Top 10 RPGs [Best Recommendations]

There are many different genres of video games out there, and one of the most popular is an RPG, or role-playing game. These games are defined by letting a player control a character as they undertake a quest of some kind, giving the player some level of control in developing that character. In some games, that just means choosing how they level up and what kind of skills they have. In others, it gives players the power to create characters from scratch and make decisions about how they act and speak. All RPGs are meant to give gamers an immersive experience where they can feel like they’re on the quest themselves.

As you can imagine, hundreds of RPG games exist and have been being made for a long time. And as video games evolve, so do the complexities of role-playing games. Better technology gives games more and more freedom. But even old RPGs can have great stories, and gamers have been losing themselves in them for years. So what are the best RPGs that have been made? It’s a hard question that a lot of people have different answers for. We have our own here at Honey’s, too, with our list of the Top 10 RPGs. We chose these games for their stories, lasting influence, immersion, and most importantly, how fun they are to play.

10. Pokémon Yellow

  • System: Game Boy, Game Boy Color
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Game Freak
  • Release Dates: Sep. 12th, 1998 (JP), Oct. 19th, 1999 (NA)

Pokémon Yellow is an enhanced version of Pokémon Red and Blue that is loosely based on the anime. Your starter Pokémon is a Pikachu that refuses to evolve, much like Ash’s Pikachu, and characters like Jesse, James, and Officer Jenny show up along your journey to become a Pokémon master. To become a master, you have to try to catch all 151 Pokémon that are available by exploring the region of Kanto and defeating the gym leaders there. Along the way, you will also battle the evil Team Rocket who will try to stop you every step of the way. The story is simple but the fun isn’t!

Pokémon Yellow allows players to step right into the Indigo League story from the Pokémon anime, with all new twists and turns along the way. While it may not have all the choice-driven storyline of newer RPGs, it still lets you build up your Pokémon team and train them in whatever style you wish. How you defeat trainers and gym battles is all up to you and takes some serious strategizing to get past the game’s more challenging battles. The player character is entirely in the hands of the player as well, letting you put your own backstory and influence on who they are as the game itself provides little. Pokémon Yellow is a classic these days, but if you missed it the first time, we recommend going back to check it out even now!

9. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

  • System: Xbox, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Android, iOS
  • Publisher: LucasArts
  • Developer: Bioware
  • Release Dates: Jul. 15th, 2003

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is set thousands of years before the Star Wars movies in a very different universe. You take the role of a seemingly average person who wakes up on a ship under attack. As you begin to gain companions and try to figure out the force behind who attacked the ship, you learn that you’re Force-sensitive and can train to be a Jedi. Some of the Jedi Councils seems wary about this, but they allow it to pass. As you travel around the galaxy with your growing entourage of companions, secrets begin to unravel - and you learn the larger role you have to play in everything that is happening.

Knights of the Old Republic paved the way for choice and moral driven RPGs that are so common and popular today. It allows you to make decisions following the Light Side or the Dark Side, and these choices affect the outcome of the game and how characters react to you. It gives the game massive replay value because it even has multiple endings based on the way you play the game. Knights of the Old Republic lets you design your character in a basic system to choose their appearance, and you can also choose their class and how they level up. You also choose all the dialogue options your character makes throughout the game to shape their personality. If you want to see where choice-driven RPGs came from, check Knights of the Old Republic. It has one of the best and most shocking plots reveals in video gaming, too!

8. Diablo II

  • System: Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, Classic macOS
  • Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment (NA), Sierra Entertainment (EU)
  • Developer: Blizzard North
  • Release Dates: Jun. 29th, 2000

Diablo II is a role-playing game with dark fantasy and horror elements. It’s the direct sequel to the incredibly popular game Diablo and was even more successful in itself. It picks up where the first game left off, pursuing the Dark Wanderer through the lands. The Dark Wanderer is possessed by soul stones that have been corrupted, and the powerful demon Diablo is controlling him through them. Using the Dark Wanderer, Diablo is trying to resurrect his brothers Baal and Mephisto. It’s up to the player to stop him from achieving this goal by stopping the Dark Wanderer.

Diablo II was, as aforementioned, a very successful and loved title. While each part of the game has a predetermined story, the dungeons and wilderness are randomly generated to give each player and play through something unique to experience. Alongside the main quest, there are plenty of side quests to complete as well to gain even more experience and see more of the story. Each part of the game takes the player on a journey to a new and unique land to explore and conquer, keeping the game entertaining and fresh from start to finish. And if you haven’t had your fill by the end, luckily there are a few expansion packs, too!

