It’s good to be bad.
After watching the Star Wars films you might be caught up in the story of the heroes, wishing you could be more like them. For some of us, though, the bad guys also speak to us, and while we certainly don’t want to be evil, it’s fun to take on a bit of the dark side and explore what being something so antithetical to ourselves is like. To that end, here are four games that let you explore the dark side of the Force, and also just happen to be a heck of a lot of fun to play.
1. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
Minutes into The Force Unleashed, you’re given one of the most satisfying tastes of the dark side of the Force. Playing as either Darth Vader or Starkiller, you use the Force to relentlessly toss enemies into the air, rip apart the environment, and bend people’s minds to your will. Watching stormtroopers flail about as you toy with them and ripping a Star Destroyer from the sky give you a sense of empowerment few other Star Wars experiences have matched. It’s tough to play a good guy, especially when you have such power that you might have accidental casualties, but The Force Unleashed just popped you into area after area and dares you to destroy any and everything before you, with a viciousness the Sith in the films scarcely demonstrated.
2. Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
You might start out as one of Luke Skywalker’s new generation of promising Jedi, but you can gain numerous dark side powers throughout the campaign of Jedi Academy. Force choking an opponent and then dropping them off a cliff never ceases to be satisfying, though it might cause your dear Jedi Masters to frown a little. Of course, if you don’t want to go full on Darth Vader, you can always channel a bit more Emperor Palpatine, rending your enemies’ life force out of them with abilities such as Force drain or Force lightning. In the end, you don’t even have to go full evil to get a taste, either, which is definitely not the case with the rest of the games on this list.
3. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
For many of my gaming friends growing up, Knights of the Old Republic was what brought Star Wars back into their lives in a big, big way. This game not only presents one of the best Star Wars stories since the films and some of the Legends novels, but also has a rich role-playing game experience that allows you to decide how your character would come together. To that end, you repeatedly make choices that determine whether you follow the dark or the light, and it affects everything from the abilities you have to the relationships with your companions. If you’ve ever wanted to experience the struggles of power versus doing what’s right, few games capture this in the same way as Knights of the Old Republic.
4. Star Wars: The Old Republic
Knights of the Old Republic allows you to choose whether you will follow the dark or the Light Sides of the Force, but ultimately those choices are tied to a single storyline. In The Old Republic, you can play several storylines for the “good” or “bad” guys, choosing in each whether you want to follow the dark or light paths with your actions. Doing so affects the look of your character, too, making truly sinister Sith characters look especially evil.
You can also get deep into the lore and life of a Sith, too. From pursuing political gains by earning favor with powerful Sith Lords to outright treachery, you can be a ruthless wielder of the dark side. You can even pursue different paths within the dark side, focusing more on blade-based combat or going deep into the dark arts as a Sith Sorcerer. More than any other game on this list, The Old Republic gives you the deepest look at the culture, background, and values of the dark side.
You don’t have to give yourself over to the dark side to enjoy these games, and I hope that you’ll check them out. Most are available on various platforms for very little money, and Star Wars: The Old Republic is even free-to-play. It’s fun to play the good guys, but sometimes it feels real good to see what the…less savory side of the Force has to offer.
Anthony Gallegos is a freelance writer who loves Star Wars and video games. He’s written for publications like IGN, GameSpy, 1UP, EGM, and Games for Windows: The Official Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at @chufmoney.