If you were a Star Wars fan in the early 2000s, you probably felt like you lived through the genre’s golden age. You could see two to three games per year, some of them iconic titles that are played to this day.
Now, everyone has their preferences when it comes to this type of list. So, we’ll try to give some pretty strong arguments regarding why we believe the early 2000s to be the golden era of Star Wars games. We’ll start even slower and begin our story with the cultural phenomenon that kickstarted this Star Wars renaissance.
The prequel trilogy kicking things off
The prequel trilogy may not have been that well received originally; however, in retrospect, it reignited the passion of some of the old fans and brought in some of the news. Even if they hated the prequel trilogy, many old fans immediately revolted by rewatching the old one. If anything, this created a desire for more Star Wars content.
Sure, Star Wars video games have existed for as long as the video games themselves, but it wasn’t until the early 2000s that they really kicked off. It happened across every genre. This decade of the Star Wars franchise gave us one of the best multiplayer shooter franchises (still wildly popular today), the origin franchise of our favorite MMORPG (and its famous/infamous sequel), and, arguably, one of the best tactical shooters of all time.
Today, Star Wars is still going strong with more movies, games, players, watchers, and merchandise than ever.
Sure, Star Wars is still huge, with new sagas, many series on streaming channels, and even some DeFi and Multichain space strategy NFT games like Galaxy Wars. Although truth be told, there are more reliable cheap cryptocurrencies to buy, even for the most passionate fans of Star Wars.
All we’re trying to do is recollect a different era in which so many people joined this franchise and stayed for good.
Knights of the Old Republic
This game was originally made for Xbox 360, and it was one of the platform’s strongest selling points. A lot of Wars Fans and RPG fans bought the console just so that they can play this game. The visuals were incredible (for the time), and the atmosphere was on point.
The best part about it was that it aimed to fulfill every fantasy of an average Star Wars fan.
We’ll try not to go into heavy spoilers, but you have to start a game as a non-force user to see the galaxy from the other (blander) side of the fence. Then, you got your training, force powers, and, above all, a lightsaber.
You got your ship (eerily similar to Millennium Falcon), a best friend, a Wookie companion, and a Princess Leia lookalike that you could romance (as a male player). You also got your own set of droids and the freedom to explore the galaxy. You even got to visit Tattooinne.
While, so far, this may sound like a rip-off, nothing could be further from the truth. The characters and story are just similar enough to evoke a sense of nostalgia, but, at the same time, it’s a completely different and new experience. It’s like getting the best of both worlds.
According to some, this is the real start of BioWare’s golden era. Without it, there’s no Dragon Age or Mass Effect. Without it, there’s no SW: TOR either.
Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
While some may lament the KOTOR II’s unfinished potential, this fan-favorite is one of the best RPGs in history, even in its original, imperfect state. Today, however, the game is played exclusively with the Restored Content Mod, which manages to reclaim resources left behind by Obsidian’s team in their rush to finish it.
Honestly, when you consider that this game was released just a year after the original, it’s not a huge surprise that there were that many bugs and lapses. The work done by Obsidian is quite impressive, and it took the game in a completely different direction.
The writing and characters are as good as in any other game, and, in the opinions of many, video game writers have yet to write a character more morally complex than Kreia.
The game is much slower than the previous one. While the first one was more of a “save the galaxy” type of adventure, the latter title is far more abstract and philosophical. It delved deeply into fallacies of absolute good vs absolute evil and made you, for the first time, develop a more morally relativistic approach. It took you on a journey to see how force can be misused (and how it would be misused if it existed in the real world).
The game is a slow-burner, but it’s worth investing every hour. Also, like its predecessor, it has an amazing replayability factor.
Star Wars: Republic Commando
Even the early popularity of Han Solo as a character was a strong indicator that force-wielders and force sensitives, in general, are not the only ones who can capture their audience’s attention. The massive success of the Republic commando is the perfect example of this.
Star Wars: Republic Commando was a unique game. It’s a tactical shooter where you take the role of a Clone Soldier commando during the early days of the Clone War. Together with your three brothers, you’re a commando team dispatched to the most critical of missions.
It’s hard to single out the best thing about this game, from an incredible soundtrack to character personalities and dialogs. The game is an incredibly immersive experience, but one of its strongest selling points, gameplay-wise, is the role of a squad leader. Instead of just shooting, you can give orders to your brothers/team members, which involve complex maneuvers and specialized tasks.
The story is simple and linear, but the pacing is simply amazing, and the world feels lived in. For many people, one of the biggest Star Wars grievances was that this game never got a sequel (or, at least, a remaster).
With the renewed interest in both Mandalorian culture in popular media, our luck might soon turn around.
Star Wars: Battlefront
The idea to make a Battlefield into a Star Wars game was simple and intuitive, and no one is surprised that this game turned into an overnight success. Since then, it spawned a franchise, each improving on the remnants of the last.
The concept was incredibly simple: you get a first-person shooter game, add four fractions across two ages (republic and empire), and have them play in familiar formats. These formats are the likes of conquest or capture the flag, and they’re incredibly fun.
It’s worth mentioning that modern Battlefront isn’t that much of a sequel as much as it’s a soft reboot of the franchise. They wanted to start fresh, but the spirit of the game is preserved. Sure, a decade of technological advancement is involved in the process, but the concept and even the feeling of the game remain untouched.
The early 2000s laid a foundation for all the modern Star Wars games
When you think of all the modern Star Wars games, it’s really not hard to find their roots in the early 2000s. SW: TOR is an official successor of KOTOR I and KOTOR II, while Battlefront, the industry’s current flagship shooter, is a soft reboot of a game from 2005 with the same name. Sure, Republic Commando may not have a direct successor in the current generation, but the game itself is more than iconic and deserves a mention. Overall, it was a solid decade for Star Wars fans and gamers alike.