What games would you say are The Best RPGs on PC of all time? The RPG is an astounding venture. Put some stats on characters, offer some sort of combat, and build some kind of exploratory world and you can practically do anything with the medium.
RPGs have been around almost as long as interactive entertainment itself. In all of the escapism that is video gaming, this genre offers some of the greatest wellsprings of imagination for players like us to tap into.
You can be what you want to be, do what you want to do, the sky's the limit for our list of The Best RPGs on PC, and some of them even go past the sky into the furthest reaches of space and your imagination.
There have been hundreds and probably even thousands of RPGs produced across the last decades, but not just any game goes here. We went after the best of the best. Each of these games represents some part of glorious video game history. They are but a sample, but they are also some of the tip-top of what the genre has had to offer. We would like to take you down memory lane and maybe even introduce you to something new. Please join us in looking at some of The Best RPGs on PC.
Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
Obsidian's love letter to the great cRPGs of old that was Pillars of Eternity, was a competent RPG and successful in recapturing the feel of the golden age of the Infinity engine. Deadfire, the sequel to that game, doesn't just step into the shoes of the old classics, but outgrows them. A gargantuan achievement, this title sets the bar for the RPGs that will come after it.
Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire is more than the sum of its parts, and even then, those parts on their own are fantastic writing and voice acting, a beautiful and engrossing world to explore both on foot and by sea, a polished and refined combat system that is less cluttered than in the predecessor, a well-executed naval mechanic and a compelling storyline. Every location feels alive and vibrant, every background has a story to tell, and every face you meet feels like a real individual.
The world of Deadfire is inspired by Polynesian culture and the era of colonialism, a mix we rarely see in video games. As you traverse the archipelago hunting the reincarnated god Eothas, you can discover and explore myriad islets and grand islands, some of which you can even name. All the small encounters with various perils and characters sell this game as a living, breathing world.
If you're interested in a more comprehensive look at Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire, check out our.
Divinity: Original Sin 2
Swapping out one for the other might not seem fair, but Larian Studios have undeniably usurped their own game. Fresh out of Early Access, Divinity: Original Sin 2 is not only their finest RPG offering to date, but their best performing, too. Shifting hundreds of thousands of units in its first day and ranking highly on Steam's concurrent user list, we could be looking as a modern classic in a genre that felt like it was dying a death through the 2000s. Heck, it's even managed to be called the 'best strategy game since XCOM'. It's attempting to earn a place on multiple genre lists.
Designed to replicate the feel of a pen and paper RPG, Divinity: Original Sin 2 achieves this with flying colours. Boasting more than 200 skills and more combinations that its predecessor, its strategical turn-based battle system makes every decision count. And with a world that's fully interactive, it's hard to not prefer this one far over our own. Though there are many pre-set heroes to choose from, the more imaginative are actively encouraged to pen their own traits, skills and origin stories - and with 4-player co-op making a return, it's the perfect way to hold a game night without anyone leaving their own home (though splitscreen and controllers are supported).
With every living entity playing their part, from chitchatting animals to oblivious villagers, there's a terrifying amount of dialogue and world-building to go through here. But once it's all said and done, there's a robust 'Game Master' mode for those who like to dabble in creating their own. You can even share them online, too! Divinity: Original Sin really is a game that may never end.
If you'd like to read up about the first Divinity: Original Sin, check out our.
The Fallout Franchise
Since it’s original release in 1997, the Fallout series has outdone itself time and time again. The original Fallout established itself as a quite a bit more than a spinoff of the 1988 classic RPG Wasteland and Fallout 2 was an even more enjoyable venture and considered to be one of the best RPGs of all time by a lot of it’s fans, even to this day.
It was these two, lore rich games that paved the road for the releases of Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas and Fallout 4. Bethesda bought the rights to Fallout as Interplay were going bankrupt. Interplay was originally publishing a third Fallout through developer Black Isle Studios, who had made the first and second game. Regardless of the groundwork that had been laid, Bethesda set out to make a new Fallout from scratch. This new version, known to fans as Fallout 3, would host the player character in a post-apocalyptic Washington D.C., known as the Capitol Wasteland.
