In the best role-playing games, you can play all kinds of interesting characters that you can shape into anything you want.
We chose these games because they have amazing worlds, fun ways to fight, memorable personalities, and well-told stories. Good RPGs are the most interesting games you can play.
But this isn’t just a competition to see which games have the best stories. Side-quests can be just as interesting as the major campaign missions, especially if they have choices that can change how the story ends or how your character is aligned, like in Fable.
You can play any of the games on this list while waiting for games like Mass Effect 5, Starfield, Elder Scrolls 6, and Dragon Age: Dreadwolf.
RPGs aren’t limited to just one type of game, though. Many of the games on this list are also on our lists of the best MMORPGs, so if you’re looking for something more specific, check out those lists.
For now, though, we’ve put together a list of the best RPGs to get lost in, whether you have a brand-new PS5 or a PC. Now let’s get to those great games.
- 27. Monster Hunter: World
- 26. Horizon Forbidden West
- 25. Final Fantasy VII
- 24. Divinity: Original Sin 2
- 23. Nier Automata
- 22. Deus Ex
- 21. Diablo 3
- 20. Stardew Valley
- 19. Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of an Elusive Age
- 18. Dragon Age: Inquisition
- 17. Disco Elysium
- 16. Bloodborne
- 15. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
- 14. Elden Ring
- 13. Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim
- 12. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
- 11. Fallout: New Vegas
- 10. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
- 9. Cyberpunk 2077
- 8. Mass Effect 2
- 7. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
- 6. The Outer Worlds
- 5. Pillars of Eternity
- 4. Fire Emblem: Three Houses
- 3. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
- 2. Pokemon Legends: Arceus
- 1. Persona 5 Royal
27. Monster Hunter: World
In Monster Hunter: World, you hunt monsters. If that wasn’t clear from the name, I’ll say it again. But even if the Diablos armor set or the hunt itself is the main prize, you’ll be obsessed with how you kill those beasts as soon as you face your first Great Jagras.
Your first few hours will be spent trying out different guns. Once you find a weapon you like, you’ll start to see how useful all the bits and pieces dropped by your (now dead) quarries can be for crafting.
With this realization, the second part of the game starts, so get ready to do a lot of fine-tuning and optimization before you go out into the wild to make your character ready for the fight they’re about to face.
26. Horizon Forbidden West
Horizon Forbidden West is the sequel to the popular game Horizon Zero Dawn, and it does everything a good sequel should: It keeps doing the things that made the game great and goes even further.
There are tempting tasks and robot dinosaurs around every corner in the open world of the Forbidden West.
There is enough variety to feel both new and familiar, like a warm blanket wrapped around your shoulders on a cold night.
Simple fetch quests grow into beautiful stories, and Aloy stays at the center of this world as a character you are instantly drawn to and root for.
Horizon: Forbidden West is an RPG that builds on the first game in a very beautiful way. You shouldn’t miss it.
25. Final Fantasy VII
The name pretty much says it all. What hasn’t been said about what might be Square’s best work?
Final Fantasy VII was the first Final Fantasy game to be made in 3D, and it did so with a bang. The story is deep and deals with themes like life, PTSD, the environment, and identity.
You take on the role of Cloud Strife, a mercenary, and go on adventures with him and a group of characters who have become famous in the game world. It has the cold, smart Sephiroth, who is one of the best bad guys ever made for a video game.
Let’s just say that the fights in Sephiroth are some of the best I’ve seen in any RPG. At the same time, I was both very scared and very excited. What are you waiting for if you haven’t played this yet?
24. Divinity: Original Sin 2
Divinity: Original Sin 2 is one of the best games because it lets you do a lot of different things. The fighting is fun, and the graphics are beautiful.
Take your time when picking your class, because the depth and flexibility of your build make your first choice an important one.
Then go to the world of Rivellon, where dark beings from beyond the wall are taking over because the one person who was supposed to stop them died before this game’s story began.
Because Larian Studios encourages choice and creativity, there are times when this game will feel a lot like a table top RPG. Divinity: Original Sin 2 is hard to put down once you start playing it.
23. Nier Automata
Come for the music and stay for the smooth fighting and the way the different styles work together. Nier: Automata has hack-and-slash, shoot-em-up, text adventures, and RPG aspects. It has a lot of everything.
The dazzling combat is split between three android heroes who spin and flip in hypnotic ways. It’s fun to hack and slash away at enemies with the quiet fury of a robot, but the game really shines when you start customizing those robotic elements.
You can choose which chip is in your metal head and switch it in and out based on the enemies you’re fighting.
Combine that with one of the four weapons you have, and you’ll always have a variety of deadly combos at your disposal. The finish will stay with you for a long time and make you want to go back and find out more.
