Role-playing games have a long and fascinating history. From its humble tabletop origins, the RPG has grown and evolved over the years into the most dominant and ambitious game genre, boasting a catalog as critically acclaimed as it is diverse. The best RPGs embrace a rich storytelling tradition as well as deep and engaging gameplay to create universes that are as exciting to explore as they are thrilling to quest and do battle in. And we’ve sunk hundreds — sometimes even thousands — of hours immersing ourselves in those incredible universes, whether that be stunning high fantasy kingdoms full of knights and dragons, exciting sci-fi realms brimming with possibilities, or even extraordinary versions of our own world.

But which RPGs are the best of the best? Which RPGs were influential enough to lead the rest, or bold enough to question the mold in new and exciting ways? Which RPGs gave us the richest characters, worlds, and stories — experiences we’ll never forget? IGN got its biggest RPG fans in a room to find out. Below are the Top 100 RPGs of All Time.

The main elements we examined:

    Story (Is it compelling, well-written, or uniquely told?)
    Presentation (Is its sound, music, and/or visual style particularly strong?)
    Character progression (Is there satisfying decision-making when it comes to building a character, choosing a combat style, or making other decisions in the game world?)
    Combat (Is it fun? Innovative? Does it ask the player to make interesting choices?)
    Systems (Is there an interesting dynamic between its various meta systems?)

Because the RPG is a particularly diverse and hard-to-define genre, it was important for us to nail down exactly what qualifies as an “RPG.”

For the purposes of this list, we defined an RPG as a game that includes:

    Persistent character progression (including player-exposed stats)
    Combat that is a significant part of the experience
    Choices and consequences
    Character building and customization

星宫草莓 创建于 2017-5-7 12:10 / 30 人收藏
  • クロノ・トリガー

    1995年3月11日 (SFC) / SFC、PS、NDS等 / RPG

    Creating a Top 100 RPGs list was quite the challenge, but placing Chrono Trigger at the very top of it was surprisingly easy. Over 20 years after Square's epoch-making epic launched on the SNES, we’re still gobsmacked by its originality and ingenuity. The seamless transition between the world map full of visible, avoidable enemies and combat was a revelation in a time where most RPGs featured jarring random battles, and even today makes monster encounters a joy instead of a chore. The plucky courage and determination of its adolescent heroes (combined with the memorable art style of Akira Toriyama) makes for instantly memorable characters. And its brilliant introduction of time travel as both a storytelling vessel and gameplay mechanic is proof that story and gameplay don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Couple all this with multiple endings and one of the greatest game soundtracks ever made, and it’s easy to see why Chrono Trigger is our top-ranking RPG of all time.
  • ファイナルファンタジーVI

    1994年4月2日 (SFC) / SFC、iOS、Android等 / RPG

    Compared to its cheerfully optimistic brethren, Final Fantasy VI is a breath of fresh (albeit bleak) air. It dares to answer the question “what if the bad guy wins?” by actually letting the bad guy win halfway through the story. It isn’t shy about tackling uncomfortable subjects like war, genocide, forbidden love, and suicide. It eschews the myopic viewpoint of a single, designated protagonist in order to tell a larger, more emotionally-charged tale. This willingness to explore heavy themes and unthinkable outcomes — made all the more poignant when set against dramatic set pieces and a soaring score — is one of the biggest reasons why Squaresoft’s 1994 magnum opus is so very special. Its unconventional gameplay is another reason: FFVI casts off the rigid class system of previous Final Fantasies and allows any one of the 14 heroes to use magic so long as they equip magical shards. Its mini tower-defense games break up the monotony of random battles, while each character’s unique combat abilities means everyone serves a purpose. Nothing feels redundant or wasted in Final Fantasy VI. It’s truly like no other RPG.
  • Baldur's Gate II: Shadow of Amn

    2000年9月24日 (Win 北美) / PC、Mac OS / RPG

    In a medium that sees regular and massive advances in graphics and processing power, the relative low-fi appearance of Baldur’s Gate II might seem insufficient. But it’s a testament to the power of the storytelling and mechanics of Baldur’s Gate that the series still delivers a roleplaying experience that’s as good or better than games released 15 years later. Following on the success of Baldur’s Gate in 1998, BioWare surpassed gamers’ expectations with the sequel. In addition to the robust implementation of the current D&D rules, Baldur’s Gate II included massive environments, thrilling turn-based tactical combat, and enough side quests to fill any fantasy lover’s bookshelf. But the real stars of the game were the characters and the story. From the terrifying and complicated villain to the lovable, and lovably hilarious Minsc, Baldur’s Gate II was a fantasy epic as big and wonderful as the genre could hold. If you haven’t played it, you should. And remember, go for the eyes!
  • ポケットモンスター ピカチュウ

    1998-09-12 / Game Boy、3DS / RPG

    Pokémon Yellow culminates the fantastic RPG system from Pokémon Red and Blue and mashes them into context with story beats from the great Pokémon anime. Perhaps one of Pokémon Yellow's best improvements is also its most notable: Pikachu. Having the creature follow you on your journey helped further transform the monsters from simply being a team of fighters to a team of your best friends. Pokémon Yellow also serves updated sprites, Charizard can learn Fly, and a slew of other narrative changes further cement it as the best way to experience the most influential Pokémon game.
  • World of Warcraft

    2004年11月23日 / PC、Mac OS X / MMORPG

    When it initially launched in 2004, Blizzard’s World of Warcraft rapidly became the most popular and beloved MMORPG ever made thanks to its accessibility, exceptionally high degree of polish, and its sheer size and scope. Even if WoW never evolved past this vanilla state, it would still be remembered fondly as an incredible RPG filled with epic dungeons, surprisingly compelling Player vs. Player encounters, satisfying non-combat crafting and social gameplay, and more well-written, hand-crafted quests and adventures than it felt possible for a single RPG to contain. But what elevates World of Warcraft above “Great” and into “Greatest of All-Time” discussions is the care and attention Blizzard has poured into the game in the 13 years since. The game has never stood still. Completely new worlds, revamped old worlds, balanced and well-integrated new classes, risky storytelling, and an almost impossible-to-count volume of quality-of-life improvements have made an already amazing game experience even more amazing, more than a decade later.
  • Planescape: Torment

    1999年12月12日 / Linux、Mac OS X、PC / RPG

    The creators of Planescape: Torment aimed to subvert RPG clichés from the start, and the result is what several critics have called one of the best-written and most imaginative video games ever created. Despite being rooted in a Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting and adhering to Advanced D&D 2nd Edition rules, so much of Planescape: Torment is driven by sharp and engaging dialogue instead of combat. It takes the static alignment system of Dungeons & Dragons — a framework that has inspired RPGs from the beginning — and flips it on its head, daring to ask bigger questions about the nature of “right” and “wrong,” and making every single decision one to remember. Planescape: Torment’s experimental approach to RPG norms, twisted sense of humor, strikingly dark, but fresh setting, and tendency to elevate even the most minor conversations with weighty philosophical questions combine to create a unique personality unsurpassed in the last two decades.
  • 聖剣伝説2

    1993-07-30 / Android、Wii (VC)、SFC等 / ARPG

    During the 1990s, developer Squaresoft was the undisputed king of JRPGs, and Secret of Mana was one of the most dazzling jewels in its crown. Even now we still remember the action RPG fondly: its bright, candy-colored world was a joy to explore, the action-based combat was easy to learn and fun to do, and its inventory ringlets made navigating menus refreshingly simple. Then there was the breathtaking soundtrack, celebrated for its mix of cheerful tunes and haunting melodies. But the most memorable feature was the multiplayer. Secret of Mana would let up to three players participate in combat, so long as they had an extra controller or two lying around and the correct peripheral accessory for the SNES. In short, Secret of Mana was, and still is, a magical RPG.
  • Diablo Ⅱ

    2000年6月29日 / Windows,macOS / A.RPG

    What many consider not just the pinnacle of the Diablo series, but the pinnacle of the isometric action RPG genre we’ve come to know and love, Diablo II is truly something more than its parts. From its dark, moody music and visual trappings, to its lengthy and lofty story, Blizzard’s return to its series that pits angels against demons with man trapped in the middle is a masterclass in atmospheric adventuring. Made both accessible and engaging by its unique classes and skills, the endless satisfaction of its kill and loot gameplay, and its near limitless equipment variety and character customization, Diablo II's cooperative play and item trading helped to successfully foster not only a communal spirit in each procedurally generated level of each dank dungeon, but one of the greatest roleplaying experiences of all time.
  • ベイグラントストーリー

