If there is something that causes controversy in the gamer community, it is critics' reviews. Even more so when a game you don't like has a high score and a game that you consider a son has a low score.
So that's why sites like Metacritic, which we will use as a reference to write this article, have the User Score, where you have all the permission and space to express your frustrations or write love poems for games.
But today, we are going to optimize our effort and write only about the RPG games that had the highest Metascore, that is, the highest score among critics. For that, we used some criteria:
- Some games appear twice because they are on two or more platforms, we only included them once;
- Games that have more than ten Critics Reviews;
- Base games with or without DLC, but not a standalone DLC review.
10. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Toss a coin to your Witcher, cause he is not poor in the scoring department. We are gamers, so I know you knew the game before the Netflix series, and you also know that it deserves this spot. The Witcher 3 is a game based on books with the same name. It expands the literary universe giving life, voice, and actions to an impressive cast of characters, creatures, and monsters. You play as Geralt of Rivia, the Witcher, which in short is someone who kills monsters in exchange for money, some for fame and others for whatever reason their heart demands (yes, we are talking about you Geralt).
It is a direct sequel from the events of The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings, but it improves some characteristics of the game. The combat, sometimes too mechanical, becomes more fluid and dynamic, very similar to action RPGs. The use of signs, potions, elixirs, and bombs gives an advantage for Geralt when facing abominate monsters like Cyclops or Liches. But the trade of a Witcher is not destined only for monster hunting. Around the world, many humans are worse than monsters and also have the misfortune of kissing Geralt's steel sword.
And the world is immense. Travel through the abundant forests of Velen, get sucker-punched by bandits in Novigrad, or circulate mountains in Skellige through snowy paths or by boat. There are countless side quests with a backstory so rich that it motivates you to keep postponing the main quest just to keep helping friends and strangers. With each mission, the game's lore is updated and evolved with new information. You can complete some quests with different approaches. You can choose to be peaceful, to bribe, to manipulate with signs, or by bashing skulls all around. The main quests have different outcomes depending on your choices and can change the game's ending, which is 3 in total.
Even if you haven't played the first games or read the books, Witcher 3 is a must-have experience. Lovers of RPG, fantasy, decision-making, and a roller coaster of emotions have the opportunity of incredible gameplay ahead. The game had a score of 93 in MetaScore, receiving criticism as: "The current paragon of role-playing titles and open worlds, The Witcher: Wild Hunt is a game for the ages; a rich and immersive world full of significant decisions and a feeling of intelligent and epic fantasy. Peerless." LevelUp.
9. Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic
The first game on the list is also the last in position on the list. Can you imagine Yoda saying that backward?
Instead of betting on classic characters, KotOR puts the player four thousand years before the events of the movies. The war between Siths and Jedis begins when the ex-Jedi, Darth Malak unleashes a series of attacks against Republic ships. The game starts with a character created by the player inside one of these ships.
It takes the RPG element seriously, making the player incorporate his character. From creation to moral choices, which are many, it fulfills the mission of making the player dive into the universe of Star Wars. The excellent soundtrack combined with intelligent dialogue also contributes to this feeling of immersion. The combat system is an RPG in real-time with pause, the same system as D&D, where you can choose actions while pausing and your characters execute them. Your feats, attributes, and equipment have a huge weight on how battles unfold.
The decisions made by the player not only have an aesthetic role, they have consequences. Experience points, important information, and even the assistance of other characters will depend on these choices. The many possibilities of the game portray well the eternal dilemma of the Jedi warriors to give in or not to the dark side of the force. But you know, come to the dark side, there is cake.
Knights of The Old Republic boasts a 94 MetaScore and one of the critics said: "At last, a true RPG found a home in the rich Star Wars universe. Its amazing depth makes today's Star Wars movies look like a sitcom." - ActionTrip.
The first game in a series that stands on its own demonic feet to this day, Diablo is a hack and slash action RPG with dungeon crawling as its main ingredient and the randomness of loot as its ingredient.
Unlike his successors, he doesn't have custom skills for each class, but you can still decide which attribute to increase when you level up. Some equipment and spells have attribute requirements, so you need to increase them according to your play style and construction. The main game has 3 classes, Warrior, Rogue, and Sorcerer. Although Hellfire legitimately brings 1 more class, Monk, you can make some changes to the system documents to play as a Barbarian or a Bard, but they don't have one main storyline because they haven't been officially released.
