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I really liked Star Wars: Dark Forces.

Among the best FPS games I have played—granted I haven't played many old-school FPS nor am I really a huge fan of the genre in general, but this game brought long lost emphasis on things that I value in this genre: level design and the lack of handholding.

From my understanding, modern FPS games generally lack great level design where the levels themselves are fun to play thanks to the use of verticality and platforming among other things. I thought that Dark Forces did this really well, but sometimes a bit too much on the hidden side: sometimes hidden doors would camouflage so well with the environment that they become easily missable—but there was one time where I felt like it was fair because I could quite easily see that it was a hidden door. Anyway, back to my point regarding the level design: I think this is also partly why I could not get into DOOM 2016 that much, because its level design is way worse if I remember correctly.

Another area where Dark Forces excels—at least considering how old it is—is its movement and gunplay-feel, which I really liked. Blitzing through rooms gunning down enemies never gets old, and there is an extensive amount of weaponry available. I ended up really liking the grenades due to being able to blitz through or around rooms and throwing them quickly to take out groups.

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Now on to what I probably consider Dark Forces' biggest weakness, and that is its story. You barely get any exposition here, and the amount of cutscenes you get you can count on your fingers. You get these occasionally in between missions, and almost the whole story hinges on these, because outside of the cutscenes the story is basically nonexistent.

Another thing I did not like but that I feel some exaggerate, is how some of the puzzles are very hard to figure out on your own, particularly mission 6, which is the hardest mission in my opinion. I had to look up a few things throughout the game, but all in all it was all right and I ultimately felt that it did not detract too much from it—just do note this is old-school design.

The AI in this game is also completely dated and barebones: enemies do not take cover, and they will walk around shooting at you, so do not expect much here.

In terms of compatibility it wasn't too bad; I used a tool that made keyboard and mouse compatible and it worked really well. You should definitely use this if you decide to play it.

I ultimately really liked Dark Forces, and my rating for this game is a 88/100.

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