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Best RPGs of All-Time

Christopher D. Johnson "philosopher + sci-fi aficionado"
The list author says: "This ranking concerns Role Playing Games for pc/video game consoles from NES to present. This list excludes games that include character building but aren't really RPGs (Godfather on Xbox is good example). it also excludes mario's rpgs, which i don't care for, and Zelda series which are really adventure games anyhow. As you can also tell, I don't care much for JRPGs which are often too shallow, whiny, kiddie, and repetitive, but a few made my list anyway. And most of these are console, so old-school "hardcore" games probably won't be on here."
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
"Bethesda's latest entry in the Elder Scrolls is their best, and a pinnacle of role playing experience. No world has been this well realized before."
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (Game of the Year Edition)
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (Game of the Year Edition)
"Morrowind, while graphically still in the elementary stages of 3D exploration, has a macabre/arcane quality that isn't present in Oblivion.  As an open world RPG with literally hundreds of quests to complete (or not), and many many factions to align yourself with, makes this game (and its excellent additional content) the best entre into the open world genre."
Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition
Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition
"This GOTY for Fallout 3 puts it all together. Having played all the expansions which allow a deeper experience and deeper level of character development, Fallout 3 excels in so many ways: Level Up Perks, VATS targeted shooting, Multiple ways to complete missions based on character choices, missions based on instance encounters as opposed to just guild guides.  Wow!!!!"
Baldur's Gate 2:  Shadows of Amn - PC
Baldur's Gate 2: Shadows of Amn - PC
"This classic D&D style game contains a massive world, many characters to recruit, and of course the fate of the world.  This is the game that really got me into the genre and it's still a solid showing."
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
"The most beautiful game to date is also one of the very finest RPGs of the past few years. Difficult and demanding, with an adult approach to the medium that has been sorely lacking in sophistication, Witcher 2 bests its flawed predecessor and is easily a must buy."
Mass Effect 2 Platinum Hits
Mass Effect 2 Platinum Hits
"Science Fiction just may be the new RPG genre. Breathtaking worlds, fantastical creatures, along with stellar gunmanship make ME2 hard to beat. Mass Effect 2 does two things mightily well.  First, it's pretty open for a Bioware game. Second, it combines that openness with an excellent story and incredibly memorable characters. Not only that, but it makes the original look outdated now."
Vagrant Story
Vagrant Story
"A console cult classic, Vagrant Story brought a variety of different compelling elements together, including a fantastic intricate story, some of the best weapon/armor upgrade and elemental systems to date, and a surprisingly macabre setting. You won't care that there's no leveling."
Mass Effect - Xbox 360
Mass Effect - Xbox 360
"A largely underrated game, Mass Effect takes the genre to space and gives Bioware another opportunity to show off its unique dialogue choices. Bioware can do no wrong."
Deus Ex - PC
Deus Ex - PC
"Set in a dystopian future, the world of J.C. Denton's is filled with shadowy power brokers, giant corporate behemoths, and levels open to a variety of approaches. Deus Ex broke a lot of conventions, and it's still fantastic after all these years."
Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne
Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne
"Though the entire Shin Megami Tensei series has a large following, especially the Persona sub-series, few of them boasted the depth of play and metaphysics as Nocturne. The entire SMT series is fantastic too, of course."
Planescape: Torment - PC
Planescape: Torment - PC
"This cult classic is a twist on the genre, but really opened the way for more-open rpg games (as opposed to the very linear japanese version).  When a floating eye is your company, you know its going to be great!"
Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic - PC
Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic - PC
"KOTOR is still the best Star Wars game around (including its xbox360 evolution).  