The PCG Q&A
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is out. The Rise of Skywalker is imminent. Baby Yoda is blowing up Twitter like the second coming of Untitled Goose Game. It seems like a good time to talk about Star Wars.
(Not that there's ever a bad time.)
There are lots of Star Wars games on PC—even the surprisingly awesome Episode 1 Racer finally made it to desktop—and we've put together a list of the best Star Wars games on PC before, but it's fun to discuss our own personal favorites, too, and why they're so special to us.
That's our question this week. What's your favorite Star Wars game of all time? What makes it better than all the others? Our answers are below, and we'd love to hear yours in the comments.
James Davenport: X-Wing/TIE Fighter
For my 10th birthday (give or take two years, time's hazy) my mom gifted me X-Wing, Tie Fighter, and a junky joystick for our even junkier PC. I don't think I ever played those games as intended, but it didn't matter. The last flight sim I played was Red Baron at my buddy's place a few years prior, and only with a mouse and keyboard.
Piloting spaceships with a joystick felt so natural and zipping through the void in a cool ship from the movies my dad made me watch over and over—lasers cutting across the cosmos, god mode on, objectives completely forgotten—was the coolest shit I'd ever seen. I'd just flight right up to Star Destroyers and unload all my proton torpedoes into them. This is all I did! Didn't touch the campaigns. Just moused over the 'YOU MUST REGISTER GUY' on repeat (YOU-Y-Y-YOU MUST-YOU MUST REGISTER) and shot stuff. Best game of my childhood.
Joanna Nelius: Star Wars Galaxies...
...before it was maliciously and incomprehensibly mutilated to an unrecognizable pulp. No, I'm still not over the murder of Star Wars Galaxies, and I don't think I ever will be. It was the best MMO experience. Ever. Aside from being able to simultaneously be a master carbineer and master entertainer (or whatever combination you wanted), I rolled with a guild large enough to build our own city on Naboo. We all had our own houses, and there was a guild hall, cantina, manufacturing center, theater, and shuttleport. It was the best part of SWG, having our virtual home outside of our guild forms. Every night when we were doing raiding or getting into PvP fights with rebel factions, we'd head back to our city, head into our respective houses, and say goodnight before logging off.
Some of us had become Jedis, or were close to, when the (shudder) NGE rolled out. But before that, it really felt like you were living in the Star Wars universe. There's been no Star Wars game, or MMO game, like it.
Andy Chalk: Knights of the Old Republic
The only Star Wars game I ever really got into aside from X-Wing and TIE Fighter was Knights of the Old Republic. BioWare's inspired stroke was to make a Star Wars game so far removed from Star Wars—4000 years before the Galactic Empire—that it could basically do whatever the hell it wanted without worrying about any Expanded Universe entanglements or complaints about violating the canon in one way or another.
Which isn't to say that it didn't mine the source material enthusiastically, because boy did it ever, but so what? It was a hell of an adventure, and certainly smarter and more entertaining than any post-1977 Star Wars flick. The only thing that bothered me about it was that I could never figure out how so much time could pass between KOTOR and Star Wars with absolutely zero meaningful change to anything. Did anyone ever figure that out?
Chris Livingston: Dark Forces
This is definitely nostalgia speaking, but for me Star Wars is really nothing but nostalgia these days. I can't say I really like any of the new movies all that much and the prequels were entirely awful, so the original film trilogy and the earliest Star Wars games are where my fondness lies. Doom and Doom 2 were obviously massive in the early '90s, and Dark Forces was Doom in the Star Wars universe.
It was incredible. Instead of blasting imps with shotguns we could shoot stormtroopers with blasters. And it wasn't just a Doom reskin or rip-off, you could actually look up and down (gasp!) with the mouse. Dark Forces didn't just cycle you through familiar Star Wars locations but let you run around on star destroyers and new planets, places that we'd never been before but that were still unmistakably Star Wars. Like X-Wing and TIE Fighter, Dark Forces did an amazing job at making you feel like you were part of the Star Wars universe.
Jody Macgregor: Lego Star Wars
There are plenty of Star Wars games I like, but when I think about why I've enjoyed the movies it's because of watching them on TV with my family as a kid, or seeing the remaster of Empire Strikes Back in a packed theatre, or going to see Rogue One at an outdoor cinema with my girlfriend and our dog. They are all-ages movies for sharing with people, and the last time a dude in a pub told me "they should be more gritty" I transformed into Freddie Prinze Jr. That's why LEGO Star Wars is the best Star Wars game. It's the one most true to their spirit as space nonsense that can be enjoyed by parents with their children.
Also the way it retells the prequels without dialogue in the style of a silent movie farce is a massive improvement.
Andy Kelly: Knights of the Old Republic
Every day I wonder why EA doesn't get BioWare to make another one of these. I loved everything about KOTOR: the variety of planets, the interesting companions, the fact that it was set in the distant past, free to make its own imprint on the Star Wars universe without behind beholden to the movies. It's a bit janky by modern standards, but the writing is still fantastic and I love being able to travel freely between planets, exploring at my leisure.
Mass Effect was a great stand-in for KOTOR, but now that Commander Shepard and co. are in cryogenic stasis I think it's high time BioWare returned to a galaxy far, far away. I'll take role-playing in the Star Wars universe in any form, but a new KOTOR would be a real treat.