Six Star Wars games for every fan of the franchise

(The Washington Post illustration; Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment; Disney)

Star Wars fans have a lot to celebrate, and not just because it’s May 4.

There are eight Star Wars video games in the works, including a sequel to “Jedi: Fallen Order,” a free-to-play battle arena called “Star Wars: Hunters” and an untitled project by Amy Hennig, the director behind Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series. The next Star Wars motion picture may feel light-years away, but Disney has a steady stream of shows set in the universe coming this year. Ewan McGregor will reprise his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi, starting on May 27, and Diego Luna will play the rebel spy Cassian Andor from “Rogue One” in a series expected later this year.

Like every galaxy in our universe, Star Wars continues to expand, and, with Mickey Mouse at the helm, this steamboat probably won’t be slowing down any time soon. To commemorate May 4, this Star Wars pseudo-holiday, here are some games for fans of the franchise.

Star Wars: Republic Commando

For fans of the 501st.

Before the Bad Batch, Commander Cody or Captain Rex, there was the Delta Squad of “Republic Commando.” Unlike the legions of faceless stormtroopers from the original Star Wars trilogy, the soldiers of the Republic’s clone army have their own personalities. You can thank “Republic Commando” for that.

Released in 2005, “Republic Commando” is the earliest example in the Star Wars universe of clones as people, not just foot soldiers. In the game, you play as the squad leader, who’s voiced by Temuera Morrison, the actor behind both Jango and Boba Fett — the Mandalorians upon whom the entire Clone Army has been based. Aptly nicknamed the “Boss,” you direct three squadmates, “Fixer,” “Scorch'' and “Sev,” who have their own unique talents as a computer specialist, a demolitionist and a marksman, respectively, through a series of special ops missions.

In the first-person shooter, you direct your teammates to tactical points throughout the various levels, seeking the high ground for covering fire or setting an explosive to clear debris. The game operates like “SOCOM” and similar titles from the same era, before we all had the ability to just play with friends online.

“Republic Commando” isn’t a perfect game, but it’s fun to revisit a turning point in the Star Wars franchise — when the bucket heads fighting for the Republic (and the Empire) became characters in their own right. You can play a remastered version of “Republic Commando” for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, currently on sale for $7.49. The Xbox store has it on sale for $4.99, and you can get it on Steam for $3.49 through May 6.

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

For those who want to walk down memory lane.

“Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga” is the abridged — and often hilarious — version of the franchise’s nine episodes. The game is a warm dose of nostalgia, and Lego’s trademark levity helps to gloss over some of the more questionable moments from movies like “The Phantom Menace” and “Rise of Skywalker.” Put simply, you get to play the good parts and laugh at the bad ones in a way that’s more enjoyable than spending 20 hours rewatching all the mainline movies.

First released in 2005, the original “Lego Star Wars: The Video Game” started it all. We now have Lego video games built around the last 20 years of summer blockbusters, from “Jurassic Park” to “The Lord of the Rings.” And “The Skywalker Saga” beat them all with the biggest launch to date, selling 3.2 million copies globally in two weeks.

There’s a reason for that. “The Skywalker Saga” is the best iteration of the Lego video game franchise to date. Parts of the game feel unnecessary, which we elaborate on in our review, but there are plenty of times where the game had me chuckling to myself on the couch. It helps that “The Skywalker Saga” looks amazing, which is weird to say for a game that’s a virtual simulation of plastic bricks. You can see the glossy or grainy texture to each block in the game. It’s those smaller details that bring home the “playing with Lego” nostalgia for which the franchise is known.

“Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga” is one of the more expensive games on this list at $59.99 on most consoles. It’s available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation and Xbox consoles, and PC.

Review: ‘The Skywalker Saga’ is a fun Lego set with unnecessary extra pieces

Star Wars Squadrons

For pilots who always pretended to be Red Five.

“Squadrons” is the spiritual successor to the legendary 1997 starfighter simulator “X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter.” The flight mechanics are nuanced to the point where mastering your fighter’s movement is requisite to staying alive in either multiplayer dogfights or surviving the game’s story mode.

Optimally, you’d want to play “Squadrons” in virtual reality using a flight stick and throttle for heightened “realism,” but it’s also enjoyable on a console and without the VR headset.

Be forewarned that “Squadrons” is a game where players’ enjoyment will hinge on how much effort they’re willing to put into playing. If you delight in tinkering with settings and honing tactics (such as angling deflector shields and shunting power from the engines to the lasers then back to the engines) instead of simply zooming around in space blasting bad guys, you will embrace “Squadrons” like Chewbacca squeezing Han Solo. If your idea of a good time in the cockpit syncs more with the flying dynamics found in EA’s “Star Wars: Battlefront 2,” you’re likely better off sticking to that title. “Squadrons” demands a lot from its players, but it also returns that love with an incredibly immersive starfighter experience.

