It’s hard not to be enthralled with classic RPGs, especially for those who have already poured thousands of hours into Dungeons & Dragons and its virtual counterparts. It always feels like there’s something new to find in the genre, with new and old titles alike boasting near-infinite replayability.
Diablo, one of the most famous of these classic RPG franchises, is building its library later this year with a remaster, Diablo II: Resurrected. While series rookies and veterans alike await the alpha tests and inevitable rerelease of the Blizzard classic, there’s more than enough content to make a perfect appetizer for the highly anticipated RPG.
10 Divinity: Original Sin II
Much like Baldur’s Gate, Divinity is famous for being a gigantic game filled to the brim with player freedom. With a party of four, players seek to become god in a captivating open-world, where every action has a reaction, and only one may strive to reach true divinity. The game also has some of the best AI, battle mechanics, character creation, and storytelling of any RPG to date, in case anyone needed more coaxing.
Divinity: Original Sin II is one of the biggest and most impressive games to come from the CRPG genre. It’s hard not to immediately open the Steam wallet on watching the trailers and hearing players’ stories from the world, as well as browsing the long list of awards from the game’s launch.
9 Wasteland 3
Wasteland is a franchise near and dear to the hearts of RPG gamers after Fallout‘s departure from the classic formula. Wasteland picks up where Fallout leaves off, taking it upon itself to fulfill the deep and exciting mechanics the franchise is known for.
With a highlight on exploration and character development, players will find themselves in an award-winning post-apocalypse that boasts freedom of choice on-par with Fallout: New Vegas. The original games are easily one of the more overlooked pieces of the genre, with a lot of heart on the developers’ parts.
8 Baldur’s Gate III
Baldur’s Gate is already one of the biggest and best names in the industry, but it seems that the upcoming third entry (now in early access, and gaining quote a repertoire) is pushing the envelope further, bringing a larger and more immersive world than ever to the genre.
Baldur’s Gate III directly adapts D&D‘s core rules, meaning veteran players will be more than familiar with the world and mechanics. However, Baldur’s Gate III brings a new level of immersion to the game, deepening its lore and systems in an increasingly exciting way. Providing in-depth character and party-building, and a large-as-life story, this looks like a spectacle not to be missed, with plenty to offer for solo and co-op play alike.
7 Shadowrun: Dragonfall
Shadowrun is another fun departure from Dungeons & Dragons’ fantasy fame, bringing the genre into a more futuristic realm, though not void of the fantasy aspects we’re familiar with. Shadowrun‘s biggest venture to date, Dragonfall, is also one of the most critically acclaimed tactical RPGs of all time, not to mention a creative wonderland of the cyberpunk genre.
For any fans of D&D looking for something to fill the recent craving for cyberpunk media, Shadowrun is as good a venture as any, with a tightly written world, fantastic battle systems, and beautifully rendered assets. There are also quite a few games for players to explore, most of which uphold the quality quota and bring a unique experience to the digital tabletop.
6 Neverwinter Nights
Stemming from Dungeons & Dragons itself, Neverwinter Nights isn’t just an award-winning narrative behemoth, with over 100 hours of playable content, but an in-depth tool for players to create their own campaigns and adventures. Alongside other genre classics like Baldur’s Gate and Pillars of Eternity, Neverwinter holds up as a delightful old-school bridge from pen-and-paper to digital top-down to full 3D.
With the recent release of an enhanced edition, Neverwinter Nights has never been more inviting, with restored multiplayer servers, more modding opportunities, and advanced graphics. For the small crowd put off by archaic graphics or overloaded UI, give it a shot anyway, as this is easily one of the best multiplayer experiences on the PC. For its price point, Neverwinter Nights is well worth any player’s time.
5 Disco Elysium
At this point, who hasn’t either heard of or poured hundreds of hours into Disco Elysium? The generation’s award-winning RPG is an all-around must-play for fans of the genre, and with a “final cut” edition coming later this month, now’s the best time to immerse in the grimy world of Martinaise.
Disco Elysium is a bit of a departure from the traditional RPG system, introducing a bleak realism that’s more or less absent in many other high-fantasy epics of the genre. This, however, is where it plants its seed and grows into one of the most interesting narratives of the generation. Before players know it, Disco Elysium has them by the collar and is submerging them into one of the grandest detective stories ever told, with user-led self-discoveries intertwining with the horrific crimes breaking out through the town of Martinaise.
Obsidian’s story-based RPG is acclaimed as one of the best available on the market today, where player decisions make all the difference in the world and can lead to either immaculate fortune or destruction. The scale of these decisions, however, doesn’t necessitate global cause-and-reaction systems, instead boasting in-depth law systems, moral compasses, and personal consequences for every situation the player finds themselves in.
The world’s fantastical writing allows a lot of scenarios, from battle encounters to in-depth politicking and evil-genius-style scheming. Many players found themselves preferring this one-shot to the world of Pillars of Eternity, if just for its freedom.
3 Fallout Classic
For those who may be tired of high-fantasy worldbuilding and dungeon-crawling, Fallout’s classic titles host a much more dynamic, albeit dark world, all of which lies at the players’ fingertips. For others, the more affordable price will be Fallout 1 & 2’s calling cards, which are hard to pass up when it comes to some of the highest-rated CRPGs of all time.
For those unfamiliar with the franchise’s early titles, the games play more or less like any other CRPG. A top-down view follows the player as they fight and loot enemies, navigate conversations, and advance their character into something fitting of their playstyle. The difference with Fallout is that it exemplifies its setting foremost, allowing fantastic explorative encounters and opportunities to develop characters into something more dynamic and personalized to contrast the bleak post-apocalypse.
2 Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic
While the Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic franchise takes a turn from the traditional CRPG perspective, it’s still a worthy addition, taking many of the systems and masking them slightly to entice a more modern crowd. KOTOR’s blurring of its dice rolls, fluid combat rounds, and skill checks, make it feel more than anything like a cinematic portrayal of an intensely immersive tabletop session.
On top of the tight systems and immersive world, KOTOR is easily one of the best pieces of Star Wars media. It takes the audience out of the familiar cinematic universe and brings a fresh, creative take on the galaxy so many people know and love.
1 Diablo III
Of course, Diablo III has to be on this list, seeing as it’s one of the most popular multiplayer RPGs of the last decade. Diablo III takes the series’ classic staples and brings them to a new generation, with more accessibility and even better multiplayer mechanics. Stated as a “genre-defining masterpiece,” it’s a great game for intense sessions with a committed party, or just to pick-up-and-play for party nights and casual hangouts with friends.
While Diablo III takes a bit more of an action-oriented approach to the RPG formula than most other CRPGS, it’s still a worthy addition to the list and a satisfying entry for anyone looking for something a bit more fast-paced and easy to pick up on a whim. Seeing as Diablo IV is also on the horizon, what better time than now to get a fix of Blizzard’s best with some friends?