If you’re a PC gamer and you’ve been tirelessly searching for some worth-it games to add to your library… look no further! Nine of the best RPGs for PC – both new and old – right here to aid in your endless quest for gaming excellence.
These games in particular rank the highest on gameinformer’s “Top 100 RPGs of All Time.” This should save you from any questionable doubt of credibility.
RPGs, or role-playing games, have been a valuable reference point for countless games outside the genre. If you’ve noticed, most games share similar mechanics as RPGs but are not actually RPGs. When playing an RPG, you can expect:
- Grinding (leveling up)
- Upgrading stats/abilities
- Equipping/upgrading gear
- Completing dungeons
- Developing relationships
- Probably lots of dying and retrying
- Standing around in open areas showing off your sweet legendary gear (in pretty much any MMORPG)
Both massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) and single-player role-playing games offer a personalized gaming experience, where you are the game master.
But enough of the technicalities, let’s get to the list! (The list is in chronological order – let’s view it as a timeline.)
Final Fantasy VI
Playable On: PC – SNES – PS1 – PS3 – PSP – Vita – GBA – iOS – Android
Taking it WAY back to the 90s, you could only expect to find a game from the well-known Final Fantasy franchise on our list. Final Fantasy VI is a timeless classic originally released on the Super NES by Square in 1994. Over the years, FFVI was ported to eight more platforms and made its debut on PC in December 2015.
In this RPG you immerse yourself in a steampunk-style world where the Returners seek magical power to defeat the Gestahlian Empire. Choose from 14 playable characters and create parties of any four to take into battle.
FFVI features a pseudo-turn-based menu command system. During battles, an ATB gauge fills over time and requires action from you once filled.
Don’t panic though!
The game allows you to change the setting to Wait mode (instead of Active mode) which stops time while you are choosing your actions. This can be helpful for those new to turn-based battles.
With each victory, loot and experience are acquired and your characters get stronger. You can teach your toons magic and give them stat boosts by equipping espers – magical beings that transform into magicite when killed.
Upgrade your characters and equip them with the best gear by stomping your enemies into the ground. Can you defeat the Gestahlian Empire? Put your RPG skills to the test in Final Fantasy VI!
* Though nothing compares to playing the original version on SNES, the ported PC version still lives up to its reputation as the “best of the best in a golden era of RPGs.”
Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn
Playable On: PC – Mac – Linux – iOS – Android
Next on our best PC RPG timeline… we find Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn. This PC game was developed by BioWare and released in September 2000.
In this Dungeons & Dragons based role-playing system, you create your character and awaken in a cage. You have been imprisoned by an elven mage and must escape with Imoen, Minsc, and Jaheira – characters from the original Baldur’s Gate.
Rather than focusing mainly on combat, Shadows of Amn focuses on in-game interactions. Throughout the game, you must make decisions that have an impact on your character’s development. Each decision you make alters your gameplay experience.
Baldur’s Gate II is played from an isometric perspective – this allows you to see your character as well as the surrounding area.
You can control a party of up to six characters – with one protagonist (if they die, you must load your saved-game and resume from your last save point.) As you progress through the game, your party gets stronger and your equipment gets better.
Take up arms with your party, fight, loot, and discover the wonders of Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn.
Playable On: PC – Mac
Barely moving on our timeline of the best RPGs for PC, we find another classic released in (June) 2000. Diablo II was developed by Blizzard Entertainment. Less than a year after its release, it became one of the most played online games of all time.
In this hack-and-slash RPG, you can play single-player mode, local multiplayer mode, or online multiplayer mode via Battle.net. There are four acts to play through to complete the storyline. Upon completion, you can replay the story on the next difficulty level.
There are three difficulty levels: Normal, Nightmare, and Hell. Don’t worry, when you advance to the next difficulty level your character and equipment remains the same as when you completed the previous difficulty level.
So, you’ll already be a badass when you start the storyline over – but so will your enemies.
