Role-Playing Games, better known as RPGs, have occupied a centric part of video game culture since their inception. What started as a tabletop genre, evolved into 8-bit adventures and didn’t stop until we had full-fledged second worlds, full of its flora, fauna, lore, creatures, and much more.
Today, RPGs come in a variety of forms all the way from vast open-world adventures to linear paths, but one thing that’s common in every RPG is a compelling story.
When you start an RPG, you step into the shoes of the main character and see the world and its stories unfold from its perspective.
Today, we’ve rounded up the 25 best RPG games that you can play today.
Here, we’ve rounded the best RPGs for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and even a few Nintendo consoles.
Best RPG Games in 2021
1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is one of the most popular and recognizable RPG of the 2010s. Released all the way back in 2011, the game still holds regard and honor in gaming circles even today.
The game featured an astonishingly vast map with hundreds of weapons and spells. Then there was the whole branch of skills that one could master.
You could easily spend hundreds of hours in Skyrim, exploring different terrains, and doing all sorts of quests. Perhaps what’s most memorable about the Skyrim is the dragon fights.
It’s an intoxicating feeling to take a dragon head-on with your weapons and spells and the game perfectly captures that sensation.
Skyrim was an RPG in a true sense, where you started out with creating your own character, mastering a unique set of skills and writing your own story with the dialogue choices.
Today, Skyrim is seen as the benchmark for modern RPG games.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
The third time was a charm for CD Projekt Red, the developers of Witcher series. While the Witcher 2 was a pretty good game, it was nowhere near as fabulous as Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt.
In fact, no game ever really comes close to the masterpiece that Witcher 3 is. The game garnered hundreds of awards and millions of fans over the globe.
It’s hard to find any fault in Witcher 3, it’s really the perfect game. Geralt is an amazing protagonist with a deep backstory and set of moral codes that you control. The world is vast, unique and feels live.
Without any spoilers, the wartorn story is quite intriguing, and every action that you take impacts the world. The combat, especially monster hunting, is a total delight.
While most of the combat is focused on melee, with secondary importance on spells and ranged combat, it never feels repetitive or boring as your skillset matures constantly.
Overall, if there was just one game that I could recommend to everyone, it’d be the Witcher 3.
3. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Wii U
Zelda games have been a staple of Nintendo RPGs, but the 2017 game of the year was a true masterpiece. You step into the shoes of Link, a royal knight with no memories who must recuse Princess Zelda.
Instead of the trodden video game path that aims for ultra-realistic graphics, Breath of the Wild opts for a uniquely pleasant art style. The world is really immersive.
If you’re in a cold place, then you need to wear cold clothes or carry a torch around to maintain your body temperature. Lighting can strike you if you’re wearing metal armor in a storm.
Fire can spread in the hay if it’s windy and so on. Every step in the Breath of the Wild is a new surprise, making it a must-play for not just hardcore fans of Zelda games, but all gamers at large.
The story has been designed in such a way that even a newbie can understand what’s going on.
4. Ghost of Tsushima
Ghost of Tsushima was 2020’s most hyped RPG that delivered well on its promise. A number of experts have already dubbed Ghost of Tsushima as their game of the year, although we’re in 2021 now, this is still one of the best that you can pick.
The game puts you in the shoes of Jin Sakai, a revered samurai warrior. In order to fight the Mongol invaders, Jin must set aside his beloved code of morals that he lives by and become a ghost with no honour, only to save his people.
The game perfectly captures the rural Japanese atmosphere, complete with shrines and local legends.
5. God of War
Best RPG for PS4
The 2018 God of War carries forward the legend of Kratos, the god-killing machine. In 2018, the series was reborn. Kratos tried to leave his nasty violent past behind, and move on with his life. But it seems as if the strings of destiny had tied Kratos and Violence together in a life long bond.
The game shifts from Greek mythology to Norse mythology. Kratos looks quite different but much more badass. The blades of chaos are gone and Kratos now wields the Levitan axe that is reminiscent of Thor’s hammers, so it comes back when it’s thrown.
Just like its predecessors, the game perfectly captures the essence of Norse mythology with its environment, weapons, and lore. The story perfectly captures the heart of Kratos who just wants a peaceful life but destiny has other plans for him.
God of War was crowned as the Game of The Year 2020 and it’s the best RPG for PS4.
6. Final Fantasy 7
Platforms: Originally released on PS1, Now available on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation Portable, Android, iOS, Microsoft Windows
Final Fantasy 7 is a classic RPG that has embedded its name in the pages of history. Developed by Square Enix, originally the game was released on PlayStation (later known as PS1), but now, the game is available on pretty much every platform out there, including mobile devices.
Final Fantasy 7’s graphics and combat design can’t hold up to the modern 2021 RPGs, but its story is what set the game apart and made it relevant even to this day.
It was a pivotal entry in the Final Fantasy series, complete with a soap-opera style story, love triangles, and much more.
At the time, the combat was revolutionary as well. If you want to play Final Fantasy 7 today, check out the remastered version on PS4 that features next gen-graphics, real-time combat while maintaining the original plot.
