Roleplaying games (or RPGs) are probably my favourite type of game to play. Despite the popularity of battle royale focused gaming at the moment, there’s something about roleplaying games that will always catch my attention.
The main thing about roleplaying games is that the unlock aspects of our imaginations, making the impossible seem entirely real. Whether you’re into survival during a zombie apocalypse, exploring fantasy-based open worlds or slaying dragons, RPG’s have it covered.
They’re my favourite for a reason. The escapism they provide is more than just therapeutic, it’s necessary. The real world can be a tiresome place, so the ability to switch off and become someone else for a bit is actually really productive for a creative person.
Anyway, if you’re new to gaming or perhaps, like me, you’re just getting to grips with the world of console games, here are my top four roleplaying games that will never get old (because they’re awesome as well as timeless).
Bethedsa Softworks – Console and PC
2011 was an important year for many reasons, but perhaps the most notable of all is that it was the year that Skyrim was released upon the world. This game is possibly my favourite ever roleplaying game, and it’s racked up almost as much of my free time as playing WoW has. Although it’s actually the fifth game in The Elder Scrolls series, it’s the one that introduced me fully to the franchise after originally playing TES IV: Oblivion on Xbox 360. It won a ton of Game of The Year awards, and it’s not hard to see why.
The frozen north lands of Skyrim are breathtaking, to be honest. You enter into the game as a prisoner and progress through the story to become the Dragonborn. Without spoiling the story too much for anyone who hasn’t played Skyrim before, take it from me that the scenery, lore and challenges will hook you straight in. There’s a wealth of paths to explore in Skyrim, and at no point does the progression feel so obviously linear that you’ll get bored.
Skyrim had a massive graphical update in 2016 with the release of Skyrim: Special Edition in order to remaster the game for new consoles such as Xbox One, PS4 and Windows. Plus if you enjoy modifications (mods) in your gameplay, Skyrim has a thriving community of creatives who create free downloadable modifications to add into the game.
If you’re looking for immersive gameplay and storytelling to go alongside your adventures, Skyrim is a fantastic way to venture into the world of roleplaying games.
The Elder Scrolls: Online – Tamriel Unlimited
Bethesda Softworks – PC and Console
Another instalment in The Elder Scrolls series, ESO (Elder Scrolls Online) is, you guessed it, an online game based in the Elder Scrolls universe. Set on the same continent (albeit further south) than Skyrim, ESO gives players the opportunity to explore and adventure alongside other online players from around the world at the same time.
The main difference with ESO is that it falls into the MMORPG (massively multiplayer online roleplaying game) category as opposed to Skyrim’s singular style of play. The multiplayer aspect of ESO is great, but can also take a bit of getting used to, as can some of the dungeon and battleground aspects of the game. However, for first or third person gameplay alone, it’s another exciting chapter in the Elder Scrolls saga.
The world of ESO is constantly evolving, with the latest expansion featuring the homeland of the Khajiit, Elsweyr, so there are always plenty of new areas to explore in the high-fantasy world of Tamriel.
World Of Warcraft
Blizzard – PC
Ok, so I’m a huge fan of World of Warcraft as you probably know by now. But there’s a very good reason for that. It’s the same reason that it’s the world’s number one MMORPG (see above). It’s awesome.
The central story of the game revolves around two feuding factions: the Horde and the Alliance. You get to pick your side when you create your character, and you can develop their abilities and experiences as you make your way through the massive (and I mean massive) world of Azeroth and beyond.
Storytelling and lore is central to World of Warcraft, and you’ll soon find that you become emotionally invested in one (or maybe both) of your chosen faction’s struggles and emotional conflicts. This is no ordinary ‘kill stuff, get rewards’ kind of game. You’ll find yourself immersed in the history and player advancement challenges. WoW also has Player versus Player (PVP) opportunities too in the form of battleground and arena matches. 3
One of the things I like most about World of Warcraft is that you can play the first 20 levels for free to see if it’s the kind of roleplaying game you’ll actually enjoy playing. So really, you have no excuse not to give it a try. Be warned though, it can get addictive!
Lionhead/Microsoft Studios – Console and PC
Ah, Fable. One of the very first console games to introduce me to the RPG, and a game that showed me exactly how much personality can be packed into a set of pixels. Fable was really unique in that it was one of the first roleplaying games to heavily factor in things like player choice and consequence, which then, in turn, had an effect on both the storyline and eventually, your character’s appearance. Do evil things, end up looking evil, do good things and end up all lovely and shiny, etc.
But how easy is it to always do the right thing?
Fable was loved by so many, and still is, despite the abrupt closure of Lionhead in 2016, seemingly grinding any future developments of the franchise to a halt. Microsoft bought the studio out and so thankfully, there might be a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel for fans. There’s been whispering of a Fable 4, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Although I hope that it is getting a reboot, because Fable was an amazing, amazing roleplaying game, and I’d highly recommend anyone to play through the games again from one to three, ignoring the now somewhat clunky-looking graphics and taking the story and experiences into account instead. 1
There’s no danger of me falling out of love with roleplaying games any time soon. There are also some other major franchises in the RPG category that I haven’t included here because for me, these four will always hold the top spots. I’d love to hear what your choices would be though!
Let me know in the comments what your top four recommended roleplaying games would be and don’t forget to catch up with me on Twitter or on Mixer, where I’m slowly but steadily getting into the world of streaming. Watch this space on that front!