Fallout 3, released in October 2008, was revolutionary in its mixture of first-person RPG with soft shooter elements. The game’s revamped V.A.T.S. system introduced players to a much more grand level of immersion and cinematic visuals when targeting and attacking enemies. Furthermore, the world lived, introducing so many active elements and strange sightings into the world, alongside fantastically different and bizarre cultures. Fallout 3 was more than just a better sequel. It was jet fuel that propelled the series into grander heights.
The less popular with fans but still a fantastic game, Fallout: New Vegas, released only two years after Fallout 3 in October 2010, players found themselves back in the post-apocalyptic world of fusion power. However this time they were out of the realms of old D.C. and thrust into the treacherous reaches of New Vegas where the player meets new characters, friend and foe alike and battles it out with new, sadistic enemies like Caesar's Legion.
The latest release in the franchise by Bethesda Games Studios came five years after the release of Fallout: New Vegas in November of 2015, with Fallout 4. This is a story that begins as a simple search for your missing family, that, within no time at all, evolves into complicated and emotional rollercoaster. Just like in it’s two predecessors, the player is thrust into a struggle of power with warring factions desperately fighting for dominance in the new area know as the Commonwealth. Fallout 4 set the tone for RPGs everywhere with it’s improved V.A.T.S. system, an even more immersive, living world, characters the player can’t help but build attachments too and an all new element of Settlement Building and Management. In Fallout 4 the player can decided to build a brand new world for the people of the Commonwealth or become the new blight that taints the land. Your decisions ultimately affect the world around you and you will suffer the consequences of your actions. If it’s an immersive, action-packed RPG you’re looking for Fallout 4 is highly recommended for that list.
The Witcher 3
When we talk about action-RPGs, you can’t bring them up without bringing up a modern masterpiece that upped the genre for everyone. The Witcher and The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings were pretty great games, but The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt brought monster hunting mythology to a level unseen before. In the expansive world that Geralt of Rivia lives in, there are tons of monsters that need hunting and he’s the man for the job. Witcher 3 portrayed this like no other.
Geralt’s tale in Witcher 3 ties heavily into his adoptive daughter Ciri. Ciri is a child of great power, and a disturbing prophecy and a frightening and deadly phantom band known as the Wild Hunt are chasing after her like an animal. Geralt must find one of the only people he truly loves before it’s too late. Along the way, Geralt comes across familiar faces, foes, and fiends with which he must use all of his tools and some new ones crafted along the way to contend.
Despite the “race against time” storyline of Witcher 3, the game’s world really is a rich tapestry that demands exploration. You can’t go in any direction without bumping into a curiosity or a monstrosity. In addition, the game features one of the most in-depth crafting and item systems ever used in an RPG. You may not end up using everything, but the amount of toys Geralt can use between equipment and tools is staggering and more applicable than most games care to try. However, to some fans, the Witcher 3 is but a side quest for their main game of Gwent. Gwent is the card game of choice in the realms of the Witcher. You can lose many hours playing Gwent alone.
Black Desert Online
With the massive, and free, Kamasylvia expansion due real soon, it's about time we add one of the best MMOs come to out of Korea to this list. While I would personally love to slot Final Fantasy XIV in here as the MMORPG of choice, its constant tie-ins and cross-overs could conflict with the sort of immserion hardcore roleplayers might be looking for. Black Desert Online, however, has a much more robust character creator, more realistic combat and a fresh new world that's full of discovery.
When choosing an MMO to throw into this list, those are some of the major conditions we feel should be met. Much like a good old game of DnD, you need to be able to lose yourself in a character of your making and enjoy the surprise and suspense of world built by someone else - not one that might end up feeling familiar and nostalgic by playing another game in its series. Black Desert Online has powerful target-free fighting, a barrage of playable classes, and a world entirely its own. You could spend a lot of time in here.