7. Kingdom Come: Deliverance
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PS4, Xbox One
While other action RPGs try to build a fantasy world full of magic and magical creatures, Kingdom Come: Deliverance focuses solely to be as close to reality as possible. Instead of a promised prince, you play as Henry, a blacksmith’s boy who sets out to forge his own identity.
Keeping in touch with classic RPG toupes, the game allows you to customize your character and skills to play as a warrior, bard, thief, or a hybrid of these. Realism is a central theme of the game.
The first person perspective really engages you in the world. For example, instead of simple armor, the game has a realist layer-based clothing system starting with a gambeson, followed by mail and plate armor, with a tabard or surcoat over top. If you’re wearing a helmet with low visibility, you won’t be able to see your opponent very well.
The combat is quite realistic as well, keeping in touch with historical sword fighting manuscripts.
The players must rest and eat in order to survive the harsh world. At times, the over the top realism may feel frustrating, but it is what sets Kingdom Come: Deliverance apart from any other RPG out there.
8. Persona 5
Platforms: Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3
Persona 5 is an RPG that challenges the shackles of modern society and confronts the demons within. The art style of Persona 5 is totally unique, reminiscent of a 3D anime wrapped in a 2D storyboard.
There something about the wacky yet sincere art style of the game that draws you in. The game takes place in a Tokyo high school and, as you may have guessed it already, the protagonists are high school students.
The story deals with multiple protagonists, diving deep into their physiological state. Keeping in touch with JRPG troupes, the game features turn-based combat where you need to keep the weaknesses and strengths of your team in mind rather than bashing the controls.
Back when the first Pokemon game released, it took you on an adventure around the world to capture all Pokemons the become the very best Pokemon trainer.
Ever since then, thanks to the mass popularity of the games and the TV show, the Pokemon series has garnered a huge fan following.
Pokemon Sword and Shield is the latest addition to the long-running series. The plot keeps is same as the other Pokemon series, a trainer starts out to defeat Elite 4 but the gameplay has been totally revamped with a new open-world and 3D graphics.
The combat, though turn-based, is more dynamic than ever.
10. Dark Souls 3
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Darksouls is revered is the toughest RPG out there. A number of modern RPGs, including The Witcher 3, have been inspired from Dark Souls. The last game of the Trilogy focuses heavily on combat, like other games from the developer FromSoftware.
The dark gothic world design sends a chill down your spine with every step you take. Danger lurks in every corner. Blind button mashing will get you nowhere except the grave and, as it goes for all souls game if the opponent looks normal, he’s much harder to beat. Not to say that gigantic monsters are easy to beat.
Darksouls three features extensive character customization, class and weapon selection. The intricately wrapped story wants you to keep on playing, despite how many times you die.
The online co-op has been also improved. Overall, Dark Souls 3 feels like a fitting end to a long revered series of the game which has made its mark on the gaming industry for the years to come.
11. Fable 2
Platforms: Xbox 360
Fable 2 is an old but not forgotten gem. Back when the first Fable game came out in 2004, it introduced something that would change video games forever.
It introduced a choice mechanism, wherein each choice the player made dictated the future of the world. This player choice mechanism is now advertised in bold letters as a unique feature of RPGs in 2021.
Fable 2 carried forward the legacy of the original game, with an improved story, gameplay and combat. Like all Fable games, Fable 2 takes place in Albion, which for this iteration, has a European renaissance vibe to it.
The combat is divided into three parts- melee, ranged, and magic. While the main missions decide the fate of the game, the wacky side missions are the star of the show.
The whole thing is brimming with humor, making each step of the game even more interesting. To top off everything, there’s a trusty canine companion that follows you everywhere. In our opinion, Fable 2 is the best RPG for Xbox.
12. Mass Effect 2
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows
While the complete Mass Effect trilogy was a well-made RPG with a tied storyline, the second game stood out of the bunch. Mass Effect 2 puts you in the shoes of commander Sheppard, an intergalactic captain.
The game plays out like a sci-fi movie features a bit of everything. An excellent combat mechanism, space exploration, and dialogue choices that can completely change the fate of the game.
The game also focuses on side characters, whom you recruit and complete loyalty missions in order to earn their loyalty. Each mission gives you an insight into the character and their motivations, which further helps you to make informed decisions.
The combat and narrative are hailed as the best in the series. Mass Effect 2 put BioWare on a revered pedestal amidst gamers.
13. Assassin’s Creed Ezio Trilogy
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows (A remastered version is also available on PS4 and Xbox One)
Technically, the Ezio trilogy is three games rather than just one, but we’d recommend you to play them together. The whole Trilogy maps the entire life of the master assassin Ezio Auditore, who’s also hailed as the greatest assassin of all time.
The first game of the trilogy starts with Ezio’s birth, where you press a button to move his little feet, and the last game deals with his passing.
The first game is set in Venice, the second in Florence while the third and final game takes a step into the Orient, based in Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul). Each game perfectly captures the essence of time and culture.
Ezio is phenomenal, constantly developing person protagonist and he comes across many known personalities such as Marco Polo and Leonardo Da Vinci during his travels.
The game introduces new stuff at regular intervals, combined with a gripping story twined in real history, the game never gets boring.
