What are the best Star Wars games for PC? Much like the films on which they are based, there are plenty to choose from, and the quality is wildly variable. Some match the heady heights of Yoda lifting Luke’s X-Wing, the iconic reveal of Luke’s old man, and the Death Star attack run. However, if you’ll exqueeze us, some Star Wars games risk putting the reputation of one of the most famous space operas of all time in big doo-doo.
Thankfully – in large part to sheer weight of numbers – Star Wars has probably generated more great licensed games than any other film series. From the deep, philosophical wrangling of Knights of the Old Republic to the breathless adrenaline rush of podracing in Episode I: Racer, we’ve cut the original trilogy wheat from the prequel-grade chaff to bring you the definitive list of the best Star Wars PC games. Even for the most half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herders, like you.
Plenty of pretenders to the throne of best PC Star Wars game have been suddenly silenced but, even though we’ve been waiting for a (Star)killer videogame that properly befits the license for a while, there are still plenty of ways for you to unleash the Force. So, before the Superlaser is trained on our little Yavin 4 cubbyhole, here are the best Star Wars games on PC.
The best Star Wars games on PC are:
Star Wars: The Old Republic has always had a bit of an identity problem. One half tries to be a continuation of the Knights of the Old Republic single-player games, split up into several class stories that let you experience the Star Wars galaxy as a Chiss Imperial Agent or Sith Warrior. The other half is one of the best MMOs around, but it’s pretty traditional.
It’s the class stories that are worth the intergalactic journey alone: they’re ambitious, authentically Star Wars and epic in scope. The fifth expansion, Knights of the Fallen Empire, puts the focus almost entirely on this part of the game. Knights of the Fallen Empire is, essentially, a single-player game stuck inside an MMO. It’s great, evocative even of Knights of the Old Republic II. Even though this Star Wars game tries hard to wriggle free of its genre, but as the closest thing we have to a KotOR sequel, it’s a must play.
The original Traveller’s Tales Lego game, Lego Star Wars is proof that a great idea can live forever. The Complete Saga covers episodes I to VI, recreates the adventures of all key characters in blocky form, and asks you to break everything in your path on your journey towards defeating the Empire.
Best played as a local co-op game, its gentle puzzles and good-natured humour makes it a strong pick to play with your smaller family members. If you don’t hoard it for yourself, that is. And, thanks to the custom character creator, you can make Boba Fett a Sith Lord.
The first Knights of the Old Republic was a fairly traditional tale, despite its twists and turns. Its sequel, with Obsidian taking over from BioWare, is more ambitious. It has all the trappings of a Star Wars PC game romp – the lightsabers, the Force and its Light and Dark dichotomy, exotic alien words, wookies – but it’s all contained in a much bleaker, more philosophical narrative.
And, as much as it allows players to dabble in the Light and Dark sides of the Force, it’s an exploration of the grey area in between them. But it’s exciting, too: with lightsaber duels, absorbing new companions to recruit or corrupt, and the chance to make new enemies at every turn make this action-adventure game quite the space odyssey.
Proof that not everything that came out the prequel trilogy was childish junk, Republic Commando is the Rainbow Six of the Clone Wars. Cast as special ops clone trooper RC-1138, you take on missions accompanied by three other commandos that can be bossed about with a variety of orders and context-sensitive commands. As influenced by Halo as it is Tom Clancy’s famous multiplayer game, the tactical elements of Republic Commando didn’t stop it from being a brisk run-and-gun. It is Star Wars: Republic’s Commando’s simplicity that we need to see more of.
Frequently considered one of the most underrated Star Wars games, this is notable for being completely Jedi-less and trading epic combat for a grittier, ground-level feel. Entertaining touches like modular weapons, a wrist-mounted blade, and a visor wiper that brushed away enemy blood splatter ensure Republic Commando has a charm all of its own.
The core films tend to focus on intimate struggles; Luke and Vader, Anakin and Palpatine, Han and Lando. Yet Star Wars is defined by these personal relationships and how they fit into the backdrop of a much larger conflict. The perfect setting for an RTS game, then. LucasArts have published numerous strategy games set within the Star Wars universe, but Empire at War is easily its best.
Set between Episodes III and IV, Empire at War chronicles the escalating conflict between the Empire and the Rebel Alliance. A campaign map containing numerous planets allows you to research technologies and establishing planetary defences, adding a dose of grand strategy.
Skirmishes take place on land using troops and vehicles and in space using cruisers and fighters, which culminates in the classic assault on the first Death Star. Considering the vast amount of 3rd person action games that make up the bulk of the Star Wars games library, this is a welcome change of pace. Sadly though, when it comes to a Star Wars: Empire at War sequel, one was pitched to EA, but “nothing has resulted” so far.
