Feature

Five RPGs Genre Fans Should Play When They’re Not Playing Fallout 4

by Daniel Tack on Oct 14, 2015 at 01:00 PM

This has been a crazy year for role-playing games, both in terms of traditional turn-based PC-style options and action-oriented romps through nightmares and monsters. But the hundreds of hours of grand storytelling – and tactical turn-taking – already available for RPG fans right now is just the beginning. With Fallout 4 promising to bestow an apocalypse on your gaming hours, committing the necessary hours to the RPG lineup can be a difficult task indeed. Here are some of our must-play picks for this holiday season that you may have passed over this year.

Bloodborne
Platform: PlayStation 4
Release: November 24 (DLC)

Bloodborne mixes From Software’s Souls-style grim melee laden with Lovecraftian lore, and it’s receiving new downloadable content this holiday season that adds a slew of weapons, monsters, and environments. Unlike many RPGs out there, Bloodborne’s tale plays out in traditional From Software fashion, offering the player breadcrumbs that lead to terrible secrets and eldritch discoveries.

Bloodborne serves up epic battles, an amazing soundtrack, fascinating zones, and a deluge of esoteric story in the most accessible “Souls” package possible. The challenges associated with taking on foes ripped from nightmares leads to some of the sweetest victories available in gaming. If you haven’t had a chance to explore the wretched streets of Yharnam, The Old Hunters (November 24) is the perfect time to get started. If you’ve already visited its beast-ridden alleys, this is still a great time to revisit your old nightmares alongside the new content.

Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release: October 27

This Kickstarter-funded turn-based freeform RPG took the PC scene by storm last year, blending modern tactical gameplay with that old-school Baldur’s Gate feeling. Larian Studios struck an amazing mix with its element-interaction combat and open-ended approach – if you wanted to progress through the game traditionally room to room, boss to boss with a cookie-cutter crew, that’s on the table.If you want to make a team of all spider-summoning wizards, you can. And if you just feel like taking out every guard and civilian in town and taking all the loot to the next village for a payday, so be it. Everything we’ve played from the upcoming console version feels wonderful – seeing a successful transition from the mouse-and-keyboard turn-based tactics space to major console is something of a shock.

Wasteland 2: Director's Cut
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release: October 13

Wasteland 2, like Divinity: Original Sin, is a core PC RPG making its way to console. Forming a group of elite rangers (and drunk hobos) with your own perfect set of skills and constantly making tough decisions as you explore the post-apocalyptic wastes has never been so fun. Guns jamming, ammo scarcity, tough doors, and all kinds of debilitating status effects plague your rangers at every turn in this turn-based title. Calculating the right time to throw a grenade into a mass of raiders or if that 65-percent chance to hit a mutant bug is worth taking make up the core of highly customizable combat. Whether you choose to take on the many challenges with words, boards and bats, or shotguns and explosives, the world of Wasteland 2 is expansive and contains a ton of secrets specific to each playthrough based on player choice.

 

Darkest Dungeon
Platform: PlayStation 4, PC, Vita
Release: January 19 2016 (PC) (Early access currently available)

We finally have a release date for this little Lovecraftian indie gem, and the Kickstarter-funded foray into the long-lost realms of horror dungeon crawling shambles to life early next year. I’ve spent a serious amount of time on this game already, and I’m usually reticent to give my recommendation to early access titles before launch, but this one presses all the right buttons with its deliciously dark overtones and character-customizing crawls through procedurally-generated environments – there’s already a finished game here for all practical purposes, but it’s missing some content chunks. Darkest Dungeon is all about big boss battles, ancient loot, and madness threatening to overwhelm your crew at every turn, as your torches ebb and the ever-encroaching darkness sets in. With a cast of highly stylized characters and a sort of “roguelike” approach to the tough turn-based combat that will keep you coming back for more catacomb-crawling even as your graveyard swells with the ranks of fallen adventurers, Darkest Dungeon is a perfect pick for a change of pace.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release: May 19 (Hearts of Stone Oct 13)

If you’ve been putting off this giant open-world RPG, there are compelling new reasons to enter the fray. The recent Hearts of Stone expansion adds a significant block of content to the game, and if you’ve somehow managed to get through the year without taking on a shrieking banshee or a deadly basilisk, turkey time might be the ticket to allocate some serious hours to this ambitious, incredible RPG. The expansion gives you a reason to enter the Witcher world again and experience a chilling storyline that you won't soon forget. Complicated characters and thrilling boss battles keep you constantly guessing your every move, and CD Projekt RED wasn't afraid to throw in some comedic moments to break up the heavier revelations. 

Whether you’re tracking down an annoying goat or making the hard choices on werewolf-murder-love-triangles, Witcher 3 offers some of the best RPG action around, with side quests that could easily be main-story content in other titles. It’s essentially a must play even if you’re not usually a fan of the genre, and you’ll need a ton of time to even scratch the surface of the wealth of content on offer – and that’s not even counting upcoming expansions.