The best RPGs on PlayStation 4 in 2021

Throw yourself into some of the most engaging role-playing games on the platform.

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Role-playing games have come a long way since their humble pen-and-paper beginnings. Two-dimensional graphics and text-based dialogue have been left by the wayside for high-fidelity visuals and Hollywood-calibre voice acting. Find the right RPG and it’s easy to lose countless hours as you’re digitally transported to an immersive game world.

The Outer Worlds

Best PS4 RPGs: The Outer Worlds
  • RELEASE DATE: 25/10/19
  • DEVELOPER: Obsidian Entertainment
  • PUBLISHER: Obsidian Entertainment
Amazon Price: From $51.41
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Once known as a scrappy "B-team" developer of off-season RPGs, a series of hits elevated Obsidian into being one of the absolute best in the biz. The Outer Worlds brings this team's impressive pedigree to bear in what's best described as a spiritual successor to Fallout. It's all there – a similar role-playing system, the charming retro-futuristic visuals and script that's dripping with black comedy moments.

Interestingly, you can unlock a ship – your very own Millennium Falcon of sorts – that will act as a central hub space. As you fast travel out into the vast unknown, you can find and recruit crewmates who all come with their own stories, amusing hang-ups and dangerous personal missions to attempt. You may be flanked by two companions at a time, and each of your space buddies can be nudged towards certain combat roles.

Aside from exploring and "coming in peace" when you meet new aliens (read: shoot to kill, shoot to kill), The Outer Worlds is big on dialogue. What we have here is an impressively branching storyline that can be shaped by your trigger finger just as much as your sharp tongue. Honestly, video game scripts are rarely this laugh-out-loud funny.

Fallout 4

Best PS4 RPGs: Fallout 4
  • RELEASE DATE: 10/11/15
  • DEVELOPER: Bethesda
  • PUBLISHER: Bethesda
Amazon Price: From $27.11
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Bethesda Game Studios knows their RPGs, and Fallout 4 is one of the most immersive and impressive open-world wastelands you can hope to explore. Post-apocalyptic hellscapes are fairly ubiquitous in video gaming, but few wastelands are this jam-packed with wacky characters, weird foes and sordid little crime scenes of environmental storytelling. Basically, this whole place is radder than a radscorpion.

And you'll get to explore it all as exactly who you want to be. After a quick player customisation in the relative safety of Vault 111, you'll groundhog your way up to enter a United States that's received the most extreme nuclear makeover imaginable. As you pick your way through the scrap and super mutants, every decision you make will determine how you'll survive and evolve. Using Fallout's proprietary "S.P.E.C.I.A.L." perk system, you can be anything from a power-armoured soldier to a charismatic smooth talker. You can choose from hundreds of perks and develop your own play style.

Better yet, Fallout 4 leverages an incredibly versatile combat system called V.A.T.S. Long story short: you can play it like a turn-based pen and paper game (with gory kill animations) or as a first-person shooter. Alternatively, don't play either way – use the base building system to set up a ton of turrets pointed at a kill zone. Automate your murder!

Kingdom Hearts III

Best PS4 RPGs: Kingdom Hearts III
  • RELEASE DATE: 11/02/19
  • DEVELOPER: Square Enix
  • PUBLISHER: Square Enix
Amazon Price: Check site for current pricing
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There's a subset of gamers who have nothing but disdain for the Kingdom Hearts series. They look at the cover of these interactive storybooks and see nothing but a weird tonal mishmash.

Spiky-haired kids with improbably shaped swords fighting alongside pants-less sailor ducks and ...uh, whatever genus Goofy is. (Man? Dog? Dogman?) Even if you're an anti-KH hardliner, you need to get over yourself and sample what is truly one of the best games of 2019.

Admittedly, the plot here is a little crazy and a bit of prior knowledge goes a long way. That said, I have little doubt that the average RPGer will fall in love with these dazzling worlds and a real-time battle system that's as showy as it is deceptively deep.

If those features and the addictive grind to unlock greater keyblade transformations don't hook you, the weaponised Disney references will. Only the hardest of hearts could play this and not find themselves more on board than Jack Sparrow (some triple-digit hours later).