“Squadrons” is currently on sale for $9.99 on PC as well as Xbox and PlayStation consoles.

‘Star Wars: Squadrons’ is (almost) the starfighter sim I’ve been looking for

Star Wars: Battlefront II

For fans who just want to play Call of Duty in a galaxy far, far away.

“Star Wars: Battlefront” is arguably the most recognizable Star Wars video game franchise to date. The original “Battlefront” released in 2004, and the first-person shooter’s acclaimed sequel came out just a year later, providing fans a one-two punch through the key battles of the first two cinematic trilogies. “Battlefront” was updated and released by EA and Dice in 2015, with “Battlefront II” enduring a rocky launch in 2017 before settling in to a better reception from fans.

This franchise is the Call of Duty of Star Wars — and that’s not intended to be an insult. In any of the four series entries, your objective is to clear, conquer and defend certain command points on battlegrounds across the Star Wars universe. The battles range in size from close-quarters shootouts to expansive clashes that include famous vehicles like X-Wings and AT-AT walkers. Players can also pick up tokens during battles to play as recognizable heroes and villains like Han Solo, Darth Vader or Kylo Ren.

“Star Wars: Battlefront II” is on sale in the PlayStation store for $4.99, or you can grab the “Celebration Edition,” which includes the base game along with a slew of skins, emotes and other cosmetic items, on PC or Xbox for $7.99.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

For the Dark Souls fans who are still playing “Elden Ring.”

What if From Software, the studio behind the Dark Souls series, made a Star Wars game? If that sounds like a fun time to you, you should definitely check out “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.”

“Fallen Order” tells the story of Cal Kestis, a former Jedi Padawan who’s been on the run ever since the Republic Army turned on the Jedi in “Revenge of the Sith.” Barely escaping the Empire and the saber-wielding Imperial Inquisitors, Cal finds himself on a mission to find a list of force-sensitive children and rebuild the Jedi Order. “Fallen Order” weaves missions into climactic battles and cinematic cutscences to pull off the same Hollywood charm you’ll find in the Uncharted franchise and Insomniac’s Spider-Man series.

You can’t just waltz into a gunfight swinging a lightsaber in the “Fallen Order.” You’ll die. That’s the beauty of this game. Every attack — every press of a button — has to be carefully timed. You need to time a dodge, a roll and a swing to even make contact with some of the bosses. That’s what makes “Fallen Order” a Souls-like video game. When you start to see the patterns in your enemy’s advances, when you parry and dodge at just the right time, the fights become this dance. You’re learning how to wield a lightsaber, not spam attacks. And that lesson is truly rewarding.

“Fallen Order” is out on PlayStation, Xbox and PC but the price varies platform to platform. As we mentioned above, there’s a sequel coming down the line as well, so now may be the perfect time to learn more about Cal and BD-1, his delightful pet droid. We may even see Cal in the upcoming “Kenobi” series on Disney Plus.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

For the best bang for your buck.

It’s been almost two decades since “Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic” first released, and the game is still one of the brightest in the Star Wars universe. That’s because “Knights of the Old Republic,” its sequel and subsequent MMO, “The Old Republic,” are the only Star Wars games where you can really create the hero (or Sith Lord) you want to be.

Set 4,000 years before the original Star Wars films, in “Knights of the Old Republic,” your character wakes up aboard a Republic cruiser that’s getting pummeled by the Sith in a space battle. Your character doesn’t remember much of anything, and, as you get your bearings, you start to make decisions that lead you to the light or dark side. And not every decision you make is black or white — sometimes, the dark side sounds like a pretty darn appealing response to a slight from another character. Eventually, as you level up certain skills, your character begins to come into their own as a Jedi, a Sith or a duel-wielding, blaster-touting scoundrel. Again, the choice is yours.

Along the way, you’ll get to partner with some truly memorable companions, like HK-47, a cutthroat assassin droid that really set the bar for all the quirky, complex robots now in the Star Wars universe. To me, this game and its story sit right up there with some of the best films. If you haven’t had the storyline spoiled yet, well, you’re in for a treat.

Sony announced in September that Aspyr, the studio that ported the original “Knights of the Old Republic” and many other Star Wars titles to iOS and Android, is working on a remake of the original for PlayStation 5 and PC. Sony’s trailer didn’t mention an expected release date.

You can play the original “Knights of the Old Republic” on your phone or tablet for $4.99, but I’d recommend buying the Xbox port for the same price or the one on Nintendo Switch on sale for $11.24, if you can. With the touchscreen controls on mobile devices, your thumbs just cover up a quarter of the game as you play. It’s also on sale on Steam for $3.49 through May 6.

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