Skip to main content

Best RPGs: top role-playing games for console and PC

Best RPGs: The Witcher 3's Geralt on an orange background
(Image credit: Future/CD Projekt Red)

Looking for the best RPGs (or roleplaying games) around? Then you've come to the right place.

RPGs offer some of the most immersive gaming experiences you can get, allowing you to step into the shoes of characters (often of your creation) as they set out on adventures that will see them slaying monsters, romancing sidekicks or even roaming the galaxy. 

Nowadays RPG elements, like skill trees and dialogue options, have crept their way into all genres of games but nothing quite beats sinking your teeth into a fully-fledged roleplaying game. 

That's why we've put together this list of the best RPGs you can play right now, with our roundup consisting of sensational roleplaying games across all platforms. So, if you're longing to level up, dying for a dice roll, or simply want to swing a sizeable sword around, read on for the best RPGs you can find across PC and console.

Best RPGs

Eivor defending herself with two axes against an attacker jumping at her

Assassin's Creed Valhalla (Image credit: Ubisoft)
A Viking adventure

Reasons to buy

+
Funniest game in the series
+
Eivor is brilliant protagonist
+
Every hub bursts with life

Reasons to avoid

-
Huge open world can feel sparse
-
Plot never gets you invested
-
Combat can feel messy

Platforms available: Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PS4, PS5, PC and Google Stadia

If you’ve ever thought that the sailing, raiding and pillaging life of a Viking is for you, then Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is probably as close as you’re ever going to get to give it a go.  

In recent years, the Assassin’s Creed games have begun to make the shift towards becoming RPGs and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is the latest. In our review we awarded Assassin’s Creed Valhalla 3.5 stars, praising the game’s memorable protagonist Eivor who’ll be your primary company on your grand adventure through the Viking Age. 

Not only is Valhalla one of the best RPGs, but it's also on our lists of the best PS5 games and the best Xbox Series X games.

A snowy mountain range

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Image credit: Bethesda)

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Get ready to lose sleep

Reasons to buy

+
Lots of mods on PC
+
Hundreds of hours of gameplay
+
Choice in how you play
+
Huge open world

Reasons to avoid

-
Bugs and glitches

Platforms available: PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, PS4, PC and Nintendo Switch

It may be over a decade old, but Skyrim remains one of the most vital RPGs out there  – primarily because of its incredible mod scene on PC. If you played this game back in 2011 and put it to bed, give it another go with some of the graphics and immersion mods. It's like playing Skyrim 1.5.

Bethesda has also released The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition, which includes all of the add-ons that have been released, along with some graphical overhauls. If you have a VR headset, then you can also get The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR for PC and PS4, which gives you an even more immersive experience.

If you've not played it all, where have you been? This open-world fantasy epic makes it possible to spend hundreds of satisfying hours without even tackling the main story. Few games craft as rich a world as this, and there's enough content to play the game as a whole bunch of different characters without feeling like you're being funneled into a single "hero" mold.

We won't spoil the main storyline, but let's just say it features more dragons than Game of Thrones, and you even get to wield some dragon power yourself. Skyrim is one of the best RPGs of all time and well worth playing before The Elder Scrolls 6 releases.

Disco Elysium characters on oil painting background

Disco Elysium (Image credit: ZA/UM)

Disco Elysium

A unique RPG

Reasons to buy

+
Some of the best writing in all of gaming
+
Wonderful art and soundtrack
+
A completely unique RPG

Reasons to avoid

-
 Not for action lovers 

Platforms available: Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Google Stadia

One of 2019’s finest titles, Disco Elysium is a dialogue-driven RPG set in a sizable, dystopian city.

Eschewing combat entirely, problems are instead solved with the use of the protagonist using the ‘Thought Cabinet’, a manifestation of dialogue choices and thematic decisions that permeate every aspect and decision made throughout the story.

It’s a risky decision, but one that pays off in no small part due to personable, politically ambiguous writing that is almost entirely player-driven. It’s a must-play for RPG fans and we advise picking up the Final Cut edition which adds full voice acting and extra content.

