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Best Star Wars games, ranked

May the force be with these 10 outstanding Star Wars games, picked from a crop of many tie-in projects that have launched over the past five decades.

It's May 4th! You know what that means – we all have to fall into the horrific trap set by the world's biggest media megacorp and embrace it as Star Wars Day, 'cos May the 4th be with you and all that. And people say Valentines Day is a corporate trick...!

But, y'know, if one thing can convince us that Star Wars is worth declaring a national holiday over, it could well be the series' video game history – which you could argue is less patchy quality-wise than a lot of the Hollywood movies set in this awesome and hugely iconic universe.

So, team VG247 put their heads together and tried to decide on their top ten Star Wars games. That's a difficult choice, because there's so many good ones – probably more than for any other licensed franchise in gaming history. But, here's our picks... feel free to agree or angrily disagree in the comments.

10. Super Star Wars Trilogy

This is a bit of a cheat, really; we’re not really just including one of the classic Super Star Wars games, but the full trilogy – three games based on the three OT movies, released in 1992, '93, and '94 respectively.

The three aren’t exactly the most faithful of reflections of the Star Wars series, especially by modern standards, but they’re absolutely killer run-and-gun action platformers that were a cut above most of the licensed games of the time. The SNES versions, in particular, remain classics that exemplify a particular period of gaming tie-in – so it’s a natural starting point for this list.

9. Star Wars Galaxies

Star Wars is the rare franchise that has the honor of being home to more than one massively multiplayer game – and while I’ve got a lot of time for Star Wars: The Old Republic, I’ll always hold a candle for its less accessible, old-school sibling, Star Wars Galaxies.

Some of this is nostalgia, to be clear. But that’s a hell of a drug. And the original era of Galaxies, before the infamous ‘NGE’ update, was a truly magical period in MMO history. It was also a very unique MMO at the time in that it was the only big-budget game of its kind to let you play in such a beloved universe from other mediums outside games.

The best days of the game, arguably, were those earliest ones where Jedi were rare. It forced you to be more ‘normal’ members of the Star Wars universe; it took almost six months for a single player to unlock a Force Sensitive character. The good old days – when having a lightsaber was rare and special!

8. Star Wars: Empire at War

Here’s all that really has to be said about Empire at War to justify its placement on this list: it’s a Star Wars real-time strategy game from a bunch of the minds behind Command & Conquer. Truly a match made in heaven.

If I’m being entirely honest, Empire at War isn’t really as good as C&C was at its best – but it’s a strong effort, a thrilling and expansive game that tells the story of the galaxy in that wide open gap between the prequel and original trilogies, giving players freedom to play as both the empire and the Rebels (though the story of course focuses on the former). The setting also means the game gets to toy with both prequel and original trilogy technologies and characters - which makes for some fun midquel explanations of how things evolved from one era to the next.

The truth is that this game lacks some of the depth of some of its RTS rivals, but… that hardly matters, because in this game, you’re playing with the most iconic sci-fi war machines ever created. It’s the best of imagined war with action figures, come to life on PC. What’s not to love?

7. Star Wars Battlefront 2 (2005)

Before EA took over the series and turned it into a loot-box grind Battlefield clone with a time-to-kill so fast pretty much all you could do was cosplay as the Stormtrooper that does the Wilhelm Scream in every film, Star Wars Battlefront 2 was a fantastic shooter on both home and – get this! – handheld consoles.

At the time, especially on the PSP, the wide-ranging battles of the Galactic Conquest mode (where you fought battles both on the ground and in space as either the Resistance or Empire to win control of territory) were frantically epic.

Then you had the campaign mode, which gave a bit more story and structure to the huge-feeling scraps.

Obviously it was all slightly janky in that endearing PS2-era style, but there was nothing more exciting than the tiny, anticlimactic text unfurling across the bottom of the screen: “you can now play as Mace Windu”.

6. Star Wars: Republic Commando

Something we’ve noticed while writing this list is that the best Star Wars games are generally dominated by those steeped in the world of the original trilogy - but if the prequel trilogy is represented by any entry, it’s lucky that it’s Republic Commando - a unique and solid experience that is typically far more overlooked than it should be.

Republic Commando is a post-Halo Star Wars, using the Clone Wars setting established in the prequel movies to cast you as an elite special ops unit within the Clone Army. As well as regular FPS battles, you also have a degree of control over your squad, making this a bit like Halo via Rainbow Six.

There’s a lot to love in Republic Commando, from its surprisingly strong characters to its moody soundtrack and a delightful dedication to using the game’s HUD as an ‘in universe’ conceit, given all the characters are helmeted. It’s great, and among the best of the more FPS-focused Star Wars games.

5. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Every excellent Star Wars game needs to nail one thing: the vibes.

And Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (like most of the games on this list, mind), passes the check flawlessly with its woodwind-heavy score, beautifully realized environments and perfect, nostalgic sound effects.

