Role playing is a heavy investment, requiring time and dedication to delve into their complex subtleties. With a myriad of choices and divergent styles, finding the right one can be overwhelming. We are here to help you. This article breaks down our recommendations into a multitude of categories, dedicated to what is important to you in an RPG. Whether it’s combat, history or a favorite sub-genre, it’s covered. We tried to recommend newer games, but we didn’t want to completely avoid the beloved classics in case you wanted something more nostalgic.
Suitable for beginners
Suitable for beginners
The biggest barrier to accessing role-playing games can be their intimidating systems and their overall complexity. If you’re new to the game, here are our picks for some of the games best suited for newcomers.
With simplistic mechanics that are just deep enough and useful tutorials, Pokémon: Sword & Shield is one of the best “starter RPGs” out there, regardless of age, although there is a hidden complexity for those looking for it. Likewise, Dragon Quest XI returns to the first era of RPGs, with a traditional combat that is both accessible and rewarding.
Diablo III is a dazzling hack-and-slash adventure with an extremely flexible classroom system, and its controls make it simple to play and play regardless of platform. If you are looking for the RPG experience in the open world, Skyrim is a must-have game and offers a ton of customization by offering total control over the growth of statistics instead of traditional classes. Do not be discouraged by its massive reach, nothing is too difficult to grasp and it is one of the easiest games to get lost. Chrono Trigger is another fantastic choice due to its simplistic but fun mechanics, thanks to the satisfying team attacks and a multitude of characters with varied abilities.
Sometimes you just want to go back to the promising beginnings of the genre and see why certain titles are so popular. It’s always easier said than done, because some games have not stood the test of time. Although these games can show their age, they can also be considered “compulsory reading”.
Chrono Trigger is still a feature of the genre that is just as fun to play today as it was two decades ago. It hasn’t changed the direction of RPGs, but everything is well executed, including New Game + functionality, time travel aspects and multiple endings.
Western RPG fans should explore Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition, which is a great way to watch this basic isometric RPG with a few upgrades. One of BioWare’s first titles, it has a huge history and your group members care deeply about your actions. Strategy / RPG fans should check out the deep working system of Final Fantasy Tactics, which has provided massive customization alongside an intense and engaging story.
System Shock 2 has set a new standard for open gameplay and has combined multiple genres into an incredible package. Nowadays, RPGs borrow from different genres, using shooting mechanisms and parkour elements, but System Shock 2 was one of the first RPGs that didn’t fit perfectly into a single box. Planescape: Torment was also ahead of its time when it came to how storytelling could impact – or even replace – gameplay, proving that combat didn’t need to drive the experiment.
You spend a lot of time defeating enemies in RPGs, so choosing a combat system that suits your style is essential. If you like to evaluate and choose the actions of your group members in a more traditional turn-based configuration, many quality options have their own unique hooks.
Dragon Quest revels in its simplistic design while keeping things intense, Persona’s fight revolves around the exploitation of elementary and physical attributes, and Trails of Cold Steel mixes enemy weaknesses, character placement and timing.
For those looking for turn-based systems outside of traditional JRPG, the Lovecraft-inspired dungeon robot, Darkest Dungeon, keeps you on your guard by forcing you to carefully build your team with complementary capabilities, balance your HP and your stress levels, and capitalize on the enemy characteristics. Slay the Spire lets you create your own deck of cards to take to battle, intelligently combining the fun of building a powerful game with the eternal replayability of a roguelike.
Do you like the adrenaline rush of using your contraction skills to defeat enemies? We have what you need. The atmospheric and horror-inspired Bloodborne is a faster, more offense-oriented version of Soul Software’s popular formula, where challenge permeates experience and every death brings a lesson. Square Enix recently reorganized Final Fantasy VII with an action-oriented combat system, combining careful strategy with elegant action. Speaking of elegant action, Nier: Automata is the definition, with its flashy dodges and cool attacks highlighting the strengths of Platinum Games.
The Kingdom Hearts series features new combat mechanics in each entry as well as breathtaking boss battles to put your skills to the test. Falcom helped pioneer the action / RPG genre and continued to publish stellar action titles. This extends to Ys VIII: Lacrimosa de Dana, with its fluid controls and rapid combat, where dodging and blocking at the right time are an integral part of success. Each of these games has memorable boss fights, which only makes victory more satisfying when you defeat one.
Do you like deep, labyrinthine stories and fully developed characters? You can read a lot of text in these RPGs, but they are worth eye strain.
Whether you explore metaphysical dilemmas in Torment: Tides of Numenera or face societal injustices in Persona 5 Royal, there is no shortage of intriguing intrigue to explore. Trails of Cold Steel weaves a complex and delirious story about military policy, friendship and the impact of the war that spans several games.
