Review: Star Wars: Dark Forces Remaster

The 1995 classic first-person shooter gets a dazzling upgrade! Are Kyle Katarn's boots worth stepping into once more?

Star Wars: Dark Forces Remaster cover artwork. Image Credit:
Star Wars: Dark Forces Remaster cover artwork. Image Credit: /

Star Wars: Dark Forces emerged during an interesting time in Star Wars history. In the period between the releases of Return of the Jedi (1983) and The Phantom Menace (1999), fans were forced to turn to other media outside of the theatrical films to experience new adventures in the Star Wars galaxy, from books like the Thrawn trilogy to comics like Dark Empire.

During this period, a newer form of media began to increase in popularity vastly: video games. In the early to mid-nineties, no video game was more popular than Doom. An ultraviolent sci-fi horror first-person shooter focused on exploration, 1993's Doom quickly garnered attention due to its thrilling gameplay and realistic violence. Doom clones, as they came to be known, like Heretic and Rise of the Triad, rapidly flooded the video game market. Not wanting to be left behind, LucasArts rushed to get into the action. Doom proved that video games had finally progressed enough to be able to deliver a truly authentic Star Wars experience for the first time ever. In 1995, one of the most iconic and influential Star Wars video games of all time emerged: Dark Forces.

The story in Star Wars: Dark Forces is the original Rogue One, telling the tale of how the Rebel Alliance acquired the secret plans for the Empire's dreaded Death Star. In Dark Forces, though, this task is assigned to a lone agent: the mercenary Kyle Katarn, a character who became rather popular in the Star Wars Legends continuity in subsequent games. After the game's first mission, the story expands deeper into more uncharted territory. Shortly after the Battle of Yavin, Katarn investigates a mysterious new Imperial threat to the Rebellion: the fearsome Dark Trooper, which fans of The Mandalorian should immediately recognize.

Star Wars: Dark Forces Remaster. Kyle Katarn and Mon Mothma. Image Credit: /

Similar to Doom, Dark Forces is truly a blast to play. As Katarn, players genuinely feel like a veritable Star Wars hero, blasting their way through the Empire's sinister forces just like Luke Skywalker and his merry band of rebels. The game can be slightly tricky at times, but that's the life of a Rebel agent!

Players can also deeply customize how they want to play the game. In addition to the core game itself, it is a bounty of concept art and behind-the-scenes info for hardcore fans to really sink their teeth into, like a Kell Dragon! One of the best parts of the behind-the-scenes content is including a fully playable demo level that was originally intended to be the first level of the game before being cut for difficulty.

As for the remastering itself, I have truthfully never played the original 1995 version of the game for the PC, but the remaster looks excellent for such an old game. The cutscenes, in particular, look fantastic, especially the various starships, like Darth Vader's Executor and General Mohc's Arc Hammer.

Star Wars: Dark Forces is a game that I've always wanted to play, and I'm so glad that I've finally had the opportunity to experience this acclaimed game in such a spectacular way! Dark Forces Remaster is truly a delight for Star Wars fans, delivering an experience that remains faithful and challenging. Fans will love stepping into Kyle Katarn's boots (and ice cleats), blowing away stormtroopers, and exploring fascinating sides of the Star Wars galaxy that they've never seen before. This is genuinely a must-play game for any and every Star Wars fan. In the immortal words of Darth Vader, "The Force is strong with this one."

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