The X-Wing series is treasured by PC gamers for numerous reasons. Not only are they terrific at capturing the feel of Star Wars’ most exhilarating intergalactic battles: they’re also surprisingly demanding simulation games that replicate some of the intricacies of flying fictional fighter crafts through the inky blackness of space’s endless vacuum.
X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter is the third in the series and, looking back, it was parsecs ahead of its time – although the original Star Wars: X-Wing, 25 years on is naturally rather dated. It’s a pure multiplayer game that offers team-based competitive modes where each player fulfills a specific combat role. Then the Balance of Power expansion pack introduced a story campaign that can be played in co-op with eight players. These features are the bullet points from the back of a late 2000’s shooter, but X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter came out in 1997, making it the most futuristic Star Wars game ever made.
Whatever you think of Episode I, there’s no denying that its podrace was a tremendous spectacle and a great insight into the sporting world of a far away galaxy. Episode I Racer turns this high-octane sequence into a whole game: players take on the role of a star podracers and embark on a season of races on numerous planets. Each track shows off each planet’s unique mythos, such as the Spice Mine Run on Mon Gazza that wound through its vast spice extraction facility.
Winnings can be used to improve your podracer or purchase Pit Droids for enhanced repairs. New racers are unlocked through play, with the ultimate prize obviously being Sebulba and his rival-toasting flamethrowers. The podracers benefit hugely from the licensed sound effects from the films, and while it may be an ugly game by today’s standards, this is a racing game that manages to salvage something strong from that treaty-happy first prequel. Experience this chapter’s breakneck speed as Episode I: Racer is on GOG now, too.
Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II sees Rebel mercenary Kyle Katarn return to embark on a revenge mission to bring the Sith who killed his father to justice. Katarn is one of the Expanded Universe’s greatest characters; abandoning the Empire to fight for the Rebel Alliance in the original Dark Forces game, the sequel sees his greatest transformation: from gruff gunslinger to a powerful Jedi.
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This volte-face saw this FPS game feature lightsaber combat, with an impressive array of Force powers in there, too. This Star Wars PC game also has a morality system, and your actions against non-hostile characters determine whether you’ll slip into darkness or remain on the true path of the Jedi.
Kyle Katarn’s first adventure, long before he picked up a lightsaber, sees him doing covert work for the plucky Rebel Alliance and uncovering a dastardly Imperial plot to unleash a massive army. Katarn’s mission? Shoot all the Imperials. At 20 years old, it no longer looks its best. But, back in 1995, it was a way to experience Star Wars from a completely new perspective.
The level design is superb for the time, too: this is a Star Wars PC game that is elaborate and ripe for exploration in a way that modern, linear shooters rarely are. Thankfully it’s also available on GOG and Steam, so you won’t have to hunt for ages to find an ancient physical copy. What’s more, following interest from Nightdive Studios, it looks like this shooter will be restored to former glory in Unreal Engine by an Obsidian developer in a Star Wars: Dark Forces remake.
It’s all black and nothingness in space. For the scenic view, try swooping over one of the galaxy’s many scenic planets from an X-Wing cockpit. That’s precisely where Rogue Squadron takes you: this is a flight sim that takes place firmly within its atmospheric confines. You may be less free compared to the X-Wing series, but this doesn’t stop Rogue Squadron being a stellar flyer.
Rogue Squadron is fast and tight, letting you easily swoop over ground targets, riddle them with blaster fire, and engage in violent chase sequences. Your range of vessels is small, but the X-Wing, A-Wing, Y-Wing, V-Wing, and Snowspeeder all have their own characteristics, making mission replays vastly different in feel, if not in circumstance. Even better, this another Star Wars game with a remaster on the way: a Star Wars: Rogue Squadron remake is in development in Unreal Engine 4 by fans.
Hailed as the finest Star Wars multiplayer FPS, Battlefront II is Battlefield injected with a little LucasFilm magic. Split across both generations of Star Wars, you take part in some of the most iconic battles of the Clone Wars and the Galactic Civil War. Four classes split into distinct combat roles, and a strong collection of vehicles ensures there’s plenty of variety in the way you can blow the opposition to bits.
Battlefront II is a war game that’s largely focused on frontline combat between grunts, but the sequel brought the Jedi and other legendary soldiers to the fold. Cleverly preventing everyone wielding a saber, Jedis are only unlocked after the team scores a set amount of points. It makes their presence on the field feel special, provided the player in control knows their way around a blade, of course.
Unfortunately this remains our pick as the best Battlefront game, despite two modern efforts from DICE. Despite their beauty and pitch-perfect sound design, the monetisation systems at launch defined the reboot. Although they have since been toned down, you can find out more in our Star Wars Battlefront 2 review, just in case you were living under a rock in 2017.