    2000-02-10(日版) / PS / ARPG

    For all intents and purposes, Vagrant Story should not have been a PlayStation game. The sheer volume of systems interacting with each other and the top notch graphics should have crippled the Sony's little system. But somehow, we got to experience Yasumi Matsuno's dungeon crawling masterpiece mere months before the PS2's US launch. You play as Ashley Riot, a member of the elite "Riskbreaker" unit of the Valendia Knights of Peace. Dropped into a haunted city in the middle of a civil war, you must contend with religious zealots, cult leaders, and all manners of ghosts and monsters as you unravel the mysteries of Leá Monde and uncover the truth behind the murder of a Duke. Heavy stuff for a PSX game, but it's handled masterfully through beautiful art direction and some extremely impressive localization. You can also craft gear, chain abilities in combat, explore a massive dungeon called "The Iron Maiden," target specific body parts on enemies, employ super moves, solve puzzles in 360 degree environments, and take on some of the toughest enemies Square Enix ever created. Vagrant Story is the definition of a cult classic, and is undisputedly worthy of the number nine spot on this list.
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

    2015年5月19日 / PC、PS4、Xbox One等 / ARPG

    You can spend hundreds of hours exploring The Witcher 3's expansive continent and surrounding isles and still not have seen even a fraction of what this world has to offer. The saga of Geralt comes to a supremely satisfying conclusion in what's absolutely the best game in CD Projekt Reds' acclaimed RPG series. What begins as a quest to find your lost love becomes an engrossing tale full of unforgettable characters, terrifying enemies, and genuine heart. Even the smallest side quests are thoughtful affairs and many of the main story arcs feature some of the most poignant narrative beats we've encountered in any game. Couple its stellar storytelling with deep character customization and a challenging and rewarding combat system and it's easy to see why IGN gave The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt our Game of the Year award for 2015.
  • Mass Effect 2

    2010年1月26日 (PC, Xbox 360) / PC、Xbox 360、PS3 / RPG

    By the time we've returned to Commander Shepard in this sequel, we have an idea of the threats and mysteries looming over the Milky Way. Mass Effect 2 gives us the chance to get to know them on a personal level with revamped combat that greatly improves upon its predecessor. Mass Effect 2's creative take on RPG systems are more welcoming with its blend of third-person shooter mechanics, and its variety and focus on the new squad members make for a memorable (and sometimes heartbreaking) campaign.

    2011年9月22日 (日本) / Nintendo Switch、Xbox One、PS4等 / ARPG

    FromSoftware has been redefining the RPG since King’s Field. While Demon’s Souls was the first game to introduce modern gamers to the studio’s uniquely unforgiving approach to the genre, FromSoftware really hit their stride in its spiritual successor, Dark Souls. With a focus on exploration, Dark Souls pushes players to experiment and take risks in ways few action RPGs have before, and in which few have truly captured since. It defies the hand-holding nature of its peers and forces us to make mistakes in order to grow — whether that means learning how to cautiously navigate its deadly world, take down one of its many imposing bosses, or just level our stats properly. It creates massive challenges out of combat situations that would be minor in any other game, making every moment memorable and every small victory an exhilarating reward.
  • ペルソナ4 ザ・ゴールデン

    2012年6月14日 / PSV、PC、Xbox One等 / RPG

    Part murder mystery, part supernatural dungeon crawler, Persona 4 Golden is all JRPG goodness. Its quaint Japanese setting is in stark contrast to the dark secrets its characters harbor, and that's what makes P4G so great. By the end of its 70-ish hour campaign, you geniunely care about this quirky cast of misfits, so much so that you'll meticulously curate your schedule to ensure that you have the time to spend with each of your in-game pals equally. Persona 4 Golden on Vita takes the foundation built by the PlayStation 2 classic and adds new social links, new personas, and of course, the ability to play this amazing adventure anywhere you want, making it the definitive edition of a seminal RPG.
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

    2003-07-15 / Xbox、PC、Mac OS X等 / RPG

    Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic was not only one of the first to let you truly explore the vast untapped universe of Star Wars before the events of the films, but let everyone play out the ultimate fantasy of becoming a Jedi Knight (or a Sith Lord!) in what is probably the best and most satisfying execution of a binary good/evil choice system in a game. Knights of the Old Republic also offered up a great cast of side characters with intriguing and complex relationships (not to mention the best snarky assassin droid this meatbag could ever ask for), and set up one of the greatest player character twists in an RPG.
  • Fallout 2

    1998-09-30 (Win) / PC、Mac OS、MS-DOS / RPG

    Coming just a year after the groundbreaking original Fallout, 1998’s Fallout 2 somehow found the time to improve on it in nearly every way. Building on the “go where you want, kill who you want” freedom of the open-world exploration and turn-based tactical combat foundation, Fallout 2 tells many small stories, each with their own important-feeling resolutions inside its larger plot, making it flexible enough to allow you to make the wasteland your own. The setting is diverse and dense, thanks to an even-larger slice of the post-apocalyptic West Coast inhabited by everything from primitive tribespeople battling giant insects to the Brotherhood of Steel standing against terrors brought by the power-armored Enclave and brutish supermutants. Throughout it all, there’s an injection of pop-culture humor that keeps the dark mood from becoming oppressive, so no matter which direction you set out in you never know if you’ll find something terrible or sad or funny.
  • Deus Ex

    2000-06-26 / PC、Mac、PS2 / ARPG

    Nearly two decades later, Ion Storm’s Deus Ex is remembered for showing how even a large and detailed world full of well-written characters could be intuitively interactive and responsive to our actions. It throws you into a near-future world of conspiracy and espionage and gives you the freedom to fight, sneak, talk, or hack your way out of every situation – if you’ve chosen the right upgrades. Multiple paths to every objective reveal themselves through experimentation and clever, oftentimes hilarious manipulation of the AI. It’s an early example of how great level design and complex gameplay systems can come together to create some amazing experiences that feel unique to your playthrough.
  • 幻想水滸伝II

    1998年12月17日(PS) / PS、PSP、PS4、Xbox One、PC、NS (HD) / RPG

    Suikoden II is a special RPG for so, so many reasons. It perfectly balances intimate character drama and friendship with end-of-the-world heroics. Luca Blight is an especially twisted and evil villain in a genre filled with great villains. And of course it’s incredibly rewarding and addictive to solve minigames and puzzles to recruit all 108 hidden characters. A shockingly high number of them can be taken into battle with you, and all of them enrich your castle with interesting dialogue and improvements. Suikoden II’s warm soundtrack and art, snappy combat, and Game of Thrones-esque political storyline are all fantastic, but it’s this castle building minigame-to-end-all-minigames that truly sets the game apart. Your castle is your home, and filling it with artists, shopkeepers, alliance leaders, and so many more friends and comrades results in an incredibly satisfying mixture of gameplay, story, and friendship.
  • ファイナルファンタジータクティクス

    1997年6月20日 / プレイステーション [PS、ゲームアーカイブス(PSP・PS3) [GA / シミュレーションRPG

    With Final Fantasy Tactics, Yasumi Matsuno took everything we thought was sacred about the Final Fantasy series and turned it on its head. While Tactics maintained the familiar creatures and archetypes we all knew and loved, it introduced us to the world of Ivalice, and leaned heavily into the Job system introduced in Final Fantasy V. While the core stable of characters provided a ton of memorable drama, being able to recruit generic characters and fashion them into roles ranging from simple (Knight and Wizard) to downright bizarre (Mime and Calculator) led to an infinite well of depth. While you had to put in some effort to wrap your head around the tactical battle system, the rewarding feeling of mastering the complex systems made it absolutely worth it.
  • MOTHER2 ギーグの逆襲