Mass Effect Franchise
The first Mass Effect put a lot of cool things in play. Bioware decided to take their Baldur’s Gate chops to space to try on science-fiction over fantasy-fiction for once and the result was a lore rich universe that sent players chasing after the Geth and their illusive masters. The universe Bioware created was a vast and seemly endless fountain of exploration and encounters of a stranger kind. What the game lacked in ‘early day’ mechanics, it sure made up for in story and immersion. You are Commander Shepard, Human Alliance Hero and the next up and coming candidate for the Spectres (Special Tactics and Reconnaissance) unit. Plunged into a galaxy of troubles, corporate corruption, and endless history, you take the helm of the Alliance’s flagship, the Normandy, to save the galaxy from a threat that most believe to be shtako. They are the Reapers and they are coming for us.
Enter Mass Effect 2. Many players cried foul at the loss of open planetary and local environments as well as some of the sheer RPG nature of the game, but it more than picked up the slack in delivering a heavily immersive, emotional, and adrenaline pumping action RPG. Mass Effect 2 follows Shepherd’s hunt for the Reapers and their Collector slaves as he works for or against the politics of the Illusive Man and the human-biased Cerberus Organization.
Mass Effect 2 brought most of the fan favorite characters back in style with a much higher veneer while also bringing in ridiculously cool new characters of its own. The weaponry became simple, but the methods of attacking your enemies with your class of choice for Shepherd and that of your chosen allies remained impressive to coordinate on the battlefield. Mass Effect is good, but can be a little slow in places.
Mass Effect 3 has some very unfortunate failings despite being a pretty great game. The story followed on and had some pretty fantastic plot twists. The game gives you the opportunity to reminisce with past characters and tie up loose ends in a companion storyline sense. This game was designed to be the last in the Commander Shepard series and it gives players a chance to say goodbye to the companions and friends you’ve made through the series. It is a game full of story and fast-paced action that will have you adrenaline-fueled until the end. Some fans argue that this is the weakest game in the series, as in it’s release it suffered with some less than ideal final endings that were later patched out, however, for some fans the damage was already done.
Finally we have the release of Mass Effect: Andromeda. ME:A begins between the second and third games in the series. Each of the council races and the Quarians for good measure set out on a one way 600 year mission to the Andromeda System. Their mission is to settle on planets and establish colonies in this sector of space where we are the aliens. You play the Pathfinder. It is your mission to establish a foothold in this new galaxy and lead your people to a future of prosperity. Uncover a brand new chapter in the Mass Effect universe and create your ultimate hero with countless upgrades and abilities. Mass Effect: Andromeda takes the best about the previous three games and gives it back to you in this beautiful, yet terrifying game full of mystery and brand new frontiers.
Elder Scrolls Franchise
Building consistently well upon an open-world RPG series as renowned as The Elder Scrolls couldn’t possibly be easy. The games have set standards for RPG excellence time and time again. Beginning with The Elder Scrolls: Arena and The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall this series of videos games built itself into legend.
The game that began its pursuit to greatness was The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. The game begins on Vvardenfell, an island in the Dunmer province of Morrowind. It is an island far from the typically European-style lands to the west and south, depicted up until this point in Daggerfall and Arena. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind despite being a smaller play area than Arena, brought the player to a more immersive and fulfilling world.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was a grand adventure where players ventured into the Elder Scrolls’s version of Hell and participates in fighting that realm’s god. How do you top that? Well, arguably, you take a Nordic-inspired world steeped in civil war, add a healthy dose of dragons, and mix all together with destiny.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim tells the story of a legend in which players find themselves embroiled in a civil war between the native Nords of Skyrim and the Imperial royalty that wish to pacify the region. In the midst of the conflict, a black dragon, Alduin appears and returns all other dragons to the living realm. The player comes to realize they are Dragonborn, a mortal with dragon power that can take their souls and learn their language.