Yakuza character sitting in a movie theatre surrounded by sheep in suits

Yakuza: Like a Dragon (Image credit: Sega)

Yakuza: Like a Dragon

A bonkers RPG

Reasons to buy

+
Hilarious and unique
+
Side missions are just as interesting
+
Great entry to Yakuza series

Reasons to avoid

-
Some elements feel outdated

Platforms available: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and PC

The Yakuza games have always mixed mature themes with utterly bonkers shenanigans, and Yakuza: Like a Dragon really lets loose in the latter regard. While you can still expect plenty of hard-hitting plot points during the game’s lengthy and turbulent story, the entire fighting system has been re-imagined as a turn-based JRPG – and it works surprisingly well. 

Each character can take on various classes, such as becoming a crooning musician or cutesy J-Pop idol, and each has their own abilities in battle. It’s certainly a different approach, then, but one that really lets the series’ freak flag fly.

Persona 5 artwork showing Joker and friends

Persona 5 Royal (Image credit: ATLUS)

Persona 5 Royal

A great made better

Reasons to buy

+
Upgrades to mechanics and enemies
+
New content 
+
Challenging combat
+
Over 100 hours of gameplay

Reasons to avoid

-
Might be too long for some

Platforms available: PS4

Persona 5 might be the most stylish JRPG you’ll ever play. Everything from its animation, character designs, acid-jazz-inspired soundtrack, and even its menus, screams cool.

Telling the story of a group of jaded teens ‘changing the hearts’ of evildoers and touching on themes of abuse, breaking free from societal norms, and much more, there’s depth to Persona 5’s story and characters that only grows over the 100-hour campaign.

Part social sim, part dungeon-crawler with excellent turn-based combat, the 2020 Royal version adds even more on top of the already huge base game. There are new characters, new battle elements, an entirely new dungeon and a fresh semester. It’s the best version of PS4’s finest JRPG.

Demon's Souls main character standing in front of a statue

Demon's Souls (Image credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment)
Delightfully devilish

Reasons to buy

+
Next-gen visuals
+
Super-fast load times
+
Atmospheric locations

Reasons to avoid

-
Extreme difficulty may deter many
-
Clunky lock-on system
-
Can feel overwhelming

Platforms available: PS5

Demon’s Souls is a PS5 exclusive and it’s arguably one of the best-looking action RPGs you can play on Sony’s latest console. From the spectacular lighting and hulking bosses to its phenomenal texture detail, it’s a gorgeous sight to behold. Load times are also practically non-existent, too, with level transitions taking around three seconds at most. 

A remake of the 2009 PlayStation 3 game, with some excellent improvements, Demon’s Souls will test your gaming chops with its punishing difficulty. However, if you have the strength to persevere, the elation that awaits is frankly unsurpassed. Just be prepared to die hundreds of times before you emerge victoriously.

Geralt from Witcher 3 tossing a bag of coin

The Witcher 3 

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Monsters and myths aplenty

Reasons to buy

+
Memorable characters
+
A huge and varied open-world
+
Plenty to do outside main quests

Reasons to avoid

-
Long load times
-
Combat can feel clunky

Platforms available: PS4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch (PS5 and Xbox Series X|S coming in late 2022)

If you're after a classic western RPG with a great story, look no further than The Witcher 3. This game has more quality storytelling in some of its fetch side quests than some other games have in their main storylines.

You are Geralt, gruff and grey-haired monster hunter chap, a sort of heroic land pirate type. This is a deep-dive adventure you'll want to set a few months aside for, a bit like Skyrim.

These two duke it out as favorite accessible beards and swords RPGs, but The Witcher 3 snags the writing and moody-faced adult themes awards. While comparing the two feels natural, Skyrim is a mostly first-person game where The Witcher 3 is third-person like the other Witcher titles. 

If you like the game series, then you should definitely check out The Witcher on Netflix, with Henry Cavill taking on the role of Geralt.

