For those gamers out there that place incredible value in the amount of time a game offers, RPGs are probably your bread and butter. It’s hard to feel like you’ve been cheated out of your money when you’re getting around 50-100 hours of top tier adventuring for the same price as a four hour shootbang spectacular.
That said, simply being more of a time commitment than some relationships doesn’t intrinsically make an RPG good, and it can be difficult to know where to begin. With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of some of our favourites on Xbox One, largely because we get to talk about the console’s backwards compatibility function. Come join us as we count down the best Xbox One RPGs.
The Best Xbox One RPGs
1. The Dark Souls Series
Developer: From Software Publisher: Bandai Namco
Often used as the measuring stick of in-game difficulty, or as a redundant and irrelevant comparison point (it’s like the Dark Souls of blah blah), Dark Souls has had an undeniable impact on the world of role-playing games. Just look at games like The Surge, Lords of the Fallen and even Darksiders 3 which sought to imitate the Dark Souls formula, to mixed success.
With Dark Souls: Remastered, Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin and Dark Souls 3 all available on the Xbox One, all three games should keep you occupied for a long time, even if that’s purely because the bosses keep kicking your arse. Plus, if you really feel like torturing yourself, you can play the Xbox 360 version of DS1 through backwards compatibility, and watch the framerate die as soon as you reach Blighttown.
2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Developer: CD Projekt Red Publisher: CD Projekt Red & Bandai Namco
What more is there to say about The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, potentially one of the greatest games ever made, that hasn’t been said already? Hopefully at least another paragraph and a half for the benefit of this article. It’s probably fair to assume that most people reading this list on the best Xbox One RPGs have played The Witcher 3 already, but for the benefit for the 5-6 of you who haven’t, here goes.
In The Witcher 3, you play as a silver-haired sex pest who spends the majority of the game shagging and showing his “bumfuzzle” to the world (don’t ask), occasionally taking a break to fight monsters and, on even rarer instances, engage with the main plot. Geralt’s journey is incredibly absorbing, though don’t be surprised if you abandon your adventuring days to become the greatest Gwent player in the land.
The closest you’ll get to a Dungeons and Dragons campaign in videogame form, Divinity: Original Sin 2 allows you so much freedom in the way you tackle its various quests. Depending on the character you play as and the choices you make, one playthrough could be wildly different from another, making it a highly replayable experience.
The epic adventure from Larian Studios can also be tackled with up to four players, making it infinitely better than a D&D campaign because you don’t need to have everyone gathered in one place. Organisational troubles have been the death of many a tabletop playing group, but those issues are lessened when all you have to do is log on and play Divinity from the comfort of your own home.
Developer: Mistwalker & Feelplus Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Told you we’d using backwards compatibility for this list, and why wouldn’t we? Lost Odyssey was an Xbox 360 exclusive JRPG that still holds up to this day, especially if you’re a fan of old school turn based combat. Created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of the Final Fantasy series, Lost Odyssey is an RPG experience that spanned 4 disks when it originally launched over 10 years ago. Now it’s the size of a normal modern game, so it’s hard to argue that it wasn’t somewhat ahead of its time.
With a strategic battle system where you controlled the formation of your party in battle, using the frontline characters to protect the backline, quick time events that could boost your attacks and differences in how characters learn abilities depending on if they were mortal or not, Lost Odyssey had plenty of depth and nuance to distinguish itself from other RPGs.
5. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Hey, it’s that one that got ported to everything under the sun. Get ready for the E3 announcement from Todd Howard that Skyrim will finally be playable on scientific calculators, disrupting Maths classes up and down the land. Still, there’s a reason Bethesda keep pressing the “re-release Skyrim” button: it’s really bloody good.
With hundreds of hours of quests, DLC content, dungeons and discoveries to make, there’s always something new to find when playing Skyrim, even if that something new is actually doing the main quest, because who cares about that when there’s guilds to join and treasures to find? Still, if Skyrim was a bit too streamlined for you hardcore players, just remember that Oblivion and Morrowind are both backwards compatible.