Skyrim was set up to be epic in of its main story, but there is also a massive world around from which the main quest is actually a small part. This was a game where Bethesda decided to change graphics engines for their games and Skyrim shows it as one of the most gorgeous and vibrant worlds Bethesda has ever offered to gaming. Add to this an immersive gameplay system that leveled the player’s individual skills as they were used and you have a game that represents one of the most beautiful and comprehensive RPGs ever crafted.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Deus Ex is a series that has had an on and off again relationship with quality. The first game was revolutionary, the second game was a game, which is the best that can be said of it, and Deus Ex: Human Revolution was a game split between the original’s incredibly versatile choice in play-style, and cinematic genius. Many will argue about which is the better game, but one thing is for certain: Human Revolution put the franchise back on everybody’s radar.
Human Revolution takes us to the not-so-far future when humankind is coming deeply into the use of cybernetic augmentation. There are those who demand humans remain natural and those who push cybernetics as the way of the future. In the midst of this socio-political conflict, Adam Jenson is guarding scientists preparing to speak in Washington D.C. on behalf of an augmentation company when a paramilitary group attacks and kills many of the scientists, taking the lab director/Jenson’s ex-girlfriend. What follows is an embroiled journey for Jenson split between revenge and duty, between truth and conspiracy.
The Deus Ex games have often toted a “play your way” experience and it was a heavy part of Human Revolution. Indeed, you can take on any number of augments, tools and weaponry to help you get your job done through hacking, sneaking, talking, fighting hand-to-hand, and/or using weaponry. In addition to this, Human Revolution brought a whole new level of production to the series, toting an experience that was very often cinematic in its execution.
Dark Souls 3
Some time off from something is often good to give you a perspective on where it is lacking and grant new perspectives if you pursue other ideas in the meantime. Many of the games in the Souls franchise have been amazing action-RPG offerings. That said, the time Hidetaka Miyazaki and his team spent away from the series to work on Bloodborne was just what the series needed to reach its apex. Dark Souls 3 is a perfect From Software amalgam of lessons learned and applied.
Dark Souls 3 makes no qualms of copying most if not all of the mechanics found in Dark Souls 2. Players will find swords, sorcery, defense and parrying at the heart of all action in Dark Souls 3. That said, it’s not a simple cut and paste job. Dark Souls 3 invites new options for swordsman and sorcerers alike. Every weapon has a special skill that makes it unique in addition to its base stats. Meanwhile, magic users get the Ashen Estus Flask that serves as a canteen for replenishing mana wells, making it easier than ever to sling spells as player leisure.
Perhaps the most noticeable change in Dark Souls 3 is the roll dodge. While it was applicable in Dark Souls 2, From Software really opened the roll dodge up in Bloodborne, making it a much more viable option for avoiding enemy attacks and staging counterattacks with the right timing. Add these improvements to the most gorgeous world in the series’ history and equally the most fleshed out multiplayer and NPC systems to date and Dark Souls 3 ends up as the perfect farewell to a masterful series that favors the strategist and punishes the rash and ill-prepared.
Sometime ago and back when Lionhead Studios was becoming a well-known force throughout the gaming scene, they launched into the RPG foray an entry the likes of which had never been seen. The game toted a new sort of morality system in which the silent protagonist’s every action would have consequences on them and the world around. Say what you will of the ill-fate of Lionhead Studios or the legacy of Peter Molyneux, but Fable was a force to be reckoned with and arguably still is.
The game places players in the role of a child orphaned by a brutal bandit attack on their village. The child is saved by a hero and brought before the Guild of Heroes to be trained with a promise that a hero can be whatever they choose to be. This sets the track for the protagonist to grow and develop by way of player actions. Throughout the game’s many events and interactions in quests, with the denizens of Albion, and even in food and drink, the protagonist can become evil, good, fat, and/or thin, in addition to shifting and shaping their world around them through their choices.
Fable wasn’t just a push in morality-based gameplay. It also offered players a fast-paced blend of melee and magic combat. It blends risk with reward, challenging players to stay aggressive and gain multipliers for experience while maintaining a defense that will keep multipliers from being taken away. It’s trendy to look at Molyneux with a scoff and Lionhead Studios with a heavy heart, but none of those strong feelings would exist if the first Fable hadn’t been so good.
