The world of role-playing games (RPGs) is vast and varied, with countless titles vying for the title of “best.” But what makes an RPG truly great? Is it the immersive storyline, the engaging characters, or the challenging gameplay mechanics? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the greatest RPGs of all time, examining what sets them apart from the rest and why they continue to captivate gamers worldwide. So whether you’re a seasoned RPG veteran or just starting your journey, buckle up and get ready to discover the best RPGs the gaming world has to offer.
The Evolution of Role-Playing Games
The Early Years: Paper-and-Pencil RPGs
Dungeons & Dragons
Dungeons & Dragons, often abbreviated as D&D, is a paper-and-pencil role-playing game that was first published in 1974 by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. It is widely considered to be the first modern role-playing game and has since spawned numerous spin-offs, expansions, and imitators. The game is set in a fantasy world and involves players taking on the roles of characters such as wizards, warriors, and rogues. The game is typically played by a group of players who take turns acting as the game master, who controls the story and world, and the other players who control their characters.
Call of Cthulhu
Call of Cthulhu is a tabletop role-playing game that is based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft. It was first published in 1981 by Chaosium, and it has since become one of the most popular and influential horror-themed role-playing games. The game is set in the 1920s and involves players taking on the roles of investigators who are attempting to solve a cosmic mystery. The game emphasizes investigation and horror elements, rather than combat, and is known for its emphasis on player choice and consequences.
Paranoia is a tabletop role-playing game that was first published in 1984 by West End Games. It is set in a dystopian future and involves players taking on the roles of trouble shooters who work for a sinister organization known as “The Computer.” The game is known for its dark humor and satirical take on the dangers of paranoia and surveillance. The game is typically played by a group of players who take turns acting as the game master, who controls the story and world, and the other players who control their characters.
The Golden Age of Video Game RPGs
The 8-Bit Era
During the 8-bit era, role-playing games were in their infancy. Games like Dungeons & Dragons and Wizardry laid the foundation for what would become a beloved genre. With simple graphics and text-based gameplay, these games allowed players to create characters and embark on quests in a fantasy world. The emphasis was on storytelling and character development, with turn-based combat and simple puzzles to solve.
The 16-Bit Era
The 16-bit era saw a significant leap forward in the evolution of RPGs. Games like Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, and The Secret of Mana brought stunning graphics and immersive worlds to life. These games featured deep storylines, complex characters, and epic battles. They also introduced features like a more robust inventory system, side quests, and character customization options. The RPG genre continued to grow and evolve, capturing the hearts of gamers worldwide.
The 32-Bit Era
The 32-bit era saw the emergence of games that would become classics. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Final Fantasy VII, and Diablo set new standards for RPGs. With cutting-edge graphics and immersive worlds, these games pushed the boundaries of what was possible in the genre. They featured more intricate storylines, deeper character development, and improved combat systems. The RPG genre continued to expand, with more and more gamers discovering the joys of playing a great RPG.
Today, the RPG genre is as strong as ever, with countless titles across multiple platforms. But which game is the best RPG of all time? In the next section, we’ll explore the contenders for that title and examine what makes each one a classic.
The Modern Age of RPGs
World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft, often abbreviated as WoW, is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed by Blizzard Entertainment. Released in 2004, it has since become one of the most popular MMORPGs in the world, with over 100 million accounts created. The game is set in the Warcraft universe, and players can choose from a variety of races and classes to create their characters.
Guild Wars 2
Guild Wars 2 is another popular MMORPG that was released in 2012. Developed by ArenaNet, the game is set in the same world as its predecessor, Guild Wars, but takes place 250 years later. Players can choose from eight different races and create their own unique characters. The game is known for its dynamic events, which are large-scale, multi-stage battles that players can participate in.
Final Fantasy is a long-running series of JRPGs developed and published by Square Enix. The first game was released in 1987, and since then, the series has grown to include over a dozen mainline games, as well as numerous spin-offs and remakes. The games are known for their expansive worlds, complex storylines, and unique character designs.
Persona is a series of JRPGs developed and published by Atlus. The first game, Persona, was released in 1996, and since then, the series has grown to include several mainline games, as well as spin-offs and anime adaptations. The games are known for their blend of traditional JRPG gameplay with elements of role-playing and social simulation.
The Elder Scrolls
The Elder Scrolls is a series of Western RPGs developed by Bethesda Game Studios. The first game, The Elder Scrolls: Arena, was released in 1994, and since then, the series has grown to include several mainline games, as well as spin-offs and anime adaptations. The games are known for their open-world gameplay, where players can explore vast environments and interact with a variety of characters.
Fallout is another series of Western RPGs developed by Bethesda Game Studios. The first game was released in 1997, and since then, the series has grown to include several mainline games, as well as spin-offs and anime adaptations. The games are known for their post-apocalyptic settings, where players must survive in a harsh world filled with danger and adventure.
Defining the Best RPG
Combat systems in RPGs can be complex and varied, with different mechanics and rulesets for different types of battles. Some RPGs use turn-based combat, where players take turns making attacks and using abilities, while others use real-time combat, where players must actively manage their actions in the heat of battle.
- Turn-based combat: In turn-based combat, players take turns making attacks and using abilities. This allows players to carefully plan out their strategy and tactics, and can lead to more strategic and thoughtful gameplay.
- Real-time combat: In real-time combat, players must actively manage their actions in the heat of battle. This can lead to more fast-paced and intense gameplay, as players must make quick decisions and react to changing situations.
Character progression is a key aspect of RPGs, as it allows players to grow and develop their characters over the course of the game. Different RPGs have different ways of handling character progression, such as leveling up, gaining new abilities, and improving equipment.
