ideo games can be a difficult hobby to get into. Between picking the right video game console, getting used to the controls, buying games themselves, setting up the right equipment, having internet access, and signing up for subscription services, it can be tough to get started. Not to mention also having to find the time to play, the right space, and also the energy to play. Some may even ask if it’s even worth it.
Believe me when I tell you that it is worth it.
I believe that video games are the greatest form of entertainment media there is. Utilizing cutting-edge technology and immersive player agency, games can tell stories and offer experiences that movies, TV shows, or books cannot.
If you know someone who plays video games, then you’ll often hear them say phrases like, “I beat that boss,” “I won that tough match,” or “I overcame that epic battle.” As players, we tend to use the personal pronoun “I” and rarely use the characters' names. It’s usually “I beat Doctor Octopus and saved the city,” and hardly ever “Spider-Man beat Doc Ock and saved the city.” It’s one of the many aspects of games that make them different and unique from other mediums.
Video games can offer players and enthusiasts engaging narratives, visually stunning worlds to explore, personal experiences unique to each player, and connections to other individuals that bridge borders and cultures.
Count The Cost
Video games can be a commitment. And it’s not just money that fans have to invest, it’s also time and energy (mentally, even physically). But as I stated before, it’s worth it, so long as you know what you’re getting into and so long as you can see the value in it.
Even though this is a guide about getting into Star Wars video games, I think newcomers should heed one piece of advice: have other games in mind that you want to play that aren’t Star Wars-related. While a number of Star Wars games have been made, it can be difficult to track down all of them. And just like with Star Wars books, it’s also highly likely you’ll have a handful that you’ll love but also discover some that you don't enjoy as much or that just aren't right for you. And that’s totally normal. But having other games that are not Star Wars-related will make the purchase and investment all the more worth it versus spending hundreds of dollars or more just to play one game.
Choosing The Right Console
Choosing the right console is probably the most important decision when getting into video games. Your console of choice will determine how you play your games, the players you can interact with, and, most importantly, the library of games you can choose from.
The three most common console brands are PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo. These brands’ newest and current models are the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and the Nintendo Switch. For those who want to play older Star Wars games, having an older model may actually suffice and be a good, cheaper alternative. But for those who want to play the newer games and don’t want to compromise on quality, I recommend picking up the latest models.
These consoles are not all the same. I’ll get into more of the nuanced differences between them, but for now, feel free to take a look at the three models on your own.
A Note About PCs
PC gaming is another choice that newcomers may want to consider because it opens up possibly the largest amount of games. Players can enjoy newer titles and a swath of older games from different franchises that may not be available on consoles. And for those who are willing to pay more, PCs can offer a higher-end gaming experience than consoles, with chips and graphics cards that are state-of-the-art. But the downside is that it can cost up to thousands of dollars upfront and may require construction and understanding of computer components and software. Although, there are cheaper and more convenient alternatives, which I’ll get to later as well.
Star Wars Games Worth Checking Out
The second aspect to consider before making any purchase is what Star Wars game(s) you’re interested in. Like any artistic medium, there are many different genres to choose from, each with its own stories, experiences, and ways of playing. Here are just a few titles that are worth mentioning and that fans may be interested in.
Respawn’s Star Wars Jedi Games
Of the most recent Star Wars games released in the past few years, the games in Respawn’s Star Wars Jedi series are probably the most popular and critically acclaimed. Beginning with 2019’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, these games have a rich narrative centered around fan-favorite character Cal Kestis and a challenging gameplay design utilizing lightsabers and Force abilities.
If you’re looking for a game you can play on your own with a fun story from beginning to end, look no further than the Star Wars Jedi games. Both games in the series are over 20 hours long and have action-packed stories that add to Star Wars lore. They also push the boundaries of what kind of stories can be told within this universe.
On the action side of things, the games can be tough and challenging yet approachable for newcomers to games. The series is also a great introduction to “Souls-like” games (a popular subgenre made famous by games like Dark Souls and Bloodborne). These games are known for difficult, one-on-one battles, but the Star Wars Jedi games can help newcomers ease into this genre.
The lightsaber combat is rewarding and provides excellent feedback that makes every swing and slice feel fulfilling. Exploring the different planets and worlds is a fun experience when mixed with the plethora of Force abilities you can use. Feel free to check out my review of Star Wars Jedi: Survivor for more details on what to expect from this series.
Star Wars: Battlefront II
The second most popular Star Wars game of recent years is Star Wars: Battlefront, specifically Battlefront II. Developed by the influential and acclaimed DICE studios, Battlefront II offers players a completely different experience from Respawn’s Star Wars Jedi games. Battlefront II puts players in the role of infantry soldiers on the frontlines of epic battlegrounds within Star Wars.
