Top 10 Action-Adventure RPGs [Best Recommendations]

Action-adventure RPGs, or role-playing games, are video games that allow players to take control of a character in a fictional setting and make choices in some way as that character. RPGs are different from other kinds of video games because they always involve choices to some extent, some more than others. In some games, you can entirely customise your character and make tons of dialogue options that affect the story’s outcome.

In others, you can simply choose how to level up your character, what class to make them, and what skills they will have. Sometimes these games are even open-World, letting you choose where you go and how you complete quests. What’s important is that the player is in control of elements of the character, allowing them to take on the “role” of that person and play out the story.

But what about the action-adventure part? Well, that’s much easier; we aren’t talking about a point-and-click virtual novel or turn-based battle game. We are talking about RPGs that feature a lot of action and fighting, puzzles to solve, environments to conquer, and bosses to beat. Action-adventure RPGs are some of the most exciting and immersive games to play and continue to become more and more popular. They exist for all kinds of settings and genres, too. So what are the Top 10 Action-Adventure RPGs available to play right now? Well, here is our list!

10. Bioshock

  • System/Platform: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Mac OS X, iOS
  • Publisher: 2K Games
  • Developer: 2K Boston, 2K Australia
  • Release Dates: Aug. 21st, 2007

Bioshock is set in the year 1960, but it’s nothing like 1960 that we know today. You play as Jack, a man whose plane crashes in the ocean near the entrance to a secret underwater city called Rapture. The city was originally built to be a perfect isolated utopia, but everything changed when a genetic material known as ADAM was discovered that could give superhuman powers. As Jack, you have to fight your way through what remains of Rapture as you uncover the secret history of the city, defeat your enemies, and try to escape. Along the way, you also interact with some people that have retained their sanity, as well as those now obsessed with ADAM. Your choices will determine their fate, as well as how you defeat enemies and progress through the story.

Bioshock is a first-person shooter, making it a unique entry as the only one of its kind on our list of the Top 10 Action-Adventure RPGs. But that’s not the only thing that makes Bioshock unique. The setting is an immersive biopunk one, whimsical yet dark at the same time. The gameplay borrows elements from the horror survival genre of games as well, keeping you on the edge of your seat as you experience the adventure. And of course, it has a lot of RPG elements, too! You are given a lot of moral choices about whether to let characters live or die, and this morality-based storyline has been critically acclaimed.

You also control how you defeat enemies, whether head-on or using a more stealthy approach, so there is more than one solution to the battles. For people looking for a unique setting, immersive story that you can still control elements of, and also love shooters, Bioshock is known as being one of the best games of all time for a reason. It may not have as many player choices as other games on our list, but it has enough action-adventure to make up for it.

9. Assassin’s Creed Origins

  • System/Platform: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
  • Release Dates: Oct. 27th, 2017

Assassins Creed games have always been about a conflict between the Assassins and the Templar Order, but where did that conflict start? Assassins Creed Origins finally answers that question, taking the player to Ancient Egypt to explore the beginning of these problems. You take on the role of a Medjay named Bayek. The game is set in a time of political unrest and upheaval in Egypt, where there is a struggle for the Pharaoh to keep his power and the imminent threat of a Roman invasion by Julius Caesar. Bayek’s role is to discover the secret forces that are controlling history and causing this unrest while trying to protect the common people. He eventually goes on to become the first Assassin.

Assassins Creed isn’t a series known as much for its RPG elements as it is its action-adventure gameplay, but Origins has added in more than ever before. You finally have more freedom in how you level up Bayek, and there is a more complex and customisable crafting system for making new weapons and equipment. There is a lot more equipment to collect as well, giving you more control over what you wear and use. Taking this new and improved freedom and pairing it with the stealth action and parkour that Assassins Creed is known for, as well as a massive map of a totally immersive Ancient Egypt, and you have the makings of a great game. Assassins Creed Origins is especially good for beginners to the RPG world that really likes action-adventure games but wants a new challenge and more freedom as well.

