Star Wars: Dark Forces Remaster

Posted:  Feb 28, 2024
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The game was provided by Nightdive Studios for review. Thank you!

I feel like I end up saying this every game I review from Nightdive Studios, but there's a reason why they are the go-to studio for remastering classic games. From the Turok series to System Shock, the studio has consistently proven to value these old games, and instead of finding the flaws to fix, they preserve the essence while enhancing what they can to make it ready for modern audiences. With Star Wars: Dark Forces Remaster, they prove it once again by bringing back an awesome classic shooter into a new light while still feeling like the original.

As with most of their games/remasters, they are using their KEX engine, which means we have significantly better support on modern devices. we have 4K resolution and 120 FPS support, higher resolution textures, enhanced rendering and lighting, official controller/gamepad support, and some nice quality-of-life improvements to go along with these adjustments, making it a more playable game overall.

The first biggest change you will notice in the Dark Forces Remaster is the visuals, and it's probably one of my favorite aspects of the game. Nightdive has retained the older style of the original game in both cutscenes and gameplay content but increased its resolution and detail with new rendering effects. This helps create an awesome atmosphere that feels like what the original 1995 release would look like if it was made today. It doesn't add in a ton of new detail to make it look like a AAA game but instead focuses on making what was already there look sharper and cleaner, which really helps keep that classic vibe.

1995 Release
2024 Remaster
2024 Remaster
1995 Release

I also really enjoyed the soundtrack/sound effects being used. There were times it felt like a mush of different blaster noises and Stormtroopers shouting, but it created the intended effect of a hectic yet engaging battlefield. I also loved hearing the blaster noises coming from my guns and watching the enemies I hit go down. And, with the cutscenes being remastered, I can really enjoy the story of a covert op/spy trying to figure out and take down the doomsday army being created.

Then, we have the gameplay enhancements. Thanks to the new controller support and other improvements, it feels right at home playing however you want to. Movement feels tight and fast, while gunplay feels solid and great to shoot. We also have some nice improvements overall, like a weapon wheel to easily select from the 10 different weapons you can get and rumble effects that you can utilize throughout all of the 14 different levels.

While remastering Dark Forces is phenomenal and has the feel of the 1995 original release, it also means the game can sometimes feel like it was released in the 90s. There are some spots you need to platform, which can be obnoxious. There are very close-quarters segments that restrict vision a bit too much, and there isn't a lot of guidance, so you will be running around a lot and just looking through the entire level to figure out where to go next. This is very apparent when solving puzzles. It can be helped a bit by the map you can bring up, but if you don't like how games from the 90s were designed, you may feel like it doesn't do enough to modernize.

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In the end, that isn't what the goal of this remaster, and I feel it succeeds on all fronts, especially when we are playing on the Steam Deck.

Star Wars: Dark Forces Remaster - Steam Deck Performance

Star Wars: Dark Forces Remaster is an amazing game and runs extremely well on the Steam Deck. Without changing it, you will easily average around a 12W battery drain while playing at 90 FPS on the OLED Deck. This is incredible, and I highly recommend playing it just as is, but I did notice something a little weird.

Whenever I set the game to 60 FPS, it was able to run flawlessly, but it felt a little less fluid, which is something I don't normally feel in most games when making this adjustment. It's still very playable and does end up cutting battery life down a lot, but I enjoyed 90 FPS more. I did notice some battery drain spikes in specific areas and when moving around big buildings very fast, but for the most part, it was relatively low and the framerate never dipped.

I will provide two different builds with information, but since the game runs flawlessly either way, I won't go into more detail than I need to. This is a great game to play on the Steam Deck, no matter which model or framerate you set it at.


The Dark Forces Remaster has a solid amount of options to change, including some specific accessibility ones! You can toggle bobbing, weapon and HUD flashing, subtitles, the mission ending being automatic or manual, and you can change the Menu Transition Speed. On top of that, you can toggle autorunning, crouch types, change controller keybindings, vibration, and crosshair options.

The game does support 16:10 resolutions, and it has full controller and cloud save support. It also has simultaneous or mixed input support, so you can set your gyro to "As Mouse" and have great motion controls. There are no HDR settings for the game.


Star Wars: Dark Forces Remaster succeeds in recreating the Dark Forces experience from 1995 and bringing it into the modern era with new support, better visuals, and quality-of-life enhancements. All of this is done skillfully, keeping the essence of what made the original release so wonderful and making it feel just like the original. In some instances, this can be a bit obnoxious, like when platforming or solving puzzles, but I felt the pros heavily outweigh the cons.

As for the Steam Deck, it plays nearly perfect in almost every way. You can expect a flawless 60 or 90 FPS, depending on what you'd prefer, but in the end, you will have a great time no matter what. It is also a Best on Deck game since it needs no changes, regardless of the device you play on. Nightdive Studios has done it again, and I couldn't be more pleased!

Our review is based on the PC version of this game.

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SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

The Star Wars: Dark Forces Remaster is a fantastic facelift for the 1995 original both graphically and mechanically, and it runs great on the Steam Deck!


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Noah Kupetsky
A lover of gaming since 4, Noah has grown up with a love and passion for the industry. From there, he started to travel a lot and develop a joy for handheld and PC gaming. When the Steam Deck released, it just all clicked.
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Proton Version

No Forced Compatibility

Game Settings

Refresh Rate: 60Hz

Projected Battery Usage and Temperature

9W - 12W

53c - 59c

5.5 - 6 hours

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2 comments on “Star Wars: Dark Forces Remaster”

  1. Steam Deck OLED users should set a 72fps limit in order to eliminate judder. See Digital Foundry’s technical analysis video for an explanation as to why.