6. Fallout 3/4/New Vegas
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios, Obsidian Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Pretty much a “delete as appropriate” entry here, as all three of these action RPG games have their own unique values and subtleties that make them worthwhile in their own way. If you’ve never picked up a Fallout game before, Fallout 4 is probably the best place to start as it does more to accommodate newer players.
However, series veterans will want to use the backwards compatibility feature of the Xbox One to revisit both Fallout 3 and New Vegas. Though Fallout 3 was the series’ remarkable debut foray into the world of first person RPG action, it’s New Vegas that many consider to be the pinnacle of the series, and I’d agree. It has the best story, best setting and best characters.
Possibly the byword for RPG quality, Final Fantasy is a god damn institution unto itself at this point. Even if you’re not the biggest RPG fan, practically everyone has at least played one iteration of the series at some point in their lives, but for those looking for a great place to start, Final Fantasy XV is an ideal jumping on point, as you control Noctis and his friends as they embark on the greatest road trip ever. Also, they might just save the world.
Of course, Final Fantasy XV isn’t the only game in the series available on the Xbox One, as the Final Fantasy XIII series is available via backwards compatibility, the Final Fantasy X/X-2 collection and Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age are on the horizon and Final Fantasy VII, both original and remake, have been promised. Should be enough there to keep you going for about 300-500 hours.
8. Diablo 3: Eternal Collection
Developer: Blizzard Publisher: Blizzard
Top down action RPGs don’t get more iconic than Diablo, and Diablo 3 could arguably be the best version of that. At the very least, if you’re a console player, it’ll be the only version for you, but that’s not to say you’ve been given a bum deal. Not in the slightest. In fact, Diablo 3: Eternal Collection is bursting with replayable content that never fails to entertain.
With multiple character classes to choose from, including Barbarian, Wizard and Monk, along with the Necromancer if you pick the Eternal Collection/buy the DLC, up to 17 difficulty settings that ensure there’s always tougher prey to hunt and co-op play for up to four players, Diablo 3 could potentially hold your attention until the end of time.
9. South Park: The Fractured But Whole
Developer: Ubisoft Publisher: Ubisoft
A slightly more non-traditional RPG for you here, in the sense that it’s a South Park game so it’s about as crude as you could get, South Park: The Fractured But Whole is Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s attempt at lampooning the world of superhero franchises. Though TFBW would draw most of its attention from the storyline and writing, there’s a brilliant RPG system lying underneath.
With a grid based battle system, fights in South Park: The Fractured But Whole contain more of a strategic element than other games on this list of the best Xbox One RPGs. It’s not just which weapons or spells you use, but how you position your party that’ll give you the win. Then again, if that doesn’t work, just fart on everything and you’ll be fine.
Developer: Warhorse Studios Publisher: Deep Silver
One for the hardcore here, as Kingdom Come: Deliverance is designed for those who enjoy the medieval world but hate it when they get attacked by dragons or other big monsters. Kingdom Come: Deliverance is more focused on giving the player a more authentic historical world to explore. Well, about as authentic as it could get before the game starts glitching out. At least it’s been patched since then.
With a story of revenge playing out over the backdrop of political intrigue in 15th Century Bohemia, you control Henry as he seeks to find his father’s killer and recover a stolen family heirloom. That said, this is an RPG after all, so you’ll probably spend more than your fair share of time forgetting about the main quest and getting rat-arsed with a priest.
11. Dragon Age: Inquisition
Developer: Bioware Publisher: EA
From the non-fantasy open world RPG to the “very much fantasy” open world RPG, Dragon Age: Inquisition is the third instalment of the popular Dragon Age franchise. With perhaps one of the richest worlds and lore in gaming, Inquisition is filled with wonderful sights to see, creatures to murder and, perhaps most importantly, people to shag. Can’t spell Bioware without “romance options”, right?