14. Batman Arkham City
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Wii U, PS3, Xbox 360
While all Batman games are hailed as one of the best RPGs, Batman Arkham City is a true jewel among all. Released back in 2011 as the second game of the Batman Arkham series, the game received numerous awards, including Game of the Year.
Step into the shoes of the legendary detective, Batman himself. Like all Arkham games, Arkham City takes place over the course of just one night.
Joker serves the primary villain for the game, with numerous side characters such as Harley Quinn, Two-Face, Mr. Cold, Cat Woman, Ras Al Gu, Alfred, and Commissioner Gordan play a major role. Your primary method of transport is swinging and gliding across the city, which looks and feels absolutely glorious.
The action and combat are particularly commendable and deemed as one of the best combat directions in any game to date, while the puzzle sequences force you to use your head.
The story is so gripping that it’s hard to stop playing the game. Overall, Batman Arkham City is the best Batman game and certainly one of the best RPGs.
15. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Platforms: Platforms: Android, Xbox, Microsoft Windows, iOS, Classic Mac OS
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic was the first RPG that allowed you to take on your dreams of living in the Star Wars universe.
Released at a time when RGPs were radically changing, it was the very first RPG on Xbox and there were over 300 characters voiced by 100 voice actors, the largest video game cast for its time.
The game allowed you to live out your fantasy of wielding a lightsaber, either as a Jedi or a sith lord. The featured a good vs evil theme, where you made the choice and decided the fate of the universe.
Today, apart from Windows, it’s not available on any modern gaming system. However, you can play the game on mobile devices.
16. Fallout New Vegas
Platforms: Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
While Fallout 3 was the game that forever changed the Fallout series, Fallout New Vegas that came out two years later was truly unforgettable.
The game follows a Courier who was shot in the head while transporting goods and that changed his whole life. The side attractions happen to be way more interesting than the main story.
You can join factions, build a reputation and choose your own path the dedicated the fate of the game. In classic Fallout style, the game perfectly captures a post-apocalyptic world filled with thousands of items and things to do.
Fallout series is notorious for littering easter eggs around the game, sometimes humorous, sometimes sad but always interesting and Fallout New Vegas is no exception.
You earn skill points that you invest in a range of skills that decide the kind of character you come out as. And lastly, the brutal slow-mo animations never get old.
Platforms: Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
While a lot of the games on this series are R-Rated, Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is one of the best kid-friendly RPGs that is cherished by players of all ages. The game follows the adventures of Oliver and his companions who set out on an epic journey.
If you’ve ever watched a Studio Ghibli movies along the likes of Spirited Away and My Neighbour Totoro, you’ll find the same warm animation and art style here as well. Ni no Kuni is JRPG with a turn-based combat system and a beautiful wide-open world.
18. Metal Gear Solid 5: Phantom Pain
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows
Metal Gear Solid 5: Phantom Pain is the last game of the long-running Metal Gear series developed by internationally renowned developer Hideo Kojima
To give you a slight context, Kojima is the man who invented stealth genre in video games in the first Metal Gear game. As such, Phantom Pain had a lot of hype to live up to and it delivered on every bit of it.
You step into the shoes of solid snake, one of the most iconic and badass characters in gaming history. The game takes place in two zones, Afghanistan and Africa, each with its unique settings.
Although the game heavily focuses on stealth, you can deck snake out with a full-blown heavy armory. The game is very dynamic, so if you keep sneaking into enemy bases at night, they’ll start using patrol lights and increase their security.
The game features a ton of mechanics, some of which are borrowed from previous games while the other is completely new, but none of them is ever seen in any other game.
The game is a perfect ending to years cult level following, delivering on all aspects be it the story, graphics, or gameplay.
19. Last of Us
Platforms: Originally released on PS3, a remastered version is also available on PS4
The game follows Joel and Elly through a post-apocalyptic world swarmed with zombies. While the world and combat are quite commendable, it’s the story that moved its audience.
Without any spoilers, both Joel and Elly develop in a way that one can’t foresee, making it a must-play.
20. Red Dead Redemption 2
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Finally, we have the Red Dead Redemption 2. Step into the shoes of Arthur Morgan, a cowboy outlaw thriving to survive the demise of outlaws in the Wild West.
The game perfectly captures the aesthetic of the 18th century west, paired with amazing voice acting and a moving story. Red Dead Redemption 2 is the kind of game where you can literally spend hundreds of hours exploring the wild west, hunting, dueling, or just going around completing side quests.
Arthur Morgan is an amazing protagonist who, without any spoilers, is torn between his faith and duties. Despite all, he’s one of the most likeable protagonists ever.
You can choose from an array of weapons, but nothing beats the classic revolver. Rockstar, like always, has paid attention to small details.
If you go around the wild, Arthur’s hair and beard will grow, and eventually, he’ll start to smell. The combination of an amazing story, a huge map, and the small details are worth hundreds of hours of your time.
That was our round-up of the best RPGs you can play right now. RPGs don’t always have a fixed formula, except for a great story. While God of War was a linear game, Witcher 3 is a vast open world. Both of them can’t be compared, yet they maintain their position in the list.