18 Best Fantasy RPGs of All Time

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Dark souls 3
Dark Souls 3

RPGs are some of the most beloved and fondly remembered games in the entire medium. This makes a lot of sense when you consider the average length of an RPG and how much time we’re actually spending with the characters and in the worlds of these games. With this fact in mind, it makes crafting a list of the best fantasy RPGs all the more difficult.

Still, we’re nothing if not ambitious. As such, we’ve put together our list with consideration for length, style, gameplay, characters, impact, and staying power. Naturally, we couldn’t get every fan-favorite RPG onto the list, but we tried our damnedest to cut a broad swathe of high-quality titles together here.

Cast a spell with us and read through our list of the best fantasy RPGs.


The Best Fantasy RPGs

18. Baldur’s Gate II

Baldur's Gate 2
Baldur’s Gate 2

Developer: Bioware
Publisher: Black Isle Studios, Interplay Entertainment

Set in the deep mythology of the Forgotten Realms, Baldur’s Gate II is a massive adventure where no two playthroughs are the same. Depending on who the player chooses to recruit into their party and how those characters interact, all manner of different dialogue, romance, and intrigue can unfold.

Featuring deep customization, a cavalcade of quests to complete, and over 200 hours of playtime, Baldur’s Gate II will never leave you lacking something to do. Further, the endless lore of the game will keep you interested in the world and its characters well past the time it takes to complete the main campaign.


17. Monster Hunter: World

Monster Hunter
Monster Hunter World

Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom

The Monster Hunter series has always had a stalwart fanbase, but its popularity exploded with the incredible Monster Hunter: World. Improving on the already addictive gameplay loop of previous series entries, Monster Hunter: World also embraces its title, offering a gigantic open world to explore and marking it as easily one of the best fantasy RPGs of recent times.

Hunting the beasts of Astera and using their loot to craft the equipment you need to track and kill even stronger game is totally satisfying, and the streamlined multiplayer features mean that you can always get a little bit of help to take down some of the more intense monsters of this world.


16. Divinity: Original Sin

Divinity Original Sin
Divinity Original Sin

Developer: Larian Studios
Publisher: Larian Studios

Players looking for a more modern take on the traditional turn-based RPG design can do little better than Divinity: Original Sin. Taking on the role of a Source Hunter, you’ll create your customized avatar then head out from Rivellon in search of the Source: a dangerous magic that threatens all of existence.

Originally crowdfunded by Larian, Divinity: Original Sin is an absolute love letter to the top-down isometric RPGs that inspired it. This adoration shines through in every facet of the game, while the more intuitive, adaptive features of a modern game mean that players can skip over the monotony of older titles from the genre.


15. Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn

Developer: Guerrilla Games
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Horizon Zero Dawn blew gamers’ socks off right from its amazing debut trailer. The prospect of battling robot dinosaurs in a post-apocalyptic landscape was nothing if not enticing and original. Luckily Horizon Zero Dawn lived up to the hype and then some, making for one of the best original properties in years.

Great adventuring and exploration was complemented with a genuinely interesting and intriguing plot that slowly unfolded over the course of Aloy’s journey. The adaptability of the travel and combat meant that every battle was a new experiment, and the constant upgrades offered further chances to change things up.

Though the game wasn’t perfect, the overall quality of Horizon Zero Dawn has us all the more excited for the upcoming sequel, Horizon Forbidden West.


14. Final Fantasy X

Final Fantasy X
Final Fantasy X

Developer: Square
Publisher: Square

One of the Final Fantasy titles that did the most significant heavy lifting in terms of moving the flagship franchise forward was undoubtedly Final Fantasy X. Ditching the overworld, scrapping traditional level-up systems, and introducing voice acting, Final Fantasy X took the series to the next generation in refined style.

Though some of that voice acting hasn’t aged as well as we might have hoped, Final Fantasy X is still one of the most fondly recalled and easily accessible titles in the history of the series. Sure, you’re basically just killing God again, but this God actually has a religion and followers this time around.

In all seriousness, though, Final Fantasy X is a high watermark from the early days of the PS2 and showed everyone that this franchise more than had the chops to make another generational jump in terms of production value and storytelling.


13. Pokémon Gold and Silver

Pokemon Gold Silver
Pokemon Gold Silver

Developer: Game Freak
Publisher: Nintendo

While Pokémon Red and Blue were the smash hits that made Pokémon into a worldwide phenomenon, Gold and Silver were the games that showed us what this series was really capable of. The first games in the franchise to be released in full color, Gold and Silver, made players feel like they were chasing monsters around the Johto region all the more.