8. Dark Souls

  • System/Platform: Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows
  • Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
  • Developer: FromSoftware
  • Release Dates: Oct. 4th, 2011

In the world of Dark Souls, you play as a cursed undead warrior who begins in an undead asylum. It seems that the world used to be ruled by dragons, but they were defeated by a powerful warrior named Gwyn who used a Lord Soul to defeat them. This began the Age of Fire, which kept humans safe, but when the fires began to die and Gwyn sacrificed himself to keep them alive, he accidentally caused a great disaster. Now some humans are cursed to be born again and again when they die. After you escape from the asylum, you have to gather these Lord Souls again from Gwyn’s old allies to return them to the First Flame. Only then can the curse of humanity be lifted.

Dark Souls is an open world action-adventure RPG that heavily encourages exploration. You are able to explore the world quite freely, and there are a lot of alternative routes and solutions to many of the puzzles and places you encounter. This gives you freedom as a player to choose a bit how you play the game and where you go as you look for the Lord Souls. Dark Souls has plenty of combat too, and if you haven’t already heard, it’s incredibly challenging. You need to be ready to face this adventure and die many times as you figure out how to progress past bosses and through areas, and you definitely won’t be able to do it in one try.

There is little player dialogue, so most of the RPG elements come from the freedom to explore the map and what you encounter there. And Dark Souls has no shortage of action and adventure. Just be ready to be challenged if this is the game you want to try! You’ll definitely feel accomplished when you succeed.

7. Horizon Zero Dawn

  • System/Platform: PlayStation 4
  • Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
  • Developer: Guerrilla Games
  • Release Dates: Feb. 28th, 2017

In Horizon Zero Dawn, you play as an outcast woman named Aloy. She lives in a world set about 1000 years into the future, where an unknown disaster has changed the face of Earth as we know it. Humans now live in primitive tribes, and the land is dominated by giant robot creatures known as “machines.” Most technology has been lost, with everyone’s ancestors simply being known as the “Old Ones.” The tribes and machines coexisted peacefully for the most part - that is until the Derangement began. Now they attack humans and continue to become more dangerous. Aloy has to travel across the dangerous world to figure out why she was outcast, who the Old Ones were, and what they can do about the machines.

While you have no choice but to play as Aloy, how you choose to level her up is all up to you. Horizon Zero Dawn has a skill tree system that allows the player a lot of control in how Aloy progresses, and thus how you play the game. The map is a large open world one that even features day and night cycles, as well as weather, so you have a lot of freedom to explore as you choose and find your own adventures! In addition to the main story, there are many side quests and collectibles you can search for, too. You can also choose a bit if what you say to other characters. And did we mention there are 25 different kinds of unique machines to encounter and fight? So while you don’t have as much control over the story and character as some RPGs, the action-adventure factor of Horizon Zero Dawn is high. And coupled with the RPG elements, it’s a fast-paced and fun game to play.

6. Bloodborne

  • System/Platform: PlayStation 4
  • Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Developer: FromSoftware
  • Release Dates: Mar. 24th, 2015

Bloodborne begins by the player dying and signing a contract that they do not fully understand. From there, you control the Hunter in the mysterious gothic city of Yharnam. The city has been taken over by a blood-borne disease that has turned everyone into monsters and is destroying the city. Still not fully understanding, as the Hunter you must search for something known as “Paleblood,” while fighting through all of the infected monsters. As you begin to uncover more of the mysteries of Yharnam and grow to understand what has happened to the city, your goal becomes to find and end the source of the blood-borne plague. And of course, to escape the waking nightmare yourself!

Bloodborne is an action-adventure RPG that lands squarely in the horror genre as well. From the beginning of the game, you are able to entirely customise the appearance, gender, and name of your Hunter. From there, you can choose what sort of weapons he or she will specialise in, as well as a backstory that will heavily affect your character’s stats from a variety of intriguing choices. How you level up your character remains in your hands as well as you decide what kind of a Hunter you want to play as. On top of combat, Bloodborne also has a heavy emphasis on exploration as you traverse the city of Yharnam and try to uncover all of its secrets. It’s a fast-paced and difficult game that gives you a lot of control but demands a lot of time and skill in return. If you like horror or are looking for a challenging action-adventure RPG, you’ve found one.

5. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

  • System/Platform: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • Publisher: CD Projekt
  • Developer: CD Projekt RED
  • Release Dates: May 19th, 2015

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt sees the return of Geralt, one of the last remaining Witchers in the land. He continues his journey as a Witcher to kill monsters in return for payment and taking on various contracts for work. But when his adopted ward Ciri gets mixed up in the infamous and dangerous Wild Hunt, Geralt is determined to find her and stop the Hunt from taking her. You take control of Geralt as you travel across a massive map, taking on contracts, following side quests, and tracking both Ciri and the Wild Hunt. You have to find Ciri before the Hunt does, and find a way to defeat them before they destroy her. Along the way, you’ll encounter a lot of other characters who you will have a hand in determining the fate of as well.

While Geralt himself is not a customisable character as far as class and looks, the rest of the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is everything that makes an RPG what it is. Of course, you can choose how to level up Geralt and what his specialities will be, as well as craft and customise his equipment. And you can at least change his hair and beard style if you really want to change his looks! Beyond that though, how you play the Witcher is entirely up to you. It’s full of choices that have far-reaching consequences; what you do even on a small quest may well affect something you never expected later.

The open world map is also massive with tons of space to explore that the storyline won’t necessarily take you to, leaving it up for you to discover its secrets. A lot of choices affect the story so heavily that the game has great replay value if you want to play again and make new decisions, too. And of course, you get to choose your romance option!

4. Dragon Age: Inquisition

  • System/Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • Developer: BioWare Edmonton
  • Release Dates: Nov. 18th, 2014

Dragon Age: Inquisition opens with a horrible accident. Just when the mages and Templars are finally trying to reach an agreement to the age-old problems between their guilds, there is an explosion that literally tears apart a rift in the sky. The Grand Divine, the land’s religious leader, is killed. And only one person is found alive at the centre of the site - someone who will come to be known as the Herald of Andraste, with the power to close the tears in the sky through a magical rift in their hand. You play as this character as they rise up to the role of Inquisitor, leading a Grand Inquisition to not only seal the big tear in the sky but also to find out who caused it. The fate of the lands will all be in your hands, whether you ever wanted that responsibility or not.

When you begin Dragon Age: Inquisition, you choose your character’s race, gender, character class, and appearance. These choices will affect not only gameplay but also the story and how other characters will react to you. As you play the game, you are presented with countless choices to make. These affect the story in both small and huge ways, and every choice you make has a ripple effect on the rest of the game and ultimately will affect the final outcome. There’s plenty of free exploration, collecting, side quests, and combat to do as well.

Inquisition uses a party system for fighting and allows you to grow closer or further apart from your companions through dialogue and your decisions. You are able to choose everything your character says and does, putting you completely in control of the story and the action. For players looking for a real challenge, there are plenty of optional difficult bosses to seek out in the form of powerful dragons as well! If you want an action-adventure RPG that you can play for countless hours and always be doing something new, Dragon Age: Inquisition is that game.

3. Mass Effect

  • System/Platform: Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
  • Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios, Electronic Arts
  • Developer: BioWare
  • Release Dates: Nov. 20th, 2007

Mass Effect is the story of Commander Shepard, whom you play as in the game. It takes place in the future when Earth has discovered space travel and life beyond its galaxy - and has also learned that humans are not the only sentient life form out there. In fact, they are at the bottom of the social ladder under most alien species now and seen as inferior by many. So when the celebrated war hero Shepard is named Spectre, the first human to reach this elite position, it’s a big deal. Shepard and their crew must help defend the galaxy from the Reaper invasion, an army of mechanical beings bent on destroying organic life. But the road will be anything but easy - and the Reapers’ power is incredible.

Mass Effect is the first title in a series of games based on player choices and morality. You are able to design Commander Shepard from the beginning, including gender and appearance, as well as a character class. The rest of the game you are constantly faced with choices, Be they as small as a dialogue option to as big as deciding who lives and dies, or the fate of a planet. The Paragon and Renegade System in the game is determined by the moral alignment of your choices, and other characters will react differently to you based on the way you have moulded your character. And of course, there are a lot of monsters to fight and planets to explore to add that important action-adventure element!

