Role-playing games (RPGs) are the place to invest if you want deep and rewarding experience with rich narratives and incredible character-building. The clue is in the title. Anything that promises ‘role-playing’ is, more often than not, going to take you on an epic journey. If you’ve got the hours to invest, there’s an experience out there waiting for you to get lost in it.
With all that said and done, here are Trusted Reviews’ best RPGs. These are the big hitters we believe you should definitely make time to hunt down and play. And, once you’re done here, perhaps take a look at our picks of best PS4 games, best PC Games or best Xbox One games.
Related: Red Dead Redemption 2
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Platform: PC, Mac and Linux
The much-anticipated sequel to the 1988 original that would go on to inspire the Fallout series, Wasteland 2 was one of Kickstarter’s early crowd-funding successes, raising $2,933,252 in cash. The game that shipped last year was not a disappointment to long-time fans of the original. Set in a post-apocalyptic North America, Wasteland 2 offers turn-based tactical role-playing with a branching storyline that is impacted by the player’s actions.
Like all the best RPGs, the characters in the game drive things forward, with each member of your party having a distinct personality and reason for wanting to remain alive. The combat engine is refined and engaging, while the overhead perspective allows the game to remain faithful to the original – as well as the early Fallout titles.
The fact that subsequent playthroughs can be radically different adds to the already considerable longevity of the title – it’s possible to play it many times over and experience a whole new story each time.
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Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
As mentioned, few developers construct environments as meticulously as Bethesda, and Fallout 3 is another great example why. Presenting a world that’s been destroyed by nuclear fallout and destruction, the Capital Wasteland is a horrible and depressing place to wander but that’s the whole point.
Instead of trying to make Fallout 3 bright and appealing, the developer went in the other direction, embracing the horror such carnage would bring to society and presenting it without compromise. As such, it can be hard work on occasion, but that’s where the genius of it all comes into play. This is a role-playing game, after all, and Bethesda is so focused on what it wants to get across it holds nothing back.
If you’ve ever wanted to experience what a post-apocalyptic planet Earth would be like, you simply will not find better than this. It’s a masterpiece.
Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic
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Platforms: Xbox, PC, Mac, iOS, Android
The most standout aspect of BioWare’s Knights Of The Old Republic is that you can enjoy it without even being a fan of Star Wars. While using the universe created by George Lucas as a backdrop makes it even more appealing, the real highlights here are the tremendous story, oddly addictive gameplay mechanics and a momentous twist that’s as mind-blowing now as it was back in 2003.
It’s certainly different to what most are used to today, the battle system especially. Combat tasks you to assign different skills to your party and then more or less watch them fight as you look on. It sounds odd, but when you’re playing the game it just works and gets better with each ability you receive.
On top of all this, there’s also the delightful treat that you can choose to embrace the path of a Jedi, or the path of a Sith. Meaning if you want to walk around and just chop everyone’s head off you mostly certainly can.
When you can do that, you just know it’s going to be good…
Final Fantasy VII
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Platforms: PlayStation, PS4, iOS, Android PC
Often described as as one of the best games of all time, full stop, Final Fantasy VII is constantly featured in lists such as these and for good reason. While it’s hard to grasp without proper context, Square’s 1997 hit boasted visuals that were a country mile ahead of anything else on the PlayStation, a story that was told more like a film than a video game, and characters that resonated with its audience. People still talk about Cloud and Aerith today.
It was Final Fantasy VII’s battle mechanic that won many over, however. An evolved system to one Square had been using for years, it was tweaked and polished to an almost perfect degree and inspired countless wannabes to embrace the idea of turn-based fighting. Easy to understand and yet tough to master, it would define the series for over a decade.
There’s a reason Final Fantasy VII is always part of the conversation, and why the long-awaited remake was greenlit in 2015. It touched people’s lives, which is nothing short of impressive.