What gave Diablo such a high score back at its time was the easy and addictive gameplay, with the huge potential of the loot system, character customization, and a storyline that makes you want to know more and more about hell, to the horror of your religious grandma.
The game also has a 94 MetaScore, getting compliments such as: "About as close to Hell as you're going to get - whether you believe in it or not. Everything about this game just rules and it will blow you away. The gameplay is the easiest I've ever come across in an RPG which is just fantastic." - Adrenaline Vault.
7. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
The Elder's Scroll Oblivion is an RPG with a vast continent to explore, excellent quests, and wide possibilities of interaction with various institutions for the player to interact (guilds, arenas, and universities). Also, Bethesda Games was right to keep everything that made Elder Scrolls attractive, taking advantage of the, at the time, graphic possibilities, besides building a living continent, with a quality artificial intelligence and a friendly interface, which excels in active combat and requires a lot of skill, unlike the monotonous battles that prevail in some games of the genre.
The freedom in the game comes right in the creation of your hero. Choose one of the 10 races and abuse your imagination. You can modify details like hair and skin color, sex, body size, eye position, mouth and nose, age, complexion, and many other things. During your gameplay, you can also choose the 'pre-alignment' of the character (which can be best shaped throughout the story) and its birthsign (which will give you special skills), for example.
After the character is ready, what to do? If you like to stroll around, exploring caves, ancient forts, and elven ruins, make yourself at home. What else exists along the way - besides monsters, wild animals, and thieves - are places to be explored. As usual, there's a ridiculous amount of sidequest, which can be good for sidetracks. However, some claim it can be a bit boring since most of the enemies you have to slay are the same rats, skeletons, crabs, and zombies, for example. The rewards in the dungeons do not always compensate for your exploration if that is why you explore.
Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is really a unique game. You can be whoever you want, live a new life, face the most different challenges, and be recognized for your actions (be they good or bad). It's such a vast game that you will certainly have a lot to do in your spare time. In the game, each one can live his own.
The game also scored 94 in MetaScore. "An epic, not only because the immaculate world you inhabit is so immense, but also because the gameplay is fantastically intense." - Times Online.
6. Chrono Cross
I can hear you thinking behind your screen: if Chrono Cross made the cut, but Trigger didn't, this list is dead to me. Do you want the good or the bad news first?
The good news is: the game is really great. The story of Chrono Cross is focused on the main character called Serge and addresses the theme of parallel worlds, making a hook with the time travel of its predecessor. When transported to a parallel reality, in which Serge died as a child, he leaves in search of understanding the various conflicting outcomes of that world so similar to his own while jumping right into a lot of conflicts.
You find a giant cast of secondary characters, 44, each with their backstory, strengths, and techs. But eventually, Serge meets Kid who helps him on his journey through the El Nido archipelago, the world of the game. In the struggle to reveal their destiny, the group leaves in search of the mysterious Frozen Flame and has in its way the villain Lynx, a dark feline antagonist who plans to capture Serge and further mess up the intricate lore of the game.
If Chrono Trigger shone for innovating the combat with techniques in doubles and trios, Cross innovated with its stamina bar and elements. You can use strong attacks with low accuracy, or weak attacks with preciseness. All the attacks accumulate elements and allow you to use spells, techs, consumables, and even summons.
Chrono Cross is a masterpiece worthy of its position on the list. With a unique and audacious plot, it is a game that deals with serious and complex issues while immersing the player in a fantasy world. It scored a 94 in the MetaScore. "It wasn't quite the "Chrono Trigger" sequel most people expected, but it's a magnificent game by its own right." - GMR Magazine.
5. Final Fantasy IX
I would be upset if no Final Fantasy entered the list and although it wasn't the people's favorite with the blonde spiky hair, Final Fantasy IX deserves all its love and its position on the Top 10.
After three games with strong science fiction traits and two of them with more realistic characters (VII and VIII), The Final Fantasy franchise decides to go back to its origins focusing on the genre in its title. Focusing on a more cartoonish style, artistic traits, and a medieval ambiance, the colorful game introduces us to a simpler and more friendly story, which shows its true face as we get to know the world.
The game puts us in control of Zidane Tribal, a flamboyant and womanizer boy who is part of a traveling troupe. The company arrives in Alexandria to present a famous play, but with a hidden agenda. They want to kidnap Princess Garnet. As with every good jRPG, the story will unfold as you go along, always being able to intermediate with side quests by the nostalgic world map. Final Fantasy IX brings a cast of the most charismatic characters of the franchise, such as Black Mage Vivi, loved by many and stoic Steiner, knight of Alexandria.