Steel-type and Dark-type Pokémon were also introduced, further complicating the elaborate rock-paper-scissors gameplay of the battles. And as if the endless collecting weren’t already addictive enough, unique Shiny types could also be found, meaning that the game’s playability could be extended almost infinitely.

Though it’s been over two decades since Pokémon Gold and Silver came out, they’re still among the best in the franchise, making their staying power all the more impressive.


12. Chrono Cross

Chrono Cross
Chrono Cross

Developer: Square
Publisher: Square

This one might be a bit divisive. Not everyone was happy with how Chrono Cross followed up the plot of its universally beloved predecessor, but in terms of original RPG design and concept, Chrono Cross is a total showstopper. The elemental battle system meant that every fight had a strategy you could leverage, while the unique leveling system had your stats moving up with each boss fight.

While these systems are paid off incredibly in the finale, there were plenty of unforgettable moments to absorb along the way. The music alone is enough to justify a single playthrough. Still, the 40+ collectible party members, a litany of side quests, and over a dozen endings add even more value to Chrono Cross.

With a remake/remaster purportedly over the horizon, Chrono Cross might be fit for a second day in court yet, and, as far as best fantasy RPGs go, few games are more deserving.


11. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Symphony of the Night
Symphony of the Night

Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami

The term Metroidvania is common nomenclature today, but it takes half of its meaning from this classic right here. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is the prototype for most of the best games in the Castlevania franchise, and, to be frank, it’s still almost unquestionably the best game in the series.

Overhauling the gameplay, level design, and entire structure of all previous Castlevania games, Symphony of the Night became one of the first action RPGs in existence and created a subgenre along with Super Metroid that is still producing amazing games to this very day.

Dodgy (and memeable) voice acting aside, every aspect of Symphony of the Night is fondly remembered to this day, so much so that games like Bloodstained exist purely as a tribute to it.


10. Dark Souls III

Dark Souls 3
Dark Souls 3

Developer: FromSoftware
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment

The Dark Souls franchise has significantly impacted since the first game was released in 2011. Meant as the swansong for the beloved series, Dark Souls III spared no effort in paying off the great legacy of the Soulsborne games.

Fresh off the experimental new direction of Bloodborne, Dark Souls III also boasted a more horror-themed design for many of its enemies and bosses, as well as secondary fighting styles or stances for many of its weapons.

With a crossroad of Soulsborne memories to draw from and exciting new features, Dark Souls III sent the series off in refined style with its improvements and innovations, culminating in a nostalgic, streamlined journey through a tragic kingdom.


9. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim


Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

Some sequels are so successful that they become the benchmark for an entire franchise, case in point: The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim. The tale of the Dragonborn was a huge game to begin with, but the subsequent expansions and re-releases have only made the world more enticing to explore.

With The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Anniversary Edition released relatively recently, one of the best fantasy RPGs ever has never been better. The latest version packages in all of the DLC as well as endless piles of player mod content, including additional quests, equipment, and all of the bells and whistles of our current console generation.


8. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3

Developer: CD Projekt Red
Publisher: CD Projekt

As the popularity of The Witcher continues to expand today, its explosion into the zeitgeist of mainstream culture can be traced back to one of the biggest games of the last decade: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The action RPG megahit that swept game of the year awards left, and right is still a modern classic that’s well worth your time.

Taking on the role of the legendary Geralt of Rivia, players will hunt down the dangerous monsters and evil creatures that threaten The Continent. The profound and consuming lore will power you through over one hundred hours of gameplay, while the intuitive, customizable battle mechanics will keep you from ever getting bored along the way.


7. Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy 7
Final Fantasy 7

Developer: Square
Publisher: Square

As far as legendary RPGs go, Final Fantasy VII needs no introduction. The game that brought JRPGs kicking and screaming into the 3D sphere, Final Fantasy VII, might be infamous for its (by today’s standards) strange-looking polygon characters and translation errors. Still, none of that takes away from its genre-defining legacy.

Join iconic characters like Cloud, Tifa, and Aerith as they try to take down the evil Shinra corporation and hunt down the villainous Sephiroth. With an all-time great score from renowned composer Nobuo Uematsu and a tale that still resonates with fans nearly 25 years later, Final Fantasy VII’s reputation may precede it. However, it’s still well worth your time, even if the remake is currently stealing much of its thunder.


