Computer Console Role-Playing Game is the daughter of the tabletop role-playing game. If you look at the first CRPGs, it’s hard not to feel the influence of Dungeons & Dragons: the same numerical parameters such as experience bar, level, hit points, collecting valuable loot, pumping skills, and a small group of heroes whose goal is to go somewhere far, pursuing a great plan. On their way, they fight with enemies, take trophies, earn a living, improve their skills, and have fun in every possible way. It would be nice to go on such a trip, right?
There is hardly a person who at least once would not want to escape from reality with its dullness and a bunch of problems, to be someone else in another world. Fighting evil and saving the planet sounds much nobler than staring at the monitor in the office every day, and their dragons and princesses are not far away.
Classic RPGs are good because they immerse us, ordinary people, into an alternative reality thanks to a well-thought-out world, character characters, and the ability to choose (or create a convincing illusion of choice) where the plot will lead the player. Of course, borrowing some elements from them was not done without mixing them with other genres, but that’s more interesting.
THE WITCHER SERIES
Surely everyone who read Sapkowski’s novels imagined what it was like to live in such a harsh world inhabited by thousands of monsters and people who sometimes turn out to be worse than any monsters. And this world seems so natural mainly due to its cruelty.
Even though the last book seemed to cut off all paths to the continuation of the story, it becomes clear that it’s not all over yet by launching the game. The witcher was severely injured but survived. But now, he does not remember almost anything from his past life. Nevertheless, he will continue to fight evil in all its manifestations. The game’s plot is thought out just as well as in the books.
With each part of the series, the gameplay has changed. For example, in the second part, it became possible to overcome obstacles such as low walls and fences, and the combat changed somewhat, making a bias towards action RPG. We finally learned how to play Gwent in the third, adored by dwarves and utterly incomprehensible to Geralt.
FALLOUT AND FALLOUT 2
For many, Fallout is the love of a lifetime. The character development system, unusual, memorable characters scattered around the map, an open world with many opportunities, and a perfectly sustained post-apocalyptic atmosphere – this is what immortalized Fallout.
The developers have created a unique world: it seems that events unfold in the distant future after a nuclear war, but everything is done in a retrofuturistic style that evokes associations with the 40-the 50s of the last century. There are a lot of really cool elements and features in the first parts of the series, but perhaps the most pleasant thing is the ability to become anyone and do anything. If you want to try on the role of a villain, you can become, for example, a cruel mercenary, and if you are closer to the part of a good guy, exterminate mutants, free slaves and keep order.
Both games were released in the late 90s, so modern gamers who are put off by graphics can hardly be blamed. The following parts, of course, look prettier but in many ways depart from the canons set at the beginning of the series. So it remains to be hoped for a reprint of the legend.
BALDUR’S GATE SERIES
Baldur’s Gate is not just the first famous BioWare project. And it is the most classic of the genre. The first game in the series was released in 1998 and immediately acquired a whole army of fans.
The reasons for this are many. The plot was built based on the AD&D second edition universe. At that time, an open world of colossal dimensions could be explored as much as one’s heart desired. The player will have to search for adventure, leading a whole group of characters. At the same time, each of them has his character, desires, and attitudes toward his leader’s actions – if you do something that the character does not like, he can even send you to hell and go home.
In 2012, to the delight of gamers languishing from longing for their favorite series, a re-release was released – Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition. You can download it on Steam.
THE ELDER SCROLLS SERIES
When it comes to The Elder Scrolls series, you most likely will not even remember that there was something before Morrowind. The thing is that the first part, Arena, did not become successful, and the second, Daggerfall. However, it made the developers’ wallets thicker and was famous for many bugs, for which it was popularly called Buggerfall.
The Elder Scrolls is a legend in the gaming industry, a real heavyweight among RPGs. The games don’t force you to gallop through the storyline and don’t place any severe restrictions on the player. And the world is vast and keeps many secrets. If you want to wander around the world, look for something interesting in the caves – please, you can return to the quest chain later, having walked enough.
The character leveling system looks much more logical than it is customary in an RPG: those skills that you constantly use improve. For example, in Oblivion, if you always run, athletics are pumped, and the more you heal with the help of magic, the better recovery works.
DIVINITY: ORIGINAL SIN SERIES
The feature of the first part of this dilogy of turn-based RPGs was the management of two spells created at the start, between which various relationships could develop in the future – from love to competition. In the second part, such a system was abandoned instead of returning to the classic party RPG format with the possibility of hiring party members.
Both games boast near-total interactive environments, which provide substantial tactical opportunities and a well-thought-out elemental interaction system that allows you to minimize damage from enemy spells and deal colossal combo damage.