You can even explore uninhabited planets in your all-terrain buggy to look for resources and hide-outs. It’s a really immersive action-adventure RPG for fans of shooters, science fiction, party systems, and choice-driven gameplay with high replay value.

2. Fallout 4

  • System/Platform: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
  • Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
  • Release Dates: Nov. 10th, 2015

Fallout 4 is set in 2287 in a post-apocalyptic environment. It’s been 210 years since the Great War that caused nuclear ruin all over America, and you are playing in what used to be Boston and the surrounding area. You take the role of the Sole Survivor, a person who has just awoken from cryogenic sleep in a fallout shelter just in time to see their spouse murdered and son kidnapped. With nothing else left to lose, you venture forth into the world to try to try to find your son. Along the way, there are many side quests to do, characters to interact with, choices to make, and bad guys and monsters to fight as you explore the massive dystopian world before you.

Fallout 4 allows you to completely customise your character including name and gender and goes from there. You are in a massive open world that has many options for free exploration of the map, and allowing you to do quests and collecting in whatever order you want to. It is also the first title in the series to offer an extensive crafting system where you can take what you scavenge from the land and turn it into customised, useful equipment.

Fallout 4 is played in first-person as well, giving you that added sense of immersion into the RPG world to really make you feel like you are the sole survivor. And while you can do peaceful quests like creating and developing settlements for others, there are plenty of monsters and bad guys out there waiting to give you some action, too. If you prefer an RPG that is a shooter but still offers you a lot of freedom to play as you want to, Fallout 4 is the game for you.

1. Skyrim

  • System/Platform: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
  • Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
  • Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
  • Release Dates: Nov. 11th, 2011

Skyrim is the newest title in the famous Elder Scrolls series of games but can be played on its own even if you haven’t played the previous titles. You take on the role of a prisoner who is about to be executed in the politically unstable northern country of Skyrim. However, the execution is (luckily?) interrupted by a dragon, the first one that has been seen in ages! Only you are able to defeat it, but then the unimaginable happens; you absorb its soul! It turns out you are the legendary Dragonborn, able to defeat dragons, absorb their souls for power, and even use their language. On top of saving Skyrim from the dragons, you also get tangled up in the question of who will rule the nation, and your decisions will affect the fate of this rugged land.

Skyrim is hugely customisable, full of action, and gives everyone who plays it a different experience. Your choices begin right from the start with an intense character customisation, where you can choose from a lot of different species each with their own perks and weaknesses, and design them however you want (though the game is played in the first person so you hardly see your own character). From there, you can choose their character class, what weapons they will wield, if they use magic or not, and what armour they will wear.

Skyrim has countless side quests, some short and simple, and some much longer. You can become a werewolf or a vampire, get married and buy a house, become a thief or an assassin, and more! And that doesn’t even touch on the main storyline or your role in Skyrim’s political fate. The amount of freedom in Skyrim coupled with a huge amount of open world you can explore and more does than you can count lands Skyrim firmly as one of the best action-adventure RPGs to date. It does have a lot of glitches, but that’s just part of the charm.

Final Thoughts

Whether your adventure will be in space or a fantasy world, a post-apocalyptic wasteland or a historical setting, there’s an action-adventure RPG for you. Some give you more freedom than others to customise the game and characters to your will, but all of them are sure to serve up plenty of excitement. With guns, swords, magic and more, there’s plenty of ways to enjoy an action-adventure RPG, letting you step into the shoes of whatever kind of character you wish and do what video games do best - escape from reality and have some fun, even if it’s just for a little while.

What are your favourite action-adventure RPGs? Did we miss one from this list you think we should have? Would you have put these in a different order? Are you ready to go out and play one of these games now? Why do you enjoy playing action-adventure RPGs? Let us know in the comments!

Horizon-Zero-Dawn-game-Wallpaper-700x394 Top 10 Action-Adventure RPGs [Best Recommendations]


Author: Jet Nebula

Living the dream in Tokyo, where you can find me working at a theme café catered towards women. When I’m not writing for Honey’s, I’m working on original dystopian science fiction or blogging about Tokyo’s trendy coffee scene. I spend my free time in Harajuku and Shibuya wearing alternative Japanese street fashion. I love video games, J-rock, tattoos, and Star Wars.

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