6. Bloodborne

Bloodborne aggressive

Developer: FromSoftware
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

FromSoftware’s Soulsborne series has been one of the biggest paradigm shifts for modern RPGs, and it reached an action-based zenith with Bloodborne. Infused with Lovecraftian horror elements, the Dark Souls formula became more intense and disturbing than ever.

The loss of a shield meant that players had to play smarter in order to survive, while the adaptable trick weapons and offhand projectile options gave you more ways to tackle Bloodborne’s endless monstrosities than ever before.

Finally, a healing system that encouraged experimentation and boldness over caution changed the game up considerably, making Bloodborne still arguably the most addictive Soulsborne game yet.


5. Xenoblade Chronicles

Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition
Xenoblade Chronicles

Developer: Monolith Soft
Publisher: Nintendo

One of the most diverse franchises in RPG history, the Xeno series has changed and adapted with each new iteration. Xenoblade Chronicles is by far the most significant jump forward for the series, though, taking its traditional JRPG roots and pulling them up in order to plunge the franchise boldly into the future.

Incorporating a quest structure and world design inspired by MMORPGs, Xenoblade Chronicles blasts you into a world of warring gods, humans battling machines, and a legendary blade that might be the one thing that can save the world.

A massive game with hundreds of side quests to complete, Xenoblade Chronicles offers a ton of bang for your buck, and the recent release of the Definitive Edition means the game has never been easier to play.


4. God of War

God of War: Best PS4 Action Games
God of War

Developer: Sony Santa Monica Studio
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment

God of War was another franchise in need of a reinvention and luckily for us, we got the absolute best reinvention imaginable with God of War in 2018.

Taking inspiration from the Soulsborne titles among others, God of War reinvigorated Kratos by placing him into Norse mythology and making him into someone who actually acts like a real person.

Grounding Kratos as a father and husband was just the beginning though. The dynamic new fighting style, focus on exploration, and some of the most jaw-dropping, ass-kicking boss fights of its generation also gave it extra credibility. Finally, the look and feel of God of War were top tier as well, marking the game as an all-around modern classic.


3. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Breath of the Wild
Breath of the Wild

Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo

The Legend of Zelda series may not have been in as dire need of a redux as the previous two games on this list, but there were definitely fans who were suffering from franchise fatigue after Skyward Sword.

Enter The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Placing Link into a gigantic open world with thousands of things to see and do made Breath of the Wild the most exciting Zelda game in two decades.

It was also the perfect fit for Nintendo’s hybrid console, the Nintendo Switch. With over 100 shrines to complete and just as many side quests to do, there were a ton of micro tasks for players to complete at the doctor’s office or while commuting. The bigger stuff like boss fights and dungeons could wait for home play on the big screen but either way, this perfect synergy of gameplay styles made Breath of the Wild a one-of-a-kind experience.


2. Chrono Trigger

Chrono Trigger
Chrono Trigger

Developer: Square
Publisher: Square

One of the most beloved JRPGs of all time, it ought to be no surprise to see the legendary Chrono Trigger this high up on our list of best fantasy RPGs. The time-hopping adventure of seven young warriors from different timelines uniting to stop an intergalactic force from destroying their planet, Chrono Trigger is an unquestionable classic.

Jumping from one timeline to another changes the environment considerably and is also cleverly utilized for puzzle solving. Meanwhile, the addictive combat system allows moves to be synergized together into satisfying super attacks. Furthermore, Chrono Trigger was the first RPG to have enemies appear on the map instead of in a separate fight screen, meaning there was never a break in the immersion of the game.

With amazing graphics for its time and some of the most toe-tapping themes in gaming history, Chrono Trigger is a stalwart of the genre that will almost always come up when all-time great video games are discussed.


1. Dark Souls

Dark Souls 1
Dark Souls

Developer: FromSoftware
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment

When it comes to the top spot, a game’s influence and genre-defining capabilities are definitely something to consider and, in that regard, no game of the last 10 years has been as meaningful as Dark Souls. The entire souls-like genre was built on the back of Dark Souls after all, and it improved greatly on every facet of its trailblazing predecessor, Demon’s Souls.

Taking place in an impeccably designed overworld that continuously folds back on itself as the player explores, Dark Souls made you earn every step forward with tough enemies, unforgiving boss fights, and devious traps around every corner. Fortunately. the player message system, bloodstains, ghostly visages, and summon signs reminded you that you were never suffering alone and could even call for help if need be.

A true masterpiece of balanced gameplay, unflinching vision, and lived-in lore, Dark Souls is an incredible achievement in game design and will be deservingly hailed forever as one of the absolute best fantasy RPGs.

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