When was the last time you played a good Star Wars game? And by good I mean actually good, not just good because you desperately needed something Star Wars related in your life and that was the only game available. It seems that while many fans’ love for Star Wars never died, the love of the developers certainly did. I understand certain studios went bankrupt and had to abandon their projects, but surely there most be other companies out there eager to get their hands on such a vast and lucrative IP.
What do we have to choose from in recent years? Looking at the list of titles available on the Xbox 360 marketplace leaves a lot to be desired. I’m going to ignore the Lego games because, well, they’re Lego games, which means they are already heaps of fun made better by the fact that they’re Star Wars.
The Force Unleashed was good at best, average for the rest. It allowed for some creative killing, cool lightsaber action, and a decent story, but apart from that it was nothing amazing (in my opinion). I never played the second one, so I can’t judge, but that’s partly because I was so apathetic about the first one. And don’t even get me started on Republic Heroes. Or Kinect. *Shudders*.
Go back a generation though and my shelf is full of Star Wars gold. On the Gamecube I owned Bounty Hunter, clunky by today’s standards, but fun to play with a fresh perspective and interesting story. Rogue Squadron 2, and (ignoring the third one, except for the included co-op version of Rogue Squadron 2) the original on N64 were brilliant games, allowing you to pilot a wide range of ships from the Star Wars universe in many iconic scenarios, and showing you ones you might not have seen in the movies. The Clone Wars took Rogue Squadron and brought it down to ground level and, rubbish voice acting aside, was a lot of fun to play.
On the Xbox side of things you had the Battlefront games, which speak for themselves (please don’t ruin it DICE). The brilliant Republic Commando, a first person shooter focused on ordering around your squad. A Star Wars game deserving of a sequel, my only criticism being the first one was too short. Honourable mention goes to the fantastic Knights of the Old Republic, a game using the now-standard Bioware style of allowing you to pick and choose your characters dialogue and actions, evolving an intricate and engaging story the way you want. Also a slightly disappointing sequel followed suit.
Over the years there have been some brilliant strategy games: Empire at War, Galactic Battlegrounds, Force Commander, Supremacy. A whole series of combat flight simulators in the X-wing franchise. There were intriguing first person shooters in the Jedi Knight series and racing games such as Episode I Racer (Podracing). All of these deserve a current gen resurrection, if not directly, then at least in spirit.
My point is that there was a time when Star Wars games were abundant, and you could expect the highest quality. Nowadays a good Star Wars game is harder to find than a Stormtrooper who can aim. Battlefront 3 seems to have fans divided between the excited, disappointed, and the hesitantly optimistic. As a fan of Battlefront and the Battlefield series, I fall into the first category, and I just hope it lives up to expectations. But I also hope that it can pave the way for a fresh batch of Star Wars games, hopefully up to the standard that we know they are capable of.
Excited for new possibilities? Maybe you have a disturbing lack of faith in the Star Wars franchise at this point? Let us know in the comments below.