Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

Our Picks for the Best RPGs We Played in 2023

The year 2023 was a rollercoaster ride for gamers worldwide, particularly for those with a flair for role-playing games (RPGs). We witnessed several standout titles that took the gaming community by storm. From long-awaited sequels to delightful surprises, 2023 was an epic year for RPG enthusiasts. In this comprehensive review, we delve into the year’s best RPG releases, highlighting their unique offerings and reasons for their outstanding popularity. Buckle up as we embark on this exciting journey!

1. The Phenomenal: Baldur’s Gate 3

Overview

Kickstarting our list is the phenomenal Baldur’s Gate 3, a game that has left an indelible mark on the RPG landscape. Developed by Larian Studios, this game has received high praise from both critics and players for its intricate gameplay and riveting plot. The game has emerged as a turning point in game design, making it a must-play for all RPG enthusiasts.

Gameplay

Baldur’s Gate 3 offers an immersive RPG experience with a mind-boggling degree of freedom. Not only can you create your unique character, but the game seamlessly integrates your protagonist into the expansive universe with a seamless ease reflecting the strength of its world-building.

Storyline

The game’s story is a gripping blend of political intrigue and supernatural mystery. Players can make numerous choices throughout the game, shaping the narrative to their liking. This level of freedom and the game’s well-written, engaging combat system have made Baldur’s Gate 3 one of the best RPGs of 2023.

2. The Game-Changer: Cyberpunk 2077

Overview

Next up is Cyberpunk 2077, a game that has come a long way since its infamous launch. After years of patches and improvements, this sci-fi RPG now stands as a testament to the power of perseverance and dedication.

Gameplay

Cyberpunk 2077 offers fast-paced action and deep philosophical questions, exploring its characters and storylines. The game’s major 2.0 update completely overhauled the game’s character progression system, added vehicle combat, and improved NPC behavior during fights, making it a worthwhile gaming experience.

Storyline

The game’s expansion, Phantom Liberty, offers a murky sci-fi spy thriller that delves into the moral ambiguity at the heart of the cyberpunk genre. Featuring stellar performances from Idris Elba and Keanu Reeves, Phantom Liberty adds high-stakes drama to the game, making it a must-play for all RPG fans.

3. The Intriguing: Disco Elysium

Overview

Disco Elysium is an RPG that stands out for its thought-provoking narrative. This game confronts players with difficult political realities and harrowing glimpses into the worst parts of the human condition, all wrapped in a slightly fantastical lens.

Gameplay

The game revolves around a detective who wakes up after an amnesia-inducing bender without a badge, gun, or name. As the detective, players attempt to solve a murder while also figuring out their past and identity. Disco Elysium’s gameplay is all about making choices, and there’s rarely a clear ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ decision, making it a unique RPG experience.

Storyline

Disco Elysium’s story is full of heavy themes, and it’s as if you’re sharing the protagonist’s frustration as you try to navigate the harsh and unforgiving world. This shared struggle creates a powerful and engrossing tale, making Disco Elysium one of the best RPGs around.

4. The Whacky: Yakuza: Like a Dragon

Overview

Yakuza: Like a Dragon is an unusual entry in the RPG genre. While it involves plenty of hard-hitting plot points, it’s the game’s entire fighting system being reimagined as a turn-based JRPG that makes it stand out.

Gameplay

The game’s battle system is a loving parody of the likes of Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. Each character can take on various classes, such as becoming a crooning musician or a cutesy J-Pop idol, each with their own abilities in battle.

Storyline

The story of Yakuza: Like a Dragon revolves around a group of jaded teens who change the hearts of evildoers. There’s a maturity to the game’s story, which tackles dark themes through nuanced storytelling. This blend of compelling narrative and quirky gameplay makes it one of the best RPGs of 2023.

5. The Timeless Classic: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Overview

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is an enduring classic in the RPG genre. Its chilling dark fantasy plot maintains its grit without ever sacrificing the sense of humanity at the game’s core.

Gameplay

In The Witcher 3, players step into the shoes of Geralt, a gruff and gray-haired monster hunter. The game’s sprawling adventure leads players through a massive open world full of dark fantasy wonders.

Storyline

The Witcher 3’s story is a complex tangle of conspiracies. Alliances are made, then broken, then remade in the aftermath. Choices players make have lasting consequences, making this game one of the best RPGs out there.

6. The Sci-Fi Masterpiece: Starfield

Overview

Starfield was one of the most anticipated games of the year. This open-world sci-fi RPG from Bethesda had a mixed reception, but it’s undeniably a labor of love from the studio’s director, Todd Howard.

Gameplay

Starfield offers a sprawling adventure through outer space, filled with intricate mysteries and shocking revelations. The game’s systems and mechanics are deep and satisfying, making it an epic science fiction adventure and an instant classic.