Dragon Age: Origins
There is a lot of work to be done if any game is going to be called a spiritual successor to the Baldur’s Gate series. Writing, world-building, combat systems, and more must be impeccable. Fortunately for most fans, Dragon Age: Origins was the love letter they were ready to read. Dragon Age: Origins didn’t just translate Baldur’s Gate to a new generation of better technology. It practically reinvented the wheel in its integration of the proper elements.
In Dragon Age: Origins, players take one of five different races coming from separate backgrounds. Each has a story that plays out differently whether you’re a poor City Elf from the slums or Dwarven Nobility. Either way, all paths converge at the call of be a Grey Warden, those of whom are called to face the Blight of Darkspawn. Players take on this quest, collecting NPCs that cover all classes in the game outside their own, each with their own personalities and interactions in relation to the player.
The real-time/tactical command mechanics of Origins were adapted to give players a slew of new options for synchronizing physical attacks, magic, and skills like the conductor of an orchestra. Using the right characters in the right places could mean absolute victory or crushing defeat as long-time fans should have already been used to. Dragon Age stands as a fantastic cross between generations and a bastion of new presentational styles, story, and graphics mixed with comprehensive and classic gameplay.
Star Wars: KOTOR
When you really think about it, Bioware has one of the most special distinctions out of any developer out there. Not only have they created great RPG after great RPG with only a few exceptions, they also produced one of the only Star Wars games that has ever had any kind of longevity. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is a prime example of what the franchise can do when placed into exactly the right hands.
Players take on a class and gender of their choosing in a setting 4,000 years before the original Star Wars trilogy. Darth Malak has engaged in all-out hostilities with the Republic and the player quickly finds themselves caught up in the mess. The player escapes and takes refuge in a Jedi academy where they learn to unlock their own Jedi power. Throughout the game as the player discovers their past as well as their relation to Malak and the Jedi, they are allowed to move between the Light and Dark Side.
Bioware was masterful in their use of all of the conventions suitable to a Star Wars character becoming a Jedi. The combat was fun and engaging and the dialogue was engaging (or somewhat morbidly hilarious in the case of HK-47, the human hating robot) and the paths taken were divergent enough to warrant a multitude of playthroughs. Bioware would go on to continue to capture the fire of their initial run in subsequent sequels, Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords and a subscription based MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic but Knights of the Old Republic is a grand reminder of a bygone time when folks made excellent Star Wars games that could be played for years instead of a few weeks.
There are also two mods available that restores previously locked content on Knights of the Old Republic and Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. This content adds more story and side quests bioware locked upon its release.
Before Chris Taylor and Gas Powered Games got into their natural element of creating legendary real-time strategy games, they ventured off that path into the world of RPGs. The first creation of Taylor’s new studio was an real-time/tactical pause-and-go action-RPG by the name of Dungeon Siege and though its future releases would never reach quite the heights of the original, the first Dungeon Siege delivered a fast-paced and stellar RPG adventure.
Players take on the role of a simple farmer who is forced into the fray when mysterious monsters attack their community. Initially only helping the neighboring areas, as the protagonist realizes how widespread the epidemic is, they embrace the call to be a hero and take on the journey to put an end to the evil. Along the way, there are multiple characters and other NPCs that can be utilized in parties up to eight as the player makes their way to the source of the problem.
In addition, the game featured its own separate multiplayer campaign in which several players could take on a new journey across new geography. Dungeon Siege was somewhat limited in scope, but it picked up for its drawbacks in frantic fun and progression either alone or with friends, showing the versatility of Chris Taylor and his new studio at the time.
Wizardry stands as one of the cornerstone series of the RPG community. Throughout the long series it has helped to establish many aspects of the dungeon-crawler as we know it, not to mention many other systems that would find their early forms spawned out of Wizardry adventures. For what it’s worth, our pick out of the series is most definitely Wizardry VII: Crusaders of the Dark Savant.
