Role playing games (RPGs) are my absolute favorite genre of gaming. I feel like I have a sense of control when it comes to the way the protagonist makes their way through the game. There are many RPGs that I have played through multiple times and chose different classes, story options, abilities, and even companions just to see how different the experience is.
There is an endless list of titles classified as a role playing games, but I thought I’d share my top ten RPGs of all time. Keep in mind that this is a personal list and does it in no way reflect the quality or greatness of games not mentioned.
10. Rogue Galaxy (Level-5, Sony Computer Entertainment) PS2
This is one of those hidden treasures that I seldom hear anyone talk about. The game is centered around Jaster Rogue, a farmer worker from a distant planet. Jaster is thrown into a galactic war and soon realizes that the fate of the galaxy rests in his hands. This is an action RPG that has a hefty amount of side quests as well as a pretty solid plot. There’s a weapon synthesis engine within the game that lets you combine weapons together to form new weapons. Weapons can also be upgraded as you use them as they gain experience points just as the characters do. My first play through lasted about 60 hours and I did not complete all side quests. My second play through was 100% completed and took around 80 hours. In the combined 140 hours (give or take) I was never bored of the characters, story, or game play, earning Rogue Galaxy a spot in my top 10.
9. The Legend of Dragoon(Sony Computer Entertainment) PSOne (Available in Playstation Network Store)
If you were a kid in the 90’s that played RPGs then you’ve undoubtedly played, or at least heard of, The Legend of Dragoon. This turn based RPG’s protagonist is Dart Feld, a warrior imbued with the power of a dragon’s spirit naming him (and six others) Dragoon. Dart is tasked with the quest to stop the end of the world alongside a band of misfits and nobles. Youu and your team must acquire seven of the eight dragon’s spirits to defeat the God of Destruction. It has been quite some time since I last played Legend of Dragoon, but it has always stuck in my heart as one of the classics from my childhood.
8. The White Knight Chronicles(Level-5, Sony Computer Entertainment) PS3
The White Knight Chronicles has made my top ten list because of some of the epic cut scenes within the story. Level-5 created a pretty large open world with many different environments for this epic saga. I will admit that at times game play is tedious, repetitive, and, well, kind of boring. That is until you get to boss fights and get to use your Knight, which is a 50 foot suit of armor. It’s like a medieval Gundam, in a way. I thoroughly enjoyed the story of this RPG, but I found trekking the large maps is not as fun and engaging as I would of liked. One of the interesting aspects is that you get to create a character, but that character is not the protagonist, instead you create a companion that you can customize any way you want.
7. Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne (Atlus) PS2
This is one of the most challenging Role Playing Games I’ve ever gotten my hands on. Set in a post apocalyptic Japan the nameless protagonist becomes a half demon and attempts to stop Lucifer from recreating the world in his image. This turn based RPG has a enormous selection of companions (which are all demons and monsters of world wide lore) to choose from. Throughout the game when you come across new enemies you can try to convince them to join your party through conversation or bribery. One of the most notable (and most challenging ) companions that you can acquire is Dante from the Devil May Cry series. This is a very lengthy and difficult game, but it is one of those games that I find myself revisiting quite often.
6. Shadow Hearts: Covenant(Nautilus, Midway) PS2
There are games that stick with you for the rest of your life. Games that hit you right in the feels. Shadow Hearts: Covenant is one of those games for me. I easily have 200 hours pumped into this PS2 gem. Set in the midst of World War I, a lieutenant in the German army, Karin Koenig, witnesses the exorcism of Yuri Volte Hyuga. She soon realizes that though Yuri is possessed by a very powerful demon, he is a kind hearted soul. She then joins Yuri to thwart the villain, Nicolai who was trying to summon Yuri’s demon to control him to win the war. The cast of playable characters is phenomenal! Yuri finds more demons to fuse with to make him a force to be reckoned with. You also come across a Transylvanian “superhero” donning a butterfly mask, Gepetto the doll maker, Princess Anastasia, and a few other memorable cohorts. There is also some amazing villains littered throughout the story including the ever so evil, Rasputin. There isn’t anything I don’t like about this RPG. The story, gameplay, and characters are incredible.
5. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3(Atlus) PS2 (Available in Playstation Network Store)
We’ve made into the top 5! While the previous five are all fantastic games, my top five are my heaviest hitters in my list. To start this off, I give you Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3. Part RPG, part social simulator, Persona 3 gives us the demon lore we’ve come to expect from other Shin Megami Tensei titles, but with the added bonus of living the life of a Japanese high school student who joins a group of students investigating the Dark Hour. The Dark Hour takes place between each day that nobody really knows about. During the Dark Hour, the player enters Tartarus, a large tower containing Shadows, creatures that feed on the minds of humans. To fight the Shadows, each member of the group is able to summon a Persona, a manifestation of a person’s inner self. One of Persona 3’s unique features is the method by which the team members release their Personas, by firing a gun called an Evoker at their head. While not exploring Tartarus, the game’s protagonist progresses day by day through a school year, making friends and forming relationships that improve the strength of his Personas in battle.
