10 Best Role-Playing Games in Recent Memory
Video games are about escapism. We need a break from the physical and emotional toil of day to day life. Sometimes, after a long day of studying, work, or treating your significant other, you need to unwind in a place where nothing from everyday life exists. Not the monotonous lectures from teachers, not the stress of work boring into your skull, and not the requisite effort you put into making that love of yours smile so brightly (or maybe gaming is how you and your partner spend time together, in which case, that’s awesome!).
Where better to turn than amazing RPGs that throw you into the steel greaves, muddied boots, or furry paws of a man or woman of fantasy? There are plenty to choose from, there’s no doubt about that, but if you’re reading this, you’re not looking for just any RPG to dive into. You’re looking for the best role-playing games. So here they are, the best RPG games released within the last 10 years.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
The most recent entry in the Dragon Age series unveils most if not all of Thedas, and allows you more control and freedom over the world than most other RPG games. You create a character and customise everything from the depth of their piercing gaze to their voice. The world in Dragon Age: Inquisition the culmination of everything you did (or didn’t do) throughout the rest of the series. There are a range of environments from sunny and vibrant forests, to grey and stormy shores. You shape the world through faith, war, and diplomacy. As the Inquisitor, you’ll save Thedas from the monsters emerging from the breach, and the civil war between Templars and Mages that threaten to tear the continent apart. Dragon Age: Inquisition has constantly been compared to Skyrim in some respects, only with a little more direction. So it’s no wonder that it dominated most other games in 2013.
Neverwinter Nights 2
Set in the titular Neverwinter, RPG fans get to create a character of their choice. They can play as elves, dwarves, or humans, and choose to be rangers, wizards, or swashbucklers. All pretty standard fantasy game choices. Where Neverwinter Nights 2 really shines is in the story it has to tell, which received praise from virtually all major critics at the time. Your character, viewed in third person, begins as an orphan living on the West Harbor in the Sword Coast of Faerun. Long story short— the village is attacked by evil forces, thrusting your character into a journey to defeat the ancient King of Shadows. Throughout your journey, you’ll uncover the King of Shadow’s past of struggle and corruption. You’ll find it’s easy to see why this epic adventure topped The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion back in 2006 on most, if not all major of the best RPG lists.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
This prequel to the original Deus Ex, Human Revolution places you in the cybernetically enhanced shades of Adam Jensen, as he seeks to battle the Illuminati and save humanity from the dangers of augmentations. You’re free to choose what happens in this game, you’re free to approach every situation like a phantom, or with guns blazing. Your decisions will affect the outcome as you explore the divisions in society between ‘augs’ and normal humans, and between mega-corporations and the rest of the world. If you’re a conspiracy theorist who fears for the safety and security of humanity, this RPG game is definitely up your alley.
Set more than a century and a half into the future, Mass Effect allows us to step into the dedicated and enduring boots of Commander Shephard— the galaxy’s last hope for salvation from that which approaches from the dark, unexplored depths of space. If you’re a fan of Bioware’s work, Mass Effect is one of their best RPGs that you should not miss. The third person action/adventure RPG has a lot to offer. Sure, the last game in the trilogy left a lot to be desired but as with most stories worth telling, it’s less about the ending and more about the journey, and it is quite a journey. As a certain galactic hero/heroine once said (and we’re paraphrasing here), “I’m Commander Shephard, and this is my favourite game from 2007.”
The end is nigh! The apocalypse cometh! In this apocalypse, you fill the role of War— the fiery harbinger of violent destruction, under the command of the charred council. You are compelled to march forth to undo the damage wrongfully inflicted upon the kingdom of man. If the action filled story wasn’t already strangely compelling enough, the hack and slash gameplay might just persuade you, if you’re into annihilating demons and malicious lords of heaven by the dozens. Darksiders had a unique world and was built upon beautiful mythology, which is how it earned its place atop the list of best games in 2010.
Dragon Age: Origins
Another one of Bioware’s fantastic series’, the first in the Dragon Age series brought everything a fantasy RPG game should have and more. More than just a battle between good and evil, the tale woven into this game is one of the greater good and lesser evils. Not every choice you’ll make in this will be the right one, regardless of what your intentions are, and they’ll carry over on to the next game. The fate of Ferelden is in your hands. Your ultimately nameless character will defeat the fifth Blight and shape the future by way of influencing the monarchy, forging alliances, performing magic rituals, and enduring in combat. It’s everything the Mass Effect series offers but, in a realm of dark fantasy.
Fallout New Vegas
In case you happen to enjoy not breaking down into tears when you lose, Fallout New Vegas gives you an immersive experience in a post-apocalyptic world where radioactivity has turned former state, Las Vegas, in to a monster infested wasteland. You can see it all from the perspective of your voiceless protagonist or from a third-person perspective. Fallout New Vegas sees several factions fighting for control of this wasteland—Mr House and his robot army, Yes Man, the Romanesque ‘Caesar’s Legion’, and the New California Republic. You, a humble courier, are free to choose who to side with, as well as the fate of New Vegas and all the horrible little critters that skulk through it.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
When people think ‘RPG’, a lot of people, even now 5 years after its release, will instantly think of the war-ridden, dragon-infested, Nord-filled land of Skyrim. With its literally endless supply of quests, Skyrim has more than enough to keep those in search of an immersive world occupied with wonder and fantastical battles. Be an all-powerful mage, master the seedy underworld through the Thieves Guild, explore countless dungeons and ancient caverns, all the while shaping the political future of Tamriel’s coldest nation. There are mods for every aspect of the game and a remastered version of it is coming to PS4 and Xbox One this year, so you can see for yourself why this amazing role-playing game has left such a mark on PC gamers worldwide.
Dark Souls III
Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that the most difficult game they’ve ever come across was any of those in the Dark Souls series. So if you’ve always wanted to play a video game but grow too frustrated to finish it, try Dark Souls III. The conclusion to the trilogy offers a variety of monstrous bosses to vanquish through the masterful use of any weapon from swords, to bows and arrows. You’ll dodge, die, and pray to god your methodical fighting style works this time. Maybe it’s the immersive, gloomy virtual environment, the unpredictability of your foes, the infuriating difficulty of the game in general, or all of the above, Dark Souls III really takes the cake as an RPG in that you’ll slowly start to feel yourself sinking into that role and that world.
The Witcher III: Wild Hunt
There’s a lot to be said about The Witcher III. There were a lot of expectations raised following its announcement and each one was met and/or surpassed. There are a lot of things that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt got right— the amount of freedom you’re given, the numerous side quests that would put many main game plots to shame, or detailed world in which it’s all set. Geralt of Rivia became a well known name in 2015, and in a time when people are in search of dark fantasies to follow, like Game of Thrones, The Witcher reigns supreme. The multitudes of awards it has won are well deserved. If it’s action and adventure you seek in a role-playing game, then there are many who, with good reason, would tell you to look no further than CDProjektRed’s masterpiece.