Wizardry VII places players right at the end of Wizardry VI where players found the Cosmic Forge, creational well of all events in the universe. No sooner, though, is the party thrown into a new set of events that not only considers their actions if they had a save file from Wizardry VI, but also sets them in play among the many factions of the land of Guardia as they journey in search of a grand new artifact.
So what puts Wizardry VII above the rest? Besides being a proficiently built dungeon crawler based on systems created for Wizardry VI and beyond, Wizardry VII introduced the most massive world in the series, featuring new dungeons as well as outdoor environments. It’s even bigger than Wizardry VIII and also has the accolade of introducing one of the first proficient faction and diplomacy systems in PC gaming. Out of any of the games Wizardry VII arguably brought the most to the table, though it should be mentioned that anyone looking to play this would be remiss not to check out the interactivity of party transfer and ending to beginning continuity between Wizardry VI, VII, and VIII being the trilogy that they are.
Diablo II is a trendsetter to say the least. When Blizzard Entertainment goes out to do a sequel, they generally do it in style, but Diablo II may as well be the yardstick by which all other sequels are measured. The original Diablo game brought an action-RPG experience that was awesome in of itself, but Diablo II is better in almost every way from story, to character customization, to multiplayer components.
Diablo II picks up a while after the events of the first game. At the end of the first game, the hero defeated the dark lord Diablo and lodged the Soulstone of the Prime Evil inside his body. Unfortunately, his will was not enough to contain Diablo and the hero became the Dark Wanderer. A vessel for Diablo by which other demons entered the human world. Players take up one of multiple character classes in an attempt to stop the Dark Wanderer from carrying out his destiny alongside Baal and Mephisto.
Diablo II featured an amazing system. Item drops were given tiers for one of the first times in an RPG series ranging from normal to unique, making for thousands of possible equipment opportunities. Multiplayer was pushed with players able to form up to eight player parties, spells and abilities tuned towards cooperation, and item drops increased by increased party count. Diablo II may be aged and Diablo III may be out and pretty good, but Diablo II is so good that many players still prefer it and Blizzard still patches it more than a decade later. Now that’s longevity.
Pillars of Eternity
Sometimes the mark of a good game isn’t in the new things it brings to the table, but the way it uses familiar elements to their highest effect in order to not only rekindle nostalgia, but also introduce a new audience to an old genre with the highest quality offering. In many ways, that’s exactly what Pillars of Eternity is. It came out alongside a few other solid entries causing many fans to sometimes refer to 2015 as the “Year of the Isometric RPG”.
Pillars of Eternity invites players into the fantasy world of Eora in the nation of Dyrwood. A strange plague is causing new children of Dyrwood to be hollowborn, born with no soul. The player character is a regular person until a supernatural event causes them to awaken into a Watcher, who can see souls and past lives. The player character soon decides to use their new power to embark on a quest across Dyrwood to discover the mystery of their awakening and the cure to the hollowborn problem.
Pillars of Eternity’s system is very heavily based around pushing an amazing story. It uses party-based real-time mechanics for battle that can be paused, much like Dragon Age: Origins. The player chooses from one of eleven classes and can collect companions across Dyrwood as the game goes on. Furthermore, the player’s class makes gameplay heavily varied and also influences story choices alongside previous decisions. All-in-all, Pillars of Eternity is built from the ground up to give RPG veterans everything they’re looking for while inviting new players into a lore rich and story driven fantasy world.
In a time when Capcom was known for staying mostly with its core franchises when it comes to anything new in gaming, who knew they were capable of producing a solid new IP and action-RPG experience. Dragon’s Dogma didn’t originally come out on PC, but the port that would come to PC more than made up for it. Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen introduced PC players to a strategically deep level of combat and larger than life monsters that would push players to their limit.
Starting the game as a simple villager, the protagonist’s village is attacked by a dragon, signaling the end of days. The dragon captures the protagonist and tears their heart out, proclaiming them the “chosen one”. The protagonist does not die, but is reborn as an Arisen who is destined to find and kill the dragon. Thus, they embark on a quest through a land full of enormous and challenging monsters that must be slain.
