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The best RPGs to warm up to this winter

GamesRadar logo GamesRadar 11/9/2021 Alyssa Mercante
background pattern: best rpgs - Breath of the Wild © Provided by GamesRadar best rpgs - Breath of the Wild

If you're looking for the best RPGs, look no further. We've compiled the 25 best RPGs you can play right now and cuddle up with this winter. These RPGs will transport you to different worlds, whether that's medieval lands, sci-fi galaxies, and post-apocalyptic wastelands. Whatever you're into or interested in, it's covered on this list.

This list includes the 25 best RPGs you can play right now across a variety of platforms, including on stunning new-gen consoles Xbox Series X and PS5, last-gen consoles like Xbox One and PS4, and the ever-reliable Nintendo Switch and PC. 

The best RPGs we've gathered here are diverse in terms of scope, style, gameplay, and more. Every one of them will feel like you've stepped into an entirely new universe, with characters you can get to know and decision you'll need to make that will affect your experience - but no two games on this list are the same. There's the galaxy-saving space opera that is Mass Effect, the breathtaking world of Breath of the Wild, and the strange life of an amnesiac detective in Disco Elysium. Some of these top RPGs can also be found on our best MMORPGs list, so make sure to check that one out as well. 

A few games on this list have recently got shiny new upgrades, like Mass Effect Legendary Edition, or the Demon's Souls remake, which looks incredibly on PS5. Meanwhile, The Witcher 3, is getting free DLC items inspired by the Netflix series later in the year, so you may want to hold off to jump back into the land of Geralt of Rivia until then. 

Whether you're more into sci-fi or fantasy, monsters or magic, we've got the 25 best RPGs that will transport you to another world without you having to cross the threshold of your front door and step into the sweltering hit. Find the list, complete with game descriptions, below.

The 25 best RPGs

25. Monster Hunter: World

Available on: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC

Just in case the title didn’t make it obvious, in Monster Hunter: World you hunt monsters. But although the main prize is the Diablos armour set or just the thrill of the hunt itself, how you take down those beasts is what you’ll be obsessing over as soon as you face your first Great Jagras. Experimenting with different weapons will take up your first handful of hours, and then once you develop an attachment to a particular implement you start to realize the crafting potential with all those bits and bobs dropped by your (now dead) quarries. The other half of the game opens up with this epiphany, so prepare yourself for some micro-management levels of tweaking and optimizing before you go out into the wild to perfect your character for the fight they’re about to face. 

24. Borderlands 2

Available on: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC

In Borderlands 2, you choose to be whatever kind of hero you'd like in a world that's ridiculous and obscene. There's fart jokes, sure, but there's also skill trees that offer endless character builds, whether you're more the Gunzerker, blow-stuff-up-type, or the Siren, make-magic-with-your-hands type. Pick your poison and Borderlands 2 serves it up with a wry smile just like its character, Moxie. Travel through Pandora looting and shooting your way to glory, customizing the living hell out of your character. Just don't bring an acid gun to a fire gun fight, ya know? Ultimately, it doesn't matter what kind of Vault Hunter you build, all that matters is you kick Handsome Jack's ass - and trust us, you'll want to. 

23. Final Fantasy 7 Remake

Available on: PS4, PS5

Final Fantasy 7 is universally loved, so it's no surprise the Final Fantasy 7 Remake would end up on here. The beautifully detailed world you were already familiar with has changed - it seems bigger, more epic, and impresses at every turn. The world feels lived-in, the environment is vibrant - this is truly a reimagining of a classic. Final Fantasy 7 Remake honors the original game, while also introducing new elements to update it for modern players. Gone is the turn-based setup of the original game, and in its place is a real-time combat system that immediately feels more kinetic and dynamic. Your favorite characters have also gotten more depth, giving them even more pathos and helping you fall in love with them all over again. 

