The 10 Best RPGs Of The Last Decade, Ranked

The 10 Best RPGs Of The Last Decade, Ranked

If there’s anything gamers love, it’s an RPG – and the last decade has been a real doozy for solid titles. Regardless of whether you’re looking for a swords-and-sorcery medieval jaunt, a neon-soaked adventure, or a gripping murder-mystery, RPGs have you covered. There’s been a whole heap released over the last decade and plenty have solidified themselves amongst the hall of fame of top games, but which RPG comes out on top? These are the ten best RPGs of the decade, ranked. Sadly, the GOAT Skyrim falls just shy of a decade so isn’t included – but we persevere.

10. Xenoblade Chronicles 3

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is the most recent instalment in Monolith Soft’s series, and it builds upon the lofty legacy of the previous titles. With expansive environments, including a looming sword towering in the distance and massive enemies, you’re made to feel small in the grand scheme of things – but you and your party’s actions can still change the world. Set against the backdrop of a perpetual war between two nations that churn out soldiers with a 10-year lifespan, the story is deeply emotional and captivating. While the story and world itself are built on a gargantuan scale, it’s the quiet moments of reflection around a campfire with your party or sending away a lost spirit that anchors Xenoblade Chronicles 3’s soul. And, if you’re less into the story and more into engaging, in-depth combat systems with enough variety to have a different playstyle every time you dive into combat, there’s enough of that to go around, too.

9. Pillars of Eternity 2

Pillars of Eternity 2 was the closest thing we had to Baldur’s Gate 3 until it came out, and Obsidian pulled no punches when it came to this CRPG. From visuals to gameplay, it plays like a classic RPG launched into the modern gaming era, thanks partly to its Obsidian DNA (with many of the devs who worked on the title having touched Fallout 1 and 2 during its development). With Obsidian’s next RPG on the way, Avowed, it remains to be seen if it can reach the same heights as Pillars of Eternity’s second instalment. And who doesn’t love a seafaring jaunt on a ship?

8. Bloodborne

Of course Bloodborne was going to make this list. FromSoftware’s winning formula from Dark Souls mixed with the gothic setting just hits – and despite the fact it’s perhaps one of the most-loved games from the PS4 era, there as yet isn’t a remake in sight (much to the despair of its mega fans). Many RPGs stick to the lighter side of things with plenty of whimsy mixed in for good measure, but Bloodborne leans heavily into the dark and gritty in a way that works so well with the genre format – and the combat is, of course, killer, as is to be expected.

7. Cyberpunk 2077 (now that it’s as good as its gonna get)

I personally found Cyberpunk 2077 amazing from the get-go as one of the lucky few not to experience a wealth of technical difficulties upon booting it up in 2020, but since the major update that accompanied the Phantom Liberty DLC, CD Projekt Red’s exploration into Night City is top tier. Every alleyway holds its own unique secrets and the characters you meet along the way each presents their own in-depth story that adds to the feeling of a living, breathing dystopian world that moves on with or without you. There’s also, of course, the solid soundtrack and world design to consider – but maybe that’s the neon-lover in me talking.

6. Final Fantasy VII Rebirth

It wouldn’t be an RPG list without a Final Fantasy title on it, and while Rebirth might not be from the Golden Age of the franchise, it’s a deeply nostalgic return to the story of Cloud with all the modern RPG bells and whistles. There are honestly mountains of content if you’re patient and enjoy near-endless exploration. Of course, the story of Final Fantasy VII is as good as it ever was – even more so with solid voice acting and character animations. Given it’s the top-rated Final Fantasy title on Metacritic (beyond FFIX, my personal favourite), it seems like the rest of the world agrees Rebirth takes the cake when it comes to Square Enix’s storytelling and gameplay. Oh, and there’s a cool new card game in it.

5. Dragon Age: Inquisition

Dragon Age: The Veilguard is finally on the horizon, but Inquisition still lingers heavily in the minds of many RPG fans, particularly those who crave that epic fantasy story that’s so iconic to the genre. There are characters to romance (including my love, Solas), a major threat to the world, and a gorgeous world to explore and learn about. While some RPGs prefer to make you feel small, like the world is changing you rather than the other way around, there are tangible consequences to your actions in Inquisition. What’s more you get to see them payoff in ways that are surprising and sometimes explosive. Whether Veilguard manages to capture BioWare’s Dragon Age magic in a bottle for yet another turn around Thedas isn’t clear just yet, but even if they can’t, we’ll always have Inquisition welcoming us back in for another adventure to be had and an NPC to try love up.

4. Disco Elysium

Disco Elysium is a genre-breaking RPG that has captured the hearts and minds of players ever since its release in 2019. While things behind the scenes at ZA/UM haven’t been so peachy, the game itself is in the simplest terms possible a masterpiece. The original concept alongside the iconic art-style and snarky, yet insightful dialogue has players hooked, despite the complete lack of traditional combat – an RPG genre mainstay. While choice is almost always a massive part of any game in the genre, Disco Elysium takes it to the next level as you interact with the world and people around you, and try to solve a murder in amongst it all. It’s a truly unique game that’s inspired many titles like it in the years since, a true mark of success for any game.

3. Elden Ring

FromSoftware seemingly can do no wrong when it comes to RPGs, and Elden Ring is no exception. With worldbuilding from Games of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin, The Lands Between are filled to the brim with lore that provides the perfect backdrop for those often infuriatingly hard boss fights in typical Soulslike style. The open world is your oyster when it comes to exploration, and there’s a wealth of weapon, armour, stat and general build options to give you the edge on your enemies – or just allow you to look cool as hell, if that’s more your jam (and you don’t mind dying even more than usual). The new DLC, Shadow of the Erdtree, is no exception to the greatness either.

2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

I know, two CD Projekt Red titles in the one list. However, it goes without saying that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has left a massive mark on gaming and pop culture, taking the storyline of Geralt of Rivia, Ciri, and Yennefer to new heights in a unique Slavic-inspired world with a gripping storyline and solid combat that I personally think holds up even almost a decade later. There’s so much to do, so many intertwined stories – even from side characters you can completely bypass – and that soundtrack absolutely fucks hard the music way. Just choose the ending you’d like to pursue wisely.

1. Baldur’s Gate 3

It should come as no surprise that Larian’s major hit Baldur’s Gate 3 takes the cake for top RPG of the decade. You may say it’s due to recency release bias, but there’s no doubt that the Dungeons & Dragons title ticks every RPG box and then some. The sheer level of detail in the world, characters, and storyline is mindblowing, and it truly captures the essence of playing D&D in video game form. No two playthroughs are the same, even without mods. It didn’t win game of the year amongst a million other accolades for nothing, after all. If you’re an RPG fan and haven’t yet jumped in to the Forgotten Realms, you’re in for a real treat – this is the best RPG from the last decade, after all.

What’s your favourite RPG from the last decade? Would you change any of these rankings? Let us know in the comments.

Image: ZA/UM / FromSoftware / Bandai Namco

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