    1994年8月27日 / SFC / RPG

    EarthBound is a weird, wonderful game about four kids who save the world. Early proof that not all RPGs need fantasy settings, EarthBound is one of the best turn-based RPGs of the 16-bit era and takes place in a town that feels like it could be anywhere in middle America. That modern setting mixed with bizarre, offbeat humor makes it a unique experience and has helped it maintain its cult status as something special and very different from its contemporaries. EarthBound has a great turn-based battle system and weird enemies that fully embrace the game’s eccentric sense of humor, plus unique twists on the RPG formula like homesickness as a status ailment and calling your dad to save your game. Most of all, EarthBound has a tremendous amount of heart. Underneath its goofy jokes and pop culture references is a genuinely great, sweet story about a group of kids who are risking a lot to make the world a better place, and the final battle is an extremely clever, moving way to incorporate the people our heroes meet along their journey. EarthBound is a truly special, exceptionally funny game that stands out even among Super Nintendo’s gigantic library of other great RPGs.
  • タクティクスオウガ

    1995-10-06 (SFC) / SFC、SS、PS等 / SRPG

    Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together was unlike other turn-based tactics games at the time. It stands out with its dark, riveting storyline inspired by real-life events like the Yugoslav Wars and Bosnian Genocide. The focus on more serious themes means players are often forced to make difficult decisions with sometimes devastating moral implications. With a non-linear plot modeled after visual novels and full of branching paths, turning points, and multiple endings, Tactics Ogre became more than a mere strategy RPG.
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

    2002-05-01 / Windows、Xbox / ARPG

    The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind wasn’t just the first truly modern game in the long-running series, but the one that laid the foundation for all the ones to follow. A smart, action-dependent approach to leveling lets players build out their character naturally, rather than adjusting numbers in a stat menu. An abundance of quests and the freedom to carve out your own path in its world is almost overwhelming. Its visuals were technically impressive for the time and imaginatively stylish enough to hold up even today, making the island of Vvardenfell one of the most memorable settings in the series. But the wonder of Morrowind isn’t a mere technical one. The huge scope and scale of Bethesda’s vision, its overwhelming sense of awe and mystery, and the freedom found therein make it still worth a visit today.
  • ファイナルファンタジーIV

    1991年7月19日(SFC) / SFC、PS、WSC等 / RPG

    Long ago, before Noctis went on his epic road trip and Lightning bounced between timelines, the Dark Knight Cecil fought his inner demons (and a few space monsters) in Final Fantasy IV. A pivotal entry in the Final Fantasy series, IV eschewed simple storytelling mechanics and set out to create a deliciously frothy soap opera, complete with love triangles, increasingly exotic locals (the moon, y'all), and a classic "brothers-separated-at-birth" reveal. The only thing that matched its ambitious storytelling was its equally ambitious combat mechanics. Final Fantasy IV ushered the Active Time Battle system into the series, fundamentally changing the way Final Fantasy games were played for nearly a decade. These features, combined with charming 2D sprites, sweeping music, and timeless themes of love, betrayal, and redemption, are why Final Fantasy IV is still fondly remembered long after its heroes saved the Blue Planet from impending doom.
  • System Shock 2

    1999-08-11 / PC / RPG / FPS

    Smartly combining themes of action, role playing, survival horror, and first-person shooters, System Shock 2 expertly defies simply being a great RPG, showing how innovative mechanics that play off each other can make a game more than the sum of its parts. It also pioneered several methods of storytelling through gameplay that we take for granted — like finding doomed audio logs or reliving echoes of the past that urge you to piece together the larger puzzle of what's really going on. The unsettling and moody atmosphere of the derelict starship go hand in hand with bioengineered horrors that roam free to create the perfect horror environment, and leave you feeling terrified no matter which of the many skills you choose to give your character. There's always multiple ways to solve a problem, letting you get truly creative in ways that never feel out of place with the character you've built.
  • Ultima VII

    1992-04-16(DOS), 1994-11-18(SFC) / PC (DOS, Windows)、SFC、Mac OS X / RPG

    Ultima VII: The Black Gate built on the Ultima series in new, even revolutionary ways. It shed the famously clunky UI of previous games to allow more of its refreshingly detailed world to shine through. Instead, checking your inventory or looting happened in pop-up menus, which not only carried into future Ultima titles, but games outside the RPG genre too. Ultima VII also dropped the strict, grid-based approach to movement, introduced dialogue trees, and went real-time. Its innovations to the format are matched only by its impressive interactivity and the non-linearity of its main plot. You’re free to roam around its open world, pick up sidequests, forge weapons, bake bread, hang out in a pub, and even committ crimes. Ultima VII managed to root itself comfortably in the conventions it created, but still have the sophistication to move forward in awesome new ways.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

    2011年11月11日 / PC、PS5、Xbox Series X/S等 / RPG

    There's so much to love about Bethesda's 2011 open-world masterpiece The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim that it's difficult to pinpoint exactly what makes it so special. Could it be its breathtaking world full of snowcapped mountains and shady woodlands? The thrill of battling fire-breathing dragons so you can suck out their souls and use their power? Could it be the endless exploration available on its titanic map? Perhaps it's the thousands of Skyrim mods that allow players to do everything from improve textures to change a dragon into a flying Macho Man Randy Savage (oooooh, yeah!). Or maybe it comes down to the game's impressive malleability: you can craft any type of hero you want, go where you want, do what you want, and do it when you want. Yes, there are myriad reasons to love one of the best-selling video game of all time, but one thing is for sure: you really don't play Skyrim. You live it.
  • Mass Effect

    2007年11月20日 (Xbox 360) / Xbox 360、PC、PS3 / RPG

    What would Star Trek look like if humans still carried big guns and all of Gene Roddenberry's '60s goofiness was thrown out the airlock? Bioware showed us a decade ago, and that vision captivates us even today. The first entry isn't as strong as the two games that followed, thanks in part to the weak AI in combat and those tedious rides in the Mako across dull alien terrain. But few if any games before had nailed voice acting, facial animations, and character models with such perfection, to the point that it feels like an interactive movie in the best sense of the term. RPGs would never be the same again.
  • Bloodborne

    2015-03-25 / PS4 / ARPG

    To the untrained eye, Bloodborne may seem like Dark Souls in different clothes. But oh, what clothes they are. Bloodborne's gothic, vaguely Lovecraftian setting of Yharnam is just as sad as it is unsettling, and the haunting violins of the score rub that sadness ever deeper into your soul. But it also plays well, opting for a far more aggressive style than what you get in director Hidetaka Miyazaki's other creations, forcing players to take increasingly larger risks for the sweet, sweet rewards. There are minimal options for long-ranged and magic and the only shield you do find is little more than a sick joke — all you have to stay alive is the intensity of a blade against the hostile Victorian darkness.
  • Fallout: New Vegas

    2010-10-19 / Xbox 360、PS3、PC / ARPG

    Fallout 3 was entertaining enough, but Fallout: New Vegas is unforgettable. This is the story of the Courier, who almost dies after the all-important package he was transporting gets stolen outside of post-apocalyptic Sin City. Yet the main tale isn't as fascinating as everything that surrounds it, whether it's the many factions the Courier builds reputations with, the many choices regarding how to handle volatile situations, or even the sense of humor sprinkled into its several staggering hours of content. It was even fun in action, as it allowed for special attacks through the series' V.A.T.S. combat system and new animations for melee kills.
  • モンスターハンター4G

    2014-10-11 / 3DS / ACT

    There's little subtlety in the Monster Hunter universe — you largely end up doing exactly what the title says. But Monster Hunter 4 ensured all that monster hunting was monstrously fun. Verticality stole the show here, with players being able to scramble up walls or vault up surfaces and then leap down to briefly ride the monsters themselves. More impressively, it managed to accomplish these advanced feats while emerging as the most approachable game in the series. These elements alone were enough to make it good, but an extended variety of weapon and a satisfying local and online multiplayer mode push it to greatness.
  • ポケットモンスター サン

    2016年11月18日 / 3DS / RPG

    Pokémon has always been fun, but it's also clung tenaciously to the over-familiar pattern of venturing into gyms for your battles. That all changed in Pokemon Sun and Moon, and for the better. It's a game that's focused on the outdoors, specifically a lovely region named "Alola" modeled on Hawaii, and the hours that follow deliver a satisfying balance of roleplaying and Pokemon battles. It's not just about fighting, though — you'll also find quizzes, scavenger hunts, and a heavy dose of local lore that makes Alola feel real in a way no other Pokémon setting has before. And as a treat, Pokémon Sun and Moon also cleans up the clutter the user interface had built up from previous games without sacrificing depth.
  • ポケットモンスター ムーン