Characters firing at each other across ships

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire (Image credit: Obsidian Entertainment)

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

Old school flavor

Reasons to buy

+
Satisfying combat
+
Old school RPG flavor
+
Deep world

Reasons to avoid

-
Sailing is disappointing 

Platforms available: Xbox One, PC, PS4 and Nintendo Switch

This is what you get if you take the DNA of Balder's Gate and Planescape: Torment, but start making the game almost 20 years after those titles appeared. Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire is a classic isometric party-based RPG, a style that went out of fashion just after the turn of the millennium, but one that's good to have back.

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire is saturated with old-school role-playing flavor. It's the story of a blighted land, and playing it is no cakewalk. You'll need strategy, as hack 'n' slash tactics don't work here. Combat is fluid rather than turn-based, but you can pause the action at any point to issue your party orders. If you played and loved Baldur's Gate or Icewind Dale, you'll feel right at home.

A battle scene from Divinity Original Sin 2 for Nintendo Switch

Divinity: Original Sin 2 (Image credit: Larian Studios)

Divinity: Original Sin 2

Modern RPG classic

Reasons to buy

+
Flexible and freeing systems
+
Classic RPG foundation
+
Multiple ways to progress

Reasons to avoid

-
Switch optimization is lacking

Platforms available: Xbox One, PC, PS4 and Nintendo Switch

An isometric RPG with incredible lore and world-building, Divinity: Original Sin II is a game that completely commits to the idea of player choice.

From character classes that play entirely differently to one another (like the undead character that can only speak to others with a disguise) to the ability to interact with NPCs in whichever way you choose, you can play through much of the game without getting your hands dirty with combat.

Thankfully if you do decide to swing your sword, combat is a turn-based treat. You can destroy an explosive barrel to deal huge damage to an enemy, or electrify a puddle to fry them.

Then there’s the cast of characters, each feeling surprisingly real considering their origins, and each written with plenty of care and stuffed full of charisma. A modern classic and easily one of the best RPGs.

Cloud Strife grimacing due to an explosion

Final Fantasy 7 Remake (Image credit: Square Enix)
An old favorite, made brand new

Reasons to buy

+
Gorgeous visuals
+
Combat is excellent
+
Story additions are amazing
+
Encourages experimentation

Reasons to avoid

-
It's pretty linear

Platforms available: PS4, PS5 and PC

We still can’t quite believe that Final Fantasy 7 Remake exists. Considering it was a game that was considered vaporware for so long, the end product (or at least this first part of it) absolutely astounds with its beauty.

By taking elements from many of the Final Fantasy titles that followed the 1997 original, Square Enix has crafted arguably the finest combat system the series has ever seen, allowing players to switch from one iconic party member to the next.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake fills in story blanks that we didn’t know needed filling back on the original PlayStation, bringing characters to life in a way we couldn’t have dreamed possible. It’s a love letter to the franchise’s past while giving a glimpse into what’s coming in the future. 

Excited for the next part? Then check out everything we know so far about Final Fantasy Remake Part 2.

The Nioh Collection's William fighting a spider-like beast

The Nioh Collection (Image credit: KOEI TECMO GAMES)

The Nioh Collection

Celebrating a classic

Reasons to buy

+
Includes remastered editions of Nioh and Nioh 2
+
4K and up to 120fps on PS5
+
All DLC included

Reasons to avoid

-
Gameplay mechanics aren't for everyone

Platforms available: PS5

The Nioh Collection is the ultimate Nioh experience for fans and new players alike. Packing in the remastered versions of both Nioh and Nioh 2, plus all the DLC to date, this definitive collection is the best way to experience the action RPG series.

What's more, thanks to enhancements for PS5, The Nioh Collection features 4K support at up to 120fps. Pair that with super-fast load times on the PS5 and it easily makes for a stunning, brutal and fluid gameplay experience and one of the best RPGs available right now.

