With the first gameplay footage for the return of Star Wars Battlefront set to be unveiled in less than 24 hours (3am AEST Saturday - that's 10am Friday in LA), we can't help but reminisce about our favourite Star Wars games.
Except, it turns out we already did that in 2013 with a measly eight games. We forgot two of the classics back then, so here's a revised and updated list rounded to a more pleasing number.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Xbox, PC 2003
Released for the original Xbox in 2003, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is considered by many to be the best Star Wars game ever made. Set thousands of years before the films, players could choose to join the light or dark side of the Force.
A decade later, it’s still the game we look to and say “why couldn’t they do something like that again?” It was fantastic in 2003. Imagine the possibilities on a current-generation console.
It's certainly possible. EA has the license to Star Wars games and is focusing on Battlefront to accompany The Force Awakens, but there will be a lot more than that moving forward. With Star Wars 1313 well and truly cancelled, I wouldn't be surprised to see a return to theKOTOR style.
Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II
Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II launched with the GameCube in 2001 and looked stunning as players locked their X-Wing in attack position for the final Death Star trench run. Actually I’m going to go right ahead and say it was the best third party launch game I’ve ever played -- not only is it one of the best Star Wars games, it still looks amazing!
Its sequel was still quality even if it tried to change a little too much with those silly out of vehicle sequences. It's a shame that was the end of it; why didn’t Rouge Leader ever make it to PS3 or Xbox 360?
Star Wars Battlefront II
PS2, Xbox, PSP, PC 2005
Oh, Battlefront II; the perfect sequel and in many ways the GoldenEye 64 of Star Wars games (which probably means we should never go back and play it again for nostalgia's sake).
It's anyone's guess why Battlefront III never eventuated. There were rumours breeding with other rumours about a return for years, but the closest we got was a glimpse at First Assault, and even that was infected with speculation. Apparently Battlefront III would have gone ahead had the cheaper First Assault validated the market.
In the end, it hasn't mattered. EA has picked up the license, now that Disney own LucasFilm, and given DICE the opportunity to reboot the franchise.
Super Star Wars
I loved Super Star Wars. It was one of the first games I played on the SNES and going back to it today presents a serious challenge: it’s actually really hard. I must have been better at games back then.
Remembering that it was developed in a different era, Super Star Wars has held up surprisingly well as a run and gun 2D platformer. It’s exactly the type of game developers wouldn’t even contemplate making today, which is exactly why you should go back and play it.
Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
Xbox, PC, GameCube 2002
Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast was the game that just didn’t work on my outdated family PC, and I’ve only now discovered that it was released on GameCube as well as Xbox, which means I could have played it about four years earlier than I did. God. Damn. It.
Even a few years after launch, it was one of the most accomplished Star Wars games on the market. It was the game everyone wanted to play: the one where you got to run around fighting the Empire with sweet lightsaber moves, even if it did have an excruciatingly slow start.
Lego Star Wars
Xbox 360, PS3, PC 2007
I've grown tired of the repetition of Lego games, but Lego Stars Wars kick started the formula that is still being applied to every Warner Bros property today.
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga transforms all six movies into the hilarious world of Lego! Its retelling is fairly loyal to the source material, but as with all Lego video games, its charm was largely in the light-hearted humour.
I wouldn’t go back and play it again, but I’m glad I did play it. Lego Star Wars is a now very cheap game I’m only all too happy to recommend to every Star Wars fan looking for something that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
Xbox 360, PS3, PC 2008
The Force Unleashed proved that a Star Wars game could have an engaging story by establishing Starkiller — a dark apprentice and arguably the best character outside of the movies. Probably because you were working as Vader’s bitch, and there’s really only one promotion from there.
Blasting your way through clones was awesome fun using a mix of exaggerated dark Force powers — the movies are quite tame in comparison — and some sweet behind-the-back lightsaber moves. I have no idea how Starkiller averted self-inflicted grievous bodily harm with his obscure grip, but it looked so cool!
The only blight is that such a great game spawned an atrocious sequel.
Star Wars Episode 1: Racer
Nintendo 64, PC, Dreamcast 1999
Say what you want about The Phantom Menace, the Nintendo 64, PC and Dreamcast got an awesome pod-racing game out of it! Episode 1: Racer sounded like a gimmick, but it was actually one of the most intense racing games of the Nintendo 64 generation.
It was before every game and its dog had a racing spin-off (well, it was the beginning of that), which gave it a chic blend of unique style and Star Wars nerdgasim. There were plenty of options, diverse characters and interesting tracks. Racer’s popularity is perhaps best measured by its success despite entering a market against the established Mario Kart 64 and Diddy Kong Racing.
Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
Nintendo 64, PC 1996/97
Developed by LucasArts, Shadows of the Empire was one of the first games released for the Nintendo 64, arriving a month after its US launch and with the console for its Australian launch in March, 1997. Made before a N64 development kit was available, so it wasn't made for the controller, meant it had some awkward control issues, but as a launch game with a side-story to the Star Wars saga, it was pretty good.
Set after the Battle of Hoth and then after The Empire Strikes Back, you played as mercenary Dash Rendar as he helps Luke rescue Leia from Prince Xizor -- a lunatic trying to take Vader's place.
Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter
The third instalment in the X-Wing series, Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter is still fondly remembered as a pioneer of multiplayer gaming. It had a host of technical advancements over its predecessors, and featured eight-player free-for-all and team-based multiplayer.
With a focus on multiplayer, arguably ahead of its time, it was a change of pace from Star Wars: TIE Fighter, which focused on single-player. While X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter was technically a sequel three years later, it was really the enhanced multiplayer expansion for TIE Fighter.
What’s your favourite Star Wars Game?