Of all the licensed games, there have never been as many based on a single IP as Star Wars. This sci-fi franchise had humble beginnings, but almost immediately exploded in popularity after the first film released. Sequels were a natural step forward, but video game adaptations also started pouring in at an even faster rate. We’ve had games set in a galaxy far, far away ever since the old arcade days, and even now we still have new ones being announced to look forward to. The PC is the ideal platform for Star Wars fans since you have access to nearly all the games released, old and new.
The reason Star Wars is such an appealing IP for games is because of just how versatile it is. We have action-adventure games, first- and third-person shooters, card games, RPGs, MMOs, racers, and even fighting and dancing games if that’s your thing. If there’s a genre out there, odds are you can find at least one Star Wars game in it released in the past few decades. That begs the question of what the best ones are, though. Worry not, no Bothans died for us to bring you this information about the best Star Wars games on PC.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
One of the newest entries in the galaxy of Star Wars games is Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. This is a game that fits what most people would imagine if they were just told to think a generic Star Wars game, but not in a bad way. It’s a third-person action-adventure title where you play as a Jedi learning new powers and abilities, swinging a lightsaber at stormtroopers and other baddies, while exploring a variety of colorful alien worlds. It has light Souls-style combat and Metroidvania elements, plus some basic puzzle solving and set pieces. It’s a roller-coaster game in some ways, but not mindless, and an all-around fun time for just about anyone.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order takes place between the prequel trilogy and original films. The Jedi are all but extinct, but you play a surviving Padawan-in-hiding named Cal Kestis. When his past is discovered, he goes on the run from the Empire and the Inquisitors tasked with hunting down and killing any remaining Jedi. The story is a well-paced and interesting tale that, while it can’t do anything too interesting given its place in the timeline, is still fun and worth investing in. The combat is solid, exploration is fun, and it just does everything you’d want if given a lightsaber. It also helps that this is probably the best-looking Star Wars game yet, especially when you crank up the settings on PC.
Star Wars: Battlefront II (2017)
OK, before anyone gets up in arms over this one, Star Wars: Battlefront II is a very, very different game now than it was when it launched. We aren’t forgiving the pay-to-win mechanics, predatory loot boxes, or any of the other massive mistakes this game made, but we also want to give credit where it’s due. Star Wars: Battlefront II did manage to turn itself around. Yeah, sure, the single-player portion is short, forgettable, and a wast of potential, but what most people come to this game for is the multiplayer, and in that regard Star Wars: Battlefront II has managed to finally become the peak of large-scale warfare in this universe.
Even from the start, no one could even pretend Star Wars: Battlefront II didn’t nail the looks or sounds of Star Wars. Every blaster sounds like it was ripped right from the films, and the graphics still look impressive years later on your PC. You can either play in first or third person, choose from a range of classes, each of which can be customized with different perks and abilities you unlock, and spend points you earn during gameplay to summon special units, vehicles, and even iconic Jedi and Sith like Luke, Vader, Sidious, and Leia. The game now has battles set on tons of planets during all the major conflicts of the film franchise, plus purely space dog-fighting modes. If you want to step into the trenches of a massive Star Wars battle, Star Wars: Battlefront II is as close as we will probably ever get.
Star Wars: Battlefront II (2005)
No, you’re reading that right. Star Wars: Battlefront II is on this list twice because, well, they decided to name the new Battlefront games exactly the same as the old pair. Regardless of naming confusion, Star Wars: Battlefront II from 2005 was, and still is, an outstanding Star Wars multiplayer shooter. In almost every way, you can draw direct parallels between this version and the one we just covered from 2017 — only, you know, without any of the controversy. It also has a lot less stuff in it in general, but what is there is pure, old-school fun. It makes no illusions to try to make you feel like anything more than an expendable foot soldier on the front lines of battle, and we love every second of it.
Star Wars: Battlefront II is much more of a sandbox than the new iteration. Just like the 2017 edition, you pick from various classes with their own weapons and skills, but these are all consistent across all players. There’s no points to unlock vehicles or special characters, although heroes like Obi-Wan were introduced in this game, meaning everyone starts on the same level and needs to find advantages on the map. Speaking of maps, these are some of the most exciting in all of Star Wars. One standout is the space level where you can pilot a ship out of your hangar, dogfight with enemies in space, then land in the enemy hangar and continue the fight on foot. It is still an impressive, wild, and just a little wacky game. Thanks to the power of the PC online community, this game lives on even after official servers have shut down.