When creating your character, you can choose from five different classes: Amazon, Barbarian, Paladin, Necromancer, and Sorceress. Each class has its own strengths and weaknesses. It is wise to party up with players that can benefit your character’s attributes.
Weapons and equipment are specific to each class, so loot drops won’t always go to the same person (while playing multiplayer.) Playing this game with friends can make for a much more unique experience.
Are you ready for Hell? Hack-and-slash your way over land and through dungeons, alone or with friends, in your quest to defeat Diablo, the Lord of Terror!
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Playable On: PC – Xbox – PS2 – iOS – Android
What kind of list would this be without a game from the famous Star Wars franchise? Fast-tracking three years on our timeline, we find Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (KotOR.) Developed by BioWare and published by LucasArts for Xbox in July 2003, KotOR was released on PC just a few months later in November 2003.
Will you choose to save the Republic, or will you succumb to the power of the dark side? The fate of the galaxy lies in your hands. The decisions you make throughout the game affect your alignment.
Character creation is completed in five steps:
- Choose your class – Soldier, Scout, or Scoundrel
- Choose your sex – the in-game dialogue is affected differently for both
- Choose your character portrait
- Choose your attributes
- Choose your skills
Combat is turn-based – rounds of six seconds allow combatants to attack/react simultaneously. The combat system can be configured to pause at the end of each round or at specific events. Knights of the Old Republic is a single-player RPG, making this game completely up to you!
Traverse the seven enormous worlds in the Ebon Hawk – your very own starship. Will you save the galaxy, or will you destroy and conquer all who oppose the dark side?
World of Warcraft
Playable On: PC – Mac
Let’s fast-forward a year on our best PC RPG timeline, to the undisputed champion of MMORPGs. Blizzard Entertainment released World of Warcraft in November 2004 and truly set the bar high for all MMORPGs to come.
To begin your journey, you must select a realm to create your character in. Characters will be locked to that realm unless you wish to pay a fee to transfer them to a different one.
After choosing a realm, you can create your character. You must choose between the Alliance or the Horde. Both factions have their own specific races for you to choose from:
- Alliance: Human, Dwarf, Night Elf, or Gnome
- Horde: Orc, Troll, Undead, or Tauren
Next, you must choose a class:
- Alliance & Horde: Druid, Hunter, Mage, Priest, Rogue, Warlock, or Warrior
- Alliance only: Paladin
- Horde only: Shaman
Once you get your character exactly how you want him/her, you can begin the epic gameplay WoW has in store for you!
The level cap for WoW is 60. You can get there by questing, grinding, completing dungeons, or competing in PVP battlegrounds. Raids become available at level 60 and are subject to a raid timer – this means after bosses or monsters are defeated, they will not respawn until the instance is reset.
The list of things to do goes on and on! Acquire pets, mounts, and epic gear while adventuring alone or with friends in this massive open-world MMORPG. WoW is a personal favorite of mine – I would highly recommend trying it out to anyone!
Mass Effect 2
Playable On: PC – 360 – Xbox One – PS3
If we jump ahead on our best RPGs for PC timeline to the not-so-distance past, we find another epic game developed by BioWare. Mass Effect 2 was published by Electronic Arts (EA) and released in 2010 for both Xbox 360 and PC.
The game is set in the 22nd century and the Collectors (an insectoid species) are threatening humanity’s survival. You assume the role of Commander Shepard and are tasked with uniting a diverse team of soldiers to defeat the enemy (the Collectors.)
You choose your character’s appearance, gender, combat-training, military background, and first name before gameplay begins. There are six different character classes, each is proficient in their own unique weapons and powers.
If you play through the original Mass Effect, you can begin the game with your saved character by importing the save file. Decisions made in the first game will have an impact on your storyline in Mass Effect 2 as well as a set of starting bonuses.
Mass Effect 2 is completely interactive. The choices you make decide the fate of your character. If you arrive at the end-game mission unprepared, you may end up getting everyone (including yourself) killed.
And, if you (Shepard) die, you can no longer import your character into Mass Effect 3 – remember, death is final for all characters. So, definitely try to make wise choices throughout the storyline!