    2016年11月18日 / 3DS / RPG

  • ファイナルファンタジーXII

    2006年3月16日 / Nintendo switch、XBOX One、PC等 / RPG

    Despite its troubled development, Final Fantasy XII redefined what it meant to be a JRPG. Its mature story was told through the eyes of a bystander sent on a journey that’s rife with political intrigue, danger, and one of the best supporting casts in the series’ history. The Active Dimension Battle system ditched random battles and replaced them with an unprecedented level of strategy and tactical planning. The License Board allowed players to master any skill set with whichever character they desired. Most importantly, Final Fantasy XII gave us an even better understanding of Matsuno's Ivalice, a world with a rich and believable history, and one that's beloved by RPG fans to this day.
  • Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar

    1985-09-16, 1990 (FC, SMS) / PC (X68000, X1, FM-7, Master System, Amiga, Apple II, Atari 800, Atari ST,Commodore 64, DOS, FM Towns, MSX2, PC-88, PC-98, Windows)、FC / RPG

    Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar is the video game as morality play. For perhaps the first time in computer RPG history, here was a game that wasn't about defeating a bad guy or unshackling the world from the yoke of evil, but rather about learning to embody eight virtues that made you a better person and thus an inspiration to the surrounding world. Kindheartedness, not battle prowess, is the true star here. This was revolutionary stuff at the time, and over three decades later, it remains so. Alas, it's a little rough to get into these days owing to its complexity and sluggish gameplay, but it remains a profound counterpoint to arguments that RPGs corrupt rather than correct.
  • ドラゴンクエストV 天空の花嫁

    1992-09-27(SFC) / SFC、PS2、NDS等 / RPG

    Other games emphasize choice, but few showed the effects of those choices over the long game quite like Dragon Quest V did when it launched for the Super Famiconm. The tale here spans an entire three decades, with the hero changing in alignment with the paths taken. It also marks the introduction of the Dragon Quest series' now-familiar ability to let monsters you fight join your party much in the style of the later Pokémon series. It's also remarkable for having a playable pregnancy, a concept that would later influence games like Fable II and The Sims.
  • ペーパーマリオRPG

    2004-07-22(日本) / NGC / RPG

    Mario might not sound so tough in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door when you consider that he's literally a piece of paper jaunting around the screen, but that turns out to have some advantages. He can slip in through cracks by slipping through them sideways, roll himself up, or should the need arise, fly off into the blue yonder as a paper airline. It's the kind of design that complements the whimsical and novel-like plot, which still features poor Princess Peach getting kidnapped, but also a few fun rarities, like a scholarly goomba companion. It's also fun in action, particularly in the twitchy battle system that requires good timing or by hearing cheers or jeers from the audiences that watch Mario in battle.
  • Baldur's Gate

    1998-12-21 / Windows, Mac OS, Linux / RPG

    Advanced Dungeons & Dragons laid the framework for many early digital RPGs, but by the time the '90s drew to a close, sticking faithfully to the conventions of the pen-and-paper version was starting to prove disastrous. But then a fledgling studio named BioWare shook the hallowed RPG property out of its slump. Baldur's Gate stunned players with an isometric version of the Forgotten Realms universe awash in vibrant colors and a landscape populated with memorable characters like hamster-loving Minsc, who'd beat you up if you put off helping him track down his partner for too long. A triumph of storytelling that presaged its superior successor, Baldur's Gate kicked off a renaissance of story-rich RPGs that we're arguably still living today.
  • Neverwinter Nights

    2002年6月18日 / Windows, Linux,macOS / RPG

    Neverwinter Nights spins a good Dungeons & Dragons yarn about a deadly plague and a nefarious cult, and it features one of composer Jeremy Soule's most memorable soundtracks prior to his famed work with Morrowind and Skyrim. But it's the dungeon tools for level creation that make Neverwinter Nights so influential and memorable, as they almost flawlessly allowed players to create their own dungeons and campaigns according to the pen-and-paper rules of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. That was impressive in itself, but the inclusion of an excellent multiplayer system helped make Neverwinter Nights a smash hit.
  • ファイアーエムブレム 烈火の剣

    2003年4月25日(日本) / GBA、3DS、Wii U / SRPG

    When Fire Emblem first appeared on the Game Boy Advance in the United States, the series had already enjoyed more than a decade of success in its native Japan. Even so, players in the west took to it immediately. It was hard to mistake the similarities with Advance Wars, one of developer Intelligence System's other games, but Fire Emblem forged a superior personality of its own with the rich interactions between its lively characters. Nor were its strengths limited to characterization — with dozens of classes to choose from, a rich leveling system, and permanent death for characters, it was just as fantastic in action.
  • Fallout

    1997-10-10 / PC(MS-DOS, Windows)、Mac OS / RPG

    Post-apocalyptic imagery is somewhat in vogue these days, and thus it's hard to imagine how startlingly original Fallout seemed back during its initial release. This was the age of high-fantasy RPGs that stayed close to Dungeons & Dragons rulesets, but drawing from the earlier RPG Wasteland, Fallout shook up that tendency with fears about radiation, ghoulish societies, and a landscape dotted with the rusty husks of 1950s-style cars and structures. It's serious stuff, in a way, but the whole adventure thrives on a sense of humor and pop-culture references that grant it an uncommon vitality even today.
  • 伝説のオウガバトル

    1993-03-02 (SFC日版) / SFC、SS、PS等 / SRPG

    Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen is the tale of the Knights of Zenobia, who are locked in war with the dastardly Holy Zeteginean Empire. But that never really matters so much as the gameplay, which featured the then-unique approach of using tarot cards to influence troops in its automatic battles and taking advantage of the resulting victories to gobble up more territory on a strategic map. Reputation points gained from interactions with NPC factions are important as well, to the point that your choices could lead you to one of 13 different endings.
  • ファイナルファンタジーIX

    2000-07-07(日本国内) / PS、Android、iOS等 / RPG

    The Final Fantasy series had gradually started to look less and less like actual knights-and-dragons fantasy in the years leading up to the turn of the century, but Final Fantasy IX returned the series to its roots. The world — at least in spirit if not in pixels — unfolded with much the same art style that had graced the NES in 1997 while still managing to feel fresh. Intentionally more cartoony than predecessors, it's an endearingly optimistic game that nevertheless handles weighty themes such as guilt and identity with surprising dexterity.
  • エターナルアルカディア

    2000-10-05(DC)、2002-12-26(NGC) / DC、NGC / RPG

    Skies of Arcadia was one of the bright points in the tragic history of the SEGA Dreamcast, and at release it easily turned heads with its colorful art style and rewarding turn-based gameplay. But it's the airships everyone rightly remembers — beautiful, billowing things that engaged in battles with other ships thousands of feet up in a 3D world with floating islands. Docking the ships allowed you to strut about towns or venture deep into menacing dungeons, where you'd partake in a unique combat system that made your party share one pool of spirit points for spells and thus added a fun dose of risk to each action. Watch out for those pesky random encounters, though — they tend to get out of hand.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines

    2004年11月16日(北美) / PC / ARPG / Troika Games

    You have to dig under a pile of glitches and bugs in an unpatched version of Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, but if you persist, you'd quickly find one of the most rewarding RPGs ever made. Set in White Wolf's vampire universe and more specifically in Los Angeles, Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines isn't only about sucking blood wherever you can safely find it, but also about shaping your tale according to your actions, beliefs, and your choices. Few RPGs do this better. It's especially successful because few works in any media have ever captured a vampiric setting so well, and Bloodlines uses every drop of this atmosphere to add meaning to everything from fascinating rivalries between vampire clans to hungry hunts for rats in dirty alleys.
  • テイルズ オブ シンフォニア

    2003-08-29(NGC) / PC、NGC、PS2 / 君と響きあうRPG / NAMCO TALES STUDIO

    The basic thrust of Tales of Symphonia's plot sometimes veered toward cliche, but the little chats between the colorful characters did much to make up for that. Often they had little to do with the plot at hand, and that detachment made them feel more human. Its real-time combat delivers a similar sense of satisfaction, as it's based on a uncommon system that's both 2D and 3D at once. Success demands an entertaining juggle of blocking and dishing out special abilities and normal attacks. Even so, Tales of Symphonia never loses sight of the fact that characterization should always come first, and the two elements together make for a rewarding package.
  • Xenogears