- Leveling up: In RPGs that use a leveling system, players earn experience points (XP) by completing quests, defeating enemies, and progressing through the story. As players earn XP, they gain levels, which can unlock new abilities, skills, and equipment.
- Gaining new abilities: Some RPGs allow players to gain new abilities as they progress through the game. These abilities can be tied to specific character classes or archetypes, or they can be more general and apply to all characters.
- Improving equipment: Many RPGs allow players to improve their equipment over time, either by finding better gear or by upgrading existing equipment. This can include improving weapons, armor, and trinkets, as well as acquiring new items and resources.
Storytelling is a key aspect of RPGs, as it provides the context and motivation for the player’s actions. Different RPGs have different approaches to storytelling, such as linear storylines, branching narratives, and player choice.
- Linear storylines: Some RPGs have a linear storyline, where the player must follow a set path and complete a series of predetermined quests and objectives. This can lead to a more focused and streamlined experience, but may also feel more restrictive to some players.
- Branching narratives: Other RPGs have a branching narrative, where the player’s choices and actions can affect the outcome of the story. This can lead to a more dynamic and replayable experience, as players can explore different paths and outcomes.
- Player choice: Some RPGs allow players to make choices that have a significant impact on the story and characters. These choices can range from minor dialogue options to major plot decisions that can drastically alter the course of the game.
World-building is another key aspect of RPGs, as it provides the setting and context for the player’s actions. Different RPGs have different approaches to world-building, such as detailed lore and history, immersive environments, and unique cultures and factions.
- Detailed lore and history: Some RPGs have a rich and detailed lore and history, which can provide players with a deep understanding of the game’s world and characters. This can include backstories for NPCs, historical events, and cultural traditions.
- Immersive environments: Other RPGs focus on creating immersive environments, which can include realistic graphics, intricate level design, and dynamic weather and lighting effects. This can help players feel like they are truly a part of the game’s world.
- Unique cultures and factions: Some RPGs feature unique cultures and factions, which can add depth and complexity to the game’s world. These cultures and factions can have their own histories, beliefs, and traditions, which can
Community and Fandom
The community and fandom of a role-playing game are important factors in determining its cultural impact. A game with a dedicated and passionate fanbase is more likely to have a lasting cultural impact, as fans will continue to play and discuss the game long after its release. This can lead to the creation of fan-made content, such as fan art, fan fiction, and even fan-made expansions or sequels. The size and intensity of the fanbase can also affect the game’s cultural impact, as a game with a large and vocal fanbase is more likely to be noticed and discussed by the wider public.
Influence on Other Media
In addition to its impact on the gaming industry, a game’s cultural impact can also be seen in its influence on other media. A game that is particularly popular or influential may inspire movies, TV shows, books, or other games. For example, the “Dungeons & Dragons” game has been referenced or parodied in numerous TV shows and movies, and has even inspired entire genres of fantasy literature. Similarly, the “Final Fantasy” game series has inspired numerous anime and manga adaptations, as well as a feature film. The influence of a game on other media is a measure of its cultural impact, as it shows that the game has had a lasting impact on the wider popular culture.
The Top RPGs of All Time
#1: Dungeons & Dragons
Dungeons & Dragons, also known as D&D, is a tabletop role-playing game that was first published in 1974 by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. The original edition of the game, also known as the “white box” edition, was released in 1974 and was a groundbreaking work in the development of the role-playing game genre. The original edition was a simple yet addictive game that quickly gained popularity among gamers, leading to the creation of countless sequels, spin-offs, and imitators.
The Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) line was introduced in 1989, with the release of the 2nd edition of the game. This edition featured more complex rules and mechanics, including new character classes, spells, and monsters. The AD&D line continued with the release of the 3rd edition in 2000, which was followed by the 4th edition in 2008. The 4th edition was a significant departure from previous editions, with a new focus on combat and a streamlined rules system. Despite the changes, the AD&D line remained popular among gamers and continued to be played by millions of people around the world.
In 2014, Wizards of the Coast released the 5th edition of Dungeons & Dragons, also known as the “D&D Next” playtest. This edition marked a return to the more classic feel of earlier editions, while also incorporating new mechanics and ideas. The 5th edition was praised for its improved balance and streamlined rules, making it easier for new players to get into the game. Since its release, the 5th edition has become the best-selling edition of D&D to date, and has spawned numerous spin-off games, including the popular “D&D Adventurer’s League” organized play program.
#2: Final Fantasy Series
Final Fantasy I-XII
The Final Fantasy series is one of the most iconic and beloved RPG franchises of all time. The series has a long and storied history, with each game in the series offering a unique and memorable experience.
Final Fantasy XIV
Final Fantasy XIV is the most recent addition to the series, and it has been praised for its stunning graphics, immersive storyline, and engaging gameplay. The game features a massive open world, filled with a variety of quests, challenges, and enemies to encounter.
Final Fantasy XV
Final Fantasy XV is an action-packed RPG that follows the journey of Noctis and his friends as they travel across the world to reclaim their kingdom. The game features a unique battle system, where players can use a variety of weapons and magic spells to defeat their enemies.
Overall, the Final Fantasy series is a must-play for any RPG fan, and each game in the series offers a unique and memorable experience. Whether you’re a fan of classic RPGs or the latest and greatest, the Final Fantasy series has something for everyone.
#3: The Elder Scrolls Series
The Elder Scrolls series is a critically acclaimed and commercially successful role-playing game (RPG) franchise developed by Bethesda Game Studios. The series is known for its immersive open-world gameplay, intricate lore, and dynamic combat system. The Elder Scrolls series has spawned several installments, each of which has made a significant impact on the gaming industry.