22. Middle Earth: Shadow of War

Available on: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC

The Nemesis system is back in Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, and it sure as hell puts the role-playing into RPG. Cultivating a powerful hatred of that goddamn Torz the Flesh Glutton - or whatever your Nemesis happens to be called - won’t seem possible on your first encounter, but after they kill you and start to rise through the ranks you’ll soon find yourself fantasizing about taking down that vile imposter every single time you boot up the game. Sure, playing the Ranger Talion as a sneaky stabber or the kind of Ranger who goes in sword swinging is kinda fun too, but what makes Shadow of War one of the best RPG games is the way it encourages you to manage your followers. You can send them to be spies, or sow seeds of discontent if you leave them to die in battle. There are so many options even Sauron himself would be overwhelmed. 

21. Nier Automata 

Available on: PS4, PS5, PC

Come for the soundtrack, stay for the silky smooth combat and pitch-perfect blend of genres. There's hack and slash, there's shoot 'em up, there's text adventures, there's RPG elements – Nier: Automata has it all, and in spades. The dazzling combat is split between three crazy sexy cool android protagonists who twirl and flip in hypnotic ways - and while its fun to hack and slash away at enemies with the quiet fury of a robot, the game really shines when you start customizing those robotic elements. Pick what chip is installed in your metal head and swap them in and out as needed, depending on the enemies you're facing - add that to one of four weapons in your arsenal and you'll have an ever-changing flurry of devastating combos at your disposal. The ending will linger with you long after and make you want to go back and get whatever extra info you can.

20. The Outer Worlds

Available on: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC

The Outer Worlds is a game that lets Obsidian show off its best talent: making RPGs with great dialogue, engaging characters, and a world that drags you in and never lets you go. The Outer Worlds feels like Firefly and Mass Effect had a neon space baby and you are the caretaker of its future - no pressure. Sure, this game asks you to do a lot of talking in order to get to the best, cystipig-meatiest bits it has to offer, but almost every conversation you have with the denizens of Halcyon will delight you in some way. Brilliant voice acting coupled with cracking writing and surprisingly deft facial animations means you're going to be picking favorites and picking them fast. This only makes every decision more difficult, which is the mark of a great RPG: the ability to make you sweat with anxiety over a superficially innocuous dialogue option.

19. Kingdom Hearts 2

Available on: PC

Kingdom Hearts 3 might have fourteen years of dev time under its belt, but the second installment in the trilogy (excluding all the other games in the franchise, looking at you Re:Coded) is still superior. Kingdom Hearts 2, released three years after the original, expands on the brilliant Kingdom Hearts concept (a young boy named Sora gains the power of a mysterious keyblade and must travel through Disney worlds to stop the evil Heartless from spreading) while polishing rough edges and expanding outwards with gusto. Whereas the small worlds in the original often felt mind-numbingly difficult to navigate, the sequel boasts beautiful level design that feels more legible while still being expansive. Plus, the combat upgrades make gameplay faster and smoother, and the addition of Drive Forms allows you to change Sora's form to activate new abilities. The boss battles are tough, but not impossible (there's no way to get back the years I shaved off of my life during that Clayton battle in the original), making it the best game in the series for gamers who don't like to be frustrated to the point of ripping out their eyelashes individually (see the aforementioned Clayton battle).  

18. The Division 2

Available on: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC

This is one to try out if you love playing RPGs with friends, as The Division 2 is a perfect example of how to get a sequel right. Its reactive world responds to the decisions you make and there's just so much to do, including building up your base and gradually becoming a top-tier Division agent. The blend of action and spectacle will keep your eyeballs very happy indeed, as some of the places you'll be fighting your way through are locations that just beg to be ranted about (in a good way, don;t worry). Although the plot might be lacking, there's tons to keep you busy and - more importantly - entertained, so if you're looking for an RPG with a ton of gameplay that'll keep you and your friends shooting for hours on end, The Division 2 is for you. 

