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My picks for best RPGs of all time

This is just a quick reference list of what I consider to be my top recommendations for the RPG genre.

It's based solely on what I've played over the years and what has left a meaningful impact on my opinion. The list may not contain a lot of known titles because I probably haven't played them (yet). Also, I'm mostly a retro PC gamer so a lot of console titles are missing.

My goal is to do a top 100 list (as thisis GiantBomb's limit), but I don't want to fill the list with sub-par games just for the sake of it. Also I won't list all of the games from one franchise. If gameplay is similar than the best title goes on the list.

That being said, this list will be updated in the future. Last update: 2022-11-06.

My other lists:

List items

  • Use the community patches. It will make a huge difference.

  • On par with Dawn of Sorrow, but as it was the first to introduce the concept, it left a bigger impact.

  • Use the community patches. It will make a huge difference. Mods will change the overall enjoyment and rating.

  • The whole Diamond Edition. The original campaign is probably the best story, but all modules are worth playing. Additional modules may be hit or miss (like Infinite Dungeons). Don't have enough time to play the second game.

  • My pick from the series. Enjoyment may differ with class and skill choice.

  • Use the community patches. It will make a huge difference. Probably the best D&D non-tabletop experience on PC.

  • I don't believe this to be the best Castlevania game. but it surely is a great game.

  • Standalone. Hellfire may offer a bit of enhancement but it's not all that great.

  • Fallout III for the story, New Vegas for the atmosphere.

  • A mix between Resident Evil and JRPG genre. Unique in it's own way.

  • Keep in mind that the SNES version and the Genesis version have different gameplay. Haven't played the SNES version.

  • Gameplay may become cumbersome based on clan choice. The Nosferatu have a completely different approach (although I didn't try it).

  • A combination of multiple genres but a great game overall.

  • This is primarily a parody of the Roguelike genre, but it's a funny and great game overall.

  • Although this is a great game it does suffer from some technical issues. I recommend using a FAQ, especially in the lower levels.

  • One could argue that TES III, IV and V are similar, but due to it's length and mechanics difference I'll add it as a different entry. Mods will change the overall enjoyment and rating.

  • Preferred the classic, more cumbersome approach, but Skyrim is a fine experience. Mods will change the overall enjoyment and rating.

  • Only played a short time up to the Wrath of the Lich King. Mentioning it for the impact it had on gaming and the genre.

  • Genre is debatable. Found it very stupid and funny. Really enjoy picking my weapon back from a moving target.

  • Use a FAQ for this one. You'll get lost in no time. Great experience overall.

  • The whole experience may be different based on your class and party choice. Remember that pets don't split XP. The add-on is not essential but it lets you respec.

  • The whole experience may be different based on your class and party choice. Less refined than the second game, but more memorable.

  • A great crawler but it it's easy to get stuck. Using a FAQ will greatly limit your freedom but it does allow you to see the full experience. Played 3/4 of the game.

  • My pick from the series. Exploiting gameplay mechanics may be necessary at some point so don't feel bad about it. Also try to raise both character's skills.

  • Found Gothic II to be more charming than the first one but it has a lot of balancing issues. Enjoyment may vary wildly on class and side choices. Never finished it, but I feel that I need to replay this with community enhancements as the vanilla version is very rough.

  • My choice from the classic Fallout series. The first game had a bigger impact but may be cumbersome. Meta-gaming the second can ruin your experience. I feel like Tactics, while not the best of the 3, is more balanced.

  • A more action oriented D&D experience. Genre is debatable.

  • This is a random-dungeon generator game based on the AD&D 2 rule set. Found it to be a solid experience. I haven't played the other D&D crawlers so I would assume they are even better.

  • One of the few JRPGs that I actually wanted to finish. part of a larger series.

  • Enjoyment may vary. Had fun with this game although it's not a solid experience.

  • While Grimrock is a fine modern approach to the crawler genre, it has one huge flaw: the last boss. You can play the whole game, have a blast and figure out you can't finish the game due to not having the right party / items. I knew what formation to use to beat the game, but the overall experience was harder due to a under-performing class choice. Haven't played the second game.

  • My pick from the series. Enjoyment may vary. Haven't played Borderlands 3.

  • This is a game that makes you use every weapon that you can find. This may annoy you at some point, but gaining those skills is highly worth it. Story is linear. The only choice is at the end.

  • A more old-school approach. Regretted my class choice by the end, as I lost a lot of free passive skills. Probably a source of inspiration for Diablo III's health / mana orbs.

