For most of my gaming life, there has been a steady drip of Star Wars games. I have spent more hours in the seats of TIE fighters and Podracers than I did my first car. I've spent countless weekends unleashing the Force and running with the Knights of the Old Republic. Through LEGO variants and Battlefront updates, wielding Wii remotes and arcade controls and all of my favorite controllers across my teenage and young adult years, Star Wars has been a part of my gaming experience.
This year has been different, and not just because The Mandalorian is back. This year, Star Wars in gaming form has been cranked to 11, and the things that have made these titles great have almost nothing to do with the films.
While technically released late in 2019, it all started with Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order. EA Games delivered an incredible adventure in between the movies and featuring a Padawan we'd never met before in a story you'd only find familiar if you enjoyed Star Wars lore outside of the movies. But beyond the story, Fallen Order is really fun. It's a fantastic, beautiful adventure with great puzzles and no shortage of fun combat.
It's become so popular when Disney held a vote for which new lightsaber to release in the Star Wars: Galaxies Edge sections of its theme parks, Cal's saber won by a landslide. And for Stadia fans, you can now experience this killer game from everywhere you are.
Racing fans and space combat fans were treated to a double dose of Star Wars in 2020 with the re-relase of Star Wars: Episode I Racer and the brand new Star Wars: Squadrons. Podracing has become woven into Star Wars in different ways constantly. Anakin's podracer just showed up in an episode of The Mandalorian, and if you walk through Disney's Star Wars theme park you'll see a podracer engine is used as a grill at the central restaurant everyone walks by, so re-releasing this classic game helps keep that bit of the world alive.
Squadrons, on the other hand, is everything old school Star Wars fans loved about the old space flight combat games in a new and beautiful package. Flying TIE fighters and X-Wings and so many other vehicles through a story which pulled from the animated Star Wars: Rebels and takes place after the events of the original films but before the most recent ones. Playable by controller, mouse and keyboard, or in a VR headset with a throttle and stick, this is the perfect flight game for new and old fans alike.
The House of Lucas wasn't done with 2020. Star Wars: Tales from Galaxy's Edge was released as a new VR-only game based entirely on characters and experiences from Disney's theme park creation. The game play jumps spectacularly between unique first-person shooting experiences where you can actually lean around corners with your real body and grab up as many weapons as you can carry just because you can. This game also has some of the best lightsaber combat you will ever enjoy without holding a $200 stunt saber, and Force powers that almost feel real. At the same time, you get to enjoy characters new and classic, connecting you to a world you can actually go and visit in person if you so choose.
Each of these games are fantastic, and well worth your time, but there's something incredible about each that make this new age of Star Wars gaming so great. These aren't retellings of stories you've already seen on screen, or shrunken versions of the worlds you love for the sake of endless multiplayer combat. You won't see names like Skywalker or Solo or Palpatine in these titles outside of a passing mention. These are new stories, with new characters, but connected to this universe in exciting ways and they stand up on their own as great additions to Star Wars. Instead of wrapping a story in nostalgia, you get clever connections to every aspect of the Star Wars universe. Everything is canon, connected to the new timeline across books and animated series and movies and even an actual physical place you can go.
Basically, it's a killer time to be a Star Wars fan and a gamer. I can't wait to see how that continues into the next year.
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