    1998-02-11 / PS、PSP、PS3等 / RPG

    You'll have to read a lot in Xenogears, but it's worth it. Throughout its many hours, the plot weaves through religious references and philosophical ideas by the likes of Friedrich Nietzsche, all while also prompting deep thoughts about the relationship between humankind and machines. Naturally, it also lets you stomp around in a giant, spiky mech. It's an ambitious package of near constant wonder, crafted with stellar graphics for the period and complemented with a memorable soundtrack.
  • Demon's Souls

    2009年2月5日 / PS3 / ARPG

    As big as the Dark Souls games are today, it's still pretty easy to find players who've never even heard of their PS3-exclusive predecessor Demon's Souls. But the skeleton of what would come to define Hidetaka Miyazaki's later creations were already in place there, whether it's the minimal story, the high likelihood of death at every turn, or the ability to see how other players died from their blood pools.
  • グランディアII

    2000-08-03 / DC、PS2、PC等 / RPG

    Grandia II was one of the Sega Dreamcast's standout RPGs, delivering fantastic graphics for the system and the time and a good, twisty tale about a world still suffering from the effects of a battle between two gods from thousands of years ago. The battle system was the chief standout, though, as it took the familiar JRPG turn-based formula and rejuvenated it by allowing characters to run behind their opponents or fall back after attacking them. And the rockin' battle anthem with its screaming electric guitars playing over this? That was the grandest part.
  • ペルソナ3

    2006年7月13日 (日本、港台) / PS2 / RPG

    One of the most appealing aspects of Persona 3 is the way it jumps between what passes through the real world and fantasy, and it pulls it off while being effortlessly cool. The narrative follows a high school student whose extracurricular activities partly involve fighting creatures that gnaw on human minds during the "Dark Hour," and he's surrounding by memorable characters who aid him in this task. Its greatest legacy, though, is the first appearance of the Social Links system, which lets the player level personas (the manifestation of one's inner self) while doing normal-world activities as well as by fighting monsters.
  • Dragon Age: Origins

    2009-11-03(北美);2009-11-06(欧洲) / PC、Xbox 360、PS3 / RPG

    BioWare first made its name with fantasy RPGs, and Dragon Age: Origins marked a generally triumphant update to its tradition of pause-based combat mechanics and party micromanagement. But its chief strength was its grim setting in a dark fantasy world that married the high fantasy of The Lord of the Rings with the low fantasy of A Song of Ice and Fire, where elves are treated like trash and magic brought with it terrible prices. It's also a character-driven game in true BioWare fashion, with the standout performance coming from Claudia Black as the role of the witch Morrigan.
  • ゼノブレイド

    2010-06-10 / Wii / RPG

    JRPGs were in a bit of a funk at the beginning of this decade, but few games sent them surging back to relevance quite like Xenoblade Chronicles. There's just so much to love about it, whether it's the sprawling open world with its many surprises to discover, the likeable cast of characters, the thrilling action combat, or a day and night cycle that caused enemies to grow stronger after the sun went down. Toss in the stellar soundtrack, and that's a recipe for a game that should be popular for years to come.
  • ペルソナ5

    2016年9月15日 / PS4、PS3 / RPG

    At heart, Persona 5 is a game about shaking off the chains of contemporary society. Oh, sure, it's got some exciting turn-based combat, too, but nothing else about it leaves a mark on your soul quite like its leaps from hobnobbing around a Tokyo high school to venturing inside the dungeons of wayward adults and physically battling their personal demons. There's so much here, whether it's dungeons with hidden rooms or branching paths, or weighty modern themes centering on suicide and drug use. Its intimate explorations of multiple characters also make it an intensely personal story, and one that shouldn't be missed.
  • Stardew Valley

    2016-02-27 / iOS、Android、PSV等 / RPG, Simulation

    Stardew Valley captured hearts by feeling like a throwback to a simpler time in gaming, combining all the best bits of classic home-and-hearth games like Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing. It singlehandedly breathed new life into the genre with its polished presentation, deep farming systems, and remarkable freedom. Stardew Valley set its roots deep in the gaming consciousness, and with a Nintendo Switch release coming in 2017, it’s surely here to stay.
  • ファイナルファンタジーVII

    1997年1月31日(PS) / PS、PC、PS4等 / RPG

    What needs to be said about Final Fantasy VII? The game singlehandedly pushed RPGs to greater popularity in the western world than they’d ever experienced, thanks to its gritty tone, incredible graphics, revolutionary CG cutscenes, unimaginably huge world, and insane story. Practically every one of its characters has become an iconic hero or villain, and its legacy is immeasurable. Whether you think it’s the greatest game of all time or the most overrated, its influence and its innovations simply can’t be denied.
  • ファンタシースター 千年紀の終りに

    1993年12月17日 / MD、SS、PC等 / RPG

    Phantasy Star IV is as classic as classic gets when it comes to JRPGs, with the turn-based battles and top-down exploration that epitomizes traditional JRPG tropes. It was even criticized on its original release for its outdated graphics. But there’s nothing wrong with that retro look. Thanks to an involved combat and magic system, a solid story set 1,000 years after Phantasy Star II, and themes dealing with global climate catastrophe, it remains more than relevant today.
  • すばらしきこのせかい

    2007-07-27 / NDS、Nintendo Switch / ARPG

    The World Ends With You featured a really cool story about combatants thrust into a mysterious Hunger Games-like competition in an alternate dimension of Tokyo’s famous Shibuya district, requiring multiple playthroughs to unlock all its secret narrative twists. But if you remember the original Nintendo DS version for one thing, it’s probably the game’s insane battle system, which required controlling two characters simultaneously on the system’s top and bottom screens. It’s a demanding but totally unique system that, combined with an inimitable style, made The World Ends With You a classic.
  • シャドウハーツII

    2004年2月19日 / PS2 / RPG

    As a sequel to the original Shadow Hearts set in the chaos of the first world war, Shadow Hearts: Covenant is one of the best alternate-history RPGs out there. The unique Judgment Ring made combat exciting, while new additions to the series like the Crest Magic system provided significant advancements over the original. Some wonky localization and dialogue issues only added to its charm. Who doesn’t love demons and sorcerers mixed in with actual historical events?
  • スーパーマリオRPG

    1996-03-09 / SFC、Wii(VC) / RPG

    Super Mario RPG launched multiple future spin-off series for the famous plumber, including the Mario & Luigi and Paper Mario games. But the original will always be remembered for its impressive (at the time!) graphics, unique cast (Bowser joining Mario’s side was novel at the time), and surprisingly engrossing story. Fan petitions to include Geno, one of the game’s many original characters, in Super Smash Bros. persist to this day.
  • テイルズ オブ ヴェスペリア

    2008年8月7日(Xbox 360) / Xbox 360、PS3、PC等 / 「正義」を貫き通すRPG

    Namco’s expansive Tales series continues to this day, but Tales of Vesperia will always stand out from the rest thanks to its improvements to the series’ signature Linear Motion Battle System and its detailed, attractive anime-style graphics. Following Yuri Lowell and his guild Brave Vesperia, Tales of Vesperia also featured an engrossing story involving abuse of Blastia energy that threatens the very planet. Nobody even cared that this was the basic plot of Final Fantasy VII (and many other RPGs) as well.
  • エストポリス伝記II

    1995-02-04 / SFC / RPG

    In an era of Super Nintendo games replete with some of the most celebrated RPGs of all time, Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals managed to stand tall. A large part of that was its lack of random battles in dungeons, a huge advancement that made Lufia II way ahead of its time. It even had a randomly generated dungeon, the 99-floor Ancient Cave, another feature of modern games that had yet to reach prominence at that time. Those elements combined with devious puzzles and an engrossing plot, earn Lufia II a spot on the list.
  • 黄金の太阳 开かれし封印

    2001-08-01 日本 / GBA / RPG

    There was a Pokemon-like creature collection element to Golden Sun’s Djinn system, but this Game Boy Advance RPG wasn’t riding any coattails. With fantastic graphics, a deep turn-based combat system, and puzzle-based gameplay that pushed the boundaries of what RPGs could do outside of combat, Golden Sun was a landmark. And the fact that it was all on the tiny Game Boy Advance was even more to its credit.
  • シャイニング・フォースII 古えの封印

    1993年10月1日 / MD / SRPG

    Shining Force II wasn’t directly connected to its predecessor, but it was praised at the time for its considerable length and the freedom it afforded players. A relatively complex class system and extensive backgrounds for each character helped make the game distinct, while its grid-based combat system made Shining Force II ahead of its time.
  • LUNAR ザ・シルバースター

    1992-06-26 / MD、SS、PS等 / RPG

    First released in Japan in 1996, Lunar: Silver Star Story was actually a remake of the 1992 game Lunar: The Silver Star. This was before remakes were really a “thing,” making Silver Star Story unique for its time. It was also renowned for its animated scenes and stellar localization, and launched a sequel and multiple additional remakes.