The Elder Scrolls I-V
The Elder Scrolls series began with the release of the first game, The Elder Scrolls: Arena, in 1994. The game was a success and paved the way for the development of subsequent installments in the series. The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, released in 1996, expanded on the original game’s mechanics and introduced a larger open world for players to explore. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, released in 2002, further refined the series’ gameplay and introduced a more complex character creation and leveling system. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, released in 2006, continued the series’ trend of improving upon its predecessors and introduced more advanced combat and magic systems. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, released in 2011, remains one of the most popular and critically acclaimed games in the series, with its open world, immersive story, and vast array of content.
The Elder Scrolls Online
In 2013, Bethesda Game Studios released The Elder Scrolls Online, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) set in the Elder Scrolls universe. The game allows players to explore the world of Tamriel together, engage in group content, and battle against other players and non-player characters. The Elder Scrolls Online has received mixed reviews, with some praising its expansive world and engaging story, while others criticize its grindy gameplay and lack of innovation.
The Elder Scrolls VI
Bethesda Game Studios has announced that it is working on The Elder Scrolls VI, the next installment in the series. However, no release date has been announced, and details about the game’s story and gameplay are scarce. Fans of the series are eagerly anticipating the release of The Elder Scrolls VI, hoping that it will build upon the successes of its predecessors and introduce new and exciting gameplay mechanics.
#4: The Fallout Series
The Fallout series is a post-apocalyptic role-playing game that has captured the hearts of many gamers since its first release in 1997. The series was created by Black Isle Studios and published by Interplay Entertainment. The games are set in a world that has been devastated by a nuclear war, and players must navigate the dangerous landscape, making choices that will impact the outcome of their game.
The first game in the series, Fallout, was released in 1997 for PC. It was a groundbreaking game that introduced many features that would become staples of the RPG genre, such as a deep and complex character creation system, a vast and detailed world to explore, and a branching dialogue system that allowed players to shape the story in their own way. The game’s story centered around the player’s character, who emerged from a long-term cryogenic stasis to find the world in ruins.
Fallout 2, released in 1998, improved upon the original game in many ways. The game featured a larger and more diverse world, with new locations, characters, and quests to explore. The game’s story picked up where the first game left off, with the player’s character searching for a missing water chip that was crucial to the survival of the people of the world. The game also introduced new features, such as a more complex karma system and the ability to have multiple party members.
Fallout 3, released in 2008, was a major departure from the previous games in the series. While the game still featured a post-apocalyptic world and a branching storyline, it was the first game in the series to be developed using a first-person perspective. The game’s story centered around the player’s character, who emerged from a vault to find the world in ruins and their father missing. The game featured a new combat system and a larger emphasis on exploration and looting.
Fallout 4, released in 2015, was the most recent game in the series. The game featured a massive open-world environment, with new locations and characters to explore. The game’s story followed the player’s character, who emerged from a vault to find the world in ruins and their spouse missing. The game introduced new features, such as a crafting system and a more advanced building system, which allowed players to build and customize their own settlements. The game also featured a more streamlined combat system and a larger emphasis on player choice.
#5: The Mass Effect Series
The Mass Effect series, developed by Bioware, is a space opera RPG that follows the story of Commander Shepard as they attempt to save the galaxy from an ancient alien race known as the Reapers. The first game in the series, Mass Effect, was released in 2007 and was met with widespread critical acclaim for its engaging story, memorable characters, and deep customization options.
Mass Effect 2
The second installment in the series, Mass Effect 2, was released in 2010 and continued the story of Commander Shepard. The game introduced new gameplay mechanics, such as the ability to control multiple teammates in combat, and improved upon the already strong storytelling of the first game. Mass Effect 2 also received universal acclaim from critics and fans alike.
Mass Effect 3
The third and final game in the original trilogy, Mass Effect 3, was released in 2012 and concluded the story of Commander Shepard. The game was praised for its emotional conclusion and the impactful choices players had to make throughout the series. Mass Effect 3 also introduced co-op multiplayer, allowing players to team up with friends and fight against various enemies in the Mass Effect universe.
Mass Effect: Andromeda
The latest entry in the series, Mass Effect: Andromeda, was released in 2017 and takes place in a new galaxy, the Andromeda galaxy. The game follows the story of the Ryder family, who are tasked with finding a new home for humanity after a catastrophic event in the Milky Way galaxy. While the game received mixed reviews, it was praised for its vast open-world and engaging story.
Overall, the Mass Effect series is considered one of the greatest RPG series of all time, with its engaging story, memorable characters, and deep customization options. The series has received universal acclaim from critics and fans alike, and has set the bar high for space opera RPGs.
#6: The Skyrim Series
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, developed by Bethesda Game Studios, is a single-player open-world action role-playing game set in the fantasy world of Skyrim. The game was released in 2011 and has since become one of the most popular RPGs of all time.
Skyrim: Special Edition
Skyrim: Special Edition is a remastered version of the original game, released in 2016. It features improved graphics, bug fixes, and additional content, including the addition of mods.
Skyrim VR is a virtual reality version of the game, released in 2017. It allows players to experience the world of Skyrim in a fully immersive VR environment.
Skyrim Anniversary Edition
The Skyrim Anniversary Edition is a remastered version of the game, released in 2021 to celebrate the game’s 10th anniversary. It includes all the content from the original game, as well as additional content and improvements.
#7: The Persona Series
The Persona series is a popular and critically acclaimed role-playing game series developed by Atlus. The series consists of five main games: Persona 1-5, each with its own unique storyline and gameplay mechanics.
Persona 5 Royal
Persona 5 Royal is the latest addition to the Persona series, released in 2019 for the PlayStation 4. It is an enhanced version of Persona 5, featuring new characters, gameplay mechanics, and a new storyline.