STAR WARS: KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC SERIES
“RPG by BioWare” and “Sequel by Obsidian Entertainment” have long become almost independent brands in CRPG. Seeing the names of these studios in the description of the game, we immediately know that a well-thought-out storyline awaits us, lively and unique characters, and a complex system of relationships within the party when certain characters can either become more robust due to reaching a high level of trust, or even quarrel with the protagonist and go over to the side of his enemies.
In addition to all this, both KotoRs are remembered for their excellent integration of the mechanics of the DnD role-playing system into the Star Wars setting and great side quests with many options for passing.
DRAGON AGE SERIES
The Dragon Age series has grown so much that, in addition to games, there are also comics, TV series, cartoons, and even books. And it’s all thanks to a well-written universe.
The action takes place in a world reminiscent of ours in the late Middle Ages. However, it is inhabited not only by people but also by elves, gnomes, and qunari – horned giants who intend to impose their aggressive religion on others. In general, each race worships its gods.
The world is made up of separate countries ruled by people. Dwarven states are underground. But the elves were not as lucky as in The Witcher – they were exterminated for a long time, and now the unfortunate pointy-eared creatures are forced to live in specially designated quarters or even roam.
ARCANUM: OF STEAMWORKS AND MAGICK OBSCURA
Even though Arcanum ruined its developers, it has become a genuine cult. The game’s plot is thought out to the smallest detail, and the characters are written in such fact as if they had descended from the pages of a book.
The style of the game caused genuine delight among many because harmoniously combining magic with steampunk technologies is not an easy task. Nevertheless, the developers completed it by mixing these ingredients in equal proportions. The opposition between science and magic formed the basis of everything in the game.
In addition, the character development system, atmospheric music, tactical turn-based combat, and a gigantic world that can hardly be fully explored in one playthrough received all kinds of praise.
ICEWIND DALE SERIES
The gameplay of Icewind Dale is practically the same as Baldur’s Gate. However, the games in the series were warmly received by critics and gamers, and the musical design received many laudatory odes.
The game takes place in the same Forgotten Realms, taking the player to the frozen northern regions of the world, but its emphasis is on combat and high complexity, which compensates for the linearity of the plot. Initially, the developers planned to build it based on the Icewind Dale trilogy by Robert Salvatore, a heroic fantasy, one of the first works in the Forgotten Realms universe. But in the end, they decided that it would be better to move the action a few decades ago, so some book characters never appeared in the game.
PILLARS OF ETERNITY
In Pillars of Eternity, you will again become the leader of an entire squad that will have to complete quests and fight. Assistants in the amount of a maximum of 5 people will provide serious support in battles and help reveal exciting plot details.
And it unfolds in the universe of Eora and tells a truly terrible story – recently, children began to be born without a soul. The protagonist’s task is to find a way to deal with this scourge.
The game was released thanks to the Kickstarter site, and it was there that funds for development were collected. The project raised more than $ 4 million, and the amount was a record for computer games. As a result, we got a solid CRPG game and a worthy successor to Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale.
BALDUR’S GATE 3
The Baldur’s Gate series is already in our selection, but that position refers to its classic releases. Baldur’s Gate 3, on the other hand, is the new installment in the lineup by Larian Studios, responsible for the Divinity series.
The modern game differs from the classic ones, but it also inherits some elements. The authors return gamers to the Forgotten Realms, offering to take part in an unforgettable story.
The critical components of the genre are in place – a large selection of races and classes, many prepared characters and the ability to create your protagonist, turn-based battles, skill checks for each of the actions performed (moreover, literally, with a roll of a virtual die), branching dialogues, choices and their consequences, and much more. The list of innovations includes beautiful graphics, cooperative multiplayer, and the latest edition of D&D at the heart of the role-playing system.
One of the highest-rated RPGs of 2019 has arrived straight from Estonia, where ZA/UM is based.
Disco Elysium is notable for several unique features, including a cynical and politically incorrect plot, a massive amount of text, and an original role-playing system in which players can use two and a half dozen skills – voices that live in the head of the protagonist. Here you will have to argue with skills and convince locked boxes to open, discuss the ideas of communism with your interlocutors, and be surprised at the unexpected consequences of your decisions.
If you are going to plunge into the world of Disco Elysium, get ready that you need to read a lot here – and not skip the dialogues, but think about the meaning of the words because what was said now can come back to haunt much later. Fortunately, the game has Russian-language localization, which means there are no obstacles.