    1997年9月11日 / PC、PS、PSP / RPG

    Breath of Fire and Breath of Fire II were classics in their own right, but Breath of Fire III goes down in history as the one that brought the series into 3D. It also featured voice acting for the first time in the series, not to mention being remembered for its jazzy soundtrack by composers Yoshino Aoki and Akari Kaida. A memorable story involving Ryu, the last survivor of a race of people who can transform into dragons, didn’t hurt, and combined all these elements ensured Breath of Fire III’s place in history.

    2000年12月21日 / DC / MMORPG

    Phantasy Star Online involved a lot of firsts, not just for the series but for RPGs in general. It eschewed the turn-based combat of the previous games in favor of more action-oriented gameplay, and more importantly its impressive network features let players from all over the world connect and play with each other, with innovative communication options including unique emoji and other symbols. The sci-fi adventure singlehandedly provided a good reason to own a Dreamcast, not to mention many players’ first experience with an online RPG.
  • LUNAR2 エターナルブルー

    1994年12月22日 [MCD] / PS、SS、Sega CD / RPG

    As the sequel to Lunar: The Silver Star, Lunar: Eternal Blue improved on its predecessor in almost every way, with better graphics and more of the series’ signature animated custscenes. In an era when many of the most popular games, including all the best Super Nintendo games, were still telling their entire stories through text boxes, Lunar: Eternal Blue was ahead of its time with not just all those cutscenes but over an hour of voiced dialogue, all thanks to the Sega CD format.
  • ドラゴンクエストVIII 空と海と大地と呪われし姫君

    2004年11月27日(PS2) / PS2、iOS、Android / RPG

    Dragon Quest VIII is considered by many fans to be among the best entries in the series, which is saying something for a franchise this popular. This was back in the height of cartoonish, cel-shaded graphics, but even then this game stood out for its gorgeously rendered world. It also managed to be less complex than some of its predecessors, eschewing a complicated job system, which many players — weary of convoluted systems in contemporary RPGs — found refreshing.
  • Pool of Radiance

    1988年6月 / PC、Mac、FC / RPG

    An “official Advanced Dungeons & Dragons computer product,” Pool of Radiance cast you as a band of heroes battling monsters and other enemies in and around the town of Phlan. It was the first adaptation of Advanced D&D, helping set the precedent for western RPGs for the last three decades, from Baldur’s Gate to The Witcher 3. It even let players export their characters into later games in the series, another precursor of things to come.
  • 二ノ国 白き圣灰の女王

    2011年11月17日 / Xbox One、Xbox Series X/S、PS3等 / RPG

    Ni no Kuni: Wratch of the White Witch follows the adventures of Oliver and his companions, who include an oddball fairy named Drippy, as Oliver tries to save his mother. Its unique combat system paired well with a Pokemon-like creature collection element, while its world brimmed with fantastic sights and sounds. Most notably, Ni no Kuni’s visuals were heavily inspired by famed Japanese animators Studio Ghibli — makers of films like Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away — and Ghibli provided the game’s gorgeous animated cutscenes.
  • Undertale

    2015年9月15日 / Xbox One、PC、Mac OS等 / Indie RPG

    It’s amazing what one person can accomplish, and Undertale is proof. Toby Fox wrote and designed, developed, composed the music for, and released Undertale solo, his only help from additional artists. And it took the gaming world by storm, largely thanks to its deceptively simple story and combat systems, which worked together to conceal great narrative depth. Undertale turns nearly every RPG trope in existence on its head, while simultaneously feeling good as an RPG — a truly incredible feat.

    2016年1月14日(日版) / PS4、PS3、PS Vita / 2DアクションRPG

    Sometimes all a game needs is a second chance, and Odin Sphere got one with Odin Sphere Leifthrasir in 2016. A remake of the 2007 PlayStation 2 original, Leifthrasir improved on it in every way, with better combat and AI, more environments, and many redesigned systems that ironed out the game’s kinks and let its strengths shine through. Those strengths include a dramatic, twist-filled story, a plethora of playable characters, and, perhaps most of all, Vanillaware’s signature hand-drawn art style.
  • ファイアーエムブレム 覚醒

    2012年4月19日 / 3DS / SRPG

    Gamers in the Western world had no idea what we were missing out on all the years Nintendo hadn’t started releasing Fire Emblem games here yet. The 3DS’s Fire Emblem Awakening is a great example. It built on everything fans love about the series, from its strategic turn-based battles to its focus on story and characters. It also included the ability to disable the series’ signature “permadeath” mechanic, providing more options for a wider variety of players to appreciate Fire Emblem’s genius.
  • Jade Empire

    2005-04-12 (Xbox) / Xbox、Xbox360、PC (Windows)等 / RPG

    Before Mass Effect and Dragon Age (although after Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights, and Knights of the Old Republic, to be fair), there was BioWare’s Jade Empire, an original Xbox game that proved console RPGs could be great. With the traditional story of a martial arts student thrust on a quest to save their master, Jade Empire wowed players with its engrossing world and its surprisingly nuanced dual philosophies, the Way of the Open Palm and the Way of the Closed Fist (mirroring BioWare’s success developing “light” and “dark” paths for Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic).
  • Neverwinter Nights 2

    2006-10-31 / PC (Windows), mac OS / RPG

    Development on the Neverwinter Nights series passed from BioWare to Obsidian for the full-fledged sequel in 2006, but the game didn’t exactly suffer for it. Following an orphaned adventurer investigating relics called Silver Shards, NW2 improved on the first game in marked ways, especially in its narrative. More importantly, it featured online co-op and a development toolset with which players could create their own scenarios for the game, both of which helped ensure Neverwinter Nights 2 would have an avid following to this day.
  • The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

    2011年5月17日 / PC、Xbox 360、Mac OS X等 / RPG / CD Projekt Red

    The first Witcher game, based on Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels, was great in its own right, but the sequel, Assassins of Kings, exploded the series out of its niche and into the mainstream. The game was bigger and better in every way, with improved combat, celebrated graphics, and much more player freedom (though the series hadn’t gone full open world yet, like it would with The Witcher 3). Like the series’ other games, The Witcher 2 is renowned for its fantastic writing and characters, including a narrative fork that can set players on two very different paths, making Geralt one of gaming’s most iconic heroes.
  • 魔界戦記ディスガイア

    2003年1月30日 / NDS、PSP、PC等 / SRPG

    Disgaea: Hour of Darkness kicked off the popular strategy game series, setting up the franchise’s signature humor and systems with the arrogant Laharl’s quest to reclaim the demon throne and become Overlord of the Netherworld. Hour of Darkness featured several unique systems, like the ability to capture enemies and turn them into allies, though at the risk of killing some of your own units, and a complex “geo panel” system that let skilled players set up gratifying chain reactions during battle. Most of all, it's the game’s irreverant humor that gives it staying power and has earned it a cult following.
  • レジェンドオブドラグーン

    PS:1999年12月2日(日本)、2000年6月11日(北美)、2001年1月19日(欧洲) GA:2010年12月22日(日本)、2012年5月1日(北美) / GA(PSP/PS3)、PlayStation / RPG