Persona 6 is the upcoming sixth installment in the Persona series, currently in development by Atlus. It is set to be released for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.
#8: The Baldur’s Gate Series
The Baldur’s Gate series is a collection of classic role-playing games set in the Dungeons & Dragons world of the Forgotten Realms. The first game, Baldur’s Gate, was released in 1998 and quickly became a hit among RPG fans.
Baldur’s Gate is a traditional isometric RPG with a strong emphasis on storytelling and character development. Players take control of a party of characters, including the protagonist, and embark on a quest to stop a evil sorcerer from summoning a powerful demon.
- Real-time combat with a pause function
- A large, open world to explore
- A deep, branching storyline with multiple endings
- A party-based combat system
- A variety of character classes and races to choose from
- An expansive skill system and character development options
- A strong emphasis on player choice and decision-making
- An epic soundtrack composed by the legendary composer, Frank Talsma
- Legacy System:
The legacy system in Baldur’s Gate allows players to import their characters and progress from the first game into the second, making it one of the few truly sequential RPG experiences.
- Tales of the Sword Coast
- Blood & Magic
- Dark Alyle
- Shadows of Amn
- Enhanced Edition:
In 2012, an Enhanced Edition of the original Baldur’s Gate was released, featuring updated graphics, improved gameplay, and a number of additional content.
- Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn
- Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition
- Baldur’s Gate III
Overall, the Baldur’s Gate series is a must-play for any RPG fan, with its engaging story, deep characters, and vast world to explore. Whether you’re a fan of classic RPGs or just looking for a great adventure, the Baldur’s Gate series has something for everyone.
#9: The Witcher Series
- Released in 2007, The Witcher was developed by CD Projekt Red and published by Atari.
- The game is based on the book series of the same name by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski.
- Players take on the role of Geralt of Rivia, a monster hunter in a fictional world.
- The game’s combat system and RPG elements were well-received by critics.
- The Witcher received several awards, including a Game of the Year nomination.
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
- Released in 2011, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings was also developed by CD Projekt Red.
- The game is a direct sequel to The Witcher and continues the story of Geralt of Rivia.
- The game’s combat system was improved, and the RPG elements were expanded.
- The game received universal acclaim from critics and won several awards, including a Game of the Year nomination.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
- Released in 2015, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was developed and published by CD Projekt Red.
- The game is the final installment in the series and concludes the story of Geralt of Rivia.
- The game features a massive open-world map and a non-linear story.
- The game’s combat system and RPG elements were improved, and the game received universal acclaim from critics.
- The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt won numerous awards, including Game of the Year.
#10: The Divinity Series
Divine Divinity, developed by the Belgian game studio Larian Studios, was released in 2002 and is the first game in the Divinity series. The game is a classic example of a role-playing game, featuring a vast open world, an engaging storyline, and challenging gameplay mechanics.
The game follows the story of a hero who sets out on a quest to save the world from an evil sorcerer. The player has the freedom to explore the game’s world, interact with non-playable characters, and engage in turn-based combat. The game’s world is filled with various creatures, both friendly and hostile, and the player must choose their allies wisely.
One of the unique features of Divine Divinity is its magic system. Magic is not just a skill that the player can learn, but it is also a central part of the game’s world. Magic is an ancient force that permeates the world, and the player must learn to harness its power to progress through the game.
The game’s world is also filled with puzzles, riddles, and hidden treasures that the player can discover. The player can also choose to specialize in different skills, such as combat, magic, or stealth, and customize their character accordingly.
Overall, Divine Divinity is a classic RPG that has stood the test of time. Its engaging storyline, vast world, and challenging gameplay mechanics make it a must-play for any RPG fan.
Beyond Divinity, the second game in the Divinity series, was released in 2004. The game builds upon the foundation laid by Divine Divinity and adds new features and gameplay mechanics.
The game’s story takes place in a different world from Divine Divinity, and the player takes on the role of a former soldier who is searching for a way to save his son’s life. The player is thrust into a world of politics, intrigue, and magic, and must navigate through a complex web of alliances and betrayals.
One of the new features in Beyond Divinity is the addition of a party system. The player can now recruit non-playable characters to join their party, each with their own unique skills and abilities. The player can also control multiple characters in combat, allowing for more strategic gameplay.
The game’s world is also larger and more diverse than in Divine Divinity, with a variety of environments, from forests to deserts to underground caves. The player can also interact with more NPCs, each with their own stories and quests to offer.
Overall, Beyond Divinity is a solid RPG that builds upon the strengths of its predecessor while adding new features and gameplay mechanics.
Divinity II: Ego Draconis
Divinity II: Ego Draconis, released in 2009, is the third game in the Divinity series and represents a significant departure from the previous games. The game is a hybrid of an RPG and a action-adventure game, featuring real-time combat and a focus on exploration.
The game’s story follows the story of a dragonknight, a warrior who is bonded to a dragon. The player must explore the game’s world, defeat enemies, and complete quests to progress through the story.
One of the unique features of Divinity II is its real-time combat system. The player can engage in combat with enemies in real-time, using a variety of weapons and spells. The player can also use their dragon companion to attack enemies and navigate through the game’s world.
The game’s world is also more open than in previous games, with a variety of environments and secrets to discover. The player can also customize their character’s appearance and abilities, allowing for more personalization.
Overall, Divinity II: Ego Draconis is a unique and innovative RPG that combines the best elements of both RPGs and action-adventure games.
Divinity: Original Sin
Divinity: Original Sin, released in 2014, is the latest game in the Divinity series and is considered by many to be the best in the series. The game is a classic RPG
#11: The Dark Souls Series
The Genesis of a Beloved Series
- Background: From the mind of Hidetaka Miyazaki, the Dark Souls series emerged as a revolutionary change in the RPG genre. It debuted in 2009 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, with a PC release in 2012.