One particularly unique aspect of Dragon’s Dogma is the pawn system. The players party members can consist of one player designed NPC, but the other two must come from other players games, meaning that the pawn you create, arm, and level up may be a determining factor in another player’s games. Dragon’s Dogma may have come quite late on the PC after the initial release, but it’s still a very solid answer from Capcom to games like Dark Souls and The Witcher.
At face value, the idea of playing an immortal in an RPG sounds slightly boring. Where’s the progression? Where’s the challenge? Lucky for us, but maybe not so much for him, The Nameless One is one of the most unfortunate immortal beings in any game ever and it is the compelling story Black Isle Studios gives the character alongside the somber Dungeons & Dragons back drop of Planescape that makes Planescape: Torment so interesting.
The Nameless One is an immortal, as mentioned before, but he can die. In fact, he’s lived countless lives and died countless times, often forgetting everything of his previous lives. Torment finds The Nameless One immediately after one of his many resurrections. The adventure of this game sees The Nameless One attempting to rediscover the truth of his past lives and immortality in an attempt to finally break the seemingly endless cycle.
Much like many of Black Isle’s ‘90s RPG adventures, Torment is an isometric RPG adventure that takes players through different planes of existence. From deserts to dungeons to hellish realms, Torment’s environments produce a dreary, yet exquisitely designed world within the D&D boundaries. Furthermore, The Nameless One represents a multi-faceted, damaged and compelling character that stands the test of time as one of the most interesting characters written in a game.
When people talk about Bioware, there will always be a debate on where in the developer’s history they were at their apex, and while Baldur’s Gate may be an aged game, it is nonetheless considerably one of the highest tiers of Bioware’s illustrious history. This was the game with which Bioware solidified a style that many RPGs would copy for years to come, especially in the application of Dungeons & Dragons mechanics and lore.
Set in the Forgotten Realms and specifically much of the Sword Coast, the player takes on the role of a customizable protagonist that is a mysterious orphan. The orphan’s caretaker senses a danger coming to him, but is murdered attempting to take the protagonist away from danger. This sets the protagonist on a quest to seek shelter from attempts on their life, unravel the mysteries of their origin, and uncover what conspiracy seeks their death.
Baldur’s Gate is, in every way, the quintessential format of Bioware fantasy RPGs. The player’s race, class, alignment, and skills can be custom set and combat runs in real-time, but can be paused to put in commands. There have been a lot of Bioware games that have evolved the formula set in place by Baldur’s Gate in one way or another, but the original is very much still worth consideration for any RPG enthusiast for its natural ability to weave combat, story, and strategy so well.
While Baldur’s Gate is considered the pinnacle, the Forgotten Realms games are very much worth a play. It is this series of games that helped mould the RPG genre and are very much a crucial part of the RPG history.
This might be the most confusing game on this list simply because Bioshock is set in first-person shooter’s skin, but make no mistake: There are RPG elements in Bioshock that simply put other RPGs to shame. The game’s masterful take on storytelling and character development is the stuff of legends. Going back to the undersea city of Rapture isn’t just a shooting gallery by any stretch of imagination. It is a very well-paced story with some bullets in it.
The original Bioshock puts us in the role of an unknown and generally unseen protagonist as he stumbles upon a mysterious bathysphere that takes him down into the sea and into the realm that was once Rapture designer Andrew Ryan’s dream utopia. The player quickly finds a dystopian city filled with genetically disfigured and insane splicers and the ire of Andrew Ryan, who has become Rapture’s dictator, rather than a benevolent idealist. The only way to survive is to take a wrench, scavenge guns, and collect ADAM to unlock genetic enhancements.