Zelda star Link faces a skeletal cyclops in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for Nintendo Switch

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Image credit: Nintendo)

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

A compelling adventure

Reasons to buy

+
Hours of gameplay
+
Plenty to explore and secrets to find
+
Engaging narrative

Reasons to avoid

-
Can be overwhelming in size

Platforms available: Nintendo Switch

The Legend of Zelda franchise has long been known for quality, but in leaning into Western sensibilities and taking inspiration from the likes of Skyrim, it has reached its zenith.

Breath of the Wild led many to pick up the Nintendo Switch, and for good reason – it’s an open-world game that doesn’t feel crowded with side-quests and icons to unlock. Every quest is given as a suggestion, an open-ended question that doesn’t need an answer.

From dozens of puzzle-focused shrines, chances to experiment with a robust physics system, or tough but rewarding combat, few games reward exploration like Breath of the Wild. Even years on from launch, players are finding fresh ways to play in this version of Hyrule. It's definitely worth playing before the release of the sequel, Breath of the Wild 2.

A girl looks towards a town in Pokemon Sword and Shield for Nintendo Switch

Pokémon Sword and Shield (Image credit: Nintendo)
Close to being the very best

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic Pokémon designs
+
Immersive new region
+
Effective gameplay improvements

Reasons to avoid

-
Dynamaxing doesn't quite hit the mark
-
Not very graphically accomplished

Platforms available: Nintendo Switch

Leaving the ‘Dexit’ drama aside, Pokémon Sword and Shield are essentially RPG comfort food. Players can spend hours catching monsters like it’s the mid-nineties, grinding levels and aiming to breed competitive Pokémon – or you can just enjoy its campaign.

In the franchise’s first mainline jump to HD, the new Galar Region is stuffed full of detail that couldn’t be found on the handheld-only versions. Pokémon wander the world freely, grass sways in the wind, and the new free-camera Wild Area allows for raids that can be enjoyed with friends.

It might not be the quantum leap forward many were hoping for, but like its protagonists, the franchise is edging closer to being the best there ever was with every installment.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

A great entry point

Reasons to buy

+
Welcoming to newcomers
+
Replayable
+
Interesting character arcs

Reasons to avoid

-
Early game is quite slow

Platforms available: Nintendo Switch

Strategy RPGs might be a tough nut to crack for genre newcomers, but Fire Emblem: Three Houses is as welcoming as you’d like it to be.

Able to be played as both a relative newcomer and a hardened veteran of the series, Three Houses does away with characters found in earlier iterations and instead brings in a vast new cast.

As a tutor at a monastery that prepares its students for life on the battlefield, you’ll come to know each of your charges well – and come to protect them with your life, especially if you have permadeath enabled.

Borrowing Persona’s social interactions and having them factor into decisions during combat makes every decision feel critical, and with three perspectives the entire game warrants multiple playthroughs, too.

Darks Souls II character fighting a large, ghostly adversary

Dark Souls III (Image credit: From Software)

Dark Souls III

Punishing

Reasons to buy

+
Deep RPG elements
+
Grimy but beautiful
+
Expert level design

Reasons to avoid

-
Very challenging

Platforms available: PS4, Xbox One and PC

Ready for punishment? Dark Souls III is the latest game in the series that wants to make you cry. This is a new kind of grind. It's not really about leveling up your character, but a sort of mind-grind where you need to learn environments and enemy attack patterns to survive.

It's like games from the old days, but those unflinching tangy bits are poured into a modern action role-player. Dark Souls III has the deepest RPG elements of the series to date too, even if we include Demon's Souls and Bloodborne.

As well as choosing a class, your weapons have class-related skills that are a key part of getting ahead in Dark Souls III. It's not just about carefully-timed thwacks anymore.

This game requires a certain mood, but for all its grim-ness, it's frequently totally beautiful too.

Fallout 4 character looking at his dog

Fallout 4  (Image credit: Bethesda)

Fallout 4

Time to hunker down

Reasons to buy

+
Settlement building
+
Fun crafting
+
Interesting locations

Reasons to avoid

-
Characters aren't very memorable

Platforms available: PS4, Xbox One and PC

If you want an RPG but have had quite enough of all the swords and sorcery nonsense, Fallout 4 needs to be on your to-buy list. As any Fallout fan will know, the game is set in a nuclear apocalypse, where every puddle of water pumps radiation into your skin and even the cockroaches are deadly.