Read our Kingdom Hearts 3 review

Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom

Best PS4 RPGs: Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom
  • RELEASE DATE: 26/01/18
  • DEVELOPER: Level-5
  • PUBLISHER: Square Enix
Amazon Price: Check site for current pricing
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When recommending JRPGs to curious outsiders, I always find myself telling them that there's nothing quite like 2013's Ni no Kuni: Wrath of The White Witch.

Developed by Level-5 with animation by Studio Ghibli, White Witch combined luscious anime visuals, signature storytelling and a complex, classic-flavoured battle-system into an epic RPG experience. Oddly, now that it also has a sequel, there's... well, still nothing quite like it.

Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom may look like the exact same McCoy, but it has more in common with the Bandai Namco's Tales franchise or Suikoden than its predecessor. Revenant Kingdom has more or less nothing to do with the characters and setting you spent 50+ hours falling in love with during the last adventure.

This time you'll chum around with Roland, a pistol-packing "real world" politician who has barely escaped a nuke attack, and a cat-eared boy-king named Evan who's being usurped from his castle. Together, this mismatched duo will do battle (real-time this time around) against an army of mutinous mouse folk.

It sure sounds bizarre on paper, but I dare you not to fall hopelessly in love with Revenant Kingdom after a few hours.

Read our Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom review

Monster Hunter: World

Best PS4 RPGs: Monster Hunter: World
  • RELEASE DATE: 26/01/18
  • DEVELOPER: Capcom
  • PUBLISHER: Capcom
Amazon Price: From $60.19
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Straight out of the gate, hardcore RPGers ought to adjust their expectations on what sort of game MHW is. Go in with the knowledge that this is going to be light on story but heavy on action that hinges on how good your four-person hunting party is.

You should also prepare yourself for the fact that while this is the most accessible entry in the series yet, man, hunting dinosaurs sure is in-depth. Back in my day, we just bonked them on the head until they became collectable steaks.

Not so the case here. Pretty soon you'll fall into a feel-good grind of murderising monsters in very particular ways to reap specific rewards.

These rare trinkets, tusks and T-bones will then need to be fed into a complex crafting system that will yield increasingly potent (and laughably large) weapons to eliminate even larger residents of increasingly larger Jurassic Parks.

All that said, take this as both a glowing recommendation and a warning: monster huntin' is a black hole.

Read our Monster Hunter: World review

Dark Souls III

Best PS4 RPGs: Dark Souls III
  • RELEASE DATE: 23/3/16
  • DEVELOPER: Bandai Namco
  • PUBLISHER: FromSoftware
Amazon Price: From $61.72
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Here's a free warning if you're not up to speed with the works of FromSoftware. A fair percentage of the other RPGs on this list very much want you to finish them. The people who made those adventures can't wait for you to understand their meticulously designed gameplay systems as quickly as possible. They also want to make their lore bleedingly obvious, so you'll feel warm, snug and centred as the most powerful being in that world. Dark Souls rolls differently.

The only thing bleedingly obvious in Dark Souls III is that you're dog meat at large in a dark, confusing land of carnivores. Yep, this is an Action-RPG that will make you fight tooth and nail for everything. Better stats, better gear, a firm handle on what exactly what's gone so wrong in this place – everything.

All that being said, an incomparable sense of satisfaction and an enthralling narrative awaits any player who can adapt. Furthermore, the stamina-based combat is tough but fair, the builds/strategies available to you are vast, and the addiction becomes real. Dark Souls III isn't for the faint-hearted, but it's honestly some of the most rewarding gaming you can get.


Best PS4 RPGs: Bloodborne
  • RELEASE DATE: 25/03/15
  • DEVELOPER: FromSoftware
Amazon Price: Check site for current pricing
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Although it may be difficult to do, try to forget about FromSoftware's celebrated Dark Souls series for a moment. Bloodborne is arguably better.

This solitary IP exclusive took what I thought I understood about the depths of Hidetaka Miyazaki's sadism and threw all of the established rules out the window.

Whereas every previous action RPG he'd made would reward patience, measured nip-in-and-out attacks and rolling (so much rolling), Bloodborne favoured the bold and punished the indecisive. You wouldn't think it, but there is such a thing as safety through gung ho aggression.

With the finest third-person melee combat in gaming, mind-blowing art design and the Giger-est monsters imaginable, this is a gorgeously gothic must-have.

You'd do well to consider getting the GOTY edition too since the Old Hunters expansion is the gold standard of DLCs, thanks to it pumping some premium nightmare fuel into a tank already overflowing with it.