PILLARS OF ETERNITY II: DEADFIRE
After the successful Pillars of Eternity, Obsidian set about developing a sequel released three years later. The developers have kept the gameplay and world familiar from the first part but presented a new adventure, during which the heroes had to go on a ship to the unexplored Deadfire archipelago.
Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire offers a compelling story about chasing a fugitive god, detailed character customization, D&D-based gameplay, and maritime content related to travel on your ship (pirate atmosphere included) and fighting dangerous opponents. This is a good CRPG, worthy of a place in the library of every fan of the genre.
Tyranny is not an ordinary game because you can try on the guise of a villain in it. Traveling through a world devastated by war, you will act as the viceroy of the new ruler who conquered these lands. Investigator, judge, and executioner in one person, you will resolve disputes, investigate crimes and make difficult decisions – in the best traditions of computer role-playing games, with far-reaching consequences.
Tyranny is notable for its accents on the variability of events and the detailed study of characters, but be prepared to face vast canvases of text – it seems that the game developers from Obsidian do not know how otherwise. Given your character’s status, you will be able to enjoy rich resources and almost unlimited power from the very beginning. How to apply what you got – decide for yourself: strengthen the power of the new tyrant or try to build your order.
SOLASTA: CROWN OF THE MAGISTER
Another tabletop-inspired RPG: Solasta: Crown of the Magister, is based on the Dungeons and Dragons SRD 5.1 rules. Here, much is determined by the roll of virtual dice, and the characteristics and skills of the characters become the decisive argument in any situation. The developers have tried to transfer them as accurately as possible to the computer screens.
Otherwise, we have a typical fantasy RPG: with flexible character customization, a big dynamic world, an epic storyline, and other obligatory aspects of the genre. They are mixed with an emphasis on the verticality of locations: the game teaches you to think in three dimensions and make allowances for the position and size of the characters. So, having climbed a hill, you can push a heavy object onto the enemies who have settled down below, and by squeezing into a narrow passage, you can block the path for an overall enemy.
ATOM RPG: POST-APOCALYPTIC INDIE GAME
Domestic video game developers have repeatedly tried to make their Fallout, and it seems that AtomTeam succeeded. ATOM RPG is a post-apocalyptic RPG with a unique flavor, in which you will explore the Soviet Wastes, spread over the territory of the former USSR after the atomic war.
The game offers a GURPS-inspired role-playing system, various skills, each of which affects dialogue and gameplay features, addictive turn-based combat, a vast amount of activities (even fishing in a post-nuclear world!), hundreds of quests, a non-linear story, and much more.
ATOM RPG has a standalone add-on called Trudograd, which continues the original game’s plot and gives gamers new game mechanics.
ENCASED: A SCI-FI POST-APOCALYPTIC RPG
Going to the anomalous Wasteland, players will explore a world that does not live according to the laws familiar to the average layman. Here they have to maneuver between opposing factions, develop characters, complete quests, fight in turn-based battles, and change the fate of the world as a result of these adventures.
The game takes place in a fantasy universe, and gamers have to save the world and establish their kingdom! And not just to install, but to develop and do everything possible for its prosperity.
With the expansion of the territory, conflicts with neighbors are inevitable, and relationships with partners depend on the decisions made. Here you need to participate in political intrigues and clear dungeons; the wealth of game content will envy many competitors in the genre. It’s a great RPG, and if you haven’t played it yet, catch up quickly!
THE AGE OF DECADENCE
The name of this game accurately reflects its world: you will find yourself in a world going through an era of decline. This unusual setting mixes sci-fi, post-apocalyptic, and a bit of fantasy, and the story tells an unusually down-to-earth tale that will turn in the direction you choose.
The Age of Decadence is a challenging game. The main character is not a born killer, which means that each opponent will become a severe obstacle to the final. At the same time, the role-playing system offers many ways to develop, and the backstory of the character will affect the quests, experience, and gameplay. You can talk about the project for a long time, but why, if it’s better to see it at once? On The Age of Decadence page, you will find a demo to help you make your final purchase decision.
PATHFINDER: WRATH OF THE RIGHTEOUS
A worthy sequel to Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous – the guys at Owlcat Games took everything that worked well in the first part, improved it, and solved the original problems. As a result, we have an excellent CRPG that has become one of the highlights of the gaming industry in 2021.
The key innovation was the system of mythic paths – your decisions will change the hero’s appearance and turn him into an Angel, Demon, Trickster, Aeon, and other characters, endowing them with the appropriate abilities. The consequences of the choice are more tangible than before, which places an incredible responsibility on you.
