Can we get a little HD Force action here!
Star Wars games have been coming out since the release of the first trilogy, but they really didn’t start to shine until they moved from the arcades into the homes of gamers that owned consoles that could play them. The 90’s in particular ushered in a plethora of amazing Star Wars video games for both PCs and home consoles that led to even more great Star Wars gaming experiences in the early 2000’s. Unfortunately, with the advances in technology that have taken place since these games were first released, none of them really hold up visually, so it’s hard to go back and play them after experiencing what a pimped out PC rig, or even the Xbox One and PS4 can offer gamers in terms of visuals, sound, and gameplay.
Luckily for us we live on the Internet where anything is possible, so considering all of the recent HD remastered games that have been released lately (FFX, FFX-2, Fable, TLOU GOW, etc), it sounded like a great idea to list a handful of classic Star Wars games that deserve to have an HD remake too. There are fourteen Star Wars games in particular that really stand out as amazing gameplay experiences, at least for their time, that would surely get Star Wars geeks in a tizzy if they ever released with modern game design techniques. I for one wouldn’t think twice about buying any of these games again even though I’ve owned them on multiple systems and formats, because they each provided a very special and memorable experience when I first played them. It should be noted that a few of the listed games are actual franchises or series of games that released in order, so rather than listing each one individually they’ll be lumped in with the sequels, but if you count on your fingers and toes you’ll see where the fourteen total comes from.
Head on down below to find out which classic Star Wars games deserve, strike that, NEED, an HD remaster. Feel free to chime in with your own list or opinions using the comment section below. It should also be noted that none of the Battlefront games will be listed because that franchise is indeed moving into the HD era courtesy of DICE and EA.
Star Wars Video Games Deserving of an HD Overhaul
(listed in ascending order by original release date)
Super Star Wars Trilogy for SNES (’92-’94)
- Super Star Wars
- Super Empire Strikes Back
- Super Return of the Jedi
A few Star Wars games released for the Atari and NES, but it wasn’t until the arrival of Nintendo’s SNES that the franchise really hit its stride on consoles. From 1992 to 1994, SNES owners were treated to three fantastic Star Wars side-scrolling platformers that managed to capture the essence of the films while also offering fun gameplay. Super Star Wars, Super Empire Strikes Back, and Super Return of the Jedi all offered fantastic fun set in the Star Wars original trilogy universe unlike any previous Star Wars games before them. The synth music is killer, the graphics were top-notch for that era, and the mix of vehicle and on land gameplay helped to keep each level feeling fresh. There were even boss fights to break up the side-scrolling action, and of course there were also plenty of Star Wars soundbytes and references. If you owned a SNES there’s a great chance you also owned these gems, which is why they deserve to get a new pair of shoes and featured on one of today’s gaming machines.
X-Wing/TIE Fighter for PC (’93-’94)
- TIE Fighter
To this day most gamers that had the privilege to play these two LucasArts titles will tell you that they are still two of the best flight simulators to ever be made. I haven’t even played a single flight simulator since, which just goes to show how much love and respect I have for these two games. X-Wing debuted first and allowed Star Wars fans to live out their own dreams of fighting for the Rebel Alliance by flying in many of the ships that were featured in the movies. Of course piloting an X-Wing is where it’s at, but each and every mission, be it an escort, or just a dog fight, made you feel like you were Luke Skywalker, or Wedge Antilles fighting for the Rebel Alliance against Darth Vader and the Empire. The feeling was exhilarating to say the least.
On the other hand, if you lean more towards the Dark Side of the Force, there’s TIE Fighter, which came out after X-Wing and allowed gamers to take on the role of an Imperial pilot. Once again everything you loved from the film’s space battles was present in TIE Fighter, and while it may have felt wrong to attack the Rebels, being bad never felt so good. Both Star Wars and flight simulator fans would pop chubbies if these games ever received an HD overhaul, because they were that damn good and memorable. We can at least dream right?
Star Wars: Dark Forces Saga for PC (’95-’97)
- Star Wars: Dark Forces
- Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2
The Dark Forces franchise may have looked like a DOOM clone, but in fact it was the first FPS to include the abilities to look up and down, as well as the ability to jump. The games also had multi-level maps, which were never seen in a FPS before.
Setting trends isn’t the only reason these games were great though. The first introduced a new EU character to the fold, who now no longer exists thanks to Disney, but Kyle Katarn is easily one of the cooler rogues to come out of the EU era of Star Wars video games. In the first Dark Forces he’s just a mercenary for hire working for the Rebels, but by the sequel and the Jedi spin-offs, he was a full blown Jedi badass working for Master Luke, and quite likable. Both games featured innovative FPS gameplay for their time, and offered long time Star Wars fans the chance to shoot Stormtroopers in a first person setting. The fact that Kyle went on to star in two more Star Wars games after these is proof that fans and gamers enjoyed his tale, which is why these two Star Wars video game classics need to add a few more pixels to their presentation for a modern romp.
Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader for GC (2001)
This Star Wars title for Nintendo’s GameCube is still considered one of the best ever flying games based off of the Star Wars license. Rogue Squadron 2 allowed gamers and Star Wars fans to live vicariously through the adventures of Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles as they took down targets and did battle for the Rebel Alliance against the Empire. The game spanned all three of the original films and allowed fans to relive some of the most memorable dog fights from the movies, as well as offering a solid all around flying game experience. Everything from the visuals to the sound was spot on, so it was hard not to feel like a member of Rogue Squadron while playing. It just seems like it makes sense for an HD remake, especially considering the lack of third party titles on Nintendo’s Wii U. Besides, all Star Wars fans need to say “Red 5 standing by” to themselves while staring at a pretty high-definition picture at least once in their life.
Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds for PC (2001)
Galactic Battlegrounds was one of the first, if not the first RTS game to be set in the Star Wars universe. It was built on the Age of Empires engine, and featured the same fast paced gameplay that kept gamers playing over and over again to perfect strategies, or to just enjoy playing in a controlled Star Wars sandbox. Battlegrounds featured eight factions in total thanks to a Clone Wars expansion, and each faction featured at least one campaign to play through. The gameplay was fast and frenetic, and once you figured out the best strategies for each faction it was a blast to dominate both the AI and other humans in multiplayer. Launching a wave of X-wings, or a platoon of Droidekas to disrupt your foe’s production was always a thrill, as it was building most of the units, which resembled weapons, vehicles, ships, and units from the Star Wars films.
I personally sunk hundreds of hours into this game, and would gladly do so again if it were released with 2014 polish. The RTS genre has gone a bit stale lately, so a Battlegrounds reboot would be a great way to inject a bit of fun into the strategic genre.
Star Wars: Jedi Knight Saga for PC and Xbox (’02-’03)
- Star Wars Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast
- Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
Thanks to the success of the Dark Forces series and its protagonist Kyle Katarn, two more games featuring the Jedi hooligan were released to tell more of his story. Both Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy offered gamers an engaging tale spanning the Star Wars universe that featured great new EU characters and classic canon characters alike. Kyle’s internal struggle with the Dark Side made him an interesting character to play, which helped to drive you through both game’s campaign.
What’s more important about these two Star Wars games is the fact that you got to wield a lightsaber in a third person setting, which wasn’t available in the previous Star Wars games. Jedi Outcast even had a multiplayer mode that allowed you and seven other people to hack away at each other with lightsabers and other weaponry from the Star Wars franchise, which was also a first. Jedi Academy even let you start the game with a lightsaber, which wasn’t the case in Outcast, so it gave aspiring Jedis a chance to experience the Force and the galaxy’s most refined weapon at the same time. Both games definitely deserve an HD makeover because they each featured a fun story with solid gameplay that any Star Wars fan would enjoy.
Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic Series for PC and Xbox (’03-’05)
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
Bioware, at least for me, made its name with the release of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic on the original Xbox. Up until that point I had never played any of the developer’s games, but after finishing the first KOTOR I have made it my mission to play anything that Bioware puts out. The game was that damn good and memorable.
KOTOR allowed Star Wars fans to experience the universe during a whole new era that featured interesting characters on both sides of the Force. The RPG-based gameplay and moral tree were firsts for Star Wars games, and the latter was still a relatively new concept in game design at the time, so it really stood out as something new and fresh. The story was even better, and featured one of the most memorable plot twists at the end that turned everything you knew about your character on its head. The reveal was a shocker and definitely offered up a few water cooler moments.
The sequel improved upon the gameplay, but featured a less enthralling tale, but it’s still one of the greatest Star Wars game out there, which is why both titles need some HD love to give a new generation of gamers the same awesome experience us old guys and gals experienced way back in 2003.
Star Wars: Empire at War for PC (’06)
Empire at War essentially is Galactic Battlegrounds on steroids with less factions. Rather than offering a cartoony visual aesthetic and ground only campaigns, Empire at War opted for a more realistic look and much larger battles. What really sets this game apart from Battlegrounds though is its massive scale and space battles. For the first time Star Wars fans could build up and manage massive Rebel or Imperial fleets while playing through the game’s Galactic Conquest mode that offered a variety of ways to win. The game also had a more traditional campaign that led up to the events that take place in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, so there was plenty to keep you busy for hours on end.
Managing a huge fleet of Rebel or Imperial spacecraft was intoxicating, and the level of strategy required to be successful was very impressive. Players had to hold planets and other locations to earn resources for battle, so there was a great balance between fighting on the ground and in space to keep the gameplay fresh and interesting. The game isn’t entirely that old, but it could definitely use an HD makeover to bring it into the future of gaming visuals for a new set of Rebels and Imperials to experience.
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