These days, games are quickly judged on their graphics, their physx effects and all the other bells and whistles. RPGs have always been a special genre, where real fans care more about the story and gameplay than any other aspect of the game. It almost goes without saying then, that RPGs would stand the test of time much better than other genres would. But which RPGs are the true classics? Which are even today still highly recommended and praised? Here’s our take on it. (We’ve put them in reverse order!)
Final Fantasy 7
Stunning art work and absolutely beautiful music. The gamplay obviously follows the jRPG format and isn’t for everyone, but the story, immersion and emotion in this game are fantastic. A true work of art.
A cyberpunk RPG, Deus Ex is a cross between an RPG, First Person Shooter and a stealth action game. A strong story filled with conspiracy and terrorism creates a truly immersive environment. One of PC gaming’s finest moments!
It’s odd to find an MMORPG among this list – but Ultima Online was in many respects the first really succesful MMORPG. On top of that, the original UO was one of the most awesome and immersive RPG experiences that you could find on the PC. The game is only a shadow of its former self now, ripped apart by corporate mistakes and changes meant to appeal to a more mass market. Still – the original experience is unmatched even in any MMORPG today.
Fallout has it all. It’s unique, with a setting completely unlike any other RPG that came out at the time. It has huge amounts of humor, an excellent story and completely unexpected twists everywhere in the game. If you’ve entered the series in the extremely popular Fallout 3 or Fallout: New Vegas, you absolutely must play this to see where the series began. Only then will you truly appreciate the series for what it is.
Baldur’s Gate (Review)
You must gather your party before venturing forth… If you have not played Baldur’s Gate and enjoy RPGs, you owe it to yourself to do so. Really, there is no other way around it – it’s that good. Baldur’s Gate really did (re-)start the modern RPG genre, and for good reason. Either play it to see where it all came from, or just because it’s worth it. It deserves your attention.
Morrowind is in many respects a much better game than Oblivion was. Sure, the graphics are less polished and the combat engine is far less sophisticated. But the gameplay, enchant system, layered clothing, factions and pretty much anything else in the game was just done so much better. I must have played Morrowind for hundreds of hours, exploring the huge open world. This game is still fantastic even today, especially if you use the numerous mods available to retexture the game and bring it closer to modern standards!
Knights of the old Republic
Do you like RPGs? (If no, why the hell are you reading this anyway?) Do you like Star Wars? Then why are you not playing this right now? On a serious note – KotoR is one of the best RPGs ever made – the story is interesting, the gameplay is awesome – and on top of all that, it has lightsabers. This is a fantastic RPG experience and you owe it to yourself to experience it.
Baldur’s Gate 2 (Review)
Baldur’s Gate 2 takes the strengths of the original Baldur’s Gate and improves upon them, making it a very solid RPG and a worthy investment for any fan of RPGs. It takes the original concept and improves upon it in every way, and is one of these rare examples where a sequel is even better than the original!
Fallout 2 is another shining example of a sequel really outshining the original release in the series. Fallout 2 came out just over a year after Fallout 1, and for me is the most memorable Fallout game in the entire series. It’s well worth playing this as soon as you’ve finished Fallout 1 as the two go really well together. Fallout 2 takes you to some unique and unforgettable locations and introduces some fantastic characters. It’s really an excellent example to modern developers of what a good RPG looks like!
Planescape: Torment (Review)
Planescape: Torment is probably the most immersive and rich game with the best story ever made. Ever made. Its setting is Planescape, a confusing multiverse of devils, demons, angels, burning men, talking boxes, floating skulls and people created from the power of imagination. I have immense sympathy for those people who did not play it at the time. Whilst now an old game, Planescape: Torment remains a cult classic. You absolutely must play this.
It goes without saying that top-10 lists are extremely subjective and that people tend to have different opinions. We’d love to hear yours – so please drop a comment and let us know what games you feel are missing!