Storyline

Starfield’s story revolves around a group of space explorers unraveling the mysteries of the universe. The narrative is filled with captivating tales and dynamic mechanics that keep the players hooked from start to finish.

7. The Dark Horse: Star Ocean: The Second Story R

Overview

Star Ocean: The Second Story R is a remake of the classic PS1 RPG, considered the best game in the long-running sci-fi series. The characters, story, and systems present in the second Star Ocean entry get some updates and changes but stay true to what made the original so memorable.

Gameplay

The game’s combat system is a blend of action and strategy, requiring players to make quick decisions and utilize their characters’ unique abilities effectively. The game’s unique blend of action and strategy makes it a standout title in the RPG genre.

Storyline

The game’s story is a gripping tale of adventure, friendship, and the struggle to save the universe from an impending disaster. The characters are well-developed, and the narrative is filled with intriguing twists and turns, making it one of the best RPGs of the year.

8. The Emotional Rollercoaster: Persona 5 Royal

Overview

Persona 5 Royal is an RPG that combines social-sim elements with turn-based combat. This game follows a group of Japanese high school students investigating a supernatural TV channel that distorts its viewers’ psyche.

Gameplay

The gameplay of Persona 5 Royal is a blend of daily life simulation and dungeon exploration. During the day, players attend school, hang out with friends, and do part-time jobs. At night, they explore the Metaverse, a supernatural realm born from humanity’s subconscious desires, to change the hearts of evil adults.

Storyline

The story of Persona 5 Royal tackles dark themes through nuanced storytelling. It is a mature narrative that explores societal issues and injustices, making it one of the best RPGs with a strong social commentary.

9. The Sci-Fi Epic: Mass Effect Legendary Edition

Overview

Mass Effect Legendary Edition is a remastered collection of one of the most influential video game series in modern gaming history. This game is an epic space opera that stands the test of time and remains one of the best RPGs to date.

Gameplay

The gameplay of Mass Effect Legendary Edition combines third-person shooter mechanics with a complex dialogue system. Players navigate through branching narrative paths, make impactful decisions, and build relationships with a diverse cast of characters.

Storyline

The story of Mass Effect Legendary Edition is an epic tale of heroism, loyalty, and sacrifice. It follows Commander Shepard’s journey to save the galaxy from an ancient alien race known as the Reapers. The narrative is filled with memorable characters, thrilling battles, and heart-wrenching moments, making it one of the best RPGs with a compelling story.

10. The Indie Gem: Sea of Stars

Overview

Sea of Stars is an indie RPG that stands out in a year filled with AAA releases. With its charming pixel art, engaging combat system, and captivating storyline, Sea of Stars shines as one of the best RPGs of 2023.

Gameplay

Sea of Stars offers a classic turn-based combat system with a twist. The game introduces a timing mechanic that adds an extra layer of strategy to battles. Players need to time their attacks and defenses perfectly to maximize their effectiveness.

Storyline

The game’s story follows two children gifted with the power of the sun and the moon. They embark on a journey to stop an ancient evil from plunging their world into darkness. Sea of Stars’ story is filled with memorable moments and emotional beats, making it a standout RPG in terms of narrative.

11. The Japanese Classic: Final Fantasy 16

Overview

Final Fantasy 16 is the latest entry in the legendary RPG series. With its intricate storyline, engaging combat system, and immersive world, Final Fantasy 16 has proven to be a worthy addition to the Final Fantasy lineage.

Gameplay

Final Fantasy 16 introduces a new, action-oriented combat system. Players control a single character in real-time battles, using a combination of physical attacks, magical abilities, and tactical maneuvers to defeat enemies.

Storyline

The game’s story is a dark and gritty tale set in a world where crystals hold the power of the elements. It explores themes of duty, sacrifice, and destiny, making it one of the most emotionally gripping RPGs of 2023.

12. The Nostalgic Journey: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

Overview

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is a refreshing take on the iconic series. It successfully captures the essence of the classic Zelda games while introducing new mechanics and concepts to keep things fresh and exciting.

Gameplay

Tears of the Kingdom takes the open-world exploration of Breath of the Wild and enhances it with new crafting and building mechanics. Players can create structures and even vehicles, rewarding creativity and innovation.

Storyline

The game’s story follows Link on a quest to save the kingdom of Hyrule from a mysterious force. Along the way, players will encounter familiar faces, uncover hidden secrets, and experience heart-pounding adventures, making it one of the best RPGs for fans of the Zelda series.

Conclusion

2023 was a fantastic year for RPGs, with numerous titles offering unique and engaging experiences. From the dark and gritty world of Cyberpunk 2077 to the whimsical charm of Sea of Stars, there was a game for every RPG fan. It was a year that showed the depth and diversity of the genre, proving once again why RPGs continue to captivate audiences around the world. We can’t wait to see what RPG adventures 2024 will bring!

 

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