Star Wars: Squadrons
Aside from lightsabers and blasters, space ships and space battles are what many people find most enticing about Star Wars. Dating way back to Defender clones, games have given us a ton of ways to pilot some of these iconic ships, but if you’ve got the right rig and setup, Star Wars: Squadrons is a dream come true for anyone who wishes they could get into an X-wing’s cockpit. We’ve had plenty of great flight-sim-style games, with Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter being particularly beloved, but Star Wars: Squadrons is an evolution on those older games that gives it a more arcade-style approach. Sure, purists will lament the lack of depth in the systems, but Star Wars: Squadrons offers plenty of advantages without alienating players by overburdening them with mechanics while still giving them the satisfying feeling of mastering a spacecraft.
If it weren’t already obvious, Star Wars: Squadrons places you in various cockpits of the most recognizable and beloved spacecraft from the films for either a short campaign romp or multiplayer battles. Either way, the budget is really what makes this game stand out. Just like Star Wars: Battlefront II (the new one), the level of detail on display is essentially one to one. You will need to learn the basics of flight, plus how to route and redistribute your ship’s power on the fly between different systems depending on what you’re trying to do. What makes it stand head and shoulders above any other Star Wars flight game is the combination of allowing for VR and full joystick support. If you’ve got the gear, there’s almost nothing between you and being a real ace pilot.
Star Wars: Republic Commando
Our first trip back in time takes us into the prequel era, but unlike the films, the games around this time were not all a complete mess. Star Wars: Republic Commando is a prime example. Rather than follow any of the films, which is a decision you’ll see most of the best games make as well, this title puts you in the role of the leader of Delta Squad, as he and his fellow commandos go on various deadly missions in the Star Wars universe during the events of the Clone Wars. The entire game spans years, with time passing between missions to give a better sense of the scale of the war going on outside of the more intimate missions you take on.
As an FPS, Star Wars: Republic Commando feels very much like a Tom Clancy-style game. You’re on foot with your squad, but will need to give them orders and direct them in order to come out alive. This isn’t quite at the level of a hardcore sim, but you’re not going to take many blasts before dropping dead, so careful movement and tactics are the only way through most scenarios. This game completely avoids any Jedi or lightsabers, instead feeling much more grounded and gritty despite the sci-fi weaponry. While it does look its age now, the gameplay and story easily hold up and is well worth a look for anyone who wants a more dark and serious Star Wars story.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and KOTOR 2
This is kind of breaking the rules a bit, but we can’t pick between these two amazing RPGs. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel are some of the best RPGs ever made, bar none, and easily the best ones using the Star Wars license. The first game was made by BioWare at a time when it was the king of the RPG genre, and the sequel was helmed by an equally talented team at Obsidian, but built on the bones of the first. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is amazingly complex and fluid. You can obviously be a Jedi, but the dark side is open as well. Or you can go a completely different direction and never touch a lightsaber and instead opt for blasters or other melee weapons. The character building, stats, skills, gear, and battle system is a bit on the complex side, especially compared to modern RPGs that streamline just about everything, but is more than worth taking the time to learn.
These two games take place in the Old Republic era of Star Wars, which is thousands of years prior to anything referenced in the films. This allows for a completely new story to be told with almost no restraints, and they certainly take advantage of that freedom, especially in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2. You create your character and shape their journey across a handful of planets with side quests and mini-games galore, using your conversational and combat abilities to get things done however you want. The cast is top notch, both in writing and performance, and the sequel, despite its rushed development and cut content, is what many consider to be the greatest Star Wars story ever told.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
We never really got a third game in the Knights of the Old Republic series, but Star Wars: The Old Republic would eventually serve as the next narrative chapter in that story. This game once again changed hands back to BioWare for its first real shot at a Star Wars MMORPG. While plenty of fans were disappointed that Star Wars: The Old Republic wasn’t another single-player experience, it did make sense for the IP to go in that direction. The state of the game, and monetization, at launch turned most fans of the old games, and Star Wars in general, off, but almost a decade later it has finally worked itself out. There are over half a dozen meaty story expansions now, with another one still planned to be released early in 2022, and you can choose a free-to-play or subscription model.
Like any MMO, you can create a character of your choosing including their race, class, and faction. What was unique about Star Wars: The Old Republic at launch, and is still compelling today, is that each class has its own story missions unique to that specific class. So even if you’re not into the typical MMO grind, you can still get a good amount of story content by just going through each of the class’s campaigns. It doesn’t rock the MMO boat much otherwise, so you kind of know what you’re getting into with this one if you’ve played other big MMOs before, only with a Star Wars coat of paint. You do end up continuing the plot threads left at the end of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2, but the treatment of those characters may not be to everyone’s taste.