  • A former free-to-pay MMO. Servers were brought down. Fallen Earth was a great deal as it was heavily focused of crafting. Each items could be combined and scrapped as you'd climb the technology ladder. Sadly the developer got greedy, drastically reducing the crafting queues for free players (from 20 to 1, if I remember correctly) which led to it's downfall. Players couldn't reliably craft anymore so they left, resources become scarce, farming special ingredients was a peril (because they were in PvP zones) and crafting vehicles had become unfeasible at that point.

  • The Director's Cut would be the definitive edition. Experience may vary. Found it cool overall.

  • Clunky, but worth playing.

  • A unique approach to the ARPG genre. Sometimes feels like a twin-stick shooter.

  • Found it to be a better roguelike experience than Rogue. It has some GUI versions now. Have only played the classic text-based experience.

  • Just play the campaign and don't pay a single cent, then quit. It's a nice Diablo side-story and worth playing for the experience.

  • The expansion is a must. At that time various mods were used, but vanilla is great too.

    I would suggest not to bother with Diablo 2: Resurrected unless you haven't played the original. It brings so little that it's basically pointless.

    After replaying it I must say that my nostalgia googles were kind of fogged up. After so many years of meta-gaming, D2 has become a huge grind-fest and not all that fun to play.

  • Although Titan Quest is a fine ARPG, it has a lot of balancing issues. You can create super-classes which can easily wipe through the game. Basically you are forced to meta-game.

  • Found the first one to be better that the second which was basically huge and barren. Sacred does suffer from balancing issues and is probably one of the few games that may penalize you for going up in skill level. Meta-gaming is important.

  • The successor to Rage of Mages. You either love or hate this game. People usually hated this game back in the day. A hard game but interesting overall experience.

  • Somewhat of a hot mess in regards to skill choices and inventory management, but it's fine game once you get used to it. Always remember to manage your teleportation stones.

  • Only played this version. This is the enhanced version of Exile. Another enhanced edition was made after this one. Gameplay is truly different from one iteration to another. Also this is a part of a 6 game series with a side-story. Look up Spiderweb Software, they're in their own niche of games.

  • Little to no experience with Pokemon. Played only this version. It was cool, but I'm not into JRPGs.

  • A parody on the console wars. A JRPG more akin to the Japanese market.. This is an enhanced edition. Part of a big series. Haven't played the rest.

  • Something close to the Gothic experience. May contain occasional bugs.

  • Part business simulator, part RPG. Fun little game.

  • Only played the first game.

  • The "original" roguelike. Although Rogue wasn't the first roguelike it did manage to coin the term.

  • A horrid experience to recommend. The only great thing about the first Witcher game is the story. Haven't played the other games yet.

  • Fun and quirky in the beginning but doesn't deliever all the way.

  • Most people hated this game. It's not bad but it could have been more refined.

  • Hard to understand the versions. More TBT than RPG, OKish experience.

  • Although Revenant is a cool experience, it has broken mechanics. A mod would be needed to fix level-up values from static to percent-based (as originally intended). Without the mod, the game becomes brutally hard.

  • Lack of balance and a unsatisfying ending makes it pretty weak recommendation. Gameplay is interesting and does bring some unique mechanics.

  • Only played the first. Relatable to the Gothic series but not of the same quality.

  • Freeware

  • The most dumbed-down game in the franchise. A very long grind and snore fest.

  • A free-to-play contender to the Diablo series. It has a convoluted history. Mostly remembered due to it's huge skill tree. Hard to recommend.

  • Nice graphics, generic gameplay. Experience varries with each class.

  • Chinese copy of Diablo II. It's a part of a two-game series. Played only the first. Blade & Sword is interesting due to not having weapons. Damage is based on upgradable enhancements. Also it has this weird move combo which requires you to draw the pattern on the screen.

  • A RPG/RTS hybrid. Weird stuff. Haven't finished it.

  • A 3D clone of Diablo. Pretty generic.

  • There's a whole series here, but I don't remember which games have I actually finished. Regardless, Fate is considered a kid-friendly Diablo clone.

  • My choice from the series. Had a horrid experience with Torchlight II because I didn't like any class and skill path combination.

  • Not the best recommendation. May be ok, but it has a lot of issues. Part of a series. Played only the first game.

  • Pretty generic ARPG. Not bad per-se, but it has some balancing issues especially related to economy and Cauldron prices.

  • As generic as it gets. Borderline recommendation. Will probably be taken off this list.