Thursday, May 4, 2017

Top Five Star Wars Games

May the Fourth be with you! It's Star Wars Day, a holiday that celebrates all things Star Wars. (May the 4th, "May the force be with you." Hardy-har-har.) With this relevant day, it makes some sense to think back on some of the best Star Wars video games ever created. After all, this is a gaming enthusiast site of all things. This top five list puts my favorite games set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away under the microscope and details why I love them so much. After you've read my choices, try to use a Jedi mind trick to make me understand why you agree or disagree with my picks.

5) Super Star Wars trilogy (SNES)

We start with the earliest Star Wars game on this list, Super Star Wars. Sure, the trilogy took liberties with the story, as many lucid fans won't be able to recall the times where Luke Skywalker took on a Sarlacc in its own pit with nothing more than a lightsaber or Chewbacca platformed and shot his way through Bespin's Cloud City, but these said liberties opened up the way for some exciting action-platforming moments. The games were quite difficult too, especially Super Star Wars, offering limited lives and even more limited continues. The followups, Super Empire Strikes Back and Super Return of the Jedi gave players a more lenient adventure when it came to difficulty, such as bestowing helpful passwords instead of requiring players to restart from the beginning of the games. This trio of 2D platformers with some cool Mode 7 vehicle sections are my favorite early Star Wars games.

4) Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (PS2, GCN, XBX, PC)

If the idea of playing through a Star Wars game and mastering the powers of a Jedi gets your midichlorian count rising, then Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast should be the game that you run, not walk, to. If there was a Force power that you saw in the original trilogy, then you could most likely do it in Jedi Outcast. For all the times that past Star Wars games attempted to make you feel like a bad ass Jedi yet failed to varying degrees, Jedi Knight II gets it totally right. Slash off Storm Trooper extremities, Force push enemies off of high-up platforms to the bottomless abyss below, and reflect enemy lasers with your lightsaber. Not only did the single player campaign continuously ramp up the action, but the multiplayer component included kicked some serious Bantha butt too. Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast was the real deal when it came to becoming a Jedi from the luxury of your couch, all without the need for all that tedious training with Yoda.

3) Star Wars: Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II (GCN)

Nintendo's GameCube had a stellar launch lineup and one of its strongest games out of the gate was a Star Wars title, Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II. The followup to the Nintendo 64 Rogue Squadron was bigger, better, and more beautiful than ever before, still looking dynamite to this day. But its the gameplay that truly shines, putting players in the cockpits of all sorts of vehicles like X-Wings, Y-Wings, Speeders, and even the Millennium Falcon. Both familiar levels from the Star Wars films like the Battle of Hoth, the trench run at the Death Star, and the Battle of Endor, complete with a massive fleet of TIE Fighters to blast out of the stars, and brand-new locales made for a space fighter that was pure action and pure awesome.

2) Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (PC, XBX, iOS)

Giving players one of the most interesting stories set in the galaxy far, far away, BioWare really took no prisoners with its first RPG offering featuring the world of Star Wars, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. It takes place an even longer time ago, way before what happens in the original trilogy. The game pulls no punches, delivering characters to love and cherish with compelling backstories, an intriguing narrative demands players engage with it through multiple play-throughs, and the game is so good that you'll want to do so, especially with the game's final plot twist, one that will stick with you for a very long time. Like Jedi Outcast, Knights of the Old Republic delivered a delightful feeling of being an all-powerful Jedi, and the RPG elements made you constantly feel like you were making progress in being a stronger believer and user of the Force. The game is by far one of BioWare's greatest and one of the greatest Star Wars games around to this day.

1) Star Wars Battlefront II (PS2, XBX, PC)

While DICE delivered a gorgeous first-person take on the Star Wars Battlefront series and is set to have a new entry that seems even better later this year, one that looks to be absolutely worthy of the Battlefront moniker this time around, it's Pandemic's second going with the original Star Wars Battlefront series that shines the brightest for me. This third-person shooter allowed players to switch between different classes depending on what play style they wanted. Maps were expansive and granted the ability to enter various vehicles for some high-powered offense. When enough time had passed, players could take on the roles of one of the Star Wars series' most memorable characters, such as Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Yoda, and even Chewbacca. DICE did well with its iteration of Star Wars Battlefront, but it hadn't beaten Pandemic's sophomore effort, Star Wars Battlefront II, my personal favorite Star Wars game of all time.

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