17. Assassin's Creed Valhalla

Available on: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC

Assassin's Creed Valhalla brilliantly returns elements of the stealthier aspects of the franchise without compromising the elements fans love about the newer Creed games. Valhalla ushers in the return of stealth, even giving you a tailing mission in the main campaign that hearkens back to Brotherhood days. It also gives you a chance to take part in Viking raids, and take a battering ram to a castle's gates to enjoy the spoils that lie within. In this game, you can complete an Assassins contract from the safety of anonymity, and ten minutes later you can blow a Viking horn while standing on the sternpost of a longship, ushering in your crew's arrival with flair. Valhalla has a beautiful, arresting story set in a gorgeous 9th Century England - both of which will stay with you after you put the controller down. 

Turn to page 2 to check out the rest of our picks for the best RPG games around...

16. Persona 5 Royal

Available on: PS4, PS5

School is hard. It’s even harder when you have a super-powered alter ego who spends their nights roaming through a supernatural realm fighting the bloodthirsty, personified desires of the people around them. Persona 5 Royal is an expanded version of Persona 5, one of the best RPG games of 2017. The expansion gives quality of life and gameplay adjustments, plus two new characters, adding even more value to the 100-hour game. Persona 5 wants you to understand each character, and Royal gives you the chance to learn about mysterious student Kasumi Yoshizawa and school counselor Takuto Maruki - you'll be entrenched in the world of Shujin Academy before you know it. And if you don't have a PS4, don't fret, as there's likely a Switch port on the horizon...

15. Stardew Valley

Available on: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC, Nintendo Switch

Pelican Town welcomes everyone. After inheriting your grandfather’s farm, it might be that you want to cultivate the land into a lush paradise with fruits and vegetables springing from the ground, or perhaps you’d rather focus on the social side of the game and romance a villager of your choosing. More and more of the game unfolds the further you’ll get, as aside from selling your produce and/or levelling up friendships you can also tackle the dungeon-crawling mines. Or spend your days fishing. Or just buy hats. Seasons dictate what you can and can’t do, so you’ll soon find yourself falling into a pleasantly-repetitive routine. That’s a good thing, trust me. 

14. Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of an Elusive Age

Available On: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, PC

If you look up JRPG in the dictionary, you'll find that it's not actually in there because most people would assume it's the acronym for a phone provider or something. But if you were to add JRPG to the dictionary, Dragon Quest 11 would probably be the best example to point to. It's simply sublime. The series' combat and charm haven't aged a day, and all of Dragon Quest 11's supporting characters have charisma that most protagonists would kill for. It's gorgeous, perfectly paced, and packs music that'll make your soul pound. 

13. Demon's Souls Remake

Available on: PS5 

In what may be one of the best launch titles ever, the Demon's Souls remake is an absolutely beautiful reimagination of a game that drastically shifted the entire industry. You may have played Demon's Souls, but this remake's new architecture and visual design, done in picture-perfect next-gen quality, will add mystery back to well-known areas. The bosses look more impossible than ever, looming over you in scary detail, forcing you to question if you've chosen the right upgrades for your character or your weapons - and if you haven't, boy will Demon's Souls let you know. It's as if the game relishes in your mistakes, forcing you to marinate in them so you never make it again. This game will genuinely stun and dazzle you, even when it's kicking your ass.

12. Dragon Age: Inquisition

Available on: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC

Sorry to drop some major life lessons on you, but the people you surround yourself with says a hell of a lot about you as a person. The same principle applies to Dragon Age: Inquisition. Adventuring around its massive dangerous areas alone would lead to you becoming a bloody red smudge pretty quickly, so tailoring your group of followers will depend entirely on how you prefer to play. Bloodthirsty melee players will benefit from keeping those mages at a distance to buff you in combat, or if you prefer to stay safely away from the action you’ll need to befriend The Iron Bull, who’s buff in a very different way. Although it might be a bit overwhelming for newcomers, getting to know each of the characters is enough motivation to return to Inquisition’s world time and time again. 