The battle brings back Active Time Battles and simplifies the combat. Each piece of equipment gives the character a new skill and if you gain enough AP, he can use it without the need for the item. Each character has a "class", however discreet it may be. Vivi as a Black Mage, Zidane as Thief, and Steiner as Knight, for example. To close with a golden key, maestro Nobuo Uematsu is responsible for the soundtrack, dispensing further comments.
Final Fantasy IX takes sixth place in the list also with 94 MetaScore. "It does, at times, go beyond expectations to give gamers a true masterpiece." - GamePro
4. Persona 5 Royal
As a fan of turn-based RPGs, it puts my heart at ease to see some games in the Top 10. Persona 5 Royal almost didn't meet the criteria we set to write this list, but I'm glad it did. It's not featured only in MetaScore Top 10, it's also in my personal list.
Persona 5 returned with the formula of his predecessors, 3 and 4. His team is composed of high school students, who divide their time between studying for the math test and protecting the world from supernatural beings. For this, they have the help of Persona, their own supernatural beings based on each character's personality. The protagonist has the power to "talk" with the enemies and make them allies, strengthening, even more, their abilities and creating dynamism to combat.
The relationships continue greatly impacting the game. Persona 5 brings the feature of Social Links but is renamed to Confidants. Chatting, interacting, and building relationships with your acquaintances brings benefits to your gameplay, as well as helping to enrich an already rich world. Since your time is limited, you should choose which Confidant to maximize according to your style and even affection for the character or get to know them well enough to maximize the relationship with everyone - or use a walkthrough, you sneaky.
The plot is as contemporary as it can be. Situations such as sexual harassment, abuse of workers, the influence of social networks, and politics are present, plunging the player into history with each defeated enemy and making us question our own ethics and morals.
For RPG fans, every Persona is a must-play, but Persona 5 is even for those who are not RPG fans or shift fights. When you are rooting for a group that calls itself Thieves, you know that they managed to steal your attention.
Breaking the 94 score curse, Persona 5 scored 95 in the critics' reviews. "This is not more of the same, this is not an optional add-on to the original game. This, my friends, is the perfect experience, down to the last letter, down to the last minute. Persona 5 Royal is a Japanese crown jewel." - Games.cz.
3. Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn
The first Baldur's Gate was a love letter to Tabletop RPG lovers. The second is a marriage proposal.
Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn is a direct sequel to the first game and it continues to be based on the rules of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, in the world of Forgotten Realms. So many had the same expectations for a continuation of the saga. And those expectations were exceeded.
Initially, Baldur's Gate II looks similar to its predecessor. The isometric view, controls, and interface. These various similarities with these games can disappoint at first since they give the impression that nothing has been innovated. But it's one of those times we enjoy being wrong.
The game takes off exactly where the first ended: a cinematic sequence reveals details of the plot and if you imported a save from the first game, you start at the same level. The first chapter may seem bizarre, meaningless, and even difficult, but as soon as you change the scenery, the game gets more enjoyable and, in the following dozens of hours, the game maintains a high level of fun and involvement.
There is an almost infinite number of missions, and most of them are very elaborate. You will hardly have simple missions like recovering a simple lost item or eliminating all monsters in an area. Besides, your character is famous for the previous adventure, so don't be scared if someone asks you for help. Your party is very well developed. They will often interact with you and even with other members.
You can play BG2 just fine without playing BG1. However, it is recommended that you complete BG1 to get the full experience. And if you haven't played, you'll have to create a character and the customization continues to be awesome. Race, classes, alignment, abilities, and skills are yours to choose from.
Am I forgetting something? Oh yeah, the combat! The combat is the same as the first Baldur's Gate. A real-time with pause is the best description. Dice are rolling in the background as usual in a D&D combat after each decision and you should be careful so your fireball doesn't hit a friend by mistake. You can always save before any battle to test new strategies and triumph over your enemies.
For being an incredible game and an RPG with strong roots in the genre, Baldur's Gate II: Shadow of Amn came in third place with 95 points. "It's not just vast, but flooded with quests and side adventures. There is always something to do in this game and, after that, there's always something more." - GamePower.
2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
If you ever played an RPG in your life, you know this one. Do I have to say more?
