So you’ve probably already seen the news that Visceral Games is closing its doors, and, as a result, the Star Wars project that the team was working on is now shifting gears towards a new multiplayer experience.
This has seriously bummed out a lot of players that were looking forward to a solo Star Wars adventure, one that focused more on story rather than multiplayer interaction. True, Battlefront II will have all of these elements when they release next month, but some fans were looking forward to dealing with matters in their own hands, rather than through an online connection.
And over the years, we’ve seen a number of games that have demonstrated that a superb Star Wars story could be told in a single player arc. To pay tribute to the project that Visceral was working on – along with the cancelled-too-soon Star Wars: 1313, we’ve put together a list of five superb Star Wars games that were more about the story and not so much the competition.
Track down a copy of these games if you can. The Force will definitely be with you…
Let’s just start with the big one that truly matters, and the game that put BioWare on the map when it came to storytelling. Knights of the Old Republic is easily one of the most beloved Star Wars games ever made, and it’s not hard to see why. Original characters, awesome writing, epic role-playing style battles and one of the biggest twists in the Star Wars lexicon (outside of the films) make Knights an adventure that’s worth reliving again and again. BioWare did continue work on the series with The Old Republic, but, sadly, that was more of a multiplayer affair, and focused less on what made Knights so great to begin with. Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to find a copy for Xbox, PC and mobile devices.
While not all the greatest decisions were made with the Force Unleashed series – namely with whatever the heck was happening with the Endor downloadable content where you could kill iconic heroes – there was still great joy in watching a nearly-fearless apprentice take on Darth Vader and his advocates, using a number of Jedi powers to his advantage. The Force Unleashed II really upped the ante, with some fun story moments and epic battles – even though none of them compared to bringing down a Star Destroyer in the first game. If you tolerate a little bit of the corny dialogue, The Force Unleashed games are quite a romp.
In our opinion, the team at Factor 5 shut down way too quickly. Done in by the overbudgeted and underappreciated PlayStation 3 project Lair, the studio was responsible for many great Star Wars games. Its best, however, had to be Rogue Leader, which got the Nintendo GameCube launch off on the right foot. Featuring explosive space battles all tied in with a cool overall story, the game really hit the spot when it came to destroying stuff – including the Death Star. Hopefully, we’ll see the likes of the series surface again, especially with Factor 5 recently coming back from the dead. C’mon, EA – a high-definition Rogue Squadron trilogy (with Rebel Strike) would really be something.
Let’s talk about an underappreciated gem for a moment. While Dark Forces put Star Wars on the map for first-person shooters, Republic Commando excelled it in every way, with a number of particularly cool characters banding together to get missions completed. The game was right on with its character types, skill sets, and missions, as well as its fundamentally focused AI, which actually made you feel like part of a team. For that matter, it also had little moments of humor that made it stand out from other Star Wars products at the time. A follow-up to this would certainly be welcome, but probably unlikely, since the game didn’t sell as hot as expected. Definitely track down a copy if you can.
Oh, and check out Dark Forces as well. It’s really fun, albeit looking a bit ancient compared to today’s shooters.
Okay, let’s say that The Force Unleashed might be a little too overkill for you. Fair enough. How about a game that gives you proper treatment of your Jedi powers, while at the same time giving you a fun new world to explore? Dark Forces II did a great job with its 3D at the time, really making you feel like you were engulfed in a world of trouble, while giving you the means to do something about it. The story was pretty good as well. If you prefer, you can also check out Jedi Knight II, which offers up some fun content in its own right. It’s a good alternative if you don’t feel like trashing AT-ST’s with Force Lightning.
(There is multiplayer in these games, sure, but they’re not built generally around that basis.)
Finally, if we’re going to talk about games that are loyal to the Star Wars franchise, we should point out the superb Lego games. Both The Complete Saga and The Force Awakens followed the stories of the film like a science, but implemented their own brand of special humor as well, so you didn’t feel like they were going too serious. For that matter, Force Awakens also implemented some amazing new gameplay features, including the multi-build system, which is handy for solving puzzles. And it’s a fun game to play alongside your younglings, so you can rediscover the magic of the Star Wars saga together.