On the gameplay front, let’s not split bantha hairs; Fallen order is a Dark Souls clone, meaning just about every tough enemy can hold their own in any den of scum and villainy throughout the galaxy.

It’s a brave – and ultimately hugely satisfying – choice, but you can always whack things onto easy if getting beaten up by a giant frog isn't quite fulfilling your Jedi power fantasy.

Fallen Order loses a few points for its storyline and original characters not being quite as adventurous as its gameplay loop, but there are easter eggs and fan service a-plenty, more collectibles to grab than at your local Disney store, and loads of memorable fights and locations.

A real highlight are the super-hard bounty hunters who pick up your trail after you’ve meddled with the Empire’s plans one-too-many times and singe you with flamethrowers and jet packs, just like Boba Fett.

4. Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast

Bring back Kyle Katarn! That’s the main thing we should be saying here; if any character from the ‘old’ Star Wars canon deserves a turn in the limelight as part of the Disney version of the universe, it’s Katarn. Put him in The Mandalorian! Give him his own show!

But, seriously – part of why Katarn is remembered so fondly is the quality of the adventure which he partook in. At the time, Jedi Outcast was the absolute best video game version of the Jedi Fantasy; and while later games have jazzed up that concept with impressive physics systems or incredible motion capture, it really says something that none of them have quite come as close to the thrill of Jedi Knight 2.

On top of all that, there’s the multiplayer. How many hours have we whittled away in hectic, barely-understandable lightsaber duels with a camera to make even the most seasoned player dizzy? Too many, my friend. Too many.

3. Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron 2

There’s two reasons that Rogue Leader is stuck in the head of many a person who was looking forward to the launch of the GameCube. First is simple: this was an unbelievably good-looking game. At the time, it was difficult to believe that this game looked as ‘close’ to the movies as it did. It was an astonishing showcase of the GameCube’s power.

Beyond that, however, Rogue Squadron 2 was just… a damn fine Star Wars game. It’s from a different era, where it was okay to release a flight combat game that was only a few hours long with a handful of missions. This was the tail end of a golden era for that sort of game – best exemplified by this title and Star Fox 64.

It’s got basically everything you’d want from the main Star Wars series - every major space battle and iconic spacebound vehicular moment, plus some cool extra missions that weave between the events of the films. It’s the pinnacle of this sort of Star Wars game - of which there’s quite a few. In fact, even its own sequel couldn’t quite touch the pitch-perfect greatness of this game’s battles.

2. Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

Whichever trilogy is your favorite, as much as we all love the extended universe, nothing quite hits like the main series Star Wars movies.

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga parodies all 9 episodes of the core franchise with the same lovable, meme-hungry energy Lego has honed and perfected across so many games and movies now.

What’s truly amazing is the depth on offer here, with so many unique mechanics for characters and set pieces that really capture the essence of the scene. Whether it’s pod-racing as young Anakin, performing Jedi mind tricks as Ben Kenobi, or swooping in to save the day and Finn, Poe or Rey, if someone does something fun, cool, or exciting across the entire series, it’ll be in here somewhere.

While unlocking all of the hundreds of characters is definitely a grind, it gives you an excuse to scour through the faithfully re-created environments adding every familiar face and starship to your collection.

It’s slapstick and silly, but that’s no excuse to sleep on this incredible collection that’s as much fun for new Star Wars fans as it is older ones.

1. Star Wars: Knights of the Old

There can be no question, right? Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is notable for many reasons, and any one of them would be an ample reason to pop it right at the top of this list. You can talk about its historical place in gaming and how it ‘made’ BioWare and has many all-time classic RPGs among its descendants, for instance. You can talk about the long shadow it’s cast over Star Wars lore since, with the characters and world it built remaining fan favorites even after the Disney-induced ‘Legends lore’ apocalypse.

But, more than anything, it’s just a damn fine game. It was a perfect convergence of elements that are just natural together, really. The many powers a Jedi can wield are perfect for role-playing progression and combat, and the balance between the light and dark side maps onto traditional role-playing alignment systems with a natural grace.

The thing I remember this game most fondly for, however, is truly evoking the films without feeling rote. Lots of Star Wars games successfully convey the feeling of the movies, but a lot of them also somehow feel a little off when doing so - like a dodgy cover version of a classic pop song that crops up on a royalty-free CD, despite being a licensed Star Wars product. With a blend of the familiar and a whole bunch of new stuff in a universe BioWare built from the ground-up, this feels like a Star Wars adventure you can really take ownership of, rather than some video game spin-off where you’re either copying the movies or playing around just off-stage during their events.

From the moment your amnesiac character is thrown into the deep end with an attack on a ship, you really feel like you’re on that Jedi’s journey. While elements of KOTOR are now beginning to show their age, it’s still easily the best Star Wars game – a testament to its brilliance.

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