KING ARTHUR: KNIGHT’S TALE
Tactical turn-based RPG, the plot of which turns the legend of King Arthur into a dark horror in the spirit of dark fantasy. Arthur, resurrected after an unsuccessful battle, has become a troubled immortal king, and only his longtime adversary, Mordred, can stop him. You will play for him.
At the round table, you have to gather brave knights and then go to explore a nightmarish version of Britain. Moreover, this journey will be very unpredictable because you can turn allies against you with decisions, and the campaign develops in the style of roguelike games.
The already mentioned Fallout inspired the long-awaited continuation of the series. Triquel again proposes to take control of a detachment of desert rangers and, having built a combat truck, set off to explore the post-apocalyptic surroundings.
The plot, as always, is non-linear (even too much), and you are waiting for moral dilemmas, a deep tactical combat system, an excellent atmosphere of a dead world, and pleasant music. According to fans, the third-party turned out better than the second, although even if there is no such background, the world of Wasteland is still open to you.
Inspired by the classic games of the genre, and more specifically Fallout, UnderRail is an old-school isometric RPG that does its best to play on a sense of nostalgia. And she does it – it is clear that the game was created by fans of the genre for the same fans, so the gameplay elements are worked out and admired.
The pumping system is also built-in in an exciting way, encouraging exploration of the rich game world. By the way, it resembles the Metro – according to the plot, in the distant future, the surface of the Earth became uninhabitable, so people found a new home underground and then, as always, unleashed a war.
TOWER OF TIME
The feature of this game was the “arrow of time,” which allows you to control the battles fully – by slowing down time, you can draw the trajectory of the movement of fighters or spells with the cursor. Thanks to this opportunity, no battle will be similar to another, and you are unlikely to get tired of creating and inventing new tactics.
The rest of the game is a classic CRPG with group dungeon clearing, adjustable leveling, a fascinating story, and other genre features.
NEVERWINTER NIGHTS SERIES
Neverwinter Nights is about 60 hours of adventure-filled life in the Forgotten Realms world. The gameplay is built based on D&D third edition. Before this series, the developers from BioWare had already managed to fill their hands by releasing the famous Baldur’s Gate, so the world turned out to be worked out to the smallest detail.
The player will become one of the Academy of Heroes of Neverwinter students. As usual, the city is in trouble – a plague mows down its inhabitants, and the teachers of the Academy are killed by unidentified villains, whom you have to take revenge.
The second part of the series was released by Obsidian Entertainment, retaining all the essential elements while finalizing the class system, story, and dialogue quality, adding many pleasant little things and main exciting things, for example, the ability to upgrade your castle.
Gamers remembered this non-linear fantasy RPG of the early 2000s for its unique magic system. All spells were based on a combination of several (from 2 to 4) runes opened during the passage.
It was not enough to know its formula and have enough mana to cast a spell – it was also necessary to draw the runes corresponding to this spell on the screen with the mouse. Although it required good memory and reflexes, such a system allowed every gamer to feel like a real wizard.
Gothic is a traditional RPG in every sense. Leveling the character here, of course, is one of the primary tasks. The main characteristics, skills, and abilities in Gothic practically do not differ from most genre representatives—still a classic. However, in the third part, the role-playing system has undergone some changes, including introducing a reputation parameter. You can get additional buns by completing tasks for different guilds, residents of specific locations, and tribes.
TORMENT: TIDES OF NUMENERA
Children born in the year of release of the legendary Planescape: Torment has already celebrated its majority by releasing its ideological successor. Although these two games share such a substantial period, Torment: Tides of Numenera carefully preserves the traditions of its predecessor.
As in the original, fundamental questions about the structure of the world are raised here, the same principle of storytelling remains, and much more of what we fell in love with in Planescape: Torment. But the setting has changed: if before everything was controlled by magic in its most classical sense, now it appears thanks to artifacts and technologies. In addition, the plot develops around life, not death, as in the original.
MIGHT AND MAGIC SERIES
Even though the spin-off, Heroes of Might and Magic, has become much more popular than its predecessor games, the Might and Magic series is a massive achievement in the gaming industry. The first game is older than many of our readers because it was released in 1986. An advantageous difference from other games in a fantasy setting was the introduction of elements of science fiction.
Old games are good because they make you turn on your head and sometimes beat it against the monitor. The developers focused on exploring dungeons and a whole group of heroes in the original series. Battles with monsters here are not particularly dynamic, but not without a tactical component, which will please players who are not looking for easy ways.
In 2014, the tenth part was released, reviving interest in the series, although it seemed that no one expected this. Although since then, at the moment, the series has not received a continuation.