    The Legend of Dragoon follows Dart, a traditional RPG protagonist who just really can’t catch a break. His parents are killed, his hometown is destroyed — twice — and on his way home from a journey to avenge them he’s attacked by a really cool dragon. The graphics at the time were exceptional, and although Dragoon wasn’t the first RPG with turn-based combat to use an action cue system to make battles more engaging, that is one aspect that made the game memorable.
  • Icewind Dale 2

    2002-08-27 / PC (Windows) / RPG

    Compared to other games in its genealogy — like Baldur’s Gate and Planescape: Torment — Icewind Dale II is much more focused on action. So while it mostly ditches side quests and puzzles that were common in its predecessors, it zeroes in on deep character creation tools and tons of combat variety. You start out by creating a party of up to six adventurers, selecting their class, gender, and race. Once that’s done, you begin your adventure, customizing your team with an array of weapons, abilities, and spells along the way. Combat mechanics are only useful when you have something to fight, so it’s good Icewind Dale II doesn’t skimp in the enemy department. It presents you with mummies, skeletons, bugbears, orcs, goblins, giants, and a whole mess of other fantasy beasts to slay. In 2002, Icewind Dale II was the perfect chaser to its sprawling, meditative predecessors. It even holds up today.
  • 戦場のヴァルキュリア

    2008年4月24日 / Nintendo Switch、PS4、PC等 / SRPG

    On paper, Valkyria Chronicles doesn’t seem like it should work. For one thing, it shoehorns shooter mechanics into a turn-based strategy game. For another, it uses anime art to depict a setting very much like Europe during World War II. But somehow Sega took these seemingly incongruous ingredients and cooked up a truly impressive game. The battles are tactical but intense, thanks to a perspective that lets you plot your moves from an overhead view of the battlefield before swooping down and giving you direct control of your troops as you put your plan into action. The characters are well written, and the game actually seems to have something to say about war. It’s rare for a game to try to blend this many ideas into a single package. It’s far more rare for the result to be this brilliant.
  • ガイア幻想紀

    1993-11-27 / SFC / ARPG

    When the spirit of the earth asks you to do something, you do it. That’s what kicks off this action RPG about a boy on a quest to collect Mystic Statues and bring them to the Tower of Babel to save the world from ultimate destruction. But it’s not just the story that makes Illusion of Gaia one of the best in its genre. It’s the Earth-like setting that features locations both real and mythical. It’s the combat, which starts out simple and becomes much more complex as you learn surprising new abilities. And then there’s the soundtrack, which sticks in your head long after you’ve reached the tower, saved the world, and tried to figure out the ambiguous ending.

    1998-07-30 / PS / RPG

    Though it doesn’t get talked about as much as other RPGs from the early PlayStation era, Star Ocean: The Second Story isn’t one to miss. It tells the story of Claude and Rena, unlikely companions who come from very different backgrounds. Claude is a spacefaring adventurer who accidentally transports himself to Expel, a faraway planet of magic and fantasy, where he meets Rena, who thinks he must be a legendary Hero of Light. On top of that promising setup, the game is rife with intricate systems, all of which offer unique charms. An item creation mode lets you break down collectibles into food and gear. During real-time battles, you can control whichever party member you want, hopping between them to take advantage of their unique abilities. The graphics hold up well, with a dynamic battle camera, pre-rendered backgrounds, and expressive sprite-based characters. Oh, and the soundtrack isn’t too shabby either.
  • マリオ&ルイージRPG

    2003-11-17 美版 / GBA / RPG

    Mario was no stranger to RPGs, but Superstar Saga brought Luigi into the fold and kicked off a now-classic series of handheld RPGs. Superstar Saga finds the plumber brothers teaming up with Bowser to get Princess Peach’s voice back from the villainous Cackletta. To do so, they engage in some of the most enjoyable action RPG-ing you’ll find in any game, handheld or otherwise. The story is shot through with humor that plays out in the script, but also in the many expressive character animations packed into the game. Even many of the attacks are clever, like when Mario uses a fireball to set Luigi’s rear end on fire, sending him charging into enemies.
  • EVE Online

    2003-05-06 / PC (Windows / Mac OS X / Linux) / MMORPG

    Calling EVE Online epic doesn’t really do it justice. This long-running MMO contains thousands of star systems you can explore at your leisure (unless space pirates show up and blast you to oblivion). It presents players with a universe to explore and a basic set of gameplay systems. What you do with that is up to you, thanks to open-ended gameplay that rewards creativity and collaboration. You can join up with other players and take part in multi-day space battles, or you can go off and mine resources to sell for a profit at the next space station. If you want to blow tens of thousands of real-life dollars building a city-sized space ship, you can do that too. The universe is your oyster.
  • Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss

    1992年3月 / PS、DOS

    If you thought Bioshock was the first game set in a failed utopia below water level, you’d be wrong. Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss has it beat by over 20 years. In this pioneering first-person RPG, you explore a sprawling dungeon using free movement rather than the grid-based system that was common at the time. You can gather useful items, pick your responses during conversations, and power up your character in a staggering number of ways. As you explore the ruins, the music shifts on the fly to match whatever tone your adventuring takes on. If you’re looking for a game that was way ahead of its time, you’ve found it.
  • ファイナルファンタジー

    1987年12月18日(FC) / Android、FC、WS等 / RPG

    When it comes to influential JRPG franchises, Final Fantasy sits near the very top of the list. Not only did the first game offer one of the most ambitious adventures available on the NES at the time, but it also spawned a series that now comprises dozens of sequels and spinoffs. With its relatively robust class system, its four-character party, and steady injection of new gameplay ideas throughout the adventure, Final Fantasy helped cement a whole host of RPG tropes that would remain for decades to come. Without this game, many of the RPGs on this list would probably be very different games — if they’d even exist at all.
  • ドラゴンクエストVII エデンの戦士たち

    2000-08-26 / PS / RPG

    Some people like short games: get in, have fun, and move on. Dragon Warrior VII is not for those people. This endlessly charming RPG is so packed with quests and breezy conversations that you can play it for well over 100 hours without ever running out of things to do. You don’t even unlock the class system for your party until around 20 hours in. And while the PlayStation version is a great game worthy of this list, the 3DS remake has some added bonuses, including a new translation, visible enemies instead of random encounters, and even more content — as if 100 hours wasn’t enough.
  • クロノ・クロス

    1999年11月18日 / PS、PC、PS4等 / RPG

    Few RPG fans would deny that Chrono Trigger is a certified masterpiece. So what’s a developer to do when creating a sequel to such a beloved game? Create another classic, of course. Rather than rehashing ideas from Chrono Trigger, Square decided to mix things up quite a bit with the sequel. Chrono Cross takes place in an entirely different world and stars a new set of characters. But what really sets it apart is its unique battle system, which cleverly mixes turn-based tropes with real-time elements. Your characters have stamina meters that fill up between attacks. The longer you wait to make a move, the more powerful the move will be. Throw in a magic system that uses an element grid that ties into the stamina meter, and you’re looking at a mighty deep combat system. The callbacks to Chrono Trigger are just icing on an already impressive cake.

    2005年12月22日 / PS2 / A·RPG

    Jonathon Dornbush: Kingdom Hearts 2 considerably ups the combat possibilities of its predecessor, introducing new forms — and snazzy new suits — for Sora to wear. The addition of the Reaction Command in combat also spices battles up, making for a combat experience made even more varied by the addition of the new Nobodies enemies. By streamlining some of the first Kingdom Heart's systems, including magic and the awful Gummi Ship levels — not to mention deepening the lore to stranger, more engaging depths — the first numbered sequel in the 15 year old franchise is still one of its strongest and one of the most fun to play.
  • Ys I・II

    1989年12月21日 / PCE、VC、PS3等 / ARPG

    One of the lesser known long-running RPG series is Ys (pronounced “ees”). It’s a shame it’s not more popular, because Ys has been offering up enjoyable action RPGs regularly since the 1980s. What you get in this collection, originally released on TurboGrafx-CD but now available more widely, is enhanced remakes of the franchise’s first two installments. The games center around Adol Christin, a redheaded hero on a quest to collect the books of Ys and takes on the evil forces rampaging through the world. With splashy real-time combat and eye-catching anime cut scenes, this collection helped prove that CD was the gaming medium of the future.
  • Darkest Dungeon

