wielding a lightsabre, which really fucked me off after the awesomeness of Jedi Outcast. Thankfully this was back in the days when playable demos were the norm, which meant I didn’t waste my money on the steaming pile of shit.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Yeah, I really couldn’t stand the third-person view in JA (or JO, for that matter, since it was optional there). Playing in first-person had the added effect of making the combat feel more brutal and OT-like, as opposed to the weird gymnastic crap of the prequels that you could do in third-person.

  47. revan says:

    TIE Fighter is my favorite also. As it stands, I have GOG versions of it, X-wing and Alliance installed right now. I play them whenever I wish to unwind. They still hold up good.

    Game I still have great fondness for is Star Wars Rebellion. Yeah, it wasn’t a great game, but once you get through the tedium of the first few hours, there is a pretty good game underneath. Closest thing Star Wars has to a 4X game. Just don’t manually play space battles. Those were terrible, no excuse. And crushing the Rebel Alliance was so satisfying. :)

  48. Betamax says:

    Good ole Ep 1: Racer. Sank a lot of time into that and Jedi Power Battles back in 1999/00.

    One thing I enjoyed about X-Wing: Alliance was that it made me feel more connected to the plight of the Rebel fleet at Endor. Always get some residual feels when the Death Star blows up the Liberty in RotJ.

    • Immobile Piper says:

      Ah, power battles. I remember playing that at a friend’s place. It was the best thing ever for a kid who got Ep.1 VHS for Christmas and proceeded to watch it daily for weeks.

      I should probably see if I can add that to my retro collection. Little nostalgia never goes amiss.

  49. Geebs says:

    Come to think of it, I remember the Revenge of the Sith beat-em-up game on the XBox being a whole lot better than it had any right to be.