[Editor’s Note: Today we welcome PoisonTaco to the CRR writing team. His debut article takes a look at several different games that have Star Wars mods to give a fresh coat of paint to older titles.]
It’s 2011, SWTOR isn’t out yet and it may be hard to get that Star Wars fix. The last major Star Wars games were The Force Unleashed (2008) and The Force Unleashed 2 (2010), both of which feature no multiplayer and have received a mixed reaction from fans. Before that the last big Star Wars games were Battlefront II and Republic Commando, both being released in 2005. While SWTOR seems to be the only real hope for Star Wars fans out of LucasArts, the modding community has been hard at work creating various mods and conversions over the last few years. Some of them add to already existing Star Wars games such as Jedi Knight and Empire at War, while others take games such as Call of Duty and add a whole new Star Wars conversion to them. Today I will be looking at some of the best Star Wars mods, and many of them are good enough to be considered full games in their own right.
Movie Battles II
Take Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, the last game in the critically acclaimed Jedi Knight series and make it more fast-paced, more action-oriented and add even more depth to the lightsaber mechanics. On top of all that, add maps straight from the movies, Knights of The Old Republic and the expanded universe. What you get is Movie Battles. Not only does it revamp the multiplayer gameplay for Jedi Academy, it improves the visuals, is so good that it’s still played to this day and it is the most fun you’ll have playing as a Jedi. Period.
Movie Battles consists of two main modes, Open and Full Authentic. Each map has a set of objectives that each team needs to accomplish in a round, and every player has a limited number of lives. In Open, you have a variety of different classes to choose from such as gunners, troopers, Jedi, Sith, Clones, Mandalorians, and so on. Within each class you’re given points to spend on various abilities and weapons. Jedi and Sith allocate their points to saber offense/defense as well as various force powers. Gunner classes will spend points on things like weapons, sprinting, and extra lives. The Full Authentic game mode has pre-set classes for each individual map, as the name suggests, for a full authentic experience. One example is the Jedi Temple map. One team gets Anakin Skywalker and clones while the other team gets various Jedi. As you can expect Order 66 can be very fun to play in a full server setting!
There is so much more to this mod that I could devote an entire article to it. For example there is a map where you can play out KOTOR’s epic final duel on the Star Forge. Or how about Kyle Katarn vs. Jerec in the Valley of the Jedi? You can even play out a Death Star escape with your friends in Full Authentic mode and have a blast. It is an incredibly fun mod to play and is very easy to acquire. Jedi Academy sells for $9.99 on Steam and Movie Battles is free. The game is still heavily played, more so than base Jedi Academy.
Like it or not Call of Duty is currently the king of video gaming. If you’re into shooters it’s a fun game to drop in, play some team death match and drop out. Now what if you could have Call of Duty, but with a Star Wars skin over it? Well you can! There is a mod called Galactic Warfare for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. It features the Rebels against the Empire across a variety of maps from the Star Wars setting as well as some tweaked game modes and objectives. Even the kill streaks have been changed to fit the whole setting (the bombing run is done by TIE Bombers or Y-Wings). The level of detail is quite astounding for a fan-made project and the visuals are very impressive. It really makes you wonder how much money LucasArts would make if they did anything similar.
I have only dabbled in Galactic Warfare. The mod was only fully released on July 1st of this year. While the mod was in beta, the few servers that supported it were generally empty. This week though, I gave the mod a try and I was able to get into a server and play it for myself. It plays out exactly the same as Call of Duty, only with a Star Wars look and feel. If you are looking at giving this mod a try, Call of Duty 4 can be found on Steam for $14.99.
Watch trailer for Galactic Warfare here.
Battlefield 2142 is my favourite entry in that series. It’s only fitting that it is the Battlefield that gets the whole Star Wars makeover. In the same way that Galactic Warfare is your Star Wars Call of Duty, First Strike is your Star Wars Battlefield. Again the Rebel Alliance and Galactic Empire are fighting it out across maps from various locales such as Tatooine, Endor, Hoth and more. There are even a few maps that take place in space!
First Strike is a mod I have not gotten around to trying a whole lot. From what I do know, the modders have built up their own community around the mod and quite regularly host events such as multi-day campaigns so they can get people together for large server battles. I’ve been meaning to check this one out again and I probably will when I get a chance. If you don’t have Battlefield 2142 it sells for $19.99 over on EA’s Origin store.