    2016-01-19 / PSV、Xbox One、Nintendo Switch等 / roguelike;RPG

    Darkest Dungeon wastes no time plunging players into a mood of doom and gloom. But that’s one of the reasons to love it. You control a party of adventurers who trudge into the depths of a dungeon, taking on enemies in turn-based battles as you go. Randomness plays a large role in the game, so you can never settle into a comfortable rhythm. The class system is nicely varied, making it rewarding to try different party combinations. Each character has a unique set of moves, some of which need to be unlocked and all of which can be upgraded. What moves they can use depend on where they’re positioned in the party line. For a game that might look simple on the outside, these overlapping systems add a great deal of complexity. And with the difficulty level so high, winning always feels rewarding.
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition

    2014-11-18 / PS4、Xbox One、PS3等 / RPG

    Dragon Age: Inquisition contains a fantasy world so rich and well developed, you might want to go there on vacation if it weren’t for all the monsters. Its story, about closing a breach in the fabric of the world, is about as epic as single-player games get. And its character creation options are nearly limitless. But its most impressive achievement, and the reason players keep coming back to it, is the characters. Inquisition is stocked with sharply written, well acted characters that come to feel like good friends by the time the game is over. Any game that can deliver that kind of experience is worth playing at least once.
  • Divinity: Original Sin

    2014年6月30日 / Windows、Mac OS X、Linux等 / RPG

    At a glance, Divinity: Original Sin looks like an old-fashioned CRPG with a fresh coat of paint. And it is, but Larian Studios has modernized more than just the graphics. For instance, the NPCs often react in realistic ways to your actions, ways other games don’t bother including. Most RPGs let you barge into people’s homes and take their things without a word of complaint. Try that in Divinity: Original Sin, and you’re likely to get yelled at or attacked. Every location is brimming with creative ideas and new things to find, making it a real challenge to stop playing. All of this, and it also manages to be funny throughout. That’s quite an achievement.
  • Freedom Force

    2002-03-26 / Mac、PC / RPG / RTT

    Most RPGs center around adventurers in a fantasy world. Freedom Force, on the other hand, is about superheroes in a modern setting. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this game is the combat. Each of your four heroes has unique moves, but they can also interact with the urban environment. Parked cars can be hoisted and hurled at enemies. Light posts can be pulled out of the ground and swung like baseball bats. And while the combat takes place in real time by default, you can pause at any time to issue instructions to your party. Freedom Force is a stylish game that oozes charm and originality at every turn.
  • Betrayal at Krondor

    1993年6月22日 / DOS / RPG

    Set in the world of the Riftwar novels by Raymond E. Feist, Betrayal at Krondor is a first-person RPG that’s surprisingly open-world for a game of its vintage. You control three adventurers as you make your way through nine chapters of a fantasy story, fighting enemies, picking locks, maintaining degradable gear, and solving riddles to open Moredhel wordlock chests. Combat plays out like a turn-based strategy game, with combatants moving around on a grid to deliver strategic strikes. Make sure you bring your reading glasses, because Krondor is dense with text, which should come as no surprise considering its literary origins.
  • Tales of the Unknown, Volume I: The Bard's Tale

    1985年 / ZX Spectrum、Amiga、Amstrad CPC等 / RPG

    You’d better have graph paper on hand before you dive into this dungeon crawler, because it offers no map of the intricate mazes you’ll find inside. To begin, you can customize up to six adventurers, with professions like warrior, rogue, hunter, and magician. True to the title, the bard is probably the most useful, because his songs cast spells that help out your entire party. The game lets you explore towns and dungeons one grid square at a time, with turn-based combat that uses a loose version of Dungeon & Dragons’ die rolls. In the mid-‘80s, gamers were hungry for this kind of adventure. That’s probably why The Bard’s Tale showed up on tons of computer platforms, as well as the NES.
  • フロントミッション サード

    1999-09-02 / PS / SRPG / スクウェア

    If you’re in the mood for a strategy RPG about giant mechs, Front Mission 3 has you covered — twice. That’s because there are basically two games on the disc. Your path is determined early on by a seemingly innocuous decision. Help a friend with a delivery, and you’ll go down the “Emma” path. Stay behind, and you’ll see the “Alisa” side of the game. Which path you choose determines which faction you’re fighting for, so choosing the other path on a second play-through means you’ll have to fight against characters you’ve come to know and appreciate. But what really sets Front Mission 3 apart is its mech-building mechanic. Every enemy mech you take down goes into your inventory, and you can swap parts around to create the patchwork mech of your dreams.
  • Pillars of Eternity

    2015-03-26 / PC (Windows)、Mac、Linux等 / RPG

    Pillars of Eternity excels on any number of fronts, but its dialog and vocal performances are among its strongest suits. That’s a good thing, too, because one adventure through this Baldur’s Gate-like RPG spans dozens of hours. And many of those hours are spent chatting with a variety of compelling characters. Making things even more interesting is that your dialog options depend on your character’s stats. If you’ve pumped points into Might, for instance, you may be able to get vital information by using aggressive posturing. Then again, it could backfire, leaving you worse off than before. Throw in an deep tactical battle system, and you’re looking at a game that satisfies on multiple levels.
  • Torchlight II

    2012年9月20日 / PC / ARPG

    When done right, dungeon crawlers create a sense of momentum as you hack through monsters, pick up the loot they drop, equip any high-level gear, and move on to do it again. This is a gameplay loop Torchlight II completely nails. Story and character tend to fall to the wayside here, but you’re too busy wreaking ultra-violence and collecting shiny new things to care. The four character classes are stocked with skills that are satisfying to use, the environments pulse with color, and playing co-op with friends makes it even more of a chaotic joy to play. The craving for loot is real, and Torchlight II delivers it in the best way.
  • Fable 2

    2008年10月21日 / Xbox 360 / ARPG

    It’s safe to say Peter Molyneux’s games often fail to live up to the hype he sparks for them. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case with Fable II, a delightful action RPG that offers players a bit of nearly everything. The game weaves an epic story that spans your character’s life from childhood on. Combat feels like a fluid dance, thanks to the melee, magic, and ranged attacks you can string together with ease. To top it off, the whole thing is rife with humor and charm. So whether you want to amass a real estate empire or simply woo a spouse, you can. And let’s not forget the real star of the show: your lovable canine companion.
  • Titan Quest

    2006-06-26 / Nintendo Switch、PC / ARPG

    Titan Quest is often shrugged off as just another Diablo clone. And while there’s something to that argument, it also ignores the interesting things Titan Quest adds to the formula to create a wholly enjoyable action RPG. Instead of a well-trodden fantasy setting, Titan Quest looks to myths for inspiration. To that end, it has you travel across China, Egypt, and Greece, slaying beasts likes centaurs and gorgons, while collecting ever more powerful gear. The gameplay is highly customizable, thanks to its deep class and mastering systems, which provide plenty of replay value for anyone looking to try different combat styles. And when you finish the game, you can make your very own campaign, thanks to a robust level editor.
  • Wizardry 8

    2001-11-15 / PC、Mac OS X / RPG

    RPG franchises don’t get much older than Wizardry, a series that kicked off back in 1981. The final game, Wizardry 8, launched 20 years later. It mixes sci-fi trappings with traditional fantasy fare, so you have a smattering of guns and aliens alongside swords and spells. One of the best things about Wizardry 8 is its robust character creation tools. You can choose among 11 different races, ranging from Humans and Elves to Faeries, Mooks, and Hobbits. Layer on a choice of 15 classes, and you end up with a stunning number of combinations to try in your party. Unlike The Elder Scrolls, which offers similar character options, Wizardry 8 lets you customize six party members instead of just one.
  • Ever Quest

    1999-03-16 / PC、Mac OS / MMORPG

    Chris Reed: It wasn’t the first MMO, but EverQuest was the first to bring the genre to widespread popularity and become a household name. Featuring a gorgeous open world, populated with fantasy creatures and real-life players alike, it gave gamers an expansive chunk of real estate to explore for days, months, and years on end. And once you reached the level cap, you could roll a new kind of character with a different play style to tide yourself over until the next expansion arrived. The MMO genre eventually evolved and branched off in many directions, leaving EverQuest feeling rooted in the past. But that doesn’t take away from the memories EverQuest created, or the impact it had on the industry.