Best Star Wars games

The release of the original Star Wars trilogy saga was met with instant and massive success. At around the same time, video gaming entered a new era with the release of the second generation of consoles, which were the first units capable of more than rudimentary Pong-style games. So perhaps it should come as no surprise that the first Star Wars video games soon followed, with the first titles released in 1982 and 1983 for the Atari 2600. Since then, Star Wars video games have continued to be wildly popular, which means we get at least a couple of new titles every year. With well over 100 games in the Star Wars family to choose from — some of which are pretty awful — it can be difficult to figure out what Star Wars games are actually worth your time. To help you out, we've made a list of our top 15 Star Wars video games, which includes entries from many different platforms and genres to make sure there's a little something for everyone to enjoy.

15. Super Star Wars (SNES, 1992-1994)

While many other games predate this one, Super Star Wars was really the first game in the franchise to have serious developmental support from LucasArts itself. As a result, Super Star Wars (and its sequels) are probably the earliest Star Wars games that are actually worth playing. This trilogy of platform run-and-gun games does a good job of condensing the story of the films into some seriously difficult levels, interspersed with some pretty well-done cutscenes. You can play as multiple characters from the films and pilot a landspeeder or even an X-Wing. If you want some retro platform action with a high difficulty level, Super Star Wars and its sequels should be your go-to games.

14. Star Wars Dark Forces (PC/Mac, Playstation, 1995)

If you love the violent gameplay of early FPS games like Doom, then Star Wars: Dark Forces is probably the game for you. This early-gen first person shooter took the formula of Doom and vastly improved upon it, adding new gameplay mechanics like multi-floor levels, looking up and down, ducking, and jumping. If you remember what most FPS games were like back then, you know why this is such a big deal. In addition, Dark Forces marks the debut of new face and ex-Imperial mercenary Kyle Katarn, who goes on to become one of the most popular Star Wars video game characters of all time. If you're among the Katarn fans who think his character went downhill after gaining Force abilities in later games, try playing Dark Forces to experience Katarn in his prime. A word of warning, however — the framerate and graphics on the PlayStation version are said to be vastly inferior to the PC and Mac versions.

13. Star Wars Galaxies (PC, 2003)

Oh, Star Wars Galaxies. We loved you, then you betrayed us and left us forever. Long before Star Wars: The Old Republic, LucasArts entered the MMO market with Galaxies. It was a vast game, filled with multiple open-world planets to explore, with a true sense that you could shape your character however you wanted. For its day, Galaxies was one of the first MMOs to offer a truly unstructured experience, paired with nearly unlimited character options and a free market. The advanced player housing and cities were awesome, as was the harvesting and crafting system. You could truly be anything you wanted — from a bounty hunter to a medic, weaponsmith, interior decorator, or dancer. You could become a Jedi, too — but only after completing a chain of complicated (and secret) requirements to gain the Force-sensitive ability.

Galaxies was a complex and beautiful game with a lot going for it. Then Sony Online Entertainment decided to bork it all up with the "New Game Enhancements" — a systematic dumbing-down and simplification of professions and gameplay, which pissed off most of the player base. This essentially killed the game, and Sony shut down the servers for good in late 2011. So why is Star Wars Galaxies on our list? Because multiple emulation projects have been working for a long time to provide a complete and faithful pre-NGE Galaxies experience for free. That's right, you can experience the glory days of Star Wars Galaxies today. Want to get started? Go check out the SWGEmu subreddit or the official SWGEmu Website to learn how.

12. Star Wars: TIE Fighter (PC/Mac, 1994)

If you want a full Star Wars style flight simulation game, then TIE Fighter is the title for you. Not only does it offer a realistic experience piloting a starfighter in service to the Empire, but it also remembers that piloting is much more than just yanking on a joystick. You have tons of background tasks to keep up with while completing your missions, like adjusting engine power to give increased shields or changing your weapons configuration to best deal with the current enemy. You even get to fly alongside Vader and take orders from Admiral Thrawn.

To be honest, no other Star Wars piloting game has come close to the experience offered in TIE Fighter, although the Galaxies expansion Jump to Lightspeed was pretty good, while Rogue Squadron beats it in terms of offering classic scenarios, and the short X-Wing mission in Battlefront blows it out of the water in terms of graphics. Unless LucasArts gives us a full pilot-mode game or expansion to Battlefront in the future, TIE Fighter will remain king of the Star Wars flight simulation realm for a long time.

11. Star Wars Episode I: Racer (N64, Dreamcast, PC/Mac, Game Boy Color, 2000)

Is it really any surprise that one of the best-selling sci-fi racing games of all time is on our list? For the millennials out there, you probably can recall many hours spent huddled around the N64 in your living room or dorm with this game, battling it out with your friends. The game had pretty good graphics for its time (we recommend the N64 version, as the Game Boy Color went with a 2-D, top-down style) and was a best-seller for good reason. While The Phantom Menace may have been a horrible movie, there's no question that the pod-racing sequence was awesome and made for an equally awesome racing game.

10. Jedi Knight III: Jedi Academy (PC/Mac, Xbox, 2003)

One thing we loved about Jedi Knight III: Jedi Academy is the non-linear style of the game, and it's extremely fun to play Kyle Katarn's apprentice in this action game. The many weapons and Force powers available add some customization to the action, as do the occasional vehicle-based levels. Finally, we don't want to spoil anything for you — but Jedi Academy offers some serious replay value because of the available endings. Will you resist the temptation of the Dark Side, or will you succumb and betray your master, slaughtering everything in your path? Add in an engaging and fun multiplayer mode, and you've got a winner.

9. Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (Multiple platforms, 2006)

The first Lego Star Wars game was fun, but it suffered from the fact that it was based on the prequel films. The Original Trilogy takes it back to where it all started — in the original saga — and like most Lego video games, the emphasis is on fun rather than sticking to the script. While the game isn't particularly long or difficult, it is a blast and was produced for PC/Mac, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, Nintendo DS, PS2, PSP, Xbox, and Xbox 360. We personally recommend either a console or PC/Mac version over one of the handheld ports, simply because of the better graphics and less glitchy gameplay. If you'd like to play the prequel version as well, keep your eyes out for Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga, which contains the prequel game as well as this one.

8. Star Wars: Republic Commando (PC, Xbox, Mobile, 2005)

Unlike many first-person shooters, Star Wars: Republic Commando doesn't send you off to single-handedly wipe out squadrons of enemies. Instead, you play a clone trooper leading his squad of three clone brothers, whom you must direct to complete various tasks along the way. Each member of your squad has their own talents, skills, and quirks, and each are voiced by different actors to reinforce that individuality. With quality graphics, AI, and gameplay, Republic Commando still is deserving of our respect a decade after its release.

7. The Force Unleashed (Multiple platforms, 2008)

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to learn the Force from a Dark Side perspective? Well, in The Force Unleashed, you not only can do that, but you do it as the apprentices to Darth Vader himself! The game gives you a ton to do, with an intriguing and fleshed-out story to your character, Galen Marek/Starkiller. An undercover mission to rescue leaders of the Rebels gives you some interesting conflict, and your choices ultimately decide not just your own fate, but that of the Rebellion itself. The gameplay is accessible enough for everyone, but if you take a more nuanced approach to your battles, you will reap the rewards. Although it's available on just about every contemporary platform of the mid-2000s, we recommend playing the Wii version — what could be more fun than flailing around with a Sith lightsaber in your living room?

6. Star Wars: The Old Republic (PC, 2011)

Many newer gamers might have thought Star Wars: The Old Republic was the franchise's first entry into the MMORPG market. Older gamers will remember the glory days of Star Wars: Galaxies and inevitably try to compare the two games. Don't do this! Galaxies offered features that The Old Republic does not, and The Old Republic outshines and outstrips Galaxies in other areas. Instead, just enjoy SWTOR for what it is — a shiny and free-to-play MMO with a dedicated player base and active ongoing development to keep the game fresh and exciting. The storyline is engaging, and you should have no lack of things to do as you adventure through the twin worlds of the Sith Empire and the Galactic Republic.

5. Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast (PC/Mac, GameCube, Xbox, 2002)

In Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast, we rejoin Kyle Katarn (former Imperial/mercenary/Jedi) as he lives out our ultimate Star Wars fantasies: run around the galaxy with characters from the original trilogy, all while using crazy Force powers indiscriminately and even hacking off the limbs of stormtroopers with your lightsaber. Jedi Outcast is just plain fun and arguably the most entertaining title that features Katarn. The single-player mode is a treat, and multiplayer is so enjoyable that there are still plenty of players to be found online nearly 15 years after the game came out. Now that's longevity.

4. Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (PC/Mac, Xbox, 2004)

Developing a successful sequel to a highly praised game is never easy, but Obsidian and LucasArts did an admirable job with KotOR II. While it's going to be hard for anything to live up to the original Knights of the Old Republic, the sequel managed to stand on its own two feet with an excellent story that keeps players engaged. Morality is more muddled in the sequel than in the original, which sets off some interesting consequences depending on your choices. The only thing preventing KotOR II from taking a higher spot on our list is stability — the sequel was more notorious for having glitches than the original game. That being said, it's still a great game that should be a staple in your Star Wars game library.

3. Star Wars Battlefront (PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, 2015)

We're pretty sure exactly nobody is surprised by the presence of Star Wars Battlefront on this list. If you've been living under a rock the last few years, we're talking about the 2015 reboot, not the original Battlefront from 2004 — although that was a pretty darn good game, too. Playing the new Battlefront is likely the closest you can get to taking part in the battles depicted in the original Star Wars trilogy. From the impeccable items and weapons modeled from the original props to the score and visual effects, you'll feel like you stepped into the movie yourself every time you boot up the game. With an accessible take that's perfect for new players or hardened veterans and plenty of DLC to keep you entertained, Battlefront is sure to be a classic for years to come. And as an added bonus for PlayStation 4 owners, a new X-Wing VR Mission launched in December 2016 for those with the PlayStation VR headset. Score!

2. Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron 2 (GameCube, 2001)

Believe it or not, this 15-year-old launch title for the GameCube is actually one of the best Star Wars games out there. If you want an air-combat experience which covers most of the original trilogy's most epic battles, then Rogue Squadron 2 is made for you. The graphics and sound are amazingly advanced for a GameCube game, and you get a genuine sense of excitement as you battle through the Death Star trench run or the battle above Endor. Now that Star Wars: Rogue One is out, this is a perfect time to pick up this classic game and become a member of the Rogue Squadron yourself.

1. Knights of the Old Republic (PC/Mac, Xbox, Mobile, 2003)

Could there really be any doubt that Knights of the Old Republic would top this list? By introducing a completely new time period in Galactic history, KotOR gave us something new and exciting to embrace in the Star Wars universe, along with a genuinely compelling storyline, beautiful graphics, and fun gameplay. Exploring the universe during a period of extreme conflict allows you to explore your character's own inner conflict, ultimately deciding what path you will tread. With a set of memorable characters (like the HK-47 murder droid) and a large set of visually impressive locations, Knights of the Old Republic stands the test of time as an awesome Star Wars game that any fan of the movies should play. The game was even ported to iOS and Android devices in the last few years, although we recommend you play the PC version for the best experience.