Rather than being a legendary lightsaber-wielding hero, players experience what it’s like being a grunt on the frontlines. Be a sniper picking off targets on the snowfields of Hoth. Pilot a TIE Fighter and attack X-Wings head-on above the planet Scarif. Of course, there are a number of heroes and villains (some even wielding lightsabers) for you to play as, but the main draw of Battlefront has always been the pure multiplayer chaos. Dozens of players scatter the map, all shooting and attacking one another in big firefights.
I focus primarily on Battlefront II over the first Battlefront for two reasons: 1) it’s still possible to find other people to play with online, and 2) there is more single-player content. The Battlefront series’ best moments are when multiple people play with and against each other in huge clashes. While the number of players has dropped, it’s still possible to find games against other players, even if it does require a bit of searching and asking in Discord groups and communities if they’d like to play. For those who don’t want to play competitively against other people, the game also has a single-player experience that is a good introduction to the shooter genre. Other games within this genre include Halo and Call of Duty.
Star Wars: Squadrons
The third Star Wars game that gained popularity over the past few years is Star Wars: Squadrons. Squadrons is part of the genre called “flight simulator” games, a genre Star Wars is very familiar with.
If you want to completely immerse yourself in the experience of being a pilot in the Star Wars universe, look no further than Star Wars: Squadrons. The game puts players in the cockpit of iconic Star Wars ships, including X-Wings, Y-Wings, TIE Fighters, and TIE Interceptors, fighting for both the Rebellion and the Empire.
The game features a short but fun single-player mode that introduces players to the different ships. It also features a multiplayer mode. But like Battlefront II, players may have to ask around in Discord groups and online communities to find other people to play with. But the real big draw of Star Wars: Squadrons is the ability to plug in a VR headset and other flight peripherals for the ultimate immersive experience. So, if you have a VR headset or a flight stick lying around, you may want to consider checking Squadrons out.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga takes the joy of the Star Wars movies and turns it into … well, LEGO. The game isn’t meant to be challenging, difficult, or tough to understand. And that’s perfectly okay. It’s meant to be a “fun for all ages” game that both kids and adults can enjoy, stress-free.
Gamers can enjoy all nine Skywalker saga movies told through a LEGO-styled adventure. Along the way, players will take part in simple lightsaber, blaster, and ship combat. But the real joy is in finding all of the game’s collectibles. Whether it's discovering hidden blocks or unlocking your favorite character, the game has hundreds of hidden nuggets to uncover.
It’s also a game that can be played together. So if you have a friend or a family member who wants to play with you, the game allows for a second player to grab a controller and join the fun. Accessible, charming, and a blast for everyone, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga can provide laid-back gaming that can make for fun memories.
Of course, Star Wars has even more games coming up on the horizon. Not long from now, Massive Entertainment and Ubisoft will be releasing Star Wars: Outlaws in 2024. The game looks to be an ambitious adventure game where fans play as the character Kay Vess, a scoundrel looking to make a name for herself by taking on the biggest heist. It’ll be available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.
Not to mention that Respawn Entertainment is also working on even more Star Wars games, including a sequel to Star Wars Jedi: Survivor. These upcoming games will all likely be released many years from now, so we can’t provide many details about these future games. However, it’s likely that the currently available PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X|S consoles will still be capable of playing these games in the future.
Of course, there is a big library of other classic and iconic Star Wars games that are worth checking out. These include Star Wars: Republic Commando, The Force Unleashed series, the original Jedi Knight games featuring Kyle Katarn, and the highly influential Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic duology.
Over the past few years, many of these games have thankfully been restored and made available on newer hardware. Fans no longer have to track down older, obsolete consoles to play these classics. This means that a lot of the more popular games like Knights of the Old Republic and Republic Commando are accessible on consoles like the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 5.
Yet, not every legacy Star Wars game is as easily accessible. For those looking to track down and play as many old Star Wars games as possible, I recommend getting a PC. There are many older titles that can only be played on PC via the online retailer Steam or through other service providers.
What Console is Right for You
Now, it’s time to put all this information together and select what console is right for you. We’ve covered the Star Wars games that are worth checking out. Now let’s discuss the differences between each console and what are some other games you may be interested in.
In brief, most players will want to pick up either a PlayStation 5 or an Xbox Series X|S. Both allow consumers to play the newer Star Wars games and access great libraries outside of Star Wars. However, some minor differences and exclusive games are still worth highlighting and discussing.