As the Inquisitor, it’s your job to close The Breach, which is unleashing demon hordes upon the world of Thedas, which naturally means getting distracted by the side quests and leaving Thedas to its fate. With the first two Dragon Age games also available via backwards compatibility, you’ve got hundreds of hours of adventuring ahead of you, even if you feel like skipping the second one.
12. Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition
Developer: Namco Tales Studio Publisher: Bandai Namco
With a joyous narrative that touches of themes of self-confidence and finding your place in the world, coupled with accessible and enjoyable combat that hides depth, this is definitely one for any RPG fan’s list. Even if you’ve already played the original game, the content added in the Definitive Edition ensures there’ll be something new for you to discover.
Capcom took a big risk when deciding to bring Monster Hunter World to the West. Aside from its debut, the series never found itself on home consoles outside of Japan, but its release on 3DS managed to build a solid footing over here. One super successful console launch later and the Monster Hunter fanbase has increased exponentially, and it’s not hard to see why.
Monster Hunter World streamlined the core experience of the series, making it more friendly and approachable for new players, while retaining the same depth and hunt difficulty that the series was known for. For series virgins, World represented the perfect jumping on point for the game, while veterans could point to it and say “look, we told you Monster Hunter was worth it”.
14. Destiny 2: Forsaken
Developer: Bungie Publisher: Not Activision anymore
Bungie’s loot shooter often divides opinion, with some swearing by Destiny, its gameplay loop and the notion that it’s one of the most well put together shooters of the current generation. Meanwhile, others decry it as boring, or that it lacks essential content before falling over themselves to buy the next piece of DLC whenever it comes out. You know who you are.
Destiny 2: Forsaken includes the base game, the first two DLC packs and the excellent Forsaken expansion, which added a whole new campaign and end-game level world to explore, not to mention all the new loot you can get your grubby little mitts on. If you’ve been on the fence about the Destiny series, Destiny 2: Forsaken should convince you otherwise.
15. Mass Effect (The Whole Series)
Developer: Bioware Publisher: EA
The sci-fi trilogy that couldn’t quite close it out, then added another game in the series just for good measure, Mass Effect has left an indelible mark on the world of videogames, even if that mark is just conversation wheels. In all seriousness though, Mass Effect felt like one of the first real moments where your moral choices had any kind of bearing on the storyline, and it felt great.
But it wasn’t all storyline and choices. Over the course of the series, Mass Effect refined its gameplay mechanics more and more, with the third game offering the best blend of tight cover shooting and RPG levelling in the entire franchise. Of course, you can find this out for yourself, as the whole series is available to play on Xbox One.
16. Kingdom Hearts 3
Developer: Square Enix Publisher: Square Enix
Though it’s a bit weird to see Kingdom Hearts 3 on the Xbox One without any hint of the rest of franchise making its way to the green brand, Kingdom Hearts 3 still offers a beautiful slice of classic Square Enix JRPG action combined with all that saccharine sweet Disney fluff. Bet you never imagined the cast of Frozen would team up with Sora, the most “anime”-looking protagonist there is.
Though the context and story of Kingdom Hearts 3 is a bit confusing if you haven’t played the other games, which again, aren’t available on the Xbox One, Kingdom Hearts 3 is still a fitting conclusion to the long running franchise, offering incredible gameplay and worlds to explore. Plus, those with a Xbox One X and 4K can experience the game in all its glory, so that’s worth something, right?
17. All The Free Xbox One RPGs
If you have somewhat of a reputation of pinching pennies but you’re still looking for an expansive experience while gaming, you should definitely check out the free-to-play section of the Xbox Store. The selection of games, specifically RPGs, are incredibly diverse, so you should find something that’ll meet your needs.
Those who prefer to play MMO style Xbox One games can look to the likes of Tera, Skyforge, DC Universe Online and Neverwinter, while those who favour the top-down style of Diablo can find solace in Path of Exile. Sci-fi shooter fans will get some enjoyment from Defiance 2050, though if you prefer doing nothing at all, there’s always Clicker Heroes. Even achievement hunters could get their jollies by downloading Korgan and earning every single achievement in about an hour.