22. Deus Ex
Oh yes, Deus Ex. Even though it came out 18 years ago, it’s still a joy to play and one of the best PC games ever made. It’s a mix of stealth FPS and RPG, and it’s one of the best cyberpunk games on PC.
We could spend a lot of time thinking back on the story’s dramatic plot, which ties together themes of conspiracy, terrorism, and transhumanism with interesting people in a plausible dystopian future. We could also go on and on about how much you can change your character.
For example, you can turn J.C. Denton, who wears a trench coat, into a cybernetically enhanced soldier, a skilled hacker, or a ghost who lurks in the shadows. But what we want to talk about is how great the design is.
Whether you’re playing this as one of the best FPS games or as a straight stealth game, every map is a complicated sandbox where you can try out different things. If you take part in a fight instead of trying to avoid it, it can go in a lot of different ways.
The levels are full of secret paths, hidden caches, informants who can be paid off, and private information that can be used to open up new routes.
If you and another person talk about what you did, it sounds like you are talking about two different games. Newer games in the series haven’t been able to capture what makes the first Deus Ex game so great.
21. Diablo 3
Diablo 3 came out a decade ago, and in that time it has slowly grown to become one of the best cooperative RPGs out there.
Once Blizzard got rid of the controversial auction house, fixed the loot system, and made the ending bigger, Diablo 3 had the room it needed to grow beyond its original limits.
The game that exists now is truly amazing.
Diablo 3 is still a lot of fun whether you’re exploring the depths of Sanctuary by yourself or getting together with three friends to take on the hardest challenges.
With Diablo 4 coming out soon, there’s never been a better time to start playing.
20. Stardew Valley
In Stardew Valley, everyone is welcome in Pelican Town. You might want to turn your grandfather’s farm into a lush paradise where fruits and veggies grow right out of the ground, or you might want to focus on the social side of the game and fall in love with a villager of your choice.
As you progress in the game, more and more of it will become clear. Besides selling your crops and/or making new friends, you can also explore the mines and dungeons.
Or you could go fishing. Or you could just buy yourself hats when you hit certain goals. Seasons tell you what you can do and what you can’t, so you’ll soon fall into a pleasant pattern. And this is a great thing.
19. Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of an Elusive Age
Even though it’s the 11th game in one of the longest-running RPG series ever, Dragon Quest has never been a better place to start.
Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of an Elusive Age is one of the best JRPGs on the market because it is a huge game with a lot of detail and interesting characters.
Dragon Quest 11 is one of the best RPGs to play if you want a throwback adventure with some modern touches.
It has a beautiful world, great turn-based combat, and a group of memorable heroes and villains. If none of that interests you, Akira Toriyama’s drawings for the Dragon Ball characters will.
18. Dragon Age: Inquisition
Sorry to be the one to tell you this, but the people you hang out with say a lot about who you are as a person.
Dragon Age: Inquisition is based on the same idea. If you tried to explore all of its dangerous places on your own, you’d be a bloody mess in no time.
How you want to play will determine how you build your group of followers. If you’re a bloodthirsty melee player, keep those witches far away so they can buff you in battle.
If you’d rather stay away from the action, you’ll need to make friends with The Iron Bull, who buffs you in a different way.
You’ll want to go back to Inquisition’s world again and again to get caught up in the story and learn more about the characters.
17. Disco Elysium
In Disco Elysium, you play as a detective with a drinking problem and a memory loss caused by drugs. In the first few minutes of the game, you can die while trying to get your tie from the ceiling fan.
There is no traditional fighting, but there are dialogue trees and skill checks. To pass skill checks, you’ll need to improve your skills, but that’s a slippery slope.
If you raise your Drama skill too much, you might have the rare fit of hysteria. All of Disco Elysium is based on dice rolls, which are added to your skill value and stat value.
The result of the roll and the sum of all your stats will tell you if you’ve completed a job, which can be as stupid as getting your tie from a ceiling fan.
Welcome to Yarnum, a dark, sad city that looks like it came straight out of a gothic book. Its people are going through a plague, not just of disease but also of dangerous animals.
Even though Yarnum is the last place you’d want to go in real life, it will pull you in, begging you to come back even after you’ve beaten its worst.
You’ll want to knock on more doors and listen to the strange laughs of the locals or walk along another rooftop to try to find a hidden mystery.
You only have to worry about six stats in Bloodborne, and the character maker lets you make some of the coolest Victorian Gothic heroes ever. The hats, man, those hats are so cool.
15. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
The Assassin’s Creed series by Ubisoft takes a big step forward with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. For the first time, you can date NPCs and choose how to talk to them, whether you want to be a Casanova or a saint.
Odyssey is what you get when you put all of these new features together with the return of naval action and enough side quests, locations, and hidden secrets to keep you busy for days.
Alexios or Kassandra, your soldier, is really yours to shape in any way you want.
There are nine endings to find, and how you finish certain quests will have an effect on the world around you, for better or worse.