Well, if you're rubbish at the game anyway.

This time around, you wake up from cryostasis in one of the bunker Vaults to find your spouse killed and your son kidnapped. You have to find him, even though he was taken 20 years before you wake up.

Throw in some great quest writing and the ability to design your own little towns, and you have a bit of a role-playing winner. As with Skyrim, there is also Fallout 4 VR for people who have a virtual reality headset.

Characters chatting away in Undertale

Undertale (Image credit: GameMaker Studio)

Undertale

One that'll stay with you

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful, memorable soundtrack
+
Incredibly charming and funny
+
Fantastic modern-day JRPG

Reasons to avoid

-
Combat mechanics can be a pain

Platforms available: Nintendo Switch, PS4 and PC

It took about five minutes post-release for Undertale to be called a cult classic. It's a story-driven role-player with a JPRG edge, but how it approaches its battles and its work is quite different from the norm.

In Undertale, combat can be non-violent. It's what you want most of the time, because you'll feel awful for hurting the game's 'enemies'.

Even how you fight isn't normal. Fights take place as a bullet hell arcade-style game that plays out as your character and the enemy talk. It's an RPG that prods your emotions. It might even make you cry.

Dragon Age: Inquisition characters gathered around a table

Dragon Age: Inquisition (Image credit: BioWare)

Dragon Age: Inquisition

Join the inquisition

Reasons to buy

+
Memorable characters
+
Rich story
+
Fun co-op

Reasons to avoid

-
Combat
-
Barren open world

Platforms available: PS4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360

We've been spoilt with ultra-high-quality RPGs over the last few years. Dragon Age Inquisition is where to head if you find The Witcher 3 that bit too brooding and serious.

You play Inquisition as an almost god-like figure. Marked with a sigil on your hand, you're a chosen one, who can close up rifts in the sky that keep appearing. Neat, right?

As well as making you a bit of a medieval The Matrix Neo figure, your position means you end up with some political power at your fingertips, choosing who to tick off and not. Of course, this is the narrative story sauce atop a regular action RPG sundae. Dragon Age Inquisition is slightly less open than The Witcher 3 or Skyrim, based around large areas rather than an almost one-piece world, but it's still massive.

Mass Effect Legendary Edition promotional poster

Mass Effect Legendary Edition (Image credit: EA)

Mass Effect Legendary Edition

A beautifully remastered collection of classic games

Reasons to buy

+
Improved controls
+
4K resolution mode
+
120fps performance mode

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks multiplayer modes

Platforms available:  PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and PC

The Mass Effect trilogy that released during the Xbox 360 era is beloved by gamers the world over thanks to its immersive role-playing gameplay and deep science fiction lore. While the original Xbox 360 trilogy is currently available on Xbox Game Pass, it has aged considerably over the last decade or so, making the trilogy ripe for a remaster. 

That's exactly what we've gotten with Mass Effect Legendary Edition – a collection that significantly cleans up all three classic games with a number of visual, audio and gameplay enhancements, bringing the series into the modern age while keeping our rose-colored memories of it completely intact.

Along with improved controls (especially when it comes to aiming in the first Mass Effect), this Legendary Edition also brings two graphical modes: a resolution mode that allows you to play at 4K/60fps on PS5 and Xbox Series X, and a performance mode that runs at 1440p/120fps on Xbox Series X. Additionally, you get full HDR support, improved lighting and textures, and enhanced audio resolution across the whole trilogy. 

Vic Hood
Vic Hood

Vic is TechRadar Gaming's Associate Editor. An award-winning games journalist, Vic brings experience from IGN, Eurogamer and more to the TechRadar table. You may have even heard her on the radio or speaking on a panel. Not only is Vic passionate about games, but she's also an avid mental health advocate who has appeared on both panels and podcasts to discuss mental health awareness. Make sure to follow her on Twitter for more.

With contributions from