The thought-provoking Disco Elysium eschews traditional RPG attributes for a more dialogued approach, creating a unique introspective and dark journey of a detective battling his inner demons. There’s a reason why Andrzej Sapkowski’s Witcher series has gained such a reputation, and it extends to games. The Witcher 3 is CD Projekt Red’s most ambitious tale and capitalizes on the rich tradition of novels, but stands out as a rare example of a game committed to putting the player in truly ambiguous moral situations; the choices are neither celebrated nor condemned, leaving you to think about your decisions.
Science Fiction Epics
Science Fiction Epics
Whether it’s advanced weapons or space exploration, science fiction settings generally provide us with intriguing ways to explore imaginative or futuristic concepts, and what bigger stage for that than an RPG?
The Mass Effect trilogy is one of the most recognized and appreciated examples of space opera. He puts you in the shoes of Commander Shepard, whose mission is to save the galaxy from the invading reapers. Shepard’s journey is punctuated by new characters, difficult choices and surprising revelations. The Outer Worlds takes a lot of cues from Mass Effect and also incorporates Fallout-style freedom of play in terms of how you approach situations, such as speaking out of combat or choosing locks to get around obstacles as you explore a ruined space colony controlled by evil corporate interests.
For a more classic experience. Star Ocean: First Departure R, is a remaster for the PSP remake of SNES RPG 1996. The action / RPG begins with you in search of a cure for a mysterious disease, but soon leads to the discovery of other beings and to beginnings of a galactic war, forcing your group to tap into time travel and advanced technologies.
Torment: Tides of Numenera takes a more metaphysical and philosophical approach to its history, ultimately wondering if a life matters. The game takes place in the distant future where the rise and fall of civilizations left Earth in a medieval state, forcing you to explore artifacts to learn more about what happened with past civilizations. Finally, Star Wars has become synonymous with science fiction, and what better way to live out these fantasies than playing as a Jedi, choosing whether to line up with the light or dark side of the Force, in Knights of the Old Republic ? Great characters, memorable moments and the use of cool Force powers make this a journey worth living.
Perhaps the magic, the supernatural or the things that make up myths and legends hold your interest. Games rooted in the fantasy genre are not hard to find; after all, magic is a staple of RPG combat. However, some adventures turn more towards the complete realization of a fantastic setting than others.
The Dragon Age series created its biggest rivalry with the Templars and the Magi by asking a simple question: how would our world react if magic really existed? Dragon Age: Inquisition increases this dilemma, especially when a new old threat arrives, forcing you to gather allies and resources to unite a disparate world.
The Witcher novels have broken new ground in the fantasy genre, and the CD Projekt Red video games do justice to monster killer Geralt and his heartbreaking travels. You get the thrill of facing mythical beasts while meeting fantastic characters, such as the sarcastic witch Yennefer and the determined Ciri. The latter is at the center of the plot of The Witcher 3 as a dangerous organization pursues her to use her powers for evil.
Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire puts you back in the role of “The Watcher”, a character who can read people’s memories and see their past lives, but this time you can help or hinder various factions vying for control from the Deadfire area. If that is not enough, you will ultimately decide the future of the gods and mortals. South Park: The Stick of Truth makes fun of the genre, taking you on a humorous journey to get the coveted “stick of truth” to win an epic fantasy war. Expect to fight everything from Nazi zombies to gnomes, as all bets are turned off when you can kill enemies with farts.
Finally, if you just appreciate a good backdrop of high fantasy without great story to follow, the Action Dogma / RPG Dragon offers more experience in its gameplay and combat, where you choose to be anything from an Assassin to a Magic Archer.
Typing Strategy / RPG
Typing Strategy / RPG
Taking your time to formulate a plan and watch your units evolve to unstoppable powers is what makes strategy / RPG so entertaining. The genre has gained momentum in recent years and there is no shortage of games to deliver the tactical experiences we dream of.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses was a huge success that made you care about your fighters by placing yourself in the role of a teacher, giving your wisdom on the hardships of life on and off the battlefield. Valkyria Chronicles 4 is another solid choice for its hybrid approach, as you use a tactical map to assess the situation, then directly control the units to lead them to victory.
Wargroove takes a lot of clues from Advance Wars, but always adds unique elements, such as interesting ways to counter various units and unique card conditions. It also allows you to tailor your strategy by providing requirements for guaranteed criticism, such as moving a number of spaces before hitting.
If you’re looking for something where your choices have an impact on the narrative and go beyond the heat of battle, the The Banner Saga trilogy puts many meaningful decisions in your hands that take into account everything from morale to availability. characters. Of course, not everyone wants things to be so serious and sinister, so so light and exaggerated is no longer your jam, Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance has covered you up with ridiculous attacks that can inflict absurd damage (in millions !)) and stupid characters like Usalia who likes curry.