Do you have what it takes to save humanity from its impending doom? Or will you fail the entire galaxy and perish, with your team of loyal followers?
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Playable On: PC – 360 – Xbox One – PS3 – PS4
Next on our timeline of the best RPGs for PC is an absolute must-play. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was developed by Bethesda and released in November 2011. This revolutionary game truly set a standard for open-world RPGs.
To begin the game, you must first watch a cutscene of your character’s – would be – execution. You watch as a prisoner from the same carriage you arrived in is decapitated. Soon it will be your turn for the chopping block.
You then walk up to the captain of the guard and she asks who you are, this is when you get to create your extremely customizable character. Select your sex and your race – there are ten different races of Tamriel to choose from.
Almost every action you take while playing Skyrim awards XP to a skill or your character. For example, if you crouch around enemies and stay out of their sight, your Sneak skill will gradually level up. The more you sneak – the higher your skill – the harder it is for enemies to see you.
You can choose to be silent but deadly and make your kills without a trace of you’re being there. OR… you can come in swords blazing (literally) and rely on your armor and combat abilities to keep you alive.
Explore the boundless expanses of Skyrim’s open-world; when a new location is discovered, it is added to the map and can be fast-traveled from then on. You can choose a profession and craft your own weapons, armor, or enchantments.
There is no end to the possibilities in Skyrim. If you’re seeking a game that not only looks amazing but also offers a completely unique story tailored by you and only you… Skyrim should be next on your list of RPGs to play!
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Playable On: PC – Xbox One – PS4
As we approach the end of our best PC RPGs timeline, we come across an absolute masterpiece. In May 2015, CD Projekt released The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. This single-player RPG has been cited as one of the greatest video games ever developed and has received numerous Game of the Year Awards.
In this open-world game, you take on the role of Geralt of Rivia, an infamous monster slayer (also called a Witcher.) You are tasked with finding the Child of Prophecy before the Wild Hunt captures her and uses her power to transport their entire military force to the Continent.
Fight your way through countless dangers with a variety of weapons and magic. Grow stronger and increase your abilities by defeating monsters and completing quests. You can follow the main storyline or venture off and complete side quests.
The path you choose decides the fate of the world.
There several ending possibilities that are determined by the decisions you make throughout the game. Gameplay focuses on narrative and features a dialog wheel which prompts you to choose responses for NPCs (non-player characters.) Your choices affect in-game characters’ lives as well as the state of the world.
Immerse yourself in The Witcher 3’s dynamic storyline and discover a world of legend and prophecy. What fate will you choose?
The Outer Worlds
Playable On: PC – Xbox One – PS4
Finally, we reach the present year on our timeline of the best RPGs for PC. The Outer Worlds was released in October 2019. It was developed by Obsidian Entertainment and published by Private Division.
Your story begins on a colonist ship that was meant to travel to the furthest reaches of the galaxy. You awake from your cryosleep (decades later than expected) on the outskirts of colony space. You soon uncover a corporate conspiracy that threatens to destroy Halcyon – humanity’s furthest colony.
In this single-player RPG, you traverse the furthest reaches of space in an alternate timeline where mega-corporations are terraforming and colonizing alien planets.
Early in the game, you will unlock a ship which will act as your character’s home base. Using the map on your ship, you can fast-travel to different locations.
As you progress further in the game, you recruit six (non-playable) companions to aid in combat. Up to two companions can accompany you on your endeavors, while the rest remain on your ship.
Combat situations in The Outer Worlds are entirely up to you. You can use stealth or persuasion to avoid combat or engage in as many battles as possible. Choose from a variety of weapons – both melee and firearms – to defeat monsters and enemies alike.
Level up your character, as well as your companions, by gaining XP from battles or quests. Develop technical skills such as Science, Medical, and Engineering.
The Outer Worlds allows you to create your own destiny by tracking your in-game interactions and adjusting your gameplay experience accordingly.
Who you choose to become determines the fate of Halcyon and all its inhabitants.
So What is your favorite game?