If you’d rather take to the skies on your own, then TIE Fighter is the route to take. It’s unfolding narrative is frequently cited as one of the best Star Wars tales around, and that’s certainly down to the tone it takes. Rather that sniggering like an evil villain, the Imperial forces in TIE Fighter genuinely believe they’re fighting an army of terrorists, and playing as a TIE Fighter pilot never feels like being ‘the bad guy’, but rather an important cog in the machine that will crush a threatening insurgency.
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Aside from the great story, TIE Fighter lets you strap into the cockpit of one of sci-fi’s greatest ship designs, and operating it feels every bit as cool as you’d expect. You also get to fly alongside the Dark Lord himself, which lets face it is in everyone’s top five Star Wars fantasies.
Prequel can be a bit of a dirty word in Star Wars circles. Prequel prequel however is a reason to celebrate, because it means you’re talking about BioWare’s Knights of the Old Republic, the seminal RPG set 4,000 years before the rise of the Empire. Based on the old d20 ruleset, KOTOR is essentially Dungeons & Dragons: Star Wars edition, and is every bit as brilliant as that sounds.
A rich universe that delved deep into aspects only hinted at in the core films (Boba Fett’s descendants the Mandalorians feature heavily), the game was set during the Republic’s heydays. The threat of a Sith warrior known as Darth Malak hangs heavy in the air, made worse by the fact that he’s the apprentice of Darth Revan; a shadowy unseen power who’s Vader, Sauron, and Voldemort combined. As with any BioWare RPG, it’s your job to stop him, and you’ll join a team of Jedis, smugglers, pilots, and mercenaries on your journey, as well as taking command of your own Millennium Falcon-wannabe the Ebon Hawk.
Knights of the Old Republic is one of the best RPGs on PC for many reasons; its strong cast, great use of the license and its packaged sound effects and music, strategic party-based combat, and some lovely visuals for the time. But ask anyone what the best thing about KOTOR is, and they’ll instantly talk about a very specific plot point. Even now, 11 years after launch, I refuse to write it down for fear of destroying one of gaming’s best narrative sucker punches. But if you’ve played KOTOR through, you’re already well aware that its tale is better than most of George Lucas’ scripts.
Kyle Katarn returned to the PC in Jedi Outcast, the finest Star Wars experience ever crafted. Treading a similar path to its predecessor, Kyle once again must progress from mercenary to Jedi due to cutting ties with the Force after almost falling to the dark side. Built on the Quake III engine, the shooting is naturally solid, but it’s the lightsaber combat that really marks Jedi Knight II as a masterpiece.
Being able to cycle between light, medium, and heavy combat stances offers a depth to lightsaber combat that hadn’t been seen before, and to date has yet to be beaten, although Jedi Fallen Order’s lightsaber combat comes close. Duels felt intense and evoked the awe that the film’s best clashes inspired. Even cooler was if you inputted the ‘saberrealisticcombat’ cheat code into the game’s console. Suddenly saber swings would slice off limbs and heads, leaving hissing cauterised stumps. Even accidentally walking past people with the blade extended would cut them down.
Combined with Force abilities that felt every bit as powerful as they looked and a path of progression that saw you become ever more competent with your abilities, Jedi Knight II is the true, unrivalled Jedi sim.
UPCOMING STAR WARS GAMES
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Jedi: Fallen Order is already shaping up to be one of the better Star Wars games of recent years, with Souls-esque combat and plenty of humour – a new hope for narrative Star Wars games, if you will. Respawn’s lead combat designer has drawn parallels between Jedi: Fallen Order and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, De Heras says that the games are “very similar,” adding to the stack of influences the developers have already cited, such as Dark Souls and Metroid Prime. The gameplay and combat we’ve seen so far shows shows off lightsaber combat where striking, parrying, and dodging are key to success.
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Jedi: Fallen Order is set “shortly after the events of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith,” and features all the wall running, back flipping, and satisfying combat you’d expect from the Titanfall developers. Force powers play a big part in the game, progressing you through areas and helping you to solve puzzles, not to mention letting you pause time and control stormtroopers like marionettes. This latest Star Wars game will be single player only, focusing on storytelling and revolving around trainee Jedi Cal Kestis, a survivor of Order 66. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order releases on November 15, but if you can’t wait till then, check out our Jedi: Fallen Order gameplay preview.
There you are, the very best Star Wars games on PC. While they might not always be as thrilling as when you first watched those iconic Star Destroyers gliding through the Final Frontier, hopefully they’ll make your forget about the prequels. Well, at least for a bit.
In the meantime, be sure to catch up on everything related to the Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order release date. Will we finally get a fresh game that’s worthy of the timeless franchise? Either way, for those of you – who are likely pro Sith – that disagree with our list, well, we find your lack of faith disturbing.