Role-playing games are a compliant and flexible genre. It equally easily reveals lively shooters, isometric strategies, adventure and action games, space sagas and fantasy tales. In this compilation, we recall the most popular RPGs by various ratings, including Metacritic, released over the past 5 years.
Pillars of Eternity
The creation of the Obsidian Entertainment studio and the embodiment of the classic tactical RPG. At first glance, it seems that we have already seen all this. Seen many years ago in the legendary Baldur’s Gate, seen in the updated Divinity. And in principle, the developers did not hide the fact that their development is the legacy of Baldur’s Gate, but they are confidently trying to become even better and cooler.
And in general, she managed to become an independent product with the main highlight that the studio is famous for – the richness of the game world. Hundreds of battles, secret traps, variability of characters with a non-standard role-playing system, the complete absence of flat quests “go-bring-die of boredom”, important and branched dialogues. Pillars of Eternity didn’t break the genre, but it firmly established itself as a charming, thoughtfully crafted modern game.
The Witcher III: Wild Hunt
It would be impossible not to include the legend of all RPGs in the selection. We say “Cool role-playing game”, we mean The Witcher III. Introduced in 2015, The Witcher III looked so cool in every sense that it instantly blew all the laurels of gaming awards and won lifelong love from fans. Starting with great graphics and rendering, in which CD Projekt Red jumped a couple of heads over everything that was created in the games at that time, and ending with such a well-developed world that even the most experienced gamer in The Witcher did not get bored.
Almost every side quest has a story behind it – if not too deep, then at least funny. The game world is littered with objects, locations, additional activities. And, of course, the plot story is really rich and interesting, based on the book series of the same name by Andrzej Sapkowski, but eventually became independent. In The Witcher III, attention is paid to almost everything from the soundtrack to the weather animation. Let us down the role-playing system of pumping, in which not all skills were necessary and interesting, a bag of bugs and sometimes boring repetitive monsters. The game is also huge, and together with the extensive Blood and Wine and Hearts of Stone story expansions, you can play it for hundreds of hours.
Fallout turned from a game into a whole culture, and the fourth part was awaited with a breath. And because it’s Fallout, and because it’s still the brainchild of the giant Bethesda. The game has not departed from the usual post-apocalyptic theme, but has become wider and in many ways freer. The plot is organically inscribed in an open world with a lot of side stories and tasks, the combat system has expanded, bringing the mechanics closer to shooters.
There were some classic subsidences from Bethesda, like a world very saturated with details, but at the same time, all this is somehow not very connected with each other and, moreover, rarely resonates with the main plot. Unfinished dialogues and a character system of partners, a gradually sagging game story and an incompletely spelled out system of skills, some of which remain simply useless. At the same time, Fallout 4 has become a worthy successor to the series, retaining its game variety and its own stalker charm.
Dark Souls III
The continuation and, as the developers promise, the completion of the legendary series has again become a landmark. Everything is as usual here: a lot, a lot, a lot of enemies and bosses and hardcore fights. But at the same time, Dark Souls III brought almost everything that was before to perfection, causing a real storm of delight among the fans of the saga. It has become more modern, more convenient, more flexible and much more diverse, and the plot has acquired a scale. The graphics are gorgeous – stunning well-designed locations, scenic and picturesque landscapes and attention to even the smallest details.
Dark Souls III is clearly not for those who like to quietly run around the fields, collecting loot and chatting with characters. Here you blast countless enemies, fight for hours in fury against bosses, each with their own complex tactics, bounce off unexpected enemies and carefully explore detailed, filled levels.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Phantasmagoric Prague, sci-fi dark noir and detective thriller – Deus Ex: Mankind Divided continues the dark, futuristic line of the series. The game is small, it upset gamers with an unclosed ending and a repetition of past releases. But, nevertheless, Mankind Divided, compared to previous games in the series, is more elaborate both visually and in terms of mechanics.