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga
You may not remember, but the very first Lego Star Wars was actually the first game to kick off turning major films into Lego video games. We’ve had everything from Lego Lord of the Rings, Lego Indiana Jones, to Lego Pirates of the Caribbean and Lego Marvel Super Heroes. Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga, as the title suggests, is the complete package of all the games based on the first six films in the series, only leaving out the sequel trilogy. So, in some ways it isn’t exactly complete, but it is the most complete package we have until the long delayed Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is eventually released.
Lego games are just mindless fun. If you like the old school style 3D collect-a-thon games, you’ll love Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga. You’re constantly collecting Lego pieces, characters, abilities, and even cheats as you go through this almost parody retelling of the first six films. There’s even a hint of Metroidvania included too, since new characters you get all have special powers you can bring back into old levels to access to areas. The game is packed with 36 story missions, 20 bounty hunter missions, six bonus levels, and 160 golden Lego bricks to collect across the entire experience. This game won’t test your skills, but is a great game to chill out and play through the familiar story, only as represented by little Lego people. It’s also a perfect co-op game for all ages.
Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
Despite the unwieldy title, Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast nailed what it should feel like to actually swing a lightsaber. While it does feature first-person shooting elements, the reason this game is still relevant to this day is for how well it nailed everything surrounding the third-person lightsaber combat — specifically when it comes to duels. It does follow the story from the previous game of a new Jedi Kyle Katarn, but it isn’t necessary to go back to the first game if you want to just jump into this one, especially if it’s the combat and multiplayer you’re most interested in.
Lightsaber duels in Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast are some of the most intense and heart-pounding representations of what it would actually be like to swing beams of pure energy (plasma? Whatever it is they are) at one another knowing that one false move means death. While many other games just treat lightsabers like any other sword or melee weapon, Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast really emphasizes how deadly these things are. This is why the multiplayer community for this game remains so dedicated. You have three different attack styles, plus a variety of acrobatic moves and defensive options that make an encounter between two skilled players as intricate of a dance as you’d get from a choreographed movie. Make sure to add in the realistic combat code to allow sabers to sever limbs for that true lightsaber experience.
Star Wars: Empire at War
Star Wars is packed with different factions, races, space-craft, land vehicles, weapons, planets, and an almost endless history of large-scale combat that the films can only show hints of. That’s why a Star Wars RTS makes perfect sense. Star Wars: Empire at War takes us outside the more personal stories of the Skywalker family to show us what the films only alluded to. As an RTS title, it doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel. If you’ve played Starcraft or Warcraft then you already know the basics here, but the Star Wars coat of paint and solid understanding of the genre make it a great romp for fans of the series. The game was created by former members of the team that made another hit RTS series, Command & Conquer, so Star Wars: Empire at War had the advantage of experience right from the start.
The only fault we have with Star Wars: Empire at War is its setting. While the RTS genre is perfect for large-scale conflicts, which this game certainly provides, that scale doesn’t apply to the time frame it holds itself to. Rather than covering the entire franchise, or even the entire original trilogy, Star Wars: Empire at War’s campaign is set strictly between episodes III and IV of the films. You can play as the Rebels or Empire in the Galactic Conquest mode, where you are able to slowly take control of the entire galaxy. It might’ve just been beyond the team’s scope, development time, or budget, but this game could’ve been the definitive Star Wars RTS if it had been able to add a couple of more factions and at least include campaigns for the prequels as well. Even so, this is by far the best RTS for the series that you can still play online.
Star Wars Episode I: Racer
Episode I is maligned for many, many justifiable reasons. That probably made the inevitable tie-in game much more of a challenge to come up with, but in a stroke of genius, the team responsible focused on the one aspect of the film almost everyone thought was at least pretty cool: pod racing. Star Wars Episode I: Racer tosses out the plot of the film and focuses exclusively on expanding the racing aspect. The fact that it not only came out good but also as the best Star Wars racing game to date speaks to how strong the concept was within an otherwise disappointing film. It also doesn’t rest on its laurels, either. Star Wars Episode I: Racer could have just made couple of tracks, some basic racing mechanics, and slapped the Star Wars name on it, and it at least would have sold well. But even without the IP behind it, this is a fun and exciting racing experience not quite like anything else.
While the film only showed the one pod racing scene, Star Wars Episode I: Racer expands the sport to include over a dozen tracks across multiple planets with vastly different environments and scenery you won’t even have time to properly appreciate. There’s an entire roster of racers to pick — not just Anakin — each with their own special skills to use in the race, plus 23 additional pods to unlock, new parts, upgrades, and pit droids to equip as well. All that extra content is gravy, but would be meaningless if the game itself wasn’t so much fun. Star Wars Episode I: Racer, above all else, really captures that breakneck speed and sense of just barely wrangling control of your pod as you skid and swerve through the deadly tracks. The textures and models may have dated themselves over the 20-some years, but the sense of speed and adrenaline hasn’t aged a day.