Writing about top RPGs of all time is a tricky business. I bet that every gamers top 10 RPG list would significantly vary from the other. A game topping the charts of one player’s list may probably be ranked lower or might be non-existent on another player’s list. Subsequently, there’s the question of placing games appropriately giving due consideration to their technical achievements, critic bestowed score and overall popularity. So, without further adieu, here’s a selection of what I consider the top RPGs of all time:
The Elder Scrolls series has been a fan favorite since time memorable. It wouldn’t be farfetched to say that this series defined what RPGs should be like. Elder scrolls Oblivion was a class of its own and a far cry from what its predecessor “Morrowind” looked like, in terms of gameplay and graphics. Oblivion presented gamers with a meticulously drawn open world, which required months of exploring even if the story line wasn’t followed. The game never had a dull moment, as action was ceaseless keeping the players immersed all the time. Skyrim, as some say, used the key elements from Oblivion and made them better and more polished. The player took on the role of “Dovahkiin” (Dragonborn), a mortal with soul of a dragon destined to defeat the evil dragon overlord Alduin. Skyrim was a commercial and critical hit with 7 million copies shipped in the first week of its release.
The original Final Fantasy came as a rescuer of Square Enix, which was on the brink of closure. Since then, Final Fantasy series has become a staple on all top RPG charts, especially Final Fantasy IV which marked the foray of the series into 3D dimension. Fans just couldn’t get enough of stunning visuals and cinematic grandeur of beautifully drawn characters and their solid background story. Final Fantasy IV played an integral role in catapulting PlayStation to new heights and went down in the annals of history as one of the most loved and acclaimed RPG game of all time.
For this third entry, we have to go back in time when most of the gaming was done on 8 bit consoles which would seem absolutely Neanderthal-ish by today’s standard. The legend of Zelda made its appearance on Nintendo NES in 1986 and was an immediate hit amongst gamers everywhere. Even though, it presented the gamers with a top down perspective as they controlled the protagonist Link, the game was truly addictive as it provided hours of exploration, puzzle solving and reclaiming of the triforce. Another title in the series is Ocrina of Time, which cemented the name of Zelda in the RPG hall of fame forever.
The critics say, what Bioware started with Knights of Old Republic got further defined in Mass Effect. So far the series has spawned three installments which are highly lauded and has the gaming world raving and singing praises. The hallmark of the game is deep character customization, extremely in-depth and detailed story line as players follow the escapades of Commander Shepherd. The game is truly player decision driven, as there are visible consequences of every interaction with NPC’s. The decisions, whether good or bad, shape the proceedings of the gameplay.
Some might argue that this particular entry is not feasible for this list as it’s not a true RPG. But the impact WOW (as World of Warcraft is popularly known as) had on the gaming can’t be ignored. WOW, was in the beginning a real time strategy game with the customary top down view and RTS elements but someone at Blizzard decided to make it into a MMORPG. It was endowed with expanse of wide open fantastical world, co-op play and most comprehensive leveling system of its generation! The rest as they say is history!! WOW remains one of the most phenomenally selling and subscribed to games in history and still dominates MMORPG genre, owing to crafty expansion packs which add unprecedented amount of content.