What does that mean?
More than one run. If you dare, you can explore everywhere and do everything (and everyone), but it will take you more than 100 hours. After this role-playing game, Assassin’s Creed will never be the same.
14. Elden Ring
You’ll never want to leave Elden Ring, which is a collaboration between George R. R. Martin and Hidetaka Miyazaki.
It takes place in a world that is stunningly beautiful and full of strange, twisted stories. The Lands Between is both interesting and scary.
There are poisonous swamps and cursed kings. Elden Ring is a real beast. It takes the best parts of the FromSoftware recipe and adds fresh new features that make it appealing to both experienced and new players.
If you want to avoid that big, bad boss early in the game, just hop on your horse Torrent and go level up or find a better weapon in a castle full of bad magicians.
There are a lot of options for players, which means there are a lot of different ways to combine weapons, armor, and stats.
There are so many ways to play this game that you can easily justify doing it twice or even three times.
13. Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim
You can be anyone. Do whatever you like. Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim gives you a lot of freedom to live in its world.
You can focus on alchemy and look for a Daedra heart, go on a journey to the top of the Companions, or just wander around Skyrim as a farmhand and make money by picking wheat and potatoes.
Sure, there is always the chance that a dragon will burn down a nearby town. But even though the end of the world is coming, your goals in Skyrim are still your own. There’s nothing that makes you take on quests.
While we wait for Elder Scrolls 6, you can be sure that Skyrim throws you out into the open with some stolen gear and the whole world at your feet. It’s up to you to decide what kind of dragonborn you want to be.
12. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Link is an empty slate. A beautiful, quiet blank canvas that you can turn into Sheikah, a fully armored knight, or someone who runs around in their underwear throwing chickens at Moblins.
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild lets you do whatever you want with Link because his personality is so flexible.
Even though the end of the world is coming, people have their own things to do and will let you do the same.
From seeing the tip of a new tower in the distance to navigating one of the mysterious mazes on the edge of the map, your surroundings are so interesting that the world almost begs you to get distracted.
This fits perfectly with the idea that Link has just woken up after decades of sleep and can’t sit still.
11. Fallout: New Vegas
You can’t say that The Courier should not have gone on their spree. Someone just shot them in the head, but they are still alive and want to know who did it.
But since you can go anywhere in Fallout: New Vegas right from the start, that can wait.
It’s not much of a surprise, since it’s also one of the best open world games out there. You might even decide that finding the person who shot you in the head is the last thing you want to do.
Your survival sense might tell you to stay away.
Join one of the many fierce groups, try to become the Savior of the Damned by increasing your good karma, or make your own goals.
Get all of the teddy bears in the world. Get rid of the, um, pest problem in Quarry Junction. It depends on you.
10. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher 3 is like nothing else. You can help put a noonwraith’s soul to rest one minute, and then go to the Passiflora and pay for some heavy petting the next.
The Witcher 3 will have you hooked before you can say “Wind’s howling.”
It has a great mix of tough but fun fighting, great writing, and really tough choices. People in this mythical world both hate and need Geralt of Rivia, and the stress of being an outsider in a place where prejudice is getting worse by the minute is very real.
But it’s easy to keep yourself busy. You can kill monsters or look for rare weapons hidden in hard-to-reach places.
When you’re done with the main story, which is heavy and intense, you can grab The Blood and Wine and Hearts of Stone DLC to hang out with Geralt and Roach for a few dozen more hours.
Simply put, this is the best damn RPG you can play right now, so flip a coin for your witcher, you’ve got the time—The Witcher 4 is still a ways off.
9. Cyberpunk 2077
Cyberpunk got off to a rough start, and that’s putting it mildly. As we said in our Cyberpunk 2077 review, CDProjekt Red’s huge Cyberpunk RPG has a lot of promise, but its first year was rough.
The good news is that it got better over time, and the game is now ready to be added to our list of the best RPGs.
You play as V, a mercenary criminal who can be changed in many ways and is sent to find a unique implant that may be the key to living forever.
You go on a lot of main and side quests and experience the huge city of Night City, where you meet a lot of strange people.
After you’ve had your fill of the city’s treats, you can look into Cyberpunk 2077 mods to make things even better.
8. Mass Effect 2
In this sequel, which you can play with the whole trilogy thanks to the Mass Effect Legendary Edition, BioWare builds on what they did in the first game.
In Mass Effect, Commander Shepherd and a motley crew of aliens had to deal with racism in space and the possibility that the universe would end before its time.
In this sequel, BioWare builds a beautiful space house on top of that foundation. Oh, and it gets rid of that stupid Mako movement.
The combat system has been completely redesigned to be like the “duck and cover” style of the Gears games.
Shepherd’s special skills and the unique abilities of each member of your team make for dynamic, personalized gameplay.
