RPGamer’s RPGs of the Decade: 25-11
Welcome to RPGamer’s extravaganza of celebrating the games from the previous ten years. We have a week’s worth of posts to excite you all in what it is probably our biggest combined feature to date. More details and access to all of the other parts of the feature can be found on our introduction post.
This particular post is part two of the results for the site-wide selection of our favourite games of the decade. To start this off, we undertook an initial nomination periods, which was determined by the winner of our awards from those past years, with that group supplemented by a number of wildcards that may have been missed out for any reason. As for our regular awards, ports, enhanced remasters, and the like were not included in the eligible list of games. This gave us a still impressively list of a little over 100 titles to decide between in staff-wide vote. The results have been tallied and placed into three groups: those falling in a group ranked 50 to 26, another group for 25 to 11, and our top ten. Due to the fine, almost arbitrary margins between games outside of the top ten, we have elected to list them alphabetically rather than fully ranked.
Without further ado, let’s get to the games!
PC, PS4, Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Switch
July 20, 2011
Warner Bros., Supergiant Games
Bastion is one of those games that came out of left field for many RPGamers, as it offered a unique way to tell a story about crumbling worlds and isolation, while also offering an amazing and robust combat system. Boasting both stunning graphics and a gorgeous soundtrack, Bastion is an unforgettable experience that has put Supergiant Games on the map as a game developer worth watching with each new title. — Sam Wachter
February 7, 2014
This game showed the gaming world one important thing: turn-based combat can be fast and engaging. With its Brave and Default systems, you could take a few extra turns before the enemy’s turn. The game was a huge success and made Square Enix realize that us RPGamers are still craving for more turn-based action. This paved the way for games like I Am Setsuna and Octopath Traveler. Even though the story and character development are not the high points, Bravely Default is one of our favorite overall games of the decade. — Erik van Asselt
Bravely Second: End Layer
April 15, 2016
Bravely Second keeps or improves upon what the first game did so well and fixes its shortcomings. The combat and other gameplay systems are as strong as ever and the story, particularly its pacing, is a marked improvement. I also have to commend it for making Yew Geneolgia such a lovable and adorkable lead character and making Tiz not boring anymore! — Cassandra Ramos
October 15, 2019
There are plenty of games from this decade that will be remembered fondly for years to come, but Disco Elysium will hopefully be remembered as a watershed moment for not only writing and role-playing in RPGs but in video games as a whole. Combining narrative-driven play with deep customization and a weighty, lengthy story, there has never been anything quite like Disco Elysium. — Zack Webster
Dragon’s Dogma / Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen
PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Switch
May 22, 2012
Dragon’s Dogma: the most overlooked role-playing game on this list. More people should have played it because it does something amazing. Beside the creation of your own character, you are tasked with creating your Pawn, who can be sent to the game of other players and learn from its adventures with them. I have seen some strange Pawns in my game and it really brought a smile to my face when my Pawn returned with some additional knowledge. — Erik van Asselt
Fallout: New Vegas
PC, PS3, Xbox 360
October 19, 2010
Obsidian Entertainment created something which Bethesda Game Studios was unable to do: a new entry in the Fallout series that felt more like the older games. Don’t get me wrong, Fallout 3 was good, but Fallout: New Vegas improved the formula in every way it could. I will always remember when I was exploring the wasteland with a big iron on my hip. — Erik van Asselt
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
July 26, 2019
Intelligent Systems, Koei Tecmo
While Fire Emblem: Awakening revived the series on 3DS, Fire Emblem: Three Houses ensured that it remained healthy going onto a new platform and generation. Despite clearly working with certain elements from predecessors Awakening and Fates, Three Houses successfully establishes its own identity with an extra level of presentation. The options available ensure it has the challenge for veterans and the approachability for newcomers, making sure the series is as strong as it’s ever been. — Alex Fuller
Monster Hunter: World
PC, PS4, Xbox One
July 12, 2019
