Community Picks: The 25 Best RPGs Of All Time

15. 'Planescape: Torment'

So far on this list we’ve seen an MMORPG, action RPGs, turn-based JRPGs, and more. Now we come to the isometric RPG, so named for its perspective, which gives you a bird’s-eye-view of your characters and the world around them. Planescape: Torment puts you in the shoes of the Nameless One, a scarred and tattooed man who can’t remember his past. It’s up to you to help the Nameless One uncover his past by talking to countless NPCs, exploring myriad locations, and if there’s no other option, shedding blood. All this with a point-and-click interface and character progression system that ensures no playthrough is the same as the last.

14. 'Chrono Trigger'

You didn’t think Secret of Mana would be the only Square game on this list, right? Well, if you did, Chrono Trigger is here to remind you why it’s often considered one of the best RPGs of all time. (Usually rated higher than this, but we trust you, Tom’s Hardware community members.) It features a similar real-time combat system, but it also boasts a much more sprawling story with 12-13 (depending on which version you play) endings. From its pixel art graphics to its character design, Chrono Trigger is a rightful classic of the genre that hasn’t lost its luster yet.

13. 'World of Warcraft'

Surely no one will be surprised that World of Warcraft is on this list. Blizzard has supported the MMORPG for more than a decade with multiple expansions, and millions of players continue to traverse Azeroth in search of adventure. (And pets.) Combine that devotion with the excited reaction to the announcement that Blizzard will revive the “vanilla” version of the game with World of Warcraft Classic and it’s clear that the game’s still a major part of many gamers’ lives.

12. 'Deus Ex'

Much like System Shock 2 before it, Deus Ex focused on making sure the player’s choices mattered. You’re free to solve problems almost any way you like, and thanks to a variety of skills, weapon customization, and nano-augmentations, you have plenty of approaches to choose from. The game also takes place in the future, though not quite as far out as System Shock 2, and its series continues to receive new installments. If you’re looking for cyberpunk action where you actually have a semblance of player agency, look no further than Deus Ex.

11. 'Divinity: Original Sin 2'

Divinity: Original Sin 2 has something for everyone. Do you play RPGs for their rich stories and single-player experiences? Are you more interested in cooperating or competing with friends? Or do you miss the days of yore, when RPGs were played with groups of people, one of whom controlled the world everyone else explored? It doesn’t matter which one of those questions you answered “yes” to--Divinity: Original Sin 2 delivers on all of them. You get a graphically rich RPG with compelling combat and a new “Game Master” mode that basically turns the game into a tabletop RPG that just doesn’t happen to require a tabletop or active imagination.

10. 'Neverwinter Nights'

Speaking of tabletop RPGs: Neverwinter Nights is based off the most popular role-playing game of all time, Dungeons & Dragons. The game’s systems are based on D&D 3E, you’ll face iconic monsters like the many-eyed Beholder, and the story takes place in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. Much like Divinity: Original Sin 2, Neverwinter Nights features the Aurora toolset, which allows you to create your own content for other people to explore. It also did so 15 years before Divinity: Original Sin 2 came along with its newfangled graphics and engines.

9. 'Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic'

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is what you get when you let BioWare, the famed RPG developer studio behind Neverwinter Nights and the Baldur’s Gate series, make a "Star Wars" game with the full backing of LucasArts. The game was lauded for its story, presentation, and combat system, which aimed to offer the depth common to RPGs with the kind of action "Star Wars" fans expect. Just don’t take everything at face value--that’s all we’ll have to say about that.

8. 'Final Fantasy VII'

Final Fantasy VII was a technical masterpiece when it debuted on the PlayStation in 1997. It successfully transitioned the Final Fantasy series to 3D, featured a soundtrack from Nobuo Uematsu that’s still praised today, and refined the series’ turn-based combat before later titles (excluding Final Fantasy X) experimented with new systems. Combine all that with a story strong enough to support multiple offshoots, a full-length movie, and a manga, and it’s easy to see why Square Enix is finally delivering the full remake fans have been requesting for years.

7. 'Fallout: New Vegas'

Welcome to the post-apocalypse. Years after the U.S. and China warred over natural resources, a person known simply as the Courier is charged with delivering a package across the Mojave Desert to New Vegas. After he’s ambushed and left for dead, the real quest begins. Fallout: New Vegas improved upon Fallout 3 with a refined character creation system, third-person camera, and V.A.T.S. combat system while maintaining the same feel as its predecessor.

6. 'Baldur’s Gate II'

Another entry, another BioWare game. Baldur’s Gate II is much like Neverwinter Nights: It’s also based on Dungeons & Dragons, set in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, and chock full of iconic beasts. It uses an older version of the ruleset, however, and it doesn’t feature the Aurora toolset that let people create their own content. But you still get a deep RPG that you can play with multiple friends (if you wish) and should scratch that tabletop RPG itch on your PC.

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.

  • ehmkec
    Where's Lara?
  • Amokay
    Oddly enough not in RPG's, though some 20% of the titles in this list are not RPG's themselves.
  • ksmith0711
    No Wizardry OR Might & Magic? Come 'on, man!
  • Karadjgne
    No Morrowind or Oblivion, Starseige or Mechwarrior? and mods can take a vanilla game and totally change its perspective. You can even play a totally StarWars version of Skyrim.

    Some of these I've never heard of.
  • jason.trow
    Where's Final Fantasy 6? Mode 7 graphics, a glorious soundtrack and a story line that includes the destruction of the planet?!?
  • NinjaNerd56
    Interstate ‘76 single player.....
  • tamalero
    Some of these choices seems more about "whats popular" than whats actually good.
  • Cryio
    Wow. Two meh MMOs, a mod and 2 random games are on this list. But freakin' Gothic 2 as "BEST OF ALL TIME RPGs" isn't. Wow.
  • clcocotelopez1
    Im mostly ok with this list, however for me ff6> ff7 and im happy a tales game made it but sad that neither tactics ogre luct nor fft twol didn't, they are such good srpgs.
  • nitrium
    Played through most of these. However, since Mask of the Betrayer wasn't nominated (or NWN 2, for that matter), or Wasteland, KotOR 2, Ultima's IV, V and VII (silver Serpent), I decided the list was... lacking, and so didn't bother voting.