Watch First Strike trailer here.
Republic at War, Thrawn’s Revenge and Ultimate Empire At War
Empire at War is a real-time strategy game set in the Star Wars universe between the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire. Featuring both space and ground battles, Empire at War puts you in a full galactic campaign as you move fleets and armies to conquer planets to further your goal of domination. As you can expect, the modding community has been hard at work over the years to bring Empire at War into other popular time periods in the Star Wars universe.
Republic at War replaces the Rebellion and Empire with the Republic and Confederacy and focuses on the Clone Wars. It features new units both on land and in space as well as new heroes. With a single-player campaign as well as multiplayer support you can play out the Clone Wars in your own way. If the Clone Wars isn’t your thing there is Thrawn’s Revenge, another mod that takes place during the New Republic era. Thrawn has returned and he has to unite the scattered Empire against the newly formed Republic. Will Thrawn be defeated? Or will there be a new Emperor for the galaxy? Rounding out the Empire at War mods is the upcoming Ultimate Empire at War. Ultimate Empire at War, while still in development, boasts four eras for players to play in: Old Republic (KOTOR), Rise of the Empire (Clone Wars), The Galactic Civil War, and the New Republic.
There are many, many more mods for Empire at War, ranging from conversions into other science fiction universes to additional Star Wars content. Empire at War is an incredibly fun RTS game and the mods available add so much to the game. Empire at War sells for $20 over on Steam.
Watch Empire at War trailer here.
Star Wars Requiem
Sins of a Solar Empire is the 2009 PC Game of the Year for a very good reason. It’s a fantastic 4X game that offers complexity and depth without overwhelming the player with too many decisions. Seeing as how the 4X genre is among the hardest to get into and learn, Sins does a really good job of easing newcomers in. It features three unique races, a massive tech tree and large scale maps full of planets to explore and conquer. It is only natural to expect someone would put in a Star Destroyer sooner or later. We then get the Star Wars Requiem mod.
Instead of being a full conversion, Requiem instead adds two new “races” to Sins of a Solar Empire. We get the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire. Each with its own strike craft, frigates, cruisers, and capital ships pulled straight from the Star Wars universe. Both the Rebels and the Empire benefit from their own modified tech tree along with their own unique technologies such as interdiction, tractor beams, and boarding parties. The mod also includes eight new planet types that fit well with the Star Wars universe. In addition the mod also includes overall graphical and UI improvements.
Having played this mod extensively for a time, I have to say that Requiem is very well balanced. Neither the Rebels nor the Empire are vastly overpowered or underpowered against the existing TEC, Advent and Vasari. It is also really cool to build up a fleet of Star Destroyers or Mon Calamari ships to take on the other races. It also comes with additional mods that I find essential for Sins of a Solar Empire such as the improved particle effects and different planet types. There are a few excellent mods for Sins, and Requiem is one of the best! One thing to note is that the Requiem mod is available only if you at least have the Entrenchment expansion. It’s also fully available for the Diplomacy expansion. Sins of a Solar Empire Trinity (includes Entrenchment and Diplomacy) sells for $20 over on Impulse.
Watch video of Requiem here.
Freeworlds: Tides of War
Still in development and set to release in December, Freeworlds: Tides of War is a full multiplayer conversion for Freelancer. It’s a mod that takes place during the New Republic era and has multiple systems to explore. You’ll be able to take control of the iconic starfighters such as X-Wings and TIE Fighters, but you’ll also be able to acquire larger capital ships such as Mon Calamari Cruisers and Imperial Star Destroyers. While this mod isn’t quite finished, it is in closed beta and is definitely one to watch if you are an X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter fan. TOR may or may not be out before Freeworlds: Tides of War, but if you are looking for deep space combat, this is the mod for you.
Watch Freeworlds development video here.
If you do some digging, you can find some very good mods for any game out there. If a Star Wars game is released, you can bet people will mod it to include more than the base game. People who split from the Movie Battles team have moved onto their own new projects. Some of them include Movie Battles on Source, and Movie Battles on the Unreal Engine. Either way if you are a Star Wars fan and you want something to play while you wait for TOR, these are all good enough to hold you over.