Monster Hunter: World roared onto the worldwide scene in 2018 and captured it in a way the series had never managed to before. Bringing it to modern consoles and PCs made for a complete audiovisual overhaul along with a bevy of quality-of-life improvements that made it easier than ever to get to the good part: hunting monsters. — Zack Webster
PS3, Xbox 360
April 27, 2010
NieR exemplifies Yoko Taro at his best. It’s a bizarre creation based off one of Drakengard’s endings that swiftly became a cult-classic. Recently announced to be receiving a remastered facelift, it hopefully gives more people deserve to experience this game with its magical story and captivating score. — Ryan Radcliff
PC, PS4, Xbox One
March 7, 2017
NieR: Automata brings an extra layer of polish to what was started in NieR. PlatinumGames lends its action expertise to the gameplay, while Yoko Taro does what he does best: using the narrative and themes to play with the player and their expectations. These are underlined by a magnificent soundtrack, and result in one of the most memorable RPGs of the decade. — Alex Fuller
July 13, 2018
Asano Team, Acquire, Square Enix
Octopath Traveler is a highly enjoyable modern take on traditional turn-based games of yesteryear with a collection of short-story, rather than novel-length, narratives. The graphics represent the pinnacle of pixel art and the score is amazing. The eight protagonists are worth spending a few hours each with and getting to know their motivations and stories. With a battle system on par with the best turn-based ones around, it’s highly deserving of its place near the top RPGs of the decade. — Matt Masem
The Banner Saga
PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
January 14, 2014
Stoic, Versus Evil
Stoic Studio’s Banner Saga trilogy will emotionally wreck you. There’s no nice way of putting it. You will get attached to characters, you will be forced into death marches where food and lives are at stake, and you will have to make horrific choices. With its gorgeous backdrops, phenomenal music, and uncomfortable storytelling — as well as for making me sob uncontrollably into my shirt, leaving me emotionally scarred for life — Banner Saga is worthy of a place on this list. — Sam Wachter
The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky Second Chapter
PC, PS3, PSP
October 29, 2015
Trails in the Sky Second Chapter is an interesting game that simultaneously wraps up a great deal of plot that the First Chapter left hanging while continuing to be an introduction to the wider Legend of Heroes’ continent-encompassing series. With an engaging battle system, excellent score, and well-written characters galore that each get their fair share of screen time, it was worth the decade-long wait to get this released in the west. — Matt Masem
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III
PC, PS4 Switch
October 22, 2019
The most recent title in the series to head west sees Nihon Falcom at its very best. Though it makes for a decent jumping on point for new players, Trails of Cold Steel III builds upon everything that had gone before. Nihon Falcom’s world-building is unmatched here with a continent filled with history, highly developed locations, and magnificently engaging characters, while the combat and controls are polished and given new strengths. — Alex Fuller
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 / Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna
December 1, 2017
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 did not disappoint, neither as a follow-up to the beloved Xenoblade Chronicles, nor as one of the first proper RPGs for the Nintendo Switch. It even spawned a sequel that expanded the world’s lore, making it that much more memorable. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 features large worlds which are a joy to explore and secrets to discover, while the magical soundtrack adds to the grand splendor of each location. Monolith Soft has created a gem with this series, and will have fans screaming “Don’t forget me!”, even if recent patches removed it from the game. — Ryan Radcliff
“Don’t forget me!” has been my text message sound for a couple years now and I just can’t bring myself to change it.
I was so upset that they removed it from the game. #NeverForgetMe
Gone, but never forgotten.
Well, at this point I can probably safely guess that Dark Souls, Skyrim, Zelda: BotW and this site’s favorite Persona games are all in the top ten. Wouldn’t be surprised to see DA: Inq, FFXIV, XCOM, DQ XI, LoH, or Mass Effect either.
Hmmm… Breath of the Wild, Xenoblade Chronicles, FE Awakening, DQ XI, P4 Golden and P5, FF XIV, Horizon Zero Dawn, Dark Souls and Mugen Souls. Am I right? Am I?
Persona 4 Golden isn’t eligible (usual port/remaster rule from the yearly awards), so may want to replace that with Agarest 😉
Of course – Agarest! How could I forget? Well, that must have bumped The Witcher 3, right?