The exclusive titles are the biggest difference between the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X|S. PlayStation has prided itself on building a large catalog of critically acclaimed games made exclusively for the PlayStation 5 in recent years. Many of these titles are single-player, action-driven games that you probably already heard of or are even interested in.
Some of these critically acclaimed titles include God of War, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Spider-Man, The Last of Us, Final Fantasy, and Ghost of Tsushima. While you can play many of these titles on PC, these games were originally designed for PlayStation 5 and (mostly) work best on that console.
But the PlayStation 5 is slightly more costly. The PlayStation 5 starts at around $400 for a digital-only version and about $500 for a version with a disc drive. Please note that the digital-only version can only play downloaded games through Playstation’s online store. Not to mention that the online service, called PlayStation Plus, required for online multiplayer games, has a higher upfront cost than Xbox’s online service.
However, the PlayStation 5 is currently the most popular selling console, and for good reason. While it may require a bit more of an investment, the library of games and the system’s specs are of undeniably good quality, meaning that most gamers will be satisfied with their purchase in the long run.
Xbox Series X|S
Jumping to the Xbox Series X|S, this console positions itself as the more consumer-friendly option that offers “more bang for your buck.” Of course, it’s up to the consumer to decide, and your mileage will vary from someone else. However, there’s no denying the amount of content available at a much cheaper upfront cost.
The Xbox Series X|S is actually two different models: the “S” and the “X” versions. The only big difference is the price. The “S” version starts at around $300, while the “X” version starts at around $500. This is due to the “S” version’s internal hardware and a lack of a disc drive, but don’t feel bad about this purchase. The Xbox Series S can still run all the games that the Xbox Series X can, and at a difference that most will probably not even notice.
On top of that, the Xbox’s service, Xbox Game Pass, offers a huge library of new and classic titles at a cheaper monthly rate, around $16.99 a month. For that price, Xbox fans can enjoy new titles like Starfield, Halo: Infinite, Forza Motorsport, and Doom, all at a cheaper monthly rate. The library has hundreds of new and older titles constantly rotating. Not all of these titles may be critical darlings, but having that large library available means you’re likely to find something you like. It is also a convincing alternative – having hundreds of games available at a cheap monthly rate – versus sometimes having to pay up to $70 for one new game.
On top of that, many of Xbox’s titles work cross-platform, meaning that players who pick up games on their Xbox can also enjoy them on a gaming PC. This may not be a big factor for those just getting into games, but for those who are interested in also playing on a gaming laptop on the go or want to upgrade to something better in the future, this feature may be extremely handy.
Nintendo is a household name that everyone’s heard of. With franchises like Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Pikmin, Kirby, and Super Smash Bros., these are games “you can’t go wrong with.” But, like the other consoles, there are a few other factors to consider.
Nintendo consoles usually tend to be on the lighter side when it comes to hardware specs. That means consumers shouldn’t expect to play the latest, top-of-the-line, most visually impressive games out there. This also means fans aren’t likely to be playing Star Wars Jedi: Survivor or Star Wars: Outlaws on the Switch anytime soon. However, if you’re interested in playing classic Star Wars video games, the Switch will work just fine. There are a lot of remastered Star Wars games that are worth getting for the Switch.
The big factor to consider for the Nintendo Switch is its hybrid design. You can use the Switch like a traditional plug-and-play console or as a mobile handheld device, not unlike a phone. The hybrid design is great for those who want to play games at home and on the go. Whether it’s playing for 30 minutes on a short work break or filling time during a long flight, the Switch’s hybrid design is a unique trait that will certainly appeal to many individuals.
While the Switch doesn’t pack the biggest punch in terms of hardware, it makes up for it with its award-winning, exclusive titles meant for large audiences and its unique design that lets people play wherever and whenever. For those who also don’t have access to a TV, a Nintendo Switch can also be a great way to get in some fun gaming moments. And it’s hard to go wrong with so many large, family-friendly, beginner-friendly titles that continue to amaze after so many years.
While PC setups may not be the most beginner-friendly, the tradeoff of getting a gaming PC is the vast amount of games available (including some Star Wars games that are currently only on PC). The interchangeable hardware also means you can upgrade to the latest chips and equipment for the most optimal experience. Of course, that requires some technical knowledge and understanding.
For those just starting out, consider a pre-built gaming PC. There are a lot of businesses and stores that offer pre-built PCs with a lot of power at relatively reasonable prices. Gaming laptops can also be a good choice for those who want to play on the go and also need a new computer for work or school.
