I am a true Star Wars nerd and it has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. There is no arguing that this epic story is permanently ingrained into our pop culture, and yes, even the prequels. Along with high grossing movies, George Lucas was a master at marketing his trademark into many products including toys, clothes, books and video games. Since two of my favorite things in the world (besides Batman) are Star Wars and video games, the combination of the two was inevitable. So here are my top five Star Wars video games. Since not all the games are from the same platform, I did not judge on graphics so I am basing my rankings on replay-ability, storytelling and enjoyment.
Number Five: Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (1996)
This was one of the first expanded universe games to come from Lucasarts. The basis of the game is you play as smuggler Dash Rendar who at first takes part in the Battle of Hoth from the Empire Strikes Back, however then goes on his own journey to fight the Empire. Since this game takes place in between Episodes V and VI it was able to take liberties with creating an original story while still staying loyal to the original material. It was a challenging game and included a few puzzles and tough boss battles, but being able to both fight as a third person shooter and in different vehicles in space made it an essential buy for Star Wars fans.
Number Four: Star Wars: Republic Commando (2005)
Much like Shadows of the Empire, Republic Commando is an expanded universe game that focuses on the clone troopers during the early days of the Clone Wars. It is a first person shooter in which the player controls an elite clone trooper and his squad of commandos. The locations are part of the best part because the first campaign takes place during the Battle of Geonosis (for those who don’t know, that happens at the end of Episode II: Attack of the Clones). While again this game is very linear, to me the atmosphere, plot and overall design of the game are what make it one of my top games.
Number Three: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (2008)
This is without doubt my favorite game in which the playable character is a Jedi or Sith, whatever Starkiller is. The plot revolves around Darth Vader training an apprentice in secret in order to kill the Emperor and rule the galaxy, or so Vader says. What makes this game great are the usage of Starkiller’s force abilities and lightsaber combat. There is nothing more enjoyable than slicing, dicing, and blowing away countless Stormtroopers with no trouble at all. What hurts this game is the lack of replay-ability and the short linear story. However, the ‘badass’ feeling is what makes it number three.
Number Two: Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds (2001)
Moving to the PC, this underrated game has pretty much faded from the knowledge of a lot of gamers. This real-time strategy game that wasn’t received very well by critics due to some continuity errors to Star Wars historical facts (yes, that’s a real thing), low resolution graphics, and the 2D perspective. Besides the lack of continuity, I think the gameplay, variety of factions and units, the locations, and the ability to create missions along with the graphics gives this game its own character. I spent possibly hundreds of hours playing the campaign and skirmish missions just because it is fun building an army of Stormtroopers and wiping out every Gungan in sight.
Number One: Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader (2001)
Finally comes the very first Star Wars game I played on the Nintendo GameCube, Rogue Leader. This a flying simulation game in which the player selects one of 11 ships for a mission, then simply complete the objectives. What makes this game great is that not only does it provide original missions that expand the universe, it also allows the player to be a part of the most famous battles in the films. When I played the demo of this game in a store, I flew an X-Wing at the first Death Star battle. It amazed me then and it still does today because I believe it was actually putting the GameCube’s engine to full use and provided a wonderful atmosphere to interact with. This is a game I played for hours 13 years ago and I still play often today.