- Innovative Design: Dark Souls brought a unique approach to RPGs by combining intricate world design, punishing difficulty, and a deep, intricate lore. The game’s design encouraged exploration, perseverance, and learning from failure, making it stand out from its peers.
- Storytelling: Dark Souls was notably sparse in its storytelling, with players piecing together the narrative through item descriptions, NPC interactions, and environmental clues. This enigmatic approach to storytelling became a signature element of the series.
Critical Acclaim and Legacy
- Critics and Players: Dark Souls received widespread critical acclaim upon release, with many praising its unique world, challenging gameplay, and mysterious storytelling. It has since become a cult classic and a benchmark for the RPG genre.
- Impact on the Industry: The success of Dark Souls paved the way for a new generation of challenging RPGs, with developers taking inspiration from its unique design and approach to storytelling. It also led to the development of two sequels and numerous spin-offs, expanding the Dark Souls universe.
Dark Souls II
- Building on Success: Dark Souls II was released in 2013 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC, serving as a sequel to the original game. It continued the series’ commitment to challenging gameplay and intricate world design.
- New Features: Dark Souls II introduced several changes to the formula, including an expanded character creation system, new enemies, and more diverse environments. These updates kept the series fresh while maintaining its core identity.
- Reception: Dark Souls II was met with critical acclaim, with reviewers praising its improvements over the original while still capturing the essence of the series.
Dark Souls III
- The Final Chapter: Dark Souls III, released in 2016, marked the end of the original trilogy. It brought back many elements from the previous games while also introducing new mechanics and enemies.
- New Mechanics: Dark Souls III introduced features such as the “Ashen One” character customization, weapon and spell upgrading, and an expanded online component, allowing for cooperative and competitive play.
- Critical Response: Dark Souls III was widely praised for its polished gameplay, engaging story, and memorable boss battles. It cemented the series’ place as a modern classic.
Dark Souls: Remastered
- Rekindling the Flame: In 2018, Dark Souls: Remastered was released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC. This remastered version of the original game featured improved graphics, frame rate, and textures.
- Why Remastered: The remastered edition aimed to provide a more polished experience for both new and returning players, showcasing the game that started it all in its best light.
- Reaction: Dark Souls: Remastered was well-received for its enhancements, allowing a new generation of players to experience the game that sparked a cultural phenomenon.
#12: The Nier Series
- Introduction to Nier Replicant
Nier Replicant is an action role-playing game developed by Square Enix. The game was released in 2010 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 platforms. It is the prequel to the popular game Nier Automata, and its storyline is set before the events of the latter game.
- Storyline and Gameplay
The story of Nier Replicant revolves around the protagonist, Nier, as he embarks on a journey to find a cure for his sister’s illness. The game features a unique blend of action and RPG elements, with fast-paced combat and a deep storyline that keeps players engaged from start to finish.
- Characters and Dialogue
One of the standout features of Nier Replicant is its characters and dialogue. The game features a cast of memorable and well-developed characters, each with their own unique personalities and backstories. The dialogue in the game is also top-notch, with well-written and engaging conversations that add depth to the story.
- Music and Soundtrack
The music and soundtrack in Nier Replicant are also worth mentioning. The game features a haunting and beautiful soundtrack that perfectly captures the mood and atmosphere of the game. The music is an integral part of the game’s experience and adds to the emotional impact of the story.
- Replay Value and Reception
Nier Replicant has excellent replay value, with multiple endings and hidden secrets to discover. The game was well-received by critics and fans alike, with many praising its story, characters, and music.
- Introduction to Nier Automata
Nier Automata is an action role-playing game developed by Square Enix. The game was released in 2017 for the PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox One platforms. It is the sequel to Nier Replicant and takes place several years after the events of the previous game.
The story of Nier Automata follows the journey of androids 2B and 9S as they attempt to uncover the truth behind a mysterious invasion of Earth. The game features fast-paced combat and a unique blend of action and RPG elements, making it a thrilling and engaging experience for players.
The characters and dialogue in Nier Automata are just as memorable and well-developed as those in the previous game. The game features a diverse cast of characters, each with their own distinct personalities and backstories. The dialogue is once again top-notch, with witty and engaging conversations that add depth to the story.
The music and soundtrack in Nier Automata are just as beautiful and haunting as those in the previous game. The game features an amazing soundtrack that perfectly captures the mood and atmosphere of the game. The music is an integral part of the game’s experience and adds to the emotional impact of the story.
Nier Automata has excellent replay value, with multiple endings and hidden secrets to discover. The game was critically acclaimed and praised for its story, characters, music, and gameplay.
- Introduction to Nier Reincarnation
Nier Reincarnation is an upcoming mobile game in the Nier series. The game is set to be released in 2021 and will be available for iOS and Android devices.
The story of Nier Reincarnation takes place in a new world, separate from the previous games in the series. The game will feature a unique blend of RPG and
#13: The Monster Hunter Series
Gameplay and Features
The Monster Hunter series, developed and published by Capcom, is a popular action role-playing game franchise that has gained a massive following worldwide. The series was first introduced in 2004 with the release of the first game, Monster Hunter, and has since seen the release of numerous installments across multiple platforms.
The gameplay of the Monster Hunter series revolves around the player taking on the role of a hunter, tasked with tracking and slaying various monsters in a visually stunning and immersive environment. Players must gather resources, craft weapons and armor, and strategize to defeat the monsters they encounter. The series is known for its challenging gameplay, deep crafting system, and multiplayer features.