11. World of Warcraft 

Available on: PC

There's a reason World of Warcraft persists over 15 years after its initial release, thanks in large part to a constant flow of content keeping the game fresh and alive. Like the recent Shadowlands expansion, which takes players to the afterlife and introduces four new zones and tasks you with choosing a Covenant to pledge allegiance to. You can farm, play a Plants Vs. Zombies style mini-game, partake in pet battles, complete puzzles, finish quests, explore new areas and so much more in World of Warcraft.

10. Disco Elysium

Available on: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, PC

In Disco Elysium, you're a detective who has a drinking problem and drug-induced amnesia, and you can die in the opening minutes while trying to get your tie from the ceiling fan. There's no traditional combat, but there are dialogue trees and skill checks, and you'll need to upgrade skills to pass skill checks - however, it's a slippery slope. Upgrade your Drama too high and you might be partial to the occasional fit of hysterics. All of Disco Elysium is based on dice rolls which are added to your skill value and stat value - the resulting roll and addition of all the stats will tell you if you've succeeded in completing a task, which can be as asinine as getting your tie from a ceiling fan.

9. Bloodborne

Available on: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC

Welcome to Yarnum, a gloomy, sombre city straight out of a gothic novel whose inhabitants are suffering through a plague - not just of the illness type, but also the dangerous beasts type. Yarnum, despite being the last place you'd want to visit IRL, will entice you, begging you to return back to it longer after you've bested its worst. You'll want to knock on more doors and hear the bizarre cackles of villagers who have gone mad, or walk along another rooftop in an attempt to find a hidden mystery. Streamlined RPG elements have you working with six stats, and the character creator lets you design some of the coolest Victorian Gothic heroes ever. The hats, man, the hats are so cool. 

8. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is a leap forward for Ubisoft’s stabby series as for the first time you have NPCs to romance (whether you want to be a Casanova or as chaste as a saint), and dialogue options. Then combine those brand new features with the return of naval combat and enough sidequests, locations, and hidden secrets to keep you busy for days and you've got Odyssey. Your misthios (mercenary) Alexios or Kassandra is truly yours to shape however you wish. With nine endings to unlock, the way you end specific quests will end up having an impact on the world around you whether that’s for the better or worse. You know what that means? Multiple playthroughs. If you dare, of course, as you will be kept busy for over 100 hours if you choose to explore everywhere and do everything (and everyone). After this RPG, Assassin’s Creed is never going to be the same again. 

7. Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion

Available on: PlayStation Now, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, (backwards compatible), PC

Those gates to Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion aren’t going to close themselves, you know. Good job that you’re there to help, right? But despite the fact that Daedra are now flooding into Cyrodiil, there are plenty of other things for you to be getting on with besides slaying them. Choosing between joining the Mages’ Guild, or perhaps you want to spend your time helping the ordinary everyday citizens who have more personal things to worry about than the Oblivion Crisis. Unlike Skyrim, there’s a class selection screen at the beginning of the game which is ideal for anyone who just wants to pick a build and jump in, but you can also tweak every attribute of your character to create that perfect Hero. Cyrodiil calls for aid!

6.  Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Available on: Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC

Sometimes, RPGs can feel a bit unapproachable. If you're not a lover of the game type, you might feel daunted by a title that requires meticulousness or an endless supply of patience or a seemingly endless supply of choice. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is a game that appeals to hardcore RPG players and those who may have been hesitant to join the ranks. Set 4,000 years before the movies' events, you are tasked with training in the ways of the Force under the tutelage of the Jedi. The game lets you pick from three character classes at the start of the game, and choose if your character will align with the dark side or the light side of the Force. The game is a Star Wars fan's Eden as it manages to capture that magical, space fantastical essence of the films while imbuing the entire experience with choice. There's incredible voice-acting, accessible gameplay, and sparkling supporting characters. Plus, you get to swing a karking lightsaber. 

Turn to page 3 to check out the rest of our picks for the best RPG games around...

5. Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch

Be anyone you want. Do anything you want. Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim is rammed full of delirious licence to properly live in its world: you can devote yourself to Alchemy and go hunting for a Daedra heart, adventure your way to the top of the Companions, or just wander around Skyrim making a living harvesting wheat and potatoes as a farmhand. Sure, the threat of a dragon razing a nearby village is almost ever-present. But despite the incoming apocalypse, your goals in Skyrim are just that - your own. Nothing forces you to accept quests. While we wait for Elder Scrolls 6 to be released, rest assured that Skyrim boots you out into the open with some looted gear and a whole world at your feet and then it’s up to you to find out what kind of dragonborn you want to be. 

4. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Available on: Nintendo Switch

Link is a blank canvas. A wonderful, quiet blank canvas that you can turn into stealthy Sheikah, a fully-armoured knight, or someone who runs around in their underwear throwing chickens at Moblins. Link’s personality is so malleable that you can do whatever you want in Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and it just feels right, as despite the apocalypse that’s on the way people have their own business to be getting on with and let you do exactly the same. From spotting the tip of a new tower in the distance to navigating on of the mysterious maze’s on the edge of the map, your surroundings are so intriguing that the world practically begs you to get distracted, fitting perfectly into the idea that Link has woken up after decades in slumber and just can’t stay still. 

3. Fallout: New Vegas

Available on: PlayStation Now, Xbox One (backwards compatible), PC

I really don’t blame The Courier for going on their rampage. Someone just shot them in the head, they survived, and now they want answers. But with all of Fallout: New Vegas’ land available to explore right from the beginning, that can wait. Not really a surprise considering it’s also one of the best open world gamesaround. You might even decide that finding the person who shot you in the head is the last thing you want, your survival instinct telling you that you had probably best stay away. Join one of the many fierce factions, try to become the Savior of the Damned by boosting your good karma, or simply create your own goals. Collect all the teddy bears in the land. Clear Quarry Junction from its, er…pest problem. It’s up to you. 

2. Mass Effect 2

Available on Xbox One (backwards compatibility) and PC

In this sequel, BioWare takes the foundation laid in Mass Effect (Commander Shepherd must navigate space racism and the potential predetermined destruction of the universe alongside a motley crew of aliens) and builds a beautiful shiny space house on top of it. Oh, and it chucks out the goddamn Mako maneuvering. There's a completely redesigned combat system that evokes the duck and cover style of the Gears games - with Shepherd's special skills and your squad's unique abilities, you get dynamic gameplay that feels personalized. The game's comfortable place as the space meat in the middle of the "introducing you to this world" and "destroying this world" sandwich gives the plot some breathing room. Into that breathing room steps the most incredible cast of characters, potentially ever. The romance options actually hurt your feelings, the background stories tug at your heartstrings, the ideological arguments between your friends paralyze you when it comes time to make a choice. Sure, RPGs are good at evoking emotion and forcing you to make game time decisions, but the sheer magnitude of how much Mass Effect 2 makes you care is a rare achievement.

1. The Witcher 3

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, PC

There's nothing quite like The Witcher 3, where one moment you can help put the soul of a noonwraith to rest and the next you can head to the Passiflora and engage in some heavy petting (that you paid for). A fantastic mix of tough (but fun) combat, brilliant writing, and truly difficult decisions, The Witcher 3 will sink its hooks into you faster than you can say, "Wind's howling." Geralt of Rivia is both reviled and required by the people of this mythical world, and the tension of being an outsider in an environment that's growing more prejudiced by the minute is palpable. But it's easy to keep busy: spend your time slaying monsters or seeking out rare armor tucked away hard-to reach areas - the choice is yours (but good luck choosing between your paramour options, Triss and Yennefer, as that decision gave me anxiety for 80 hours). And once you're done with the weighty and intense main story line, you can simply download The Blood and Wine and Hearts of Stone DLC for a few dozen more hours of hanging out with Geralt and Roach. Simply put, this is the best damn RPG you can play right now, so toss a coin to your witcher, you've got the time.

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