Time to pick up some power converters
It would cost you a fortune to buy every Star Wars game ever made. Not that you'd necessarily want to, either; for all the greats like Knights of the Old Republic and Rogue Squadron, you've also got time-forgotten stinkers like Super Bombad Racing and Masters of Teras Kasi. But what if you could add a dash of Star Wars goodness to the PC games you know and love - even the ones that have nothing to do science fiction? That's where these mods come in: free downloadables made by Star Wars aficionados for the benefit of their fellow Empire/Rebel-loving fans.
Provided you've found the right mod, you can transform a game you already own into something reminiscent of George Lucas' seminal sci-fi universe. Something as simple as a carefully modeled vehicle or the glow of a lightsaber can bring on a rush of Star Wars nostalgia. Other ambitious mods offer complete conversions that can live up to the quality of bona fide Lucasarts games (rest in peace, by the way). If you consider yourself a Star Wars fan, these are the mods you're looking for.
Speeder bikes and the Millennium Falcon in GTA 4
The denizens of Liberty City are constantly worried about being the victim of yet another carjacking, but until now, they never had to deal with a maniac zooming around on a laser-blasting speeder bike. Grand Theft Auto 4 mods offer myriad options for custom character models and cars, and it just so happens that two of the greatest user-made vehicles are Star Wars-related. First off is that iconic Return of the Jedi speeder bike, which is seemingly (and hilariously) indestructible if this video is any indication.
When you're ready to move up a weight class or fifty, you can spawn a to-scale version of the Millennium Falcon, which makes all those other rides look like little baby toys. You're sure to gain a newfound respect for Han Solo's piloting skills when you try to fly this thing between skyscrapers, given that you'll probably be crashing this behemoth of a spaceship into buildings nonstop. But thanks to the limitations of the mod, you won't get a scratch on the Falcon no matter how poorly you drive it. Not a scratch.
Star Wars: Requiem
Shoutouts are in order: commenter LordZarlon turned us on to this massive mod, which puts the 'Empire' in Sins of Solar Empire. This galactic RTS is already epic in scope, but when you toss in a couple thousand TIE Fighters and the Star Destroyers to back them up, the amount of space battle fantasy fulfillment goes off the charts. The Star Wars: Requiem mod adds a staggering amount of content, from new ship types and planets to subtle touches like character portraits and additional music tracks.
While the Star Wars films do a great job of making you feel like you're right there alongside the pilots during those Death Star-orbiting dogfights, you rarely get a chance to take in the battle as a whole. But this mod lets you zoom out to appreciate the Imperial and Rebel Alliance armadas in all their glory, or get up close and personal with the fleets as they exchange endless barrages of laser-cannon fire. It really puts into perspective just how massive the Star Wars conflicts (and the ships themselves) really are.
Troopers: Dawn of Destiny
Here's another excellent reader suggestion, courtesy of Jesse1066: a complete overhaul of Unreal Tournament 2004 that puts you in the boots of a Rebel or Imperial footsoldier. If you didn't already know from playing Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast or Rebel Commando, taking the first-person perspective behind a laser rifle feels incredible. And just because you can't use the Force doesn't mean you don't have a part to play in the battle for the galaxy.
With the Troopers: Dawn of Destiny mod, you'll be armed with tons of meticulously modeled blasters that you can put to the test in a variety of Star Wars-themed maps. But the best part might just be all the additional radio chatter, which includes fresh, made-for-the-mod voice-overs mixed with death screams straight out of the movies. Those pained grunts and crackly screams almost make you feel bad for shooting so many faceless Stormtroopers. Almost. Oh, and Troopers even has ship-flying segments - including the legendary Death Star trench run - for those times when you want to take a break from the FPS action.
The Sith Lords Restored Content Mod
What's this? A Star Wars game made better with a Star Wars mod?! If you weren't aware, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2 was originally going to have a lot more content, a huge chunk of which ended up getting cut when Obsidian Entertainment had to get the game done by deadline. This helps explains why so many players felt a little underwhelmed by the story's conclusion - but this mod helps bring the bulk of that lost content back to light.
The consensus is that The Sith Lords Restored Content allows you to experience the game as it was originally meant to be played, with additional cutscenes, loads of headache-averting bug fixes, and more plot resolution via extra scenes in the ending. If you played KOTOR 2 before and weren't thrilled with how it compared to BioWare's original, you owe it yourself to give this mod a try.
Star Wars Bear Force 2 (Mount and Blade: Warband)
Open-field battles weren't much of a thing in the Star Wars universe until Attack of the Clones. But after seeing an army of proto-Stormtroopers clashing with a massive host of droid Separatists on the big screen, who wouldn't want to see those types of battles play out in a game? Well, give that idea to a modder, and you know it's going to get made.
The Star Wars Bear Force 2 mod is among the best Star Wars Mount and Blade mods out there (yes, there's more than one). It not only gives you lightsabers, Jedi powers, and open battlefields - you also get to choose from multiple grunt classes, including Mandalorians, Stormtroopers, and droid units. Each class has several weapon options, including a vibroblade / blaster combo and a variety of explosives at your disposal. Nothing beats running across a field brandishing a lightsaber and watching blaster bolts whiz past your body, which you can experience for yourself in Bear Force 2.