4. Mass Effect 2(Bioware, EA) Xbox 360, PS3, PC
What kind of list would this be without Mass Effect? Although I love the series as a whole, Mass Effect 2 was by far my favorite entry in the series. Continuing on from the events of Mass Effect, Commander Shepard moves on to complete his mission to save the galaxy from the Collectors. This is my favorite mainly due to the relationship building side quests to build an unforgettable team. There are so many emotions poured into this adventure while maintaining an epic story and topping it off with pulse pounding action. The game play is damn near perfect and runs so incredibly smooth, which was my only real complaint about the first Mass Effect. If you haven’t played the entire trilogy (Downloadable ‘DLC’ content included) you are missing out on one of the most epic stories in gaming and out. For some news on the next Mass Effect game, click here.
3. Dragon Age Inquisition(BioWare, EA)PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC
BioWare really knows how to produce games that get you involved with the story on a more personal level than any other company. Dragon Age: Inquisition is no exception and furthermore, is the best example, in my opinion. The relationship building in this entry to my top 10 list is complex and beautiful. I found myself so engaged in my team’s personal lives that any time something tragic happened, I would find myself in emotional distraught. I enjoyed the other Dragon Age games, but after completing the main story line and all DLC, I found this to be my personal favorite. I’ve played multiple classes, chose different story altering options, and romanced several of the game’s characters to find that no matter which way I play, I still love this game to it’s fullest extent.
2. Final Fantasy VII (Squaresoft/Square Enix) PSone, PC (Available in Playstation Network Store)
You knew it was coming. There’s no getting around it, the Final Fantasy series has been a staple in RPG games for decades. There are always debates as to which title reigns supreme, but this is MY list so here we are with Final Fantasy VII. This was the first Final Fantasy game that I had ever played and is honestly the game that got me into RPGs. The story is a little hard to follow, but it’s a great story, nonetheless. I am not exaggerating when I say that I have played through ‘VII’ 12 times in its entirety. Every Weapon fight, all materia collected, and the oh-so-challenging Knights of the Round summon. My first play through was tragically deleted at the save point right before the final fight with Sephiroth by my brother. I’ll never let him live it down. I currently have this on my PC and play it quite often, with a few cosmetic mods of course. The overwhelming excitement that I have for the upcoming remake is immeasurable.This will always be in my top games of all time. Final Fantasy VII was my #1 until the next game came along…
1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (CD Projekt RED) Xbox One, PS4, PC
We have arrived at my #1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. I was first introduce to the Witcher series by looking for an RPG to play on my Xbox 360. I found The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. After completing Wither 2, I immediately rushed out to find whatever information I could on the Witcher and found that the game series was based on a set of books by Polish author, Andrzej Sapkowski. I searched the interwebs and purchased the books. The books are brilliant and now some of my favorite books of all time. When the announcement was made that CD Projekt RED was making another game, I squealed. My main reasoning for wanting an Xbox One was solely to play the latest Witcher game. (At the time of announcement it was to be an Xbox One exclusive) As soon as pre-orders were available, I reserved and paid it off immediately.
Geralt, the series’ main character, is my personal favorite character from any game that I’ve ever played. He’s a bad ass monster hunter, a ladies man, a survivalist, a business man, and a loyal friend. The greatest part of Witcher 3 is that you really get into Geralt’s past. You aren’t required to play the previous games or read the books to appreciate the lore and characters, but if you have it adds so much more depth to the game as a whole. There are 36 possible endings to the game, giving it so much replay value. I’m currently on my third play through. Aside from the main story, there are seemingly endless side quests including monster hunting contracts and quests to diffuse wars. Every decision you make effects not only the ending, but the world’s economy, Geralt’s relationships with other characters and entire countries.
The first expansion, Hearts of Stone, adds about 10 hours of game play to it’s already 60+ hours of the main story. Hearts of Stone could be a game all in its own and still succeed. The next expansion, Blood and Wine, promises 30 more hours of game play and concludes Geralt’s journey. That will be released May 31 and I have never been so excited for DLC in my life!
So, there you have it, geeks. That concludes my Top 10 RPGs of all time. Are any of these in your top 10? Did I miss an epic game? Sound off in the comments below.