The top RPGs of all time for Xbox One
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Whether you prefer your RPGs traditional, action-packed, filled with fantasy tropes or something a little more sci-fi, there's something to suit every RPG taste in my list below. Looking at the promising RPGs that are coming out in 2018, I have a feeling this list will grow, too.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition
Before I appraise the role-playing potential of this package, let's take a beat to marvel at how good a deal you're getting. For the price of one game, you're getting three of the most celebrated sci-fi themed role-playing adventures this side of the great Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (which, incidentally, was also made by BioWare). This is so worth your Citadel Spacecredits.
Give it half a parsec, and the Mass Effect trilogy will become a triple-digit hours space opera that consumes you quicker than a black hole. The event horizon of your demise begins in a character creator that allows you to craft Commander [Your Name] Shepard, a human being fast-tracked into the special forces wing of a galactic council of alien species. Your mission: hunt down a ruthless, rogue member of same said regiment.
Admittedly, the gunplay and visuals have aged some (though they've been polished beyond my expectations in this not-exactly-a-remastering). That being said, the script, voice acting and world, nay, universe-building here is timelessly engaging. So too are your conversational consequences that ripple out to shape friendships, romances, party member life expectancies and the fate of entire species. No serious RPG gamer should miss this.
Final Fantasy XV
When it comes to JRPGs, Square Enix's Final Fantasy series is king. It's truly amazing to see how far this franchise has come, from the 8-bit bleepy-bloopy days to XV, a 3D open-world extravaganza that's an absolute visual tour de force.
This time around you'll be sliding into the impossibly stylish boots of Prince Noctus, an heir apparent who's road-tripping his way across a fantasy Route 66 with his retinue party of three.
The plan is to have one last adventure before his arranged marriage. What he gets is a jaunt that snowballs into a desperate quest to prevent the land of Lucis' end of days.
Gameplay-wise, you'll be treated to an incredibly rich and beautiful open-world that may be traversed via your bad-ass Cadillac, or the OG fans can opt for rideable chocobos.
Combat is a flashy, real-time affair that rewards you for doing shrewd flanking moves and expertly-timed parries.
Likewise, there's a deep magic system that will have you grinding towards an ever-growing array of pyrotechnical Elemancy and Arcana attacks. This is triple-digit hours well spent.
Dragon Age Inquisition
This is it, folks. Come witness the last true must-play RPG ever made by BioWare, one time luminaries of this great genre. (For the record: I still very much hope that statement gets proven wrong in the near future.) Before the nosedives that were Mass Effect Andromeda and Anthem, BioWare decided to fashion Dragon Age: Inquisition, concluding chapter of the universally praised Dragon Age: Origins.
Inquisition was forged carefully, and the end result is a sharply-written dark fantasy that lasts for hours and cuts deep by the time those end credits come. This is a fantastically immersive RPG experience that essentially fuses the best parts of the first two Dragon Age games.
What's the basic gist? Well, as opposed to games past where you were a Witcheresque Grey Warden or The Champion of Kirkwall, you're a chosen one named the Inquisitor. You need to recruit a diversity-plus band of heroes and seal a demon-spewing Breach.
Needless to say, this story starts with a bang and the voice acting is top notch. Even better, this is a beautifully-rendered world with deep combat that rewards the strategists and quick-fingered alike. Put simply, Dragon Age Inquisition is the high-resolution realisation of a D&D dungeon master's dream.
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
I don't care if you played it last-gen or somehow never got around to playing it, you'll be compelled to do it all again if you play the first hour of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Special Edition.
This is an RPG experience that truly grasps the all-important "role-playing" part of the genre's initialism. No matter how you want to play, you're rewarded with progression in Skyrim.
This really hits home when a stray arrow hits you in the chest and you get a notification that your armour has levelled-up.
There are no fixed skill trees, and you're free to play however you like, then change that completely when you want to muscle-up in another area. It's as liberating as it is nuanced because it incentivises you to try new things once you've maxed out a particular tree.
This also means you can play and explore in completely different ways on repeat play-throughs, which is why you should absolutely avoid as much of the main quest as possible and get lost in parts of the world you've yet to see.
It helps sweeten the deal that this Special Edition of the game is the prettiest version to play on console and comes with a stack of DLC that amounts to hundreds of hours of content.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
While a big fan of massive, sprawling open-world RPGs, there's something to be said for an RPG experience that can be feasibly experienced in its entirety because it doesn't outstay its Hobbit-sized welcome (the book, not the movies). Case in point, South Park: The Fractured But Whole.
If you've never played an RPG before, this is the best place to begin. For starters, it's an improvement on The Stick of Truth, and doesn't actually require you to play that preceding game to appreciate it.
If you did play Stick of Truth, you'll know that The Fractured But Whole is much improved as an RPG in terms of, well, everything.