A huge scope of options for passing will not let any gamer get bored. If you want – fight like crazy, if you want – secretly make your way into the locations in the corners and nooks and crannies. You can negotiate, climb through the ventilation, pick locks – and this is all relevant for each territory and task. Complete freedom of action, a living world, well-developed characters and an atmosphere in the spirit of Blade Runner still retain the original uniqueness of the series.
Divinity: Original Sin 2
The golden fantasy RPG classic in a modern shell is about Divinity: Original Sin 2. Turn-based tactical, thoughtful battles with a complex balance of power, colorful characters and thousands of situations and tasks, each of which is not boring to pass.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 pleased us with a large-scale plot, a charismatic team, and, of course, the same old-school fairy-tale spirit of the universes of Tolkien, D&D and other magical stories. Although here, by the way, the standard picture, when a good hero kills evil forces, is noticeably shaken – the scriptwriters were able to introduce a touch of rebellion, showing that even negative characters can be not at all so unambiguous.
Kingdom Come: Deliverance
Something incredible, standing, as it were, within the framework of the classic RPG genre. That’s just the world here is not at all fantastic, but the most medieval and stunningly realistic. The plot begins on the lands of Bohemia in the 15th century, and you are an ordinary son of a blacksmith, who, as the game progresses, either fights robbers, or helps an aristocratic pan and finds out his mysterious origin. The game impresses with lovingly crafted historical details up to the reconstruction of combat techniques, an eventful world and sharpening for the development of dialogues.
In addition to the standard role-playing additional tasks, the game has a lot of nice goodies: cracking chests, archery, combat with different weapons, herbalism, alchemy and much more. KingdomCome: Deliverance was slightly criticized for its technical imperfections and poor optimization, but its visual charm and fullness of game details conquered players who were tired of the same type of games.
Monster Hunter World
Monster Hunter has become the source of a whole mass culture – comics, anime, beloved original creatures and stories. There was no doubt that the next creation of Capcom will enter the road of glory. And so it happened, although this game as such does not have a rich plot and detailed role-playing – your task is simply to kill, kill and kill monsters again, in between making weapons and equipment out of loot. At first glance, boring, in fact – each monster is a special story. They look different, have individual tactics, weaknesses, attack style and abilities.
In general, you will have to think carefully and sweat for a long time to fill up the next boss
(and here almost every monster is a boss). And all this fantastic battle arena is surrounded by picturesque, realistic locations with believable animation.
The debut project of the Estonian studio ZA / UM started in the fall of 2019 and shot as well as possible, instantly taking off to the top lines of the ratings. On the one hand, we have an isometric system that is pleasant and so familiar to every veteran gamer. On the other hand, an original, slightly noir atmosphere, an extraordinary plot, stylish rendering, tons of skillfully crafted interesting dialogues and a bag of selected humor.
According to the synopsis, you play as an alcoholic detective who investigates a murder case and tries to regain his own memories along the way (according to the classics, your hero does not remember anything at the beginning of the game). There are no fights, tactical skirmishes and that’s all. Instead of battles, there are a lot of interesting, filled with conversations, where each character has his own character, worldview, opinion and behavior model. And you will have to slowly and carefully understand all this.
The Outer Worlds
At the development stage, the game was treated coolly, calling it a copy of the Fallout series (especially considering that Obsidian Entertainment had previously released just the sensational and epic Fallout New Vegas). But after the release, skepticism was replaced by enthusiasm. Gamers and critics called The Outer Worlds the main potential rival of Fallout 4 and a completely independent product.
Here, all the action takes place in the distant future, where earthlings colonize star systems. And you will just explore one of these colonies – Alcyone. On the one hand, the game is saturated with humor and satire, but at the same time, dystopian ideas in the spirit of Orwell are keenly felt. In terms of gaming potential, The Outer Worlds blends the futuristic post-apocalyptic Fallout with Mass Effect-inspired space adventures. And all this is packaged in a beautiful, detailed role-playing system, a beautifully written world, excellent dialogues and freedom of choice of actions. One drawback is that the game is quite short.