7. Mass Effect

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

Mass Effect is set in the far future when humans have discovered space travel and other beings – but sadly, much later than other species, who have been travelling through space for generations. This puts humans at the bottom of the pecking order in intergalactic matters. When the universe is faced with the invasion of mechanical beings called Reapers that threaten the survival of all species, an elite team is put together to try to stop them. A celebrated human war hero named Commander Shepard is named a Spectre, an elite title, and put in charge of this team. Needing to not only save the universe but also prove the human race’s place in it is all in an average day’s work for Shepard, whom who take the role of.

Commander Shepard is entirely customizable by the player, from their appearance and gender to backstory and character class. How they level up is also up to the player. Mass Effect is a moral and choice-driven RPG, allowing players to make a lot of decisions that will affect small and large parts of the story. All dialogue options are generally left up to the player to decide as well, which will affect their relationship with both party members and other NPCs that they encounter. What happens to the universe is literally in your hands in Mass Effect, letting players escape to a beautiful but dangerous science fiction world full of action and witty dialogue.

6. Elder Scrolls: Skyrim

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

You begin the Elder Scrolls: Skyrim as a prisoner on your way to be executed. But for better or for worse, the town is devastatingly attacked by a dragon - which hasn’t been seen in ages! Luckily you’re able to bring it down and start to change your fate for the better. As the plot begins to unfold, you learn that your character is actually “dragonborn,” and able to absorb the souls of dragons to gain power and speak their language to unlock amazing abilities. It also falls on your shoulders to save Skyrim from the influx of dragons infesting it now. Oh and the country is also undergoing political turmoil, so you’d best get involved in the decision of who shall lead it next, too!

Skyrim is a huge game with a massive map that can be explored quite freely. It allows the player an incredible amount of freedom. You choose your character’s species, class, and appearance right from the beginning. After that, it’s entirely up to you what you do with your time. The main quests exist of course, but there are plenty of side quests, guilds, and more to keep you more than busy. It’s also fun to just explore the map and raid dungeons, visit cities, find treasure, and kill monsters! Skyrim lets you do what you want in a beautiful country full of interesting people and creatures. It’s a fantasy fan’s dream RPG because you can really feel like you’re part of a fantasy story - and you’re the one writing it.

5. Dark Souls

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

Dark Souls has a very simple plot. The game’s backstory is mostly left up to the player’s impression rather than clearly spelled out. What is known is that the world used to be ruled by dragons, but that was ended with the Age of Fire. But when the fire was dying out, the hero Gwyn sacrificed himself to artificially restart it. The problem is that this released an undead curse on the lands. You play as one of the cursed undead who is tasked with being Gwyn’s successor and saving the world. This can only be done by collecting the Lord Souls from Gwyn’s old allies.

Dark Souls’ reputation precedes it. It’s famous in the gaming world for two things - being an incredible RPG with amazing levels and world lore, and for being unforgivingly difficult. Both are certainly true. The levels you play through are intricate and well-thought-out, and the combat always stays interesting. But the game will punish you for losing over and over and over again. If you don’t mind a challenge and can appreciate the feeling of intense satisfaction when you overcome it, then you can appreciate the simple but well-told story that Dark Souls presents. The ending and thus the fate of the world is all in your hands too with a critical final decision. Well, if you make it that far, that is.

4. Kingdom Come: Deliverance

  • System: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
  • Publisher: Warhorse Studios, Deep Silver
  • Developer: Warhorse Studios
  • Release Dates: Feb. 13th, 2018

Kingdom Come: Deliverance is set in 1403 in Bohemia, beginning when a village is attacked by the Hungarian king and most of the villagers are slaughtered. One of the few survivors is Henry, whom you take control of. Henry has nothing left to lose after his family is massacred, so he joins a resistance army hoping to repeal the invasion of the Hungarian forces. He becomes involved in a movement to restore Bohemia’s proper king to the throne once more while seeking vengeance for his murdered family.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a massive undertaking, with a huge open world and totally immersive gameplay. What sets it apart from other period and historical games is that it’s meant to be as accurate and true as possible, featuring only historically accurate weapons, clothing, and architecture. That means you won’t find any magic and monsters in this game, but you will find a recreated version of a real time in history. It’s a classless RPG allowing you to level up abilities as you wish, and your skills and reputation are affected by your actions and dialogue choices. Time to choose what to say in conversations is limited, just like real life. Kingdom Come: Deliverance is played in the first-person, really making you step into the shoes of Henry. It’s a realistic game that lets you choose how to play, and lets you get lost in the story. And that’s what an RPG is meant to do!

3. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt

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

The Witcher III: Wild Hunt is the third game in the series and once more allows you to step into the boots of Geralt. When the game begins, he is searching for his missing lover, the sorceress Yennefer. His adoptive ward Ciri is also missing, and what’s worse is that the land is being attacked by the Wild Hunt. This ruthless group of magical beings is slaughtering entire villages without mercy and freezing everything they touch. And it’s all because they are looking for Ciri! Geralt, Yennefer, and Geralt’s other ex Triss all have to race against the Wild Hunt to find Ciri first. But they’re always just one step behind her...

The Witcher III: Wild Hunt is a massive role-playing game with a huge and detailed open world to discover, a complex storyline, and countless unique side quests. For hardcore gamers, it can also easily offer over 200 hours of gameplay if you also do the expansions - and none of it will feel repetitive! You can get lost collecting gear and items, doing errands, monster hunts and not even follow the main quest if you want (though it’s a good story so we recommend paying attention!). While Geralt himself isn’t customisable, a lot of his dialogue options and all major decisions are up to you so you can still enjoy the immersion of an incredible RPG.

2. Chrono Trigger

  • System: Super NES, PlayStation, Nintendo DS, i-mode, iOS, Android, Microsoft Windows, Apple TV
  • Publisher: Square
  • Developer: Square
  • Release Dates: Mar. 11th, 1995

Time travel is central to the plot and gameplay of Chrono Trigger, so the setting is very varied. It takes place on a planet much like earth that includes a prehistoric time period with dinosaurs, a medieval time with knights, and a destitute post-apocalyptic future with robots. Each of the playable characters in the game comes from a different time period, and as your travel through time to stop an imminent global catastrophe you are able to recruit more characters. And all of it starts with a complex misunderstanding in which the main character Chrono is accused of kidnapping a princess! Things only get more intense from there.

Chrono Trigger has received a lot of praise over the years and has been remastered and re-released on a lot of different systems for gamers to enjoy. This RPG won’t just disappear into history, and no one wants it to. While it has a more simple combat system and gameplay than some other RPGs, it makes up for that with an amazing story, great character development, and enough variation to keep players from getting bored. Chrono Trigger was created by a “Dream Team” of developers, including the creators of Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. The result is an amazing role-playing game that no RPG fan should ever pass up the chance to experience.

1. Final Fantasy VI

  • System: Super NES
  • Publisher: Square
  • Developer: Square
  • Release Dates: Apr. 2nd, 1994

The main character of Final Fantasy VI is Terra Branford, an ex-Imperial officer who has escaped the Empire’s mind control but now suffers from amnesia. She joins a rebel group called the Returners, who promise to protect her in return for her help in their uprising. Terra has the rare ability to use magic and agrees to help them. As Imperial forces led by a man named Kefka try to take Espers, which are magical beings, Terra, and the Returners fight to protect them. When Terra begins to transform in the presence of Espers into a magical being herself, she learns there is more to her than she could have ever imagined.

Final Fantasy VI is just one instalment in the famous Japanese role-playing game series, but it’s the most influential and critically acclaimed. Final Fantasy VI has been listed by many websites and magazines in the top RPGs of all time, heavily praised for its story, execution, and lasting influence on the genre as a whole. The storyline is emotional and has multiple-choice options that were revolutionary at the time of the game’s release, really helping gamers get into the story and feel like they are a part of it. Today Final Fantasy VI might not be as popular as some of the others in the series, but it’s a game that all RPG fans should play. Don’t let it get overshadowed; it deserves the spotlight.

Final Thoughts

No matter what world they take you to, and what style of gameplay they offer, RPGs can be the ultimate form of video game escapism and story-telling. They always give players a level of control unique to the genre, creating a game that is different in some way for each player and letting them feel like part of the story. They’re diverse and flexible enough to appeal to all kinds of gamers as well, offering so many different options for gameplay and story. Many of them offer high replay value, too, as they can be played in a different way the next time!

So which RPG are you itching to try? Did you see your favourite on this list, or did we forget it? What RPG would you rank as the best? What do you love about role-playing games? Drop a comment below!

Dark-Souls-Remastered-game-1-700x394 Top 10 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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