Having just started Souls 3 and Kingdom Come Deliverance I thought to myself we’re bloody blessed aren’t we! What a time to be alive, and what a time for RPGs, with reports the next generation gearing up to run large RPGs as effectively and beautifully as possible, I’m certainly glad to be an RPG fan. Have I said RPG enough? I’m also extremely hyped for the Christmas rush – just as I am every year – to see what little nuggets are dropped on my lap, and to see what new games will come out that I simply can’t miss!
Before I crack on with my list a bit of back story on myself and RPGs; nowadays they’re pretty much all I play apart from action story games, and even games like God of War and Assassin’s Creed are creeping into the RPG category… But once upon a time I barely played them, in fact before my PS3 I’d only really played Final Fantasy X, Pokémon and a few Zelda games, but then I got my PS3 with Oblivion and my whole world changed, being able to get lost in this huge open world and be offered so much freedom just felt fantastic, and so I just wanted to explore more and more worlds. I really enjoy the variation you still get in them, especially when you play both Japanese and Western. Completely depending on my mood I may prefer to put on something like Kingdom Come where I have to survive and discover quests, OR World of Final Fantasy which is focused around monster capturing and turn based combat.
For me there’s nothing better than an RPG that completely captures you and makes you want to spend 60+ hours of your time in that world, discovering everything you can. The only sad thing is when the really special ones end; I’m one of those people who tends to do lots of side quests, complete the story and then finish the game, normally leaving it on 1 playthrough. RPGs are what gaming is all about for me and there’s nothing in the whole of the entertainment world that can come close to getting lost in one of these games for half a day.
Anyway that’s enough gushing, here’s my top 5 list, and this is taking into account I haven’t played Bloodborne yet. I also want to say that Luke’s recommendations are responsible for most of these!
So a lot of people would put NieR: Automata at the top of their lists but for me it sits in nicely at number 5. Now none of these games are bad by any stretch, this has just been beaten out by games that are just the crème de la crème; anyway why is it in my top 5? NieR is an absolutely fantastic game which I’d argue is different to any other game I’ve played. 2 things that are always important in a game are combat and story, and NieR nails both. I loved that the combat has the kind of over the top anime feel but still feels solid, the dodging and shooting and flinging into the air mania is smooth and fun, and works regardless of how many enemies there are. Then there’s this huge story which is based around androids being the only hope as robots have taken over the Earth – Or have they?! The story changes and evolves and forces you to make tough decisions. On top of all this you get lots of arcade style sections in your mech suit where you have to play in what can only be described as a very advanced version of Galaga. Quite honestly if you’re a fan of JRPGs and/or anime and you haven’t played this then go out right now and buy it. It’ll keep you entertained for a very long time.
Liking this game as much as I did really came as a surprise to me, I hadn’t been interested in Digimon since I was a kid despite always loosely following Pokémon, so none of the games had really been on my radar. Now I did have fond memories of the old games so I was more than willing to give this a chance, and I was completely captured. At its core this is a simple monster capture game, but the story and various mechanics offer so much more. In case you’ve never heard of Digimon the general premise is that the little monsters are in another world, and their world and our world start to ‘bleed’ in to each other, and most of the time an evil Digimon is behind it. Now I don’t exactly remember all of the story, but I remember enjoying it and the anime kind of cutscenes (very visual novel-y). So about the gameplay, this is turn based but you get a kind of running bar on the left showing you who’s next to attack, this is the first time I’d seen this and I think it worked really well. Plus the actual management of the ‘mons was better than many other monster capture games I’d played as you get to have a little digital farm where you can train them and monitor them. Not only this but the seemingly endless possibilities of devolving and re-evolving your little helpers adds such a huge element of fun that it adds hours of gameplay.
Fallout is such a great series and although I didn’t feel myself sinking as deep into this one as I did previous entries, this is still an absolutely fantastic game. The open world, unique gun play and many different story/quest arcs and paths provide an extremely deep and alive game (despite it being a post-apocalyptic wasteland). What really made it stand out was the ability to build your own settlements, and the fact the main protagonist was fully voice acted. Having your own crafted homestead added a really unique and diverse element to your home base, and then you have a lot more personalisation added by having a fully voice acted main character. As always you have to do quests for various factions and randomers, find followers to help you and follow the main story, which in this one was finding your son. The game has a good twist at the end and kept up my feeling that the Fallout games have a better focused main story than the Elder Scrolls games. Fallout 4 could probably keep you entertained for longer than the other games on this list.
Being honest I’ve not played a huge amount of this yet but I know this is going to be a nicer looking version of the first one, and that would be in my top RPGs of all time. I did speak a little about Dark Souls in our latest PS Podcast Episode, but what 1 and 3 are is something really quite special. I’ve spoken about these games a lot but there is no other game I’ve had such a big turnaround on. I cannot express how little interest I had in these games, how impossible I thought they were, I wanted to enjoy my games you know, not struggle and cry. After months of pestering from various friends I finally broke, and the floodgates opened and all I could think is “why haven’t I played this before”. The system designed is SO solid and fun to use, in fact it’s so good that you feel completely blameless. These games have spawned a whole new genre which everyone’s trying to jump onto, but no one can do as well. I’ve said this a million times but I truly do urge you to pick this up, even if you’re a little scared, it’s so worth it.
Would calling this the god of all RPGs be too much? Possibly, but it’s safe to say it’s a lot of people’s favourites. Despite playing it a few years ago I still think to myself how on earth did they manage to develop such an intricate and alive world whilst still making it so vast, this game is one of the most intricate technical achievements I’ve experienced, and not in the way that Red Dead 2 is, because it’s also one of the most entertaining games I’ve ever played. Every side character you meet has a personality, a story to care about, making side quests something which are not to be rushed through just for the crowns rewarded but also because you want to find out what happens, and more often than not there are multiple eventualities. As if that wasn’t enough this game is backed up by one of the best combat systems in an RPG, so good that it feels like an action adventure game. Most creatures have a unique way of taking them down, especially bosses, as you can’t simply hack away aimlessly and hope for the best; you have to plan your potions, weapons and tactics. Geralt is a monster hunter and this game creates and captures that world perfectly. If you’re a fan of RPGs, no, of video games, and you haven’t played this, stop what you’re doing and buy it immediately; in fact I’m FINALLY going to play the DLC and I can’t bloody wait! The Witcher 3 is on the top of many lists and rightly so, it’s absolutely amazing!
Have I hit the nail on the head with these or have I missed out some really obvious ones? Let me know in the comments if this matches your definitive list?Become a Patron!