Role-playing games (RPGs) are where players turn for a deep and rewarding experience filled 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.
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Available on PS4 and PC
Level-5 is synonymous with the RPG genre, and in Ni No Kuni 2 the studio has one of its finest works to date. Combining some of the mechanics of the greatest works in the genre, with a beautiful art style of Studio Ghibli with a wonderful new tower defence and world building mini-game, this is an absolute must-buy.
Buy Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom from Amazon UK
And the best part is you don’t have to know much about its predecessor, Wrath of the White Witch, to enjoy everything that’s on offer here, so fill your boots!
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Monster Hunter World is Capcom’s attempt to finally make what is a hugely successful and multi-million seller in Japan a big hit in the West, and wow have they created something special.
This is one of the finest RPGs you’ll ever play with one of the most rewarding combat experiences to boot. Think of the Souls style challenge and payoff, throw in a bunch of giant creatures to slay, food to eat, traps to lay and beautiful worlds to explore and what’s not to love?
This is a perfect starting point for newcomers to the series, with some of its previous entries’ intricacies streamlined for a far more entertaining game overall, too.
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After years of waiting and countless delays, Persona 5 is finally here, and it’s bloody brilliant. Taking place in modern day Tokyo, you play as a high school student who soon finds himself part of The Phantom Thieves. As a member of this elite group you’ll infiltrate dungeons in pursuit of corrupt individual’s hearts.
Of course, it isn’t all about dungeon crawling. You’ll also have to attend classes, hang out with friends and perhaps even get a part-time job. The depiction of Tokyo in Persona 5 is startlingly realistic, echoeing a metropolitan world you can’t help but lose yourself in.
Available on PS4, Xbox One and PC
Ubisoft and South Park Studios have evolved the mechanics of Stick of Truth to offer a deeper RPG experience, but wrap it in an even more outrageous South Park story.
The boys are now playing super heroes, telling their very own ‘Civil War’, and throughout the game’s narrative you’ll see some of the most outrageous set pieces in the entire series lore, and that’s saying something for a show that has seen Satan lay with Saddam Hussein, Member Berries and the Satanic Christmas Critters.
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Developer: Monolith Soft
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
The Switch debut for beloved studio Monolith Soft proved to be a massive hit. Combining a sprawling, anime-inspired open world with a layered combat system results in an adventure that could take away hundreds of hours from those hoping to see everything.
Rex is a scavenger who calls the floating world of Alrest home. His life is lonely yet peaceful until he comes across Pyra, a Blade being hunted by a mysterious group of evil mercenaries. From here, you set out to discover the land of Elysium and discover the truth behind your past.
Related: Upcoming Nintendo Switch Games
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild could be the best in the series yet. It faithfully reworks beloved franchise conventions while carving a new path that will no doubt influence open-world game design for years to come. Link awakens from a 100 year slumber and is immediately thrust into the land of Hyrule. You can literally go anywhere, so long as you aren’t killed along the way.
This lack of hand-holding leads you on a journey of perfected self discovery. You’ll discover subtle environment cues and cleverly hidden mechanics through your own experimentation. It’s riveting, producing endless moments of jaw-dropping wonder as you investigate shrines and bravely stumble upon new challenges.
Breath of the Wild also moves the series in a brave new direction with multiple additions we’ve never seen before. For the first time, voice acting is present, and it serves to create a narrative that warrants your personal investment. The world of Hyrule truly feels at risk, and so you’re compelled to delve into its cavalcade of irresistible secrets.
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The original NieR remains a cult classic that seldom receives the attention it deserves. It was flawed, but told a unique story across a sprawling world that could only be achieved in the gaming medium. It was also utterly mental, a trend that continues in the masterful NieR: Automata.
Order NieR: Automata from Amazon UK | Amazon US
Set in a post-apocalyptic future in a world occupied by murderous robots, you play as a pair of young androids tasked with eliminating this hostile threat. What begins as a basic action game quickly involves into a harrowing tale of love, humanity and loss that has some truly magical moments.
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Developer: Team Ninja
Platforms: PS4, PC
Taking more than a little inspiration from Dark Souls and Bloodborne, Nioh is a beautiful dive into Feudal Japan packed with gruesome monsters and disgustingly difficult combat. Much like Dark Souls, it’s all about learning the moves of your enemy and responding with patience.
However, Nioh is more narrative focused than Souls with characters holding motivations in fully-fledged cutscenes that do a tremendous job of investing us in the unfolding story. Now available on PC and PS4, Nioh is more than worth a look.
Related: Call of Duty Black Ops 4
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Warner Bros. doesn’t do things by halves, Shadow of War goes all out in making an incredibly action-packed RPG. With it’s brilliant Nemesis system evolved to feature the ability to send your own minions to battle, send threats to warchiefs and more, it’s an incredibly deep mechanic that could become a game in and of itself.
Combat is still immensely satisfying, and now with even more upgrades and tech trees, RPG fans will have even more to dive into.
Plus the game features an array of Xbox One X enhancements, so gamers picking up that console are in for an absolute treat for the eyes.
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The Souls series is an incredible and challenging experience that has become iconic in gaming. FromSoftware took this experience and refined it further to offer an astounding combat system to create the brilliant Bloodborne.
A PS4-exclusive, Bloodborne sees players exploring a dark, gothic world that only becomes more despairing the further you venture. Full of epic boss battles, challenging enemies and brilliant moments, this is a must-buy for PS4 owners, and is arguably the pinnacle of the Souls series.
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Developer: From Software
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
From Software’s trilogy of wonderful RPGs has finally come to a close with Dark Souls 3, and it more than lived up to the lineage set before it. Featuring gorgeous environments and some excellent boss battles, there is plenty to love here.
Now two additional expansions have been released, Dark Souls 3 offers an absurd amount of content that can be played or alone with friends summoned into your world. And, soon enough, you’ll be able to play all three Souls games on modern platforms.
Related: Dark Souls 4 wishlist
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Platform: PS4, Xbox One and PC
Diablo 3 is one of the biggest names in the RPG genre, and it should come as little surprise to learn that this expansion pack caused quite a stir when it launched last year. The pack brought with it new characters, an expanded storyline, fresh weapons, a level cap rise and a brand-new Adventure Mode where players could explore the game world and take on dungeons and quests at will.
The expansion made its way to PC and consoles, but the big news was the launch of Reaper of Souls – as part of the Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls Ultimate Evil Edition – on next-generation systems. The PS4 and Xbox One versions dramatically improved over their PS3 and 360 counterparts, giving fans a viable excuse to live through the adventure all over again.
With combined sales of over 20 million copies worldwide, Diablo 3 and its expansion pack are absolutely unavoidable if you consider yourself to be a follower of the role-playing world. Chances are, you’ve already bought and lived through these epic tales, but if not – there’s still ample time to rectify that oversight.
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…
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Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Developer: CD Projekt Red
While CD Projekt Red has been working on The Witcher franchise since 2007, it wasn’t until 2015 and the release of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt that the wider world took notice. There’s a reason it did, too.
Aside from the world itself, which is packed with things to do and looks amazing, the exploration elements, enemy design and character progression is incredibly well thought out and executed. And that’s before mentioning the deep customisation system. It was the combat that really allowed it to stand apart, though.
A constant criticism of previous entries in the series were aimed at the confusing and frustrating battles you were asked to take part in, but that wasn’t the case at all in Wild Hunt. Satisfying and easy, the combat allowed The Witcher 3 to be far more accessible to a much larger audience, and that audience ate it up. Even the expansion The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine was considered one of the best games of 2016. Not bad for something that’s essentially DLC…