If you want a game that you can come back to for the long haul, now may be the time to consider an MMORPG. World of Warcraft is always at the top of the pack, with its constantly changing world that is worth exploring. With multiple expansions under your belt this can be daunting, but current experience bonuses – including increasing your character to the maximum level – mean you can catch up quickly.
Final Fantasy XIV and The Elder Scrolls Online are also great choices if you are in these franchises and want to fully immerse yourself in their universe. If you are looking for something historic, Final Fantasy XIV delivers, capitalizing on its rich tradition to complement the gameplay. It is also a good choice for players who like to play solo. It took a while, but The Elder Scrolls Online is finally keeping its promise with its vast, intriguing world where you can explore at your leisure or with friends, and it’s one of the most accessible MMORPGs around.
Those of you who love customization and are always ready to grow and improve should check out the free Warframe cooperative shooter / RPG action; new weapons, items and Warframes with unique abilities are always at hand. Another science fiction MMORPG, Phantasy Star Online 2, recently arrived in North America, and features real-time actions / RPGs, unique classes, cool weapons and great flashy moves. Better yet, it also looks like a very user-friendly MMORPG for newcomers.
Sometimes big RPGs just don’t fit the mainstream, but their gameplay and unique stories help build smaller, more dedicated fans.
Many remember Star Wars: the Knights of the Old Republic of BioWare, but its next game is often forgotten. Jade Empire is an action / RPG game with a moral system imbued with Chinese mythology and aesthetics, offering a refreshing change of pace from typical fantasy environments. If you’re looking for another game that goes against the fantasy trend, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines is an ambitious, choice-driven adventure set in modern Los Angeles, combining smart writing with non-linear game design. As a recently transformed vampire, players align with one of the seven clans, which influences not only how they are perceived by other characters, but also the abilities they can learn.
Although Nier: Automata was a success, its predecessor first had a hard time before winning an audience for its strange quirkiness and its eclectic gameplay, which range from 3D hack-and-slash to draw them to the horror of survival. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is unfortunately the only game that 38 studios have released, but it’s an action / RPG gem with huge amounts of content, a vivid color palette and a rewarding fight. Odin Sphere is a delicious beat ’em up set in a beautiful 2D world drawn by hand. His remake on PS3 / PS4 / Vita improved the original combat mechanics by adding specific character abilities and included new stages and redesigned graphics.
Many consider RPGs to be solo games, but some know it is more fun to play with friends. Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a superb turn-based adventure that allows a ton of freedom and is played like a virtual D&D session. Borderlands 3 features stellar first-person shooter combat that gets better when you have a group to take full advantage of its unique character classes and distributes loads of random loot. And if you are particularly fond of random loot hunting, no game satisfies itching better than Diablo III. Playing with friends leads to fast, blood-soaked chaos, and it is enhanced by the game’s endless adventure mode, which makes you lose hours of gameplay loop.
Monster Hunter: World is a much slower experience that also relies on an engaging game loop, but rather than getting random loot, you hunt specific bosses to craft the gear you want. Battles are never played twice in the same way thanks to artificial intelligence A.I. and the turf wars that pit monsters against each other, and the staggering amount of variety of weapons makes a full hunting party compulsory.
While it’s fun to play a light game that can be finished in 10-20 hours, sometimes you want a meatier experience that keeps you coming back for more. Diablo III’s Adventure mode is an endless cycle of random bonuses scattered across all the acts in the game, and completing them will help you unlock new blacksmith recipes that you can use to hone your character building. There is also a season mode, which requires you to create a new character and take on overall challenges by the end of the season in order to unlock rare cosmetics.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has so much secondary content that it can be overwhelming. These are not your standard search quests, but rather mini-scenarios that give you a glimpse into the lives of the people around you and immerse you in the wonderful but brutal world of the game. Two separate expansions also provide 25 to 60 hours additional quests.
The side quests in Xenoblade Chronicles aren’t as deep as The Witcher 3, but they are plentiful with over 400, which gives you an excuse to explore every corner of the vast surroundings. The recently released HD remake on Switch also includes an epilogue, adding even more push-in content. Assassin’s Creed first ventured into RPG territory with Origins, but Odyssey has perfected the formula. There is a huge amount of quests, a gigantic world to explore, rival mercenaries to hunt down and two multi-chapter DLC packs.
No game, however, is more famous for its secondary content than The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It is filled to the brim with side stories, many of which require you to join the many factions of the game or stumble upon exploring the world. You can spend dozens over dozens of hours exploring what Skyrim has to offer before you even hit the main quest line, and that doesn’t include its expansions.