Skyrim brings to the table a lot of what has been said already from the previous games on the list. Plenty of character customization, a plethora of side quests in the world, decision-making that can change the course of your story, charismatic characters, and dragons. I guess that summarizes a successful formula.
Something you noticed while traveling to towns or decorating your house is that It is a continuous adventure that is unbelievably renewed every day. A vast world that transmits something not very common in NPCs: Life. People in the cities working and going to their homes for a good night's sleep, a routine that repeats itself day after day inside the game, and great interaction with the player. Do not, and I repeat, DO NOT attack a chicken. The consequences will haunt you for eternity.
You can see the magic exhaling from the game when you steal something in town, run away like a smart guy, explore a dungeon, and when you're strolling along the road all joyful, a guard approaches you, charging a fine for theft, in cash or blood. Justice in every pixel.
The battle in the first or third person remains simple and with a fast learning curve. You raise your skills as you use them. Archery is increased when an arrow hits its target; Destruction is increased when a spell causes damage to the target; Sneak increases when you remain undetected in Sneak mode while in range of NPCs who otherwise could detect them and so on.
They added a new feature to combo with the skills: perks, With each point, you can increase some characteristics that directly influence your character. Certain perks can give additional damage in Fire spells, for example, increasing their efficiency, or allowing the character to create potions with more powerful effects through alchemy. However, be careful while grinding. The game scales with your level, so it's advised to level perks strategically with your gameplay and style. Otherwise, you will be a jack of all trades and master of nothing.
Definitely, Skyrim's strongest points are the feeling of freedom and the narrative. The possibility for you to create any kind of character and behave in different ways at each gameplay, the parallel stories that are also huge and that show other facets of a gigantic storyline, complete and cohesive, make The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim be on the list as the second-best RPG with a massive 96 MetaScore. "No other game I know of operates with this many moving parts to create such an immense world filled with this much choice in how you engage its excellent, endless fiction. It's one thing when a game offers dozens of hours of gameplay; it's quite another when that gameplay is good enough you'll want to live in its world for that long." - Giant Bomb.
1. Mass Effect 2
Maybe because Dungeons & Dragons is the Allfather of RPG, I always think that games will have an epic scenario, medieval settings, elves, dwarves and dragons, many dragons. But nothing like the number 1 on the list of best RPGs to break this pre-concept once and for all.
Mass Effect 2 is amazing. As with most RPG sequels, the story it's directly linked to the first. But Bioware was smart enough to create an interactive comic that, in addition to telling the events of the previous game, also allows the player to make decisions that will influence the story of the game. Between playing without knowing what-the-hell is happening or at least having a well-elaborated and enjoyable summary, I pick the second.
The gameplay combines elements typical of Bioware titles with the dynamics of shooting games, all characters are charismatic and engaging (I know I said that thirty times by now), the plot is full of secrets, the galaxy invites you to explore and all missions are well elaborated - some, like that of "virtual exorcism", are so complex that they go deeper than many games that have been released in the last decade. All of this makes you simply don't want to get off the joystick or keyboard.
You play as Shepard and other than the surname, you have freedom in character building. Besides the sex of the protagonist, you can choose a combination of backgrounds to build the past of the commander. During the game, you can take exemplary paths or be a renegade anti-hero, which directly influences the course of the story. To complete, your relationship with the team also helps determine the success of the mission, since loyal companions fight better at your side.
There are six classes you can choose from and each class has a series of skills that can be improved with points that are acquired as the player gains levels. Here, the game differs greatly from the first Mass Effect: instead of gaining experience per defeated enemy, the characters in this sequence improve themselves after each mission is accomplished or task solved. This encourages the player to advance in the story since there is no reward in killing one opponent after another.
With the first Mass Effect, Bioware opened the doors of a new and vast universe, creating extensive mythology, which made the franchise, automatically, the Star Trek of video games, although the game was inspired by dozens of other works of science fiction. Mass Effect 2 expanded this universe and the lore of the game. It's a mandatory game, of those that mark the player and make you eager for the continuation. The game can proudly say that it is first on the list of the Top 10 RPGs of All Time According to Metacritic with a close to perfect 96 MetaScore. "It’s forty-plus hours of top-notch combat, incredible voice-acting, emotional provocation, stunning graphics, and exhilarating gameplay of a standard that simply hasn’t been achieved before as a complete package." - AceGamez.