As far as platform exclusives go, this is a crown jewel that's just as coveted as anything produced by Naughty Dog. If you own a PS4, you owe it to yourself to own this.

Nier: Automata

Best PS4 RPGs: Nier Automata
  • RELEASE DATE: 10/03/17
  • DEVELOPER: PlatinumGames
  • PUBLISHER: Square Enix
Amazon Price: From $46.07
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Sometimes you need your action RPGs spliced with a whole bunch of bonkers. When that happens, you can rely on studios like PlatinumGames – whose pedigree includes the likes of Mad World and Bayonetta – to deliver the goods.

Just when you feel like you have Nier: Automata pegged, or figured out why PlatinumGames has stylised the game tile with a capital "R" that I refuse to use, there’s some new joyous discovery.

The characters are fantastic and, while the storytelling is quirky, you’ll get hooked wanting to know more. Thankfully, PlatinumGames hasn’t forgotten the all-important gameplay.

The studio’s patented knack for fisticuffs is firing on all cylinders in Nier, and it’s complemented by the kind of soundtrack you’ll want to listen to outside the game.

There are minor detractors – some technical issues, an empty-ish open-world and some iffy side quests – but really, you’ll be so addicted to the gameplay, so in love with the characters and so hooked on the storyline that these quibbles will barely scratch the surface.

Read our Nier: Automata review

Yakuza Like A Dragon

Best PS4 RPGs: Yakuza Like A Dragon
  • RELEASE DATE: 25/10/20
Amazon Price: From $92.15
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Don't let the Yakuza branding fool you here. This may be the eighth major release in this long-running series, but it's like nothing you've ever seen before. The most obvious switcheroo is the protagonist. Gone is the dour, veteran crim Kazuma Kiryu – this tale centres on the brash, smart alec stylings of a colourful, unproven thug named Ichiban Kasuga.

Even further to that, Yakuza Like A Dragon plays radically different to the tried-and-true fisticuffs you know. We've transitioned from real-time, random-bicycle-involved beatdowns to a turn-based RPG approach. You're also controlling a four-person battle team whose individual members can be aided via "assists" provided by the collective. The more sub-missions you engage in outside of confrontations, the more assists you'll earn for when talking your way out of situations stops being an option.

Last but not least, Like A Dragon will take you to a new, richly detailed locale. Forget the tired old streets of Kamurocho – most of your sordid deeds will take place in the exciting Yokohama district of Isezaki Ijincho. Tally up all these changes to setting, systems and street-wise thug protagonists, and Yakuza Like A Dragon becomes a change that's as good as a holiday

Dragon Age Inquisition

Best PS4 RPGs: Dragon Age: Inquisition
  • RELEASE DATE: 20/11/14
  • DEVELOPER: BioWare Edmonton
Amazon Price: From $39.00
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In the years leading up to the dark days of Mass Effect Andromeda, BioWare was still renowned as a studio that held a whole lot of RPG clout. Just look at Dragon Age Inquisition, which really could have gone either way.

Fans were understandably concerned after the divisive ending of Mass Effect 3 (had BioWare lost its magical mojo?), and Dragon Age II didn’t hit the lofty heights of the universally praised Dragon Age: Origins.

History would go on to prove that Dragon Age Inquisition is so good, it stands as a stark reminder of how BioWare can forge fantastically immersive RPG experiences that we really all should believe things will come right for new IP Anthem (just no loot crates, please).

By using its expert alchemy, BioWare fused the best parts of the first two Dragon Age games together and weaved a spell over anyone who played Inquisition.

The story starts with a bang, the voice acting is top notch, while the beautifully-rendered worlds and deep combat can keep you immersed for hours. Put simply, Dragon Age Inquisition is the high-resolution realisation of a D&D dungeon master’s dream.

Persona 5

Best PS4 RPGs: Persona 5
  • RELEASE DATE: 04/04/17
  • DEVELOPER: P-Studio
  • PUBLISHER: Deep Silver
Amazon Price: Check site for current pricing
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Atlus's anime wonder dazzles thanks to its mix of friendship building, stylish dungeons and speedy turn-based combat. Slot in a story oozing with darkness and taboo-busting confidence and you have the gold standard for JRPGs on PS4.