The plot has some room to move because the game is the space meat in the middle of the “showing you this world” and “destroying this world” sandwich. The most interesting group of people, maybe ever, walk into that breathing room.
When it’s time to make a choice, the romance choices hurt your feelings, the background stories tug at your heartstrings, and your friends’ political arguments make it impossible for you to decide.
RPGs are good at making you feel things and making you make choices during the game, but Mass Effect 2 is one of the few games that makes you care so much.
7. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
RPGs can sometimes feel hard to get into. If you don’t like the type of game, you might be put off by one that takes a lot of attention to detail, a lot of patience, or what seems like a lot of choices.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is a game that both experienced role-playing game (RPG) players and people who were on the fence about joining the crowd will enjoy.
Set 4,000 years before the events of the movies, you have to learn how to use the Force with the help of the Jedi.
At the beginning of the game, you can choose from three character types and decide whether your character will be on the dark side or the light side of the Force.
The game is heaven for Star Wars fans because it captures the magical, out-of-this-world feel of the movies while also giving you a lot of choices.
There are great speech actors, easy-to-understand game mechanics, and fun supporting characters. Plus, you can swing a karking sword.
6. The Outer Worlds
Obsidian’s best skill is making RPGs with great dialogue, interesting people, and a world that pulls you in and doesn’t let you go.
The Outer Worlds feels like Firefly and Mass Effect had a bright space baby, and you are the one in charge of its future. No pressure.
You have to talk a lot in this game to get to the best, most cystipig-meatiest parts, but almost every chat you have with the people of Halcyon will make you happy in some way.
You’ll have a hard time picking a favorite because of the great voice acting, great writing, and surprisingly good face animations.
This makes every choice harder, which is a sign of a great role-playing game: the ability to make you sweat over a seemingly harmless conversation option.
5. Pillars of Eternity
Pillars of Eternity is the right game for you if Baldur’s Gate makes you think of old times. You should also play it if you’re looking forward to Obsidian’s next game, Avowed, which takes place in the same world as PoE, Eora.
There are many different races in the world of Eora, like elves, dwarves, humans, orlans, aumaua, and more.
This world is clearly influenced by Dungeons and Dragons. Before you even get to the story, you might spend hours on the character creation screen.
There are eleven playable classes and the choice to choose a pet (yes, you read that right). When you talk to a character, you can read about their body language to help you decide how to respond.
This is just one of many amazing details that show how much work Obsidian put into Pillars of Eternity.
4. Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Fire Emblem: Three Houses brings the turn-based strategy game to Nintendo Switch, so you can spend hundreds of hours immersed in its epic story no matter where you are.
As soon as you start playing Three Houses, you’ll want to build your team on the way to work and find out more about each character while you’re waiting at the doctor’s office. Three Houses is a big improvement on the original model.
It has a great story that moves the action forward and tight, hard-to-win turn-based battles. There is even a relationship game that is a lot like Persona.
It will make you argue with your friends about your favorite characters and care about each and every one of them. You won’t want to miss this one.
3. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
Assassin’s Creed is a video game. Valhalla does a great job of bringing back some of the stealthier parts of the series without taking away from what fans love about the newer Assassin’s Creed games.
Valhalla brings back stealth, and the main story even has a tailing mission that takes you back to the days of the Brotherhood.
It also lets you take part in Viking raids and use a ramming ram to open the gates of a castle so you can take what’s inside. In this game, you can do an Assassins job while remaining anonymous.
Then, ten minutes later, you can stand on the sternpost of a long ship and blow a Viking horn to welcome your crew with style.
The story of Valhalla is beautiful and interesting, and it takes place in a beautiful 9th-century England. Both of these things will stay with you long after you put down the controller.
2. Pokemon Legends: Arceus
Game Freak wanted to make a new way to play Pokemon games, and Pokemon Legends Arceus does all of that and more.
Not only does the story hook you right away, but the switch to open-world adventure gives you the Pokemon experience we all wanted as kids.
The series has stuck to the same formula for 25 years, so it needed a new game like Arceus that focuses more on the Pokemon and less on the gym leaders to give it some new life.
Fans of Pokemon will love this because the saying “gotta catch ’em all” takes center stage. You’ll have so much fun playing Arceus that you won’t mind when it sometimes doesn’t work right, we promise.
1. Persona 5 Royal
School is difficult. It’s even harder when your alter ego has superpowers and spends the nights wandering through a supernatural realm fighting the bloodthirsty, personified wants of the people around you.
Persona 5 Royal is an improved version of Persona 5, one of the best role-playing games of 2017. The expansion adds two new characters and changes to the quality of life and game play. This gives the 100-hour game even more worth.
Persona 5 wants you to get to know each character, and Royal gives you the chance to learn about strange student Kasumi Yoshizawa and school counselor Takuto Maruki. Before you know it, you’ll be immersed in the world of Shujin Academy.