PC companies have also been making a big push into handheld gaming with devices like the Steam Deck and the ASUS-ROG Ally. These devices bear similar designs to the Nintendo Switch, allowing PC gamers to play on the go. These devices are also a bit simpler to use and navigate, making the barrier of entry much smaller for those wanting to try PC gaming. The PC gaming space is a constantly changing and innovating field. It can be daunting to get into, but it’s definitely worth at least checking out.
A Note on Accessibility
Each of us is different. We all have different bodies, minds, and abilities. Thankfully, game developers and publishers have made great efforts over the past few years to ensure everyone can enjoy games, regardless of abilities.
For those with mobility limitations that might make operating a controller difficult, check out Microsoft’s Adaptive Controller and PlayStation’s Access Controller. Both are first-party developed and allow extensions and other controllers to be attached so that friends and family can play along.
For people with visual, audio, or intellectual challenges, many game developers have made great strides in making their titles more accessible. There are a number of great games with built-in features such as menu narration, color-blind modes, audio cues, and specific in-game settings that help to make gaming more enjoyable.
For those interested, I’d recommend checking out the website and initiative “Can I Play That.” It’s a wonderful resource that also reviews games from the perspective of those with disabilities or other challenges.
Multiplayer, Internet Access, and Subscription Services
Certain games feature what’s called “multiplayer” modes. These are modes where players can compete and play with and/or against one another in online situations. Games with multiplayer modes include Star Wars: Battlefront II, Star Wars: Squadrons, the Call of Duty games, and the Halo franchise. For those looking to try these multiplayer modes, it’s important to consider two other items.
The first item is internet access. You'll need a good internet connection and the ability to connect your devices to WiFi. A good rule of thumb is that if you can stream TV, your connection should be good enough for gaming.
The second thing to consider is which subscription service to use. These include PlayStation Plus, Xbox Game Pass, and Nintendo Switch Online. Keep in mind all three of these subscription services have their own set of tiers. The cheapest tiers will give players access to multiplayer modes. The other tiers, while more expensive, also include many potentially valuable benefits, including access to a library of curated classic games.
In general, these two items are not necessary to get started. Only certain games require them. However, they definitely have benefits and are worthwhile if you can afford it. So check ahead before purchasing a game to see whether it has multiplayer and whether or not internet access or an online subscription is required.
What I Play
Sometimes, it’s good to learn someone’s personal tastes and preferences. Even if it turns out your tastes don't align, it can be a helpful place to start.
I play a wide variety of games each year. I own the three current consoles - the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and Nintendo Switch (OLED) - though I play primarily on my PlayStation 5. I usually prefer the PlayStation controller because it feels slightly more comfortable in my hands. It feels a bit heavier, more form-fitting, and makes less noise (which is good because I don’t want to wake others up when I play late at night). But over time, I've found myself playing on my Nintendo Switch more and more. The Switch is perfect for when I am outside, have 30 minutes to kill during my lunch break, am traveling on a flight, or when someone else wants to watch something on the big screen at home.
I currently do not do any PC gaming. I do not own the right equipment or have the financial ability. But when it comes to my favorite Star Wars game, it’d have to be Star Wars: The Old Republic. It’s an older title that I haven’t mentioned yet. But I have a lot of fond memories of playing that game when I was younger and when I did have a computer suitable for PC gaming. So, if you have a computer capable of running it, Star Wars: The Old Republic is an outstanding game with amazing writing, great characters, and an enthusiastic community that still plays it to this day.
It’s Worth It
At the end of the year, I always get a report from Microsoft and PlayStation, detailing interesting facts about my gaming habits. They tell me how many hours I’ve spent playing games, my most played genres, what time of day I like to play, and so forth. It’s very similar to Spotify's end-of-year report that it sends out as well.
Every year, this report reaffirms what I already know: I spend hundreds of hours each year playing video games. And I don’t regret any of the hours spent playing them!
There is so much to love about gaming. Whether you’re looking to dive into dynamic new Star Wars stories, looking to give the gift of gaming to someone else, or want to get in on the hobby yourself, endless hours of fun await. But before you jump in, consider your options. Check out other people’s reviews and opinions. Determine whether you’re able to make the investment. And if you do decide to get into it, I hope you learn to love it as much as I do.
This article just barely scratches the surface, so if you have other questions or want to chat with other like-minded individuals who want to appreciate and build positivity among the Star Wars fandom, feel free to join our Discord. Our “gaming” and “sw-gaming” channels include several members of our community (including myself) who are always happy to chat about the things we’re passionate about!