It all begins with a stellar presentation and an iconic art style that's utterly unique to P-Studio. Chase that with a God-tier soundtrack, and Persona 5 is only just starting to show you why it landed so many perfect scores from critics.

Persona 5 then seals the deal with its incredibly deep combat and an enthralling tale of a high school student, codenamed Joker, who balances his seemingly mundane life with a secret superhero gig in a volatile side-dimension.

Putting the (literal) work in at your "day job" comes with benefits in this wacky world, and it's the same deal with building meaningful relationships that transpose into Super Best Friend benefits when the chips are down.

You know what? I'm just going to have to admit it – I don't have the space required to adequately encapsulate how phenomenal Persona 5 is. Take it on blind faith. Buy this game. It'll change your life.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Best PS4 RPGs: Final Fantasy VII Remake
  • RELEASE DATE: 10/4/20
  • DEVELOPER: Square Enix
  • PUBLISHER: Square Enix
Amazon Price: From $57.59
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Come now, you didn't think we'd have a PlayStation list of the best RPGs and not feature this one. Final Fantasy VII is Sony royalty, a PS One title that was widely hailed as one of the best role-playing games ever fashioned by the hand of man. Remake is a love letter to that legend, and it recreates the essence of what many of us loved while also adding in a bunch of surprising new twists.

Beyond the incredible visual update, the most obvious change up is the battle system. Remake offers you a choice between the more turn-based stylings of yesteryear or a more modern hack 'n' slash affair that's big, satisfying martial arts combos with improbably sized swords. Whichever way you go, the collection and improving of Materia – slottable, stat-enhancing perks – is still critical to your success.

Remake also expands upon the already impressive wealth of side-quests by adding in a host of jobs, mini-games and action challenges that weren't present in the original. Couple all of those new facets with quality voice acting, along with a heartwarming orchestral soundtrack, and this is a do-over that we never dared to hope could be this good.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Best PS4 RPGs: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • RELEASE DATE: 11/11/11
  • DEVELOPER: Bethesda
  • PUBLISHER: Bethesda
Amazon Price: From $47.06
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Though Skyrim may look long in the tooth – especially if you aren't on PC and don't have access to a ton of mods that modernise its visuals – 200 Game of the Year awards don't lie. The role-playing experience on offer here truly is timeless. Be it your first run through this part of Tamriel, or your fifteenth, the quest to defeat Alduin the world-eating dragon shall dig its claws into you effortlessly.

Why? Because you can choose to undertake this epic quest as anybody or anything imaginable. You might be a ninja-esque cat-person master assassin, a Conan rip-off with more strength than sense, an evil elven Gandalf or anything in between. Even better, no matter which fantasy archetype you go with, you'll also be The Dragonborn, a prophesied hero who can acquire a smorgasbord of superpowers.

The only hitch to all of the aforementioned cosmic abilities: you'll need to earn them by going toe to razor claw with a series of dragons. Crafting your hero and losing yourself in the lore and lives of hundreds of NPCs is enthralling, but trust us – you never forget the first time you figure out a way to drop your very first dragon in Skyrim.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Best PS4 RPGs: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  • RELEASE DATE: 19/03/15
  • DEVELOPER: CD Projekt Red
  • PUBLISHER: CD Projekt
Amazon Price: From $49.00
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The White Wolf's epic journey is an RPG experience like no other on PS4. It's been made even more spectacular with a GOTY edition that's ridiculously overstuffed with DLC, making it a must-have part of any gaming library.

Why is this so amazing? It all comes down to pedigree. Polish developer CD Projekt Red cut its teeth by undertaking unofficial translations of ye olde BioWare games – RPG classics like the Baldur's Gate and Neverwinter series. Decades of sifting through the code of the best in the biz clearly rubbed off.

The Witcher 3 was CDPR's first real attempt at a true open-world game, and they didn't just nail it, they eclipsed their mentors in every metric. (Not to throw too much shade, but you need only look over the fence at the subpar Mass Effect Andromeda to confirm this fact.)

Other things to note: though demon-slayer Geralt is a cosmetically set-in-stone protagonist, you can effectively mould "your" version of him via a number of deep systems including potions, oils and upgradeable magical abilities.

It also has to be said that you're looking at some of the best quest writing in video games. A consequence-inflicting sub-mission in The Witcher 3 is more enthralling than the main narrative of most AAA games out there.

Amazon prices last updated on 27 September, 2021 at 02:01 am

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