Story and Setting
The Monster Hunter series is set in a fictional world where players take on the role of a hunter, tasked with slaying monsters to prove their worth. The story is not the main focus of the series, but rather serves as a backdrop for the gameplay. Each installment in the series introduces new monsters, environments, and gameplay mechanics to keep the experience fresh and engaging.
Monster Hunter 2
The second installment in the Monster Hunter series, Monster Hunter 2, was released in 2007 for the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo Wii. The game built upon the foundation of the first game, introducing new monsters, weapons, and gameplay mechanics. The game also featured a multiplayer mode, allowing players to team up and hunt monsters together.
Monster Hunter 3
Monster Hunter 3, released in 2009 for the PlayStation 3 and Wii, was a significant step forward for the series. The game featured a larger, more immersive world, new monsters, and a revamped combat system. The game also introduced online multiplayer, allowing players to team up with friends and hunt monsters together regardless of their platform.
Monster Hunter 4
The fourth installment in the series, Monster Hunter 4, was released in 2013 for the Nintendo 3DS. The game introduced new monsters, weapons, and gameplay mechanics, as well as a new character class, the Gunner. The game also featured an improved multiplayer mode, allowing players to team up and hunt monsters together via local wireless or online.
Overall, the Monster Hunter series has established itself as one of the most popular and critically acclaimed role-playing game franchises of all time, with each installment building upon the success of the previous one.
#14: The Legend of Zelda Series
The Legend of Zelda
The Legend of Zelda, developed and published by Nintendo in 1986, was the first game in the series and set the stage for future installments. The game was groundbreaking for its time, offering a vast, open world for players to explore, with a rich storyline and engaging puzzles to solve.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Released in 1991, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past continued the series’ tradition of providing players with an immersive experience. The game’s storyline expanded on the original, with new characters, enemies, and locations to discover. The addition of a parallel world mechanic added a new layer of complexity to the gameplay, making it a standout title in the series.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
In 1998, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was released, which many consider to be one of the greatest video games of all time. The game featured an improved combat system, a larger world to explore, and a deep, emotional storyline that followed the journey of Link and Zelda. The game’s innovative use of context-sensitive buttons on the controller made it a technical marvel, and its impact on the gaming industry is still felt today.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Released in 2017, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the latest installment in the series and continues to push the boundaries of what a video game can be. The game’s open-world design allows players to explore at their own pace, with a focus on discovery and experimentation. The game’s stunning visuals and engaging gameplay have earned it critical acclaim and a place among the greatest RPGs of all time.
#15: The Dragon Age Series
The Dragon Age series is a beloved set of role-playing games that have captivated gamers for years. With its deep storyline, memorable characters, and immersive gameplay, it’s no wonder that this series has made it to the top of our list.
Dragon Age: Origins
Released in 2009, Dragon Age: Origins was the first game in the series and set the stage for the games that followed. Players took on the role of a Grey Warden, one of the last of a legendary order of warriors who are the only ones capable of defeating the Archdemon and saving the world from destruction. The game’s origins system allowed players to choose their character’s background and race, adding a layer of customization to the game. The game’s morality system also added depth to the player’s choices, with each decision having consequences that would ripple throughout the game.
Dragon Age II
Released in 2011, Dragon Age II shifted the focus of the series from a epic, world-saving quest to a more personal, character-driven story. Players took on the role of Hawke, a human mage or warrior, and their journey was focused on the events surrounding the mage-templar war. The game’s improved combat system and new party mechanics added to the game’s overall experience.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
Released in 2014, Dragon Age: Inquisition was a return to form for the series, with a huge open-world to explore and a sprawling storyline that saw players take on the role of the Inquisitor, a leader of a group of mages and warriors tasked with rebuilding the world after a catastrophic event. The game’s multiplayer feature, where players could team up with friends to take on challenges, added a new dimension to the game.
Dragon Age: Magekiller
Released in 2015, Dragon Age: Magekiller was a companion app for mobile devices that tied into the events of Dragon Age: Inquisition. Players took on the role of a mage-hunter, tasked with tracking down rogue mages and bringing them to justice. The game’s unique gameplay and tie-ins to the main series added a new level of immersion for fans of the series.
Overall, the Dragon Age series is a must-play for any RPG fan, with its deep storyline, memorable characters, and immersive gameplay. Whether you’re a fan of the series or just starting out, there’s something for everyone in the Dragon Age series.
#16: The Fallout: New Vegas
Fallout: New Vegas
Fallout: New Vegas is a post-apocalyptic role-playing game developed by Obsidian Entertainment and published by Bethesda Softworks in 2010. It is the fourth game in the Fallout series and takes place in the same world as the previous games, but with a new story and setting.
Fallout: New Vegas – Ultimate Edition
The Ultimate Edition of Fallout: New Vegas was released in 2012 and includes all of the DLC (downloadable content) that was released for the game. This includes the Dead Money, Honest Hearts, Old World Blues, and Lonesome Road DLC packs, which add new quests, locations, and characters to the game.
Fallout: New Vegas – Old World Blues
Old World Blues is the second DLC pack for Fallout: New Vegas, released in 2011. It takes place in the “Big MT” (Mountain), a remote research facility located in the Divide between Nevada and California. The player must navigate the dangerous terrain and encounter strange creatures and factions in order to uncover the secrets of the Big MT and stop a dangerous experiment from being carried out.
Fallout: New Vegas – Lonesome Road
Lonesome Road is the third DLC pack for Fallout: New Vegas, released in 2011. It takes place in the “Lonesome Road,” a treacherous path that leads to the “Gottfried Institute,” a secret research facility located in the Divide. The player must brave the dangers of the Lonesome Road and face off against a powerful enemy known as the “Radical Behemoth” in order to uncover the truth about the Divide and the Great War.
