A New Hope
Where it all began. A New Hope kicks off with the Imperial raid on Tantive IV, which is an undeniably cool sequence. Playing as Leia and Captain Antilles, you need to make your way through a burning ship, to the escape pods, in an attempt to get a message to Obi-Wan Kenobi. Being an introductory level, you’re shown the ropes (regardless of whether you knew the roles or not), but the highlights come from the background chatter. Vader doing his best “this is your captain speaking” schtick will never not be funny.
Things don’t slow down, either, as you’re tasked with protecting Chewbacca as he fixes the Millenium Falcon on Tatooine. The hoards of Stormtroopers gives the level a frantic feel, and there are enough secrets to keep things enjoyable through multiple playthroughs, too. “Best Leia’d Plans” is a slower, stealthy level through the Death Star, which I don’t necessarily mind here. Again, the background chatter is a delight. Some of the series’ finest, really.
“This is Some Rescue” amps things up a little, having you switch between Luke and Leia, and Han and Chewbacca, as you try to make your way off the Death Star. There’s a constant “forwardness” to the level, rarely allowing itself to get sidetracked, or asking you to go backwards. It flows really nicely. Finally, we end with the Rebel’s attack on the Death Star. Like most vehicle levels, it’s a joy. Between taking down enemy TIE fighters, proton torpedoing shields, and the trench run itself, everything just feels right.
On this list, A New Hope is where things start to get really good. There is a little downtime here, but not much, and certainly not enough to taint the experience. From start to finish, it just feels nicely paced. Very little to complain about, here.