The 10 best RPGs of all time: A ranking of must-play role-playing games

Role-playing games (RPGs) have always held a special place in the hearts of gamers for their ability to offer deep stories, vast and immersive worlds, as well as a great deal of choice and character customisation. Here’s our ranking of the top 10 RPGs of all time, titles that have defined the genre and marked generations of players.

1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015)

Developed by CD Projekt Red, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is often considered the best RPG ever made. With its massive open world, compelling narrative, detailed side quests, and memorable characters, it has redefined the standards of the genre. The game follows the adventures of Geralt of Rivia, a monster hunter, on an epic quest to find his adopted daughter, Ciri.

2. Final Fantasy VII (1997)

Final Fantasy VII, developed by Square Enix, is a cornerstone of the RPG genre. Initially released on PlayStation, this game brought many Western gamers to Japanese RPGs. With iconic characters like Cloud Strife and Sephiroth, its revolutionary battle system, and its moving story, Final Fantasy VII remains a timeless classic. The 2020 remake was also critically acclaimed.

3. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011)

Skyrim from Bethesda Game Studios is another RPG milestone. This open-world game allows players to explore the vast realm of Skyrim, customise their character, and undertake a multitude of quests. The flexible skill system and the richness of interactions make each playthrough unique, offering unparalleled freedom to adventurers.

4. Chrono Trigger (1995)

Regarded by many as the best RPG of the 16-bit era, Chrono Trigger from Square Enix revolutionized the genre with its multiple endings, time travel, and dynamic combat system. The collaboration among video game legends such as Hironobu Sakaguchi, Yuji Horii, and Akira Toriyama resulted in an unforgettable story and endearing characters.

5. Mass Effect 2 (2010)

Mass Effect 2, developed by BioWare, is often cited as one of the best sci-fi RPGs. The game continues the story of Commander Shepard on a desperate mission to save the galaxy. The complex moral choices, deep interactions with teammates, and captivating story make it a must-play in the genre.

6. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2017)

Although often categorised as an action-adventure game, Breath of the Wild incorporates many RPG elements. Developed by Nintendo, this game offers an incredibly interactive open world, unprecedented freedom of exploration, and an engaging survival system. Players take control of Link on a quest to save Princess Zelda and the kingdom of Hyrule.

7. Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn (2000)

Developed by BioWare, Baldur’s Gate II is a classic RPG based on the Dungeons and Dragons ruleset. The game is famed for its narrative depth, rich dialogue, and memorable characters. The combination of strategy and immersive storytelling makes it a favourite among fans of traditional RPGs.

8. Dark Souls (2011)

Dark Souls, developed by FromSoftware, is known for its unforgiving difficulty and dark, mysterious world. This action RPG popularised the “soulslike” genre with its demanding gameplay, intense combat, and complex level design. The series has spawned a dedicated community and influenced many other games.

9. Persona 5 (2016)

Persona 5 by Atlus is a Japanese RPG that stands out with its unique visual style, catchy music, and captivating story centred around high schoolers fighting supernatural forces. The game combines elements of social simulation with turn-based combat, offering a deeply immersive and addictive experience.

10. Diablo II (2000)

Developed by Blizzard Entertainment, Diablo II is an action RPG that defined the hack and slash genre. With its dark atmosphere, addictive gameplay, and extensive character customisation options, Diablo II has captivated millions of players and remains a benchmark in the genre.


RPGs continue to evolve and captivate players around the world. Whether you’re a fan of epic fantasy, science fiction, post-apocalyptic worlds, or moving personal tales, there’s an RPG out there for you. These ten games represent the pinnacle of art and creativity in the genre, delivering unforgettable experiences and redefining what it means to play a video game.