#17: The Deus Ex Series
Deus Ex, developed by Ion Storm and published in 2000, is a cyberpunk-themed first-person shooter that incorporates role-playing game elements. Set in a dystopian future, the game follows the story of JC Denton, a secret agent who uncovers a global conspiracy.
The game’s unique selling point is its focus on player choice and multiple solutions to challenges. Players can choose to approach objectives in a stealthy or aggressive manner, and their choices affect the story and its outcome. The game also features a robust augmentation system, allowing players to upgrade their character’s abilities and skills.
Deus Ex received critical acclaim for its immersive world, strong storytelling, and innovative gameplay mechanics. It has since become a cult classic and a benchmark for the cyberpunk genre.
Deus Ex: Invisible War
Released in 2004, Deus Ex: Invisible War is the sequel to the original game, developed by Ion Storm and published by Square Enix. The game takes place in a world where the events of the first game have caused a global revolution, with various factions vying for power.
Invisible War retains the multiple-path approach to gameplay and augments it with new abilities and weapons. The game also features a multiplayer mode, which allows players to engage in combat and complete objectives cooperatively.
While Invisible War received mixed reviews, it was praised for its engaging story and improved gameplay mechanics. However, some critics felt that the game did not live up to the standards set by the original Deus Ex.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Developed by Eidos Montreal and published in 2011, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a prequel to the original game, set in the year 2027. The game follows the story of Adam Jensen, a security officer who becomes embroiled in a conspiracy after a terrorist attack.
Human Revolution retains the cyberpunk aesthetic and gameplay mechanics of the original game, while introducing new features such as an improved augmentation system and a cover system. The game also features a choice-driven story with multiple endings.
Human Revolution received widespread critical acclaim, with praise for its immersive world, engaging story, and improved gameplay mechanics. It was considered a worthy addition to the Deus Ex series and a strong entry in the role-playing game genre.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Released in 2016, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is the sequel to Human Revolution, developed by Eidos Montreal and published by Square Enix. The game takes place in a world where the events of the previous game have caused a deep divide between humans and those who have undergone augmentations.
Mankind Divided features improved gameplay mechanics, including a revised combat system and new abilities for the player character. The game also features a choice-driven story with multiple endings, and a range of side quests and optional objectives.
Mankind Divided received positive reviews, with praise for its engaging story, immersive world, and improved gameplay mechanics. However, some critics felt that the game was too similar to its predecessor and lacked innovation.
Overall, the Deus Ex series is a testament to the enduring appeal of the cyberpunk genre and the potential of role-playing games to offer engaging, choice-driven experiences. Each game in the series has built upon the strengths of its predecessor, offering players a rich and immersive world to explore.
#18: The Fable Series
The Fable series is a popular action-adventure RPG developed by the British video game developer, Lionhead Studios. The first game in the series, simply titled “Fable,” was released in 2004 for the Xbox console. The game’s unique feature was its morality system, which allowed players to make choices that would affect their character’s appearance and abilities. The game’s story followed the journey of a hero as they battled against evil forces and uncovered the truth behind a prophecy.
The sequel to the original Fable, Fable II, was released in 2008 for the Xbox 360 console. The game built upon the mechanics of the first game, and introduced new features such as a larger world to explore, a more robust combat system, and the ability to marry and have children. The game’s story continued the hero’s journey, as they fought to save the world from a looming darkness.
The third installment in the Fable series, Fable III, was released in 2010 for the Xbox 360 console. The game introduced a new hero, the child of the hero from the previous games, and a new world to explore. The game’s mechanics were expanded even further, with the addition of new abilities and the introduction of cooperative multiplayer. The game’s story followed the hero as they became the ruler of their kingdom and worked to shape its future.
Fable: The Journey
The fourth game in the Fable series, Fable: The Journey, was released in 2012 for the Xbox 360 console. The game introduced a new protagonist, and a new gameplay mechanic, which involved controlling the hero using motion controls on the Xbox controller. The game’s story followed the hero as they embarked on a journey to uncover the truth behind a legendary artifact.
#19: The Tales Series
Introduction to the Tales Series
The Tales Series is a critically acclaimed role-playing game (RPG) franchise developed by Bandai Namco Games. Spanning multiple console generations, the series has released numerous titles that have captivated audiences with their engaging storylines, memorable characters, and fast-paced combat systems.
The Inception of the Tales Series
The first installment in the series, Tales of Phantasia, was released in 1995 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). The game introduced the world to the iconic “Linear Motion Battle System” (LMBS), a unique real-time battle system that allowed players to move freely around the battlefield while engaging in combat.
The Evolution of the Tales Series
Subsequent titles in the series, such as Tales of Destiny, Tales of Symphonia, and Tales of Vesperia, built upon the foundation established by the original game. Each new release expanded upon the series’ core mechanics, introducing new features and refining the LMBS to create a more engaging and dynamic gaming experience.
The Characters and Storylines of the Tales Series
One of the standout aspects of the Tales Series is its rich and compelling storytelling. Each game in the series features a cast of well-developed characters with unique personalities and backstories. Players follow these characters as they embark on epic adventures, battling villains and overcoming obstacles to save the world from destruction.
The Impact of the Tales Series on the RPG Genre
The Tales Series has had a significant impact on the RPG genre, inspiring numerous other developers to incorporate similar battle systems and storytelling elements into their own games. The series’ unique blend of action-packed combat and emotional narratives has earned it a dedicated fan base, making it one of the most beloved and influential RPG franchises of all time.