What hasn't changed is the quality of the humour, and that's why first-time role-players can be laughing their arses off while they learn what makes a great turn-based RPG so appealing.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla
At this point in the proceedings, the hardcore RPGers among you may be aghast at the sight of an AC game on this list. Your indignation is not altogether unwarranted – technically this series has been leaning into action and stealth, rather than stats rolling. That said, the modern AC has evolved greatly from the earlier ones where you could simply stroll up and one-hit shank somebody.
Tons and tons of RPG systems permeate this vast open-world Viking experience. Hell, try to assassinate somebody without the right perks and XP behind you, and you'll graze them with a shaving cut.
Fans of the franchise detected this slow advance into RPG during AC: Origins and then AC Odyssey. Today's Valhalla is positively bristling with XP earning, perk trees and more conversation dialogue trees (and resulting consequences) than you can poke a halberd at. You also have a more than decent range of customisation options to sculpt YOUR Eivor, a Viking warrior who has real estate expansion designs on 8th century England.
From a simply desire for beachfront property and the need to exchange your culture with others – typically via the medium of thrown axes – you will become drawn into larger concerns. Some of these will, surprisingly, require diplomacy and mercantile skills. Others, bigger axes.
Dark Souls III
Let's dip back into some controversial territory. For Souls fans, there is great division over which game in the series is best. For instance, while certain segments of the fanbase rag on Dark Souls II, it has some of the best PvP of the series.
Given the strides FromSoftware made in Dark Souls III to encourage first-timers to try the punishing gameplay, this is the best place to start if you're curious about the series but never made the jump into the abyss.
That said, don't expect this to be easy; it's just a little kinder with the training wheels. This is very much still a Souls game where death is the greatest teacher.
You will die. A lot.
But that's okay because you're supposed to. If you persevere enough, though, Dark Souls III is the kind of punishing action-RPG that'll make you determined to come back for more.
Beat it once and tackle it again with completely different proficiencies (magic is particularly fun). Plus, there's always PvP if you're up for the next-level challenge.
Though rumoured for the longest time, Bethesda deserves a hell of a lot of kudos for the gumption to announce a game fewer than six months before its release.
Ultimately, Fallout 4 is one of those games that was going to be popular regardless of how much it iterated on what came before.
Thankfully, it iterated in some fascinating directions. It's not the prettiest game, but that lack of eye candy is more than offset by the treasure trove of goodies you'll find in the gameplay.
This particular post-apocalyptic world is vast, rivalled only by the depth of the gameplay mechanics.
All the usual Fallout-themed role-playing stuff is there, albeit with an added layer of polish that's a welcome change (like the much-improved shooting).
The best bit, though, is the game within a game: the option to build your own settlements splices, a post-apocalyptic take on SimCity with a layered RPG world. If you're done with the core game, there's some quality DLC to choose from and, beyond this, mod support for even more content.
Fallout 4 is one of those games that will, if you become as addicted to it as you should, quickly prove it's well worth the bottle-cap investment long before you tire of it.
Yakuza: Like A Dragon
Here's another double take for those of you who think they know a series. This continuation of Sega's beloved crime-drama series could not be a bigger departure from previous entries.
For starters, Like A Dragon comes with rewarding turn-based combat (all its predecessors relied on mashy, combo-centric fisticuffs), as well as a jobs system that is a hallmark of many traditional Japanese RPGs.
Case in secondary point:we have a new hero this time around. The quiet and reserved Kazuma Kiryu has been shelved in favour of an extroverted smart-arse Yakuza wannabe named Ichiban Kasuga.
Combat is gratifyingly tactical -- a system that rewards you for shrewdly levelling up and pairing your party members to nullify particular 'type' threats. Other key strategies revolve around enemy positioning, securing makeshift weapons and even using hazardous environmental hazards to your benefit (read: passing traffic). It's lots of fun, and surprisingly deep.
Side bonus: this wide overworld is dotted with mini-game diversions and the expected interactive arcade versions of classic Sega video games. I'm talking OutRun, Super Hang-On, Space Harrier, Virtua Fighter 2 and Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown. They're worth it for the price of admission alone!
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
I'm playing The Witcher 3 again. Any time there's a reminder that I need to return to the Continent to finish off the myriad of side quests that still haunt me to this day, it's a good day.
The Continent has fast become my favourite holiday destination. This time, the reminder was some sweet new visual fidelity (or higher frame rate) for the Xbox One X version of the game.
The Witcher 3 is so addictive it's one of those games where I wish I could get hit by a bus in just the right way that I'm somehow incapable of working, but can still play games.
That would require some Witcher-level magic, considering writing and gaming both require hands, eyes and mind to be working. Sigh.
Every time I get back into The Witcher 3, though, I lose dozens of hours chasing down side quests, occasionally returning to the main campaign when I feel guilty, slaying monsters way above my level, and forgetting what I'd intended on doing when I first started playing.
This is one of those rare RPG experiences that truly deserves all the praise heaped upon it, and can be enjoyed on easy mode for the story, characters and world, or can provide a satisfying (and tactical) challenge if you up the difficulty.Amazon prices last updated on 18 September, 2021 at 10:01 am
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