RPG Games

Role-Playing Games (RPG) allow players to assume the roles of fictional characters and experience epic adventures in virtual worlds.

  • Genre:RPG
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Role-playing video games (RPG) or computer role-playing games (CRPG) derive from traditional pen-and-paper adventures, such as Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. In this case, the game assumes the role of a dungeon master, and a player controls one character or an adventuring party that embarks on an epic journey.

History of computer role-playing games

  • Prehistory. The history of cRPG can be traced back to early computer strategy games, such as Empire and Adventure. These games paved the way for future generations of RPG video games, beginning in 1975 with the release of Gary Gygaxand Dave Arneson’s Dungeons & Dragons. This game system was designed to allow players to control their own characters’ actions and explore a virtual world where they could battle monsters and gain experience points to become more powerful. The first computer version of Dungeons & Dragons was released in 1975, followed by the first commercially successful RPG video game, Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord,in 1981. This started a wave of video games inspired by or directly based on Dungeons & Dragons.
  • The 90s. This was the time of intensified development of most video game genres, and RPG makes no exception here. This period was dominated by epic isometric role-playing games such as Diablo (Blizzard, 1996) Fallout (Interplay, 1997), Baldur's Gate (Black Isle, 1998), and Planescape: Torment (Black Isle, 1999).
  • 2000s. The new millennium brought a lot of drastic changes to the RPG world, with Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) becoming increasingly popular. This genre was pioneered in 1997 by titles like Ultima Online and Everquest. Later on, World of Warcraft (Blizzard Entertainment, 2004) revolutionized the genre and popularised MMORPG 
  • 2010s. This decade saw the rise of mobile gaming and open-world RPGs, with games like Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda, 2011) or The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (CD Projekt Red, 2015). All these games embraced nonlinearity and allowed players to explore vast in-game worlds.

Key features of the genre

  • Story and optional missions. RPG releases provide a main quest that players have to complete to finish the story and multiple optional side quests that allow players to get more experience points and learn better about the lore.
  • Nonlinearity and choices. Instead of following a linear path, players can explore the game world freely and make decisions that affect the character's progress, the fate of NPCs, and the outcome of the adventure.
  • Character customization. Most RPG titles allow players to build the protagonist from scratch or at least personalize them. However, some games feature a predefined protagonist. 
  • Character development. Throughout the game, a character gains experience points that can be spent on new talents, skills, perks, and abilities. This way, players may create unique character builds.
  • Types of role-playing games
  • RPG is probably the most complex video game genre. Therefore, we can find multiple popular sub-genres.
  • Action role-playing games. It's a blend of real-time combat and elements of traditional RPGs, such as character customization, dialog choices, and a complex plot. These games often have a hybrid structure consisting of exploration, quests, and battles.
    • Notable examples: The Witcher III: Wild Hund, Mass Effect.
  • Hack and slash. This can be classified as a type of action RPG. However, while most action-RPG balance fighting sequences, dialogues, narrative, and character development, HnS titles emphasize intense combat.
    • Notable examples: Diablo III, Darksiders Genesis.
  • Turn-based RPG. This type of game is slower-paced and focuses on strategic thinking, character development, and an immersive story experience. It allows players to pause the action anytime during combat, assess the situation, and plan their next move.
    • Notable examples: Baldur's Gate 2, Fallout New Vegas
  • TRPGs. Tactical role-playing games are a subgenre of turn-based RPGs. The main difference between TRPGs and other turn-based games is the focus on tactical combat. Generally, character development and dialog are less important than planning and executing battle strategies. 
    • Notable examples: Final Fantasy Tactics, Fire Emblem
  • jRPG. Japanese role-playing games focus on story and character development, with strategic turn-based combat as a secondary element. Games in this genre often feature unique battle systems and art styles, making them popular among RPG fans.
    • Notable examples: Dragon Quest XI, Persona 5. 
  • MMORPGs. Massively multiplayer online role-playing games are massive online worlds where players create characters and battle computer-controlled enemies or other players. These games often support thousands of concurrent players interacting in a single world, with many more following the game as it develops over time. 

The best RPG games

Every good role-playing game provides players with dozens of hours in a virtual world. Hence, it's essential to pick a title that suits you best. Here are some releases widely praised by players and critics.

  • The Witcher III: Wild Hunt. It's the final and the best installment in the Witcher trilogy. This open-world fantasy game lets players control Geralt, a professional monster hunter. The game follows his story as he unravels the mysteries behind a powerful force known as the Wild Hunt. It combines intense combat with a captivating story, memorable NPCs, and difficult moral choices.
  • Fallout 4. This post-apocalyptic RPG takes place in the ruins of Boston where players are tasked with rebuilding the city and shaping its future. The game offers an open-world environment filled with exploration and moral choices. Players will face both mutated creatures and other survivors of the nuclear disaster.
  • Mass Effect: Legendary Edition. A science-fiction action RPG, it follows the story of a space commander, who is tasked with saving the galaxy from a mysterious alien race known as the Reapers. The game features an expansive universe to explore and intense combat sequences. The Legendary Edition covers remastered versions of all three original Mass Effect games.
  • Elden Ring. Developed by FromSoftware, this action RPG is set in a medieval fantasy world and features challenging boss battles. Players will explore an open-world environment filled with thrilling combat encounters and an intricate narrative. This game features some of the most advanced visuals and audio to date. It's the first soulslike game set in an open world.
  • Pillars of Eternity. A new take on classic isometric RPG. Pillars of Eternity is a party-based RPG set in a fantasy world filled with treacherous dungeons, challenging puzzles, and thrilling battles. It features an expansive storyline, deep character customization options, and an engaging turn-based combat system. Players will explore the game's richly detailed environments as they unravel the mystery of their past.