If there’s one thing I’ve learned about the internet it’s that the internet loves lists. Whether it’s a legit list, like the WWE video game one I did a few days ago or the click bait ones you’ll find pretty much anywhere on the bloody net, we all love a good list. We all also love playing RPG games! Not just for the ability to be someone completely different but with the absolute freedom that some RPGs give you.
Though this trend has been downsizing over the last few years there’s no doubt that there are some quality modern RPG games out there even if some of the freedom isn’t there. Now, what qualifies a game to be called “modern” is very much a nebulous thing but for this purpose, it’s any game that came out in the year 2000 or later. Good?
Number 5 – Pillars of Eternity
A spiritual successor to classic role-playing games like Baldur’s Gate and Planescape: Torment, Pillars of Eternity hit the ground running with its Kickstarter campaign and was deemed a very successful game overall. It promised us a similar journey that you’d get from playing the classic party-based RPG’s of yore and was somewhat good at it.
Not exactly what we expected from a game billed as the modern version of Baldur’s Gate, a feat that was always going to be a massive hurdle to overcome, but the game itself was great. Using the party-based mechanics of its predecessors the game gave you a fantastic experience even if the villain himself was a little weak.
I would be remiss to not mention the game’s bestiary(not what you’re thinking of, you absolute filth) where it kept info on all the monsters you kill as you journey through the game. It’s for these reasons that Pillars of Eternity sits at fifth place.
Number 4 – Final Fantasy X
As of writing this, a team of contractors is turning my house into a fortress because I anticipate Manny is going to try and murder me in my sleep for putting a JRPG on this list. We’ve had this argument before and I stand by my statement that a JRPG is still a proper RPG.
With that said Final Fantasy X is the best Square game that I’ve played quite possibly ever. If there are others than the sheer greatness of this game overshadows them. Apart from a few spots of dodgy voice acting, particularly that laughing scene, this was a wonderful game.
The best-written narrative of any game I had played up until that point and one very few games have actually matched. Even some of the games on this list don’t have as compelling a story as Fina Fantasy X but the reason they get higher billing is because of that freedom aspect I mentioned at the beginning. It’s a very linear game, which is to be expected, considering but the story itself and the Sphere Grid system are so perfectly executed that you can forgive that transgression. Well, some of us can, not sure about Manny, though.
Number 3 – Skyrim
What’s there to say about Skyrim that hasn’t been already said. A massive open world for you to explore, loads of dragons to maim and kill as well the random travellers you see while you’re going from town to town. This was possibly the first game I played, that I can conceivably remember, that was the most immersive experience I’ve had. The ability to meet characters like Cicero randomly at the side of the road was absolutely fantastic as was my interaction with him and the random farmer that wouldn’t help him with his cart. A cart that was carrying a dead body I might add. Yes, there a few things Bethesda got wrong whether it was the main questline, the guild progression or the botched ending to the civil war between the Imperials and the Stormcloaks. The game’s best moments came when dealing with the Daedra who are effectively the Gods in the game. Most of them are complete bastards who don’t give a damn about you, your family or your dog and they’re absolutely astonishing in the game.
Number 2 – Fallout New Vegas
New Vegas is the best modern Fallout game to date and is an achievement that not even the actual owners of the Fallout IP can attain. Lauded as the title that cemented Obsidian as one the best and legitimate RPG developers out there but is also the title that nearly ruined them. I’m sure you can find out the details if you google “obsidian Metacritic bonus” online which at that time you will proceed to weep.
Not having the necessary skills to use explosives make the game more enjoyable because you get to see what your character looks like if he had no arms. For a few moments before you need to reload the game anyway. Did I mention the main villain of the game is voiced by Matthew Perry? That’s right! Benny is Chandler! This and the fact that you had actual, proper multiple endings depending on your choices makes this the best modern Fallout game ever. If only Bethesda picked up on a few things here then the faction wars in Fallout 4 wouldn’t be so anti-climactic.
Number 1 – Mount and Blade Warband
Mount and Blade Warband, while technically an action role-playing game, is still the best RPG I’ve ever played. It makes the world, the combat even the people the most gritty, grotty and generally horrid things I’ve ever experienced in a game. There is no glamour to the battles, no charging in and destroying everything in your path because you’re an arbitrary 10 levels ahead of the enemy. Even the most spineless and useless plebian in the game can pulverise you if you’re not careful.
The ability to choose a faction, or make your own is a stable of the game as is the ability to instantly turn on your chosen faction or allies. Treaties are made to be broken in this game because this is the medieval ages and I will have the crown. Not only that but the fact that you can hold enemy kings or sultans as prisoners while you’re out and about and have them fight for you as well. Sometimes though they’ll try and run away in the night, some more successful than others.
Another thing that makes the game so great is the ability to ransom off the captive king in your possession. There’s nothing better than seeing your coffers go up in the hundreds of thousands for royalty as you laugh all the way back to your town. Proper. proper game. 5/7 every time.
That’s my list and I’m sure you’ll have a very cool-headed, reasonable response. Let me know in the comments what you guys think is the best modern RPG while I sit here not sleeping, ever, in case Manny shows up with a chainsaw.