Star Wars mods in Skyrim
If there's any game to mod, it's Skyrim. You can find a Skyrim mod (opens in new tab) for almost any fantasy you could think of, and Star Wars is no exception. From Imperial armor sets to lightsabers to fully functional blasters, modders have added tons of awesome stuff from Star Wars.
One of my absolute favorites is subtle, but no less amazing. The Death Star moon is a must-have addition to Skyrim, especially if you've loaded up a ton of Star Wars mods. This places the Death Star into the beautiful skybox, leaving it to float there while you put on your downloaded Jedi robes and slice up enemies with a modded lightsaber. It looks just like a moon, until you realize that... oh no. It's a space station.
Call of Duty 4: Galactic Warfare mod
If you had Call of Duty 4 on PC and didn't download the Galactic Warfare mod, you missed out. Unfortunately, the mod is basically dead outside of a clan of diehards. But this Call of Duty reskin definitely captures the spirit of the most uncivilized aspect of the Star Wars universe: blasting Stormtroopers and Rebel soldiers with an arsenal of space-age weaponry.
The mod plays like the source title, requiring your twitch reflexes to be at peak performance. Galactic Warfare has just about everything a Star Wars fan could want: You get to hold the iconic series' weapons in your hands, fight in locales like Mos Espa and Bespin, and even use Star Wars-inspired killstreaks and gadgets. For real. TIE Bombers strafe the map when you call in an airstrike.
Left 4 Dead 2 Star Wars Edition
Before you start getting all riled up saying that zombies have no business mixing with the sci-fi universe of Star Wars, the series actually has tons of examples of undead. I love Star Wars, and I also love zombies. Lucky for me, several genius modders decided to mix the two with Left 4 Dead 2: Star Wars Edition mods.
Tired of fighting the same old Infected? You can swap them out for bum-rushing undead stormtroopers. There's an option to turn the Tank zombie into a yoked, mutated Darth Vader (who plays the Imperial March theme upon spawning). You can even play as Imperial survivors, changing out the classic characters with a Scout Trooper, Dark Trooper, TIE Pilot, and non-infected version of Luke's dad. Heck, you can even change the weapon sounds to blaster sound effects, and carry the Sith Lord's lightsaber.
FTL Star Wars
Okay, yes. Faster Than Light's gameplay is probably more in line with the Star Trek brand of starship action, but it's still freaking awesome to use the classic Star Wars ships to explore the galaxy. With the FTL Star Wars mod, you can choose various capital ships from the beloved movies (and the crappy prequels) to destroy space pirates and escape the nigh-unstoppable enemy fleet.
You finally have the chance to command the crew of the Millenium Falcon, various Star Destroyers, and even Boba Fett's Slave 1. There are also nice touches to some of the ship systems, like FTL's drones. Instead of the drones being some arbitrary droid, the original art is replaced by starfighters for the respective capital ship. For example, if you choose a Mon Calamari ship, the drones will be squadrons of X-Wings, Y-Wings, or B-Wings, and Star Destroyers will launch various TIE Fighters.
Star Wars Chivalry
Ah, yes. Once again, brutal melee combat is made better with the inclusion of lightsabers. Chivalry already has all of the intricate combat systems needed for a lightsaber duel. There's blocking, dodging and dismemberment. You can cross blades with several different types of longswords and two-handed claymores. All that needs to be done is swap the Medieval weapons out for laser swords, and it's a Star Wars fan's dream come true. As if in response to my nightly prayers, some modders did just that.
Chivalry modders even went a step further than just adding lightsabers into the mix. You can also battle lightsaber-wielding Medieval knights in a Duel of the Fates map comprising and authentic set of narrow pathways suspended over a bottomless pit. Just crank up the appropriate theme music, and you're all set for some epic lightsaber battles.
Battlefield 2142 First Strike mod
The Star Wars Battlefront games have been some of the most memorable Star Wars games, and many a fan has been waiting for the series' next release. If you really can't wait for DICE's new-gen sequel coming in 2015, you might want to check out this Battlefield 2142 mod, First Strike.
Everything you would expect from a Battlefront title is here. There are multiple expansive maps, ranging from the deserts of Tatooine to the forests of Endor. You can hop into the classic vehicles like speeder bikes, AT-ST walkers, and T-16 Skyhoppers at any time during land battles. Plus, you can engage in full-scale space battles that allow you to pilot TIE Fighters, X-Wings, and other spacecraft. But the best thing about this mod? People are still playing it. Even now, the team is working on bringing it to the Unreal 4 engine. It seems this is going to get support for a very long time.
Oh, and then there's this.
Download these. It is your destiny.
Those are just a few examples of some of the amazing mods out there. There's no way I could fit them all in here, so let me know what your favorite Star Wars mods for non-Star Wars games are in the comments below.