RPGamer 2023 Awards – Best Turn-Based RPG

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Best Turn-Based RPG

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2023 Best Turn-Based RPG

First Place

Octopath Traveler II

Second Place

Sea of Stars

Third Place

The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azure

Octopath Traveler II managed to captivate players from the very first moments of the adventure. The set of protagonists with their well-planned and engrossing stories worked perfectly with all the freedom to explore and complete quests as players saw fit. The different interactions with other NPCs, such as stealing, scrutinizing, bribing, or recruiting, made the game feel full of possibilities and each town a place full of secrets to unveil. The beautiful graphics that mixed a retro vibe with a modern approach and an astonishing soundtrack also made the game strikingly alluring.

But the cherry on top of the pie was the turn-based battle system. Every job gave each character a specific combat role, be it healing, buffing, or simply using brute force to beat enemies. The unique character abilities and job skills also allowed players to create really interesting combinations. A wide variety of weapons and elemental attacks enabled players to have the chance to break enemies by focusing on their weaknesses, which was as fun as it was crucial during boss fights. With so many fantastic features executed masterfully, Octopath Traveler II deserves to win our best turn-based RPG of 2023.



Sea of Stars is brimming with charm and retro-inspired goodness. Interacting with its beautiful world is thrilling as the Children of Solstice catapult long distances, swim, and solve puzzles to traverse gorgeous pixel-art landscapes. The turn-based combat uses timing based attacks, akin to the classic Mario RPG games, to allow the player to deal more damage and is constantly engaging. Meanwhile, its break system also adds in an extra layer of strategy. Coming up with the right combinations to stop powerful attacks from enemies is a fun puzzle to solve and gets more exciting as the party takes on more challenging foes. Sea of Stars doesn’t so much innovate, but polishes classic RPG ideas to be thoroughly enjoyed by modern audiences.

With 2023’s release of The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azure, western RPGamers are finally able to experience the full Crossbell duology. While the fact that it took so long for the game to come to western fans means that some presentational elements aren’t quite the same level as the other major challengers, there’s no doubting that Nihon Falcom’s incredible world-building is on full form. Trails to Azure offers a fantastic follow-up to the events of Trails from Zero, and its finale is one of the most emotional tour de forces in a series packed full of them.


by Luis Mauricio, Jon Jansen, and Alex Fuller