If the game were simply a shooter with some guns it would be easy to write Bioshock off as such, but the game features extensive customization from gene mutations. You can fling fire at your enemies and immolate them, draw them to water and then fling electricity into it, or even grow highs in your arm and attack your enemies with swarms of insects. In addition, there are plenty of passive genes to up your game in gunplay, hacking, and melee. This alongside one of the best stories ever told in a game makes the case of Bioshock as far more of a successful action-RPG than a successful shooter.
Final Fantasy VII
If for some reason you missed it, Final Fantasy VII is the game that very nearly singlehandedly brought JRPGs (and arguably RPGs in general) to the mainstream. The game is a classic representation of just about everything good that the Final Fantasy series has to offer and only a few years ago, it found its way to a legitimate PC port via Steam.
Final Fantasy VII tells the story of Cloud Strife, an ex-soldier of the Shinra Corporation that practically runs the industrial city of Midgar and holds sway over much of the world. Cloud and a rag tag group of companions lead a resistance against Shinra, but as they strike victories and take losses, a dark past comes back to find Cloud. Soon, he and his friends find themselves in a much more grandiose battle, not just with Shinra, but with ancient monsters that seek nothing short of the destruction of the world.
Final Fantasy VII features one of the most comprehensive combat systems ever seen in a JRPG. Players can use the Materia system to customize weapons, supplying characters with new abilities and variable stat drops and gains. In addition, the game features a grand story spanning an amazing world with plenty of distractions and asides to keep you busy as you build Cloud to be only thing standing between salvation and total annihilation of all things.
Released in June, 2001,Anachronox is a third person RPG produced by Tom Hall and Ion Storm games studio based in Dallas, Texas.. The game centered itself around protagonist Sylvester Bucelli, a private investigator who regularly finds work in the scum filled slums of Anachronox, a planet near the galaxy’s jumpgate hub. You join our hero as he travels from planet to planet, uncovering new plot and finding new and very unlikely companions that slowly unravel a threat that could destroy the universe as you know.
Anachronox is a turn based role playing game very similar to games like Final Fantasy. You are in a party of up to three characters and you journey through an intriguing setting of futuristic cityscapes, space crafts and outdoor areas. Each character is equipped with a special ability and you must use your cunning to solves problems as you move through the world learning about a very indepth story. It is your job to get these unlikely heroes ready to ultimately save the universe. Anachronox is a must play for any ‘tongue in cheek’ fan.
South Park: The Stick of Truth
Few things in the world are as shamelessly raunchy, sacrilegious, or scathingly satirical as South Park. That said, the show is almost always fair in its criticisms of the materiel it lampoons. A video game set in that universe and written by Matt Stone and Trey Parker will just as well poke fun at the genre while presenting it properly. For that much, Obsidian Entertainment and South Park Digital Studios performed masterfully in presenting South Park: The Stick of Truth as a game that perfectly translates the twisted show into an interactive experience.
Players start the game by creating a kid all their own that then arrives as the new kid in South Park. Your job is to get into the good graces of the series’ main kids and that takes you on a journey through twisted and often hilarious conflict. Stick of Truth has a ton to explore and almost everything is a nod to either the show, a joke on RPGs themselves, or simply a little self-contained quip to keep things lighthearted. With all of the materiel involved, it really does play like a long interactive episode of the show.
That said, it’s more than just perverted jokes and absurdity too. Obsidian Entertainment certainly pulled its weight in giving a structured system to Parker and Stone’s writing. The skills, magic, and overall progression of the game provide players with plenty to customize and explore as they journey through much of the show’s staples. Stick of Truth isn’t an incredibly long experience compared to a lot of other RPGs, but it certainly stacks up as a solid RPG that might also be one of the best uses of a licensed property.
There are a few more titles that did not make it into this list however, that’s all for now. Of course, this isn’t over. Just as a great adventure stays with you forever, we will continue to scour for those games that represent the best of the best.
Don’t just take our word for it either! Share your own experiences. What is your favorite RPG of all time? What adventure took you on the greatest journey and introduced you to your favorite and most cherished characters? What games do you feel deserve to be mentioned in our list of The Best RPGs On PC? Let us in on your action right here by commenting below!