The past 20 years have brought us some of the best memories we’ve had in gaming history. Video games, in general, have improved so much over the past two decades, and roleplaying games are no exception. Compared to first-person shooters, adventure games, and other big AAA titles, roleplaying games prefer to focus more on the story than having the best next-generation graphics. A good art style for an RPG only complements a wonderfully crafted story. Let’s take a look at the top 10 RPGs from the past two decades.
The Elder Scrolls Series
The entire series is mentioned compared to individual games because each major Elder Scrolls title in the main series has been nothing short of phenomenal. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim have provided hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of adventure between all three games. Each individual Elder Scrolls title listed here has won numerous awards, and are ranked as some of the best RPG titles in history.
RPG enthusiasts have grown with the fictional world of Albion since the early 2000s. The Fable series was very ambitious and aimed to revolutionize roleplaying games since the inception of the first Fable game in 2001. Despite the decline in Fable’s popularity in the 2010s, the upcoming reboot announced at the Xbox Games Showcase in 2020 proves there’s still interest in bringing the series back to popularity.
Stardew Valley is very much a life-simulation roleplaying game that shares a lot of similarities with the older farming and dating simulator called Harvest Moon. Players choose who they marry, how to terraform their farm, what they do around town, and how they approach combat. What makes Stardew Valley a worthy addition to this list is how much passion the developer has put into creating this title and fostering the massive community it still has to this day.
Final Fantasy XIV
Final Fantasy XIV may have flopped originally in the early 2010s but, after a change in directors, has become the hit MMORPG that has since dethroned World of Warcraft, an MMO many thought would reign unchallenged for years. Final Fantasy XIV has a free trial that includes the very first expansion, Heavensward, where players can play unrestricted up to level 60. After the release of its newest expansion, Endwalker, along with receiving many gaming accolades in 2021, Final Fantasy will sit atop its throne for many years to come.
Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic
This classic sci-fi RPG has a permanent place in all of our hearts as it quickly moved off of the shelves upon its release in 2003. Within the first couple of weeks of release, Knights of the Old Republic sold a quarter of a million copies, which, at the time, was very impressive. Three years later, the game earned an astounding $44 million while taking home some of the positive reviews and awards.
The retro graphics of Undertale coupled with very unique gameplay came to us during a time when we’ve all but lost hope that the Earthbound series will ever come back to us in any form other than emulation. Undertale won numerous awards and proved to the gaming world that you don’t need next-generation graphics to tell a good story.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
There are so many reasons why The Witcher III: Wild Hunt is often in the conversation of “best game ever.” The developers at CD Projekt Red found a way to mix great action-roleplaying with stunning graphics, an open world, and an immersive story. The cast of characters and narrative itself received such critical acclaim that it still sells in the millions to this day.
Persona 5 came at a time when the series needed an upgrade to its gameplay and graphics. The Persona series built itself up to the most recent Persona game in the series that wowed its fanbase with its catchy music and art style.
Fallout: New Vegas
Fallout: New Vegas isn’t the newest Fallout title in the series but it’s one of the best. The previous Fallout 3 might have been a hit with Bethesda, but Obsidian Entertainment knew what they were doing when they got a chance from Bethesda to work on New Vegas. Fallout: New Vegas enjoyed massive commercial success with multiple game awards and is hailed as one of the greatest roleplaying games of all time.
Games brought to the west only ever perform nominally, at best. However, Xenoblade Chronicles found so much success that it has a remaster on the Nintendo Switch and a Smash character. Xenoblade Chronicles really set the standard for JRPGs to this day.
The past two decades have given us plenty of roleplaying games to enjoy, and we’re looking forward to what the next twenty years have to offer us.