#20: The Pathfinder Series
The Pathfinder Series is a popular series of role-playing games that have captured the hearts of many gamers worldwide. Developed by Owlcat Games, the series has garnered critical acclaim for its engaging storyline, immersive gameplay, and stunning visuals. The series includes four main games: Pathfinder: Kingmaker, Pathfinder: Wrath of Man, Pathfinder: Ultimate Edition, and Pathfinder: The Wizard’s Folly. Each game offers a unique gaming experience that has helped to establish the series as one of the best RPGs of all time.
Pathfinder: Kingmaker is the first game in the series and was released in 2018. It is a classic RPG game that takes players on a journey to become a powerful ruler of a small kingdom. The game is set in the world of Golarion, where players must explore the land, gather resources, and build a strong army to defend their kingdom from invaders. The game features a turn-based combat system, a vast open world to explore, and a deep character customization system that allows players to create unique characters with distinct personalities and abilities.
Pathfinder: Wrath of Man
Pathfinder: Wrath of Man is the second game in the series and was released in 2020. This game takes players on a new adventure, where they must travel across the land to uncover the truth behind a powerful artifact known as the Sword of Bahzell. The game features a real-time combat system, where players must use their wits and skills to defeat their enemies. The game also features a new character customization system that allows players to create unique characters with distinct backgrounds and motivations.
Pathfinder: Ultimate Edition
Pathfinder: Ultimate Edition is a special edition of the first two games in the series, bundled together in one package. This edition includes all the content from both games, as well as new features and enhancements that improve the overall gaming experience. The Ultimate Edition also includes a new user interface, improved graphics, and new gameplay mechanics that make the game even more engaging.
Pathfinder: The Wizard’s Folly
Pathfinder: The Wizard’s Folly is the third game in the series and was released in 2021. This game takes players on a new adventure, where they must investigate a mysterious incident that has befallen a powerful wizard’s tower. The game features a new storyline, new characters, and new gameplay mechanics that make the game even more challenging. The game also features a new art style, with beautifully crafted environments and characters that bring the game to life.
Overall, the Pathfinder Series is a must-play for any RPG fan. With its engaging storylines, immersive gameplay, and stunning visuals, the series has established itself as one of the best RPGs of all time. Whether you prefer turn-based or real-time combat, the series has something for everyone, making it a must-play for gamers of all skill levels.
#21: The Chrono Series
Chrono Trigger, developed by Square Enix, is a critically acclaimed role-playing game that was first released in 1995 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The game’s story revolves around a group of adventurers who travel through time to prevent a terrible event known as the “Millennial Fair.” The game’s unique time-traveling mechanic allows players to visit different eras, each with its own unique characters, settings, and challenges.
Chrono Trigger features a turn-based battle system and an innovative “Active Time Battle” system that adds an extra layer of strategy to combat. The game also boasts a rich and emotional storyline, memorable characters, and a highly praised soundtrack composed by renowned composer Yasunori Mitsuda.
Chrono Cross, also developed by Square Enix, is a direct sequel to Chrono Trigger and was released in 1999 for the PlayStation. The game takes place in a world where time has been split into multiple dimensions, and players assume the role of Serge, a young man who discovers he has the power to travel between these dimensions.
Chrono Cross features a unique battle system that incorporates elements of both turn-based and real-time combat, allowing players to switch between two sets of party members during battle. The game also boasts a complex and emotionally charged storyline, memorable characters, and a soundtrack composed by Yasunori Mitsuda and Nobuo Uematsu.
Chrono Trigger (DS)
In 2008, Chrono Trigger was re-released for the Nintendo DS with updated graphics, new features, and a bonus dungeon. The game’s updated graphics and sound enhance the overall experience, while the new features, such as the “New Game+,” allow players to continue their adventure with upgraded characters and weapons.
Radical Dreamers is a novelization of the events of Chrono Trigger, written by Masato Kato, the game’s director. The book explores the backstory of several characters and expands upon the game’s plot, providing fans with a deeper understanding of the world and its characters.
1. What is an RPG?
An RPG, or role-playing game, is a type of video game that allows players to take on the role of a character in a fictional world. Players can customize their character’s appearance, abilities, and equipment, and then embark on quests, battle enemies, and interact with other characters in the game world.
2. What makes an RPG “the best”?
There are many factors that can contribute to an RPG being considered the best. Some people may prefer games with complex character customization options, while others may value deep and engaging storylines. Some players may enjoy challenging combat mechanics, while others may prefer a more relaxed and exploratory experience. Ultimately, the “best” RPG is a matter of personal preference.
3. What are some of the most popular RPGs of all time?
There have been many great RPGs over the years, but some of the most popular and highly regarded include the “Final Fantasy” series, “The Elder Scrolls” series, “The Legend of Zelda” series, “Mass Effect” series, and “Persona” series.
4. What are some of the lesser-known RPGs that are worth checking out?
There are many hidden gems in the RPG genre that are worth checking out. Some lesser-known RPGs that have received critical acclaim include “Baldur’s Gate” series, “The Witcher” series, “Divinity: Original Sin” series, “Chrono Trigger”, and “Undertale”.
5. Are there any RPGs that are considered to be the “best” by the gaming community?
There are several RPGs that are considered to be the “best” by the gaming community. “Final Fantasy VII” is often cited as one of the greatest RPGs of all time, as is “The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind”. “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” is also widely regarded as a classic, as is “Chrono Trigger”.
6. How do I choose the right RPG for me?
Choosing the right RPG can be a daunting task, as there are so many options available. It’s important to consider your personal preferences and what you’re looking for in an RPG. Do you want a game with a deep and complex storyline, or one that focuses more on combat and exploration? Do you prefer turn-based or real-time combat? Do you want to spend hours upon hours grinding for experience and loot, or do you prefer a more streamlined experience? By considering these factors, you can narrow down your options and find the RPG that’s right for you.