There are a lot of good Sci-Fi games (and unfortunately far more terrible ones). The following ones are my favorites (in no particular order) – as always highly subjective.
As you can see from the age of some of these games, I’ve done this for a while.
Master of Orion (PC, 1993)
I instantly fell in love with Master of Orion when it came out for PC in 1993. It was like Civilization in Space. Lots of options, nice graphics (for a strategy game in 1993) and solid gameplay. I also loved the second part which came out three years later. The third part however was not so great.
Star Trek: Voyager – Elite Force (PC, 2000)
I think this was the only Star Trek game that I really loved and that positively surprised me. ‘A Final Unity’, the ‘Star Trek: 25th Anniversary’ game (which came on a lot of floppy disks and took several hours to install on my 386 PC) and ‘Judgment Rites’ were decent games but they only stood out because they were far less disappointing than all the other Star Trek games.
As I love to customize my avatars, I especially liked that I could chose the gender of my avatar – a feature the second part unfortunately left out. Although the well known TV and movie characters only played a minor role and despite the fact that it was based on Voyager the story was solid. (Together with ‘Enterprise’, ‘Voyager is my least liked Star Trek show; I actually stopped watching it in the 5th season).
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (XBox and PC, 2003)
A superb game from Bioware. They expended the Star Wars universe masterfully for this game. Lots of avatar customization and I only was a bit disappointed about the lack of romance options for a female avatar.
Great story and gameplay combined in a very long game. The best Star Wars game I have played.
StarCraft (PC and Mac; 1998)
I don’t think I need to write a lot about this. StarCraft is the most popular real time strategy game of all time. And it is also a very good Sci-Fi game with a good story with a lot of twists and turns.
StarCraft II was just released – actually the first part of three.
Mass Effect (and part 2) (XBox 360 and PC, 2007)
Another masterpiece from Bioware. ‘You are Commander Sheppard and you must save the galaxy.’ What could have been a Sci-Fi cliche fest turned out to be superb – thanks to Bioware.
Full avatar customization, a fantastic original universe, great story and believable characters make this my favorite game series. I think I would have enjoyed this far less had I been limited to play it with the male standard avatar.
In this game your choices actually matter. Depending on who you love, who you save and who you kill the story changes; these decisions actually carry over from the first part of the game to the second part (if you’ve kept your save game file)
The second part is now also available on the PS3.
Homeworld – The first true 3D space strategy game. Nice story although it was only told with still images.
Total Annihilation – No story to speak of, but great Sci-Fi setting, tons of units and fabulous multiplayer mode.