Deciding which titles deserve to be on a ‘best of’ list that will draw general approval is a challenging task for an individual writer.
Thanks to review aggregate websites, the process can be lent a degree of impartiality. Game Rankings proved a reliable resource, but also illustrated another problem – defining the RPG genre.
Certain elements separate true RPG titles from their hybridised cousins, such as the action-RPG and action-adventure. Generally speaking, the dividing line comes when the game leans more towards game world and character story development, with multiple story paths, side quests and endings, numerous NPCs, and a certain degree of freedom to choose how events unfold. Of course RPG’s don’t skimp on the combat, usually providing a plethora of options for resolving encounters.
The reason all this is being brought up is because some will undoubtedly bemoan the fact that the beloved Diablo series isn’t included on the list. Whilst certainly one of the all time best action-RPG hybrids, its core ‘click-on-everything-that-moves’ gameplay and linear progression means it doesn’t make the RPG cut.
Without further ado, here is the list of top 10 Role Playing Games.
1. Mass Effect 2 (2010) – 95.66%
Everyone who has played Mass Effect 2 knows why this rightfully holds the number 1 spot. Anyone who hasn’t played it has missed out on a golden moment in gaming history. The high quality production combined with a captivating plot, strong characters, exciting and fun combat, and near perfect pacing made for one of the best titles of 2010 so far. Perhaps the only thing holding Mass Effect 2 back from an even better score is the ridiculous resource mining element.
2. Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition (2009) – 95.40%
Old school Fallout fanatics and a new generation of gamers alike eagerly awaited the release of Fallout 3. With Black Isle having dissolved and Interplay selling off IP to whomever was willing to pay, some were concerned that Bethesda would simply be producing “Oblivion with guns.” But hang on – that sounds awesome anyway right? When Fallout 3 sawthe light of day, the general gaming public breathed a collective sigh of relief as the game was indeed awesome.
3. Chrono Trigger (1995) – 95.10%
It’s good to see Chrono Trigger hanging in as one of the best RPGs of all time despite its age. The game is in fact considered revolutionary for certain aspects such as multiple endings and numerous side-quests. The battle system was great and the graphics were very snazzy for the time.
4 . Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (2003) – 94.25%
BioWare was at the helm of this chapter in the Star Wars saga, delivering an immersive experience that even the most pedantic Star Wars fan could get behind.
5. Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn (2000) – 94.00%
BioWare once again hit the nail on the head – bringing to life the popular Forgotten Realms setting of Dungeons & Dragons in a sequel of memorably vast proportions.
6. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (2006) – 93.79%
Bethesda became a prominent feature on the gaming landscape thanks to their The Elder Scrolls series. Whilst some purists still argue that The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind was a better game at the core (despite its abysmal combat system), it was Oblivion that truly captured the hearts of the gaming public at large.
7. Final Fantasy III – (1994) – 93.68%
Final Fantasy III is revered by Japanese gamers as one of the best of all time, but the Western gaming market at large didn’t get to have a taste until 2006 when a Nintendo DS remake version was released. The score listed is for the original Famicom (NES) version.
8. Final Fantasy IX – (2000) – 93.32%
Final Fantasy IX had all the right elements in place and in just the right amounts. Critics generally agreed that the appeal to nostalgic elements drawn from the numerous previous titles was used to great effect and cleverly appealed to fans of the older titles in the series.
9 . Baldur’s Gate (1998) – 91.94%
Baldur’s gate was BioWare’s first RPG title, entering the market at a time when computer RPGs were making a comeback. The game was immensely successful and is credited with catalysing the CRPG revival and setting a new benchmark for the genre.
10 . Fallout (1997) – 91.92%
Holding an esteemed number 10 spot is the first title from Black Isle and the first in the legendary Fallout series. Fallout proved to be a seminal title from Black Isle, who went on to produce an amazing sequel, the fantastic Planescape: Torment, and critically acclaimed AD&D hack-n’-slash Icewind Dale.
MyGaming’s Honourable mentions
Some of our favourite titles didn’t make it into the top 10 but they deserve a mention nonetheless:
World of Warcraft (2004) – 91.76%
It might have become an MMO cash cow, but there is no denying that WoW took gaming addiction to a new level. The exciting gameplay, vast story, and humongous scope of the human-player filled game world would set the genre benchmark for years to come.
Planescape: Torment (1999) – 90.64%
As a matter of opinion, many would consider Torment to be one of the best RPGs ever made. Tragically this title wasn’t a commercial success but for those who have had the pleasure, it is a truly memorable title, taking players on a journey spanning time, space, and existence.
Dragon Age: Origins (2009) – 90.53%
BioWare took their old formula for developing a great fantasy RPG and added a few new ingredients; the result – an addictive dark fantasy RPG boasting numerous characters, story paths and environments to explore. As a boon for the PC gaming community, Dragon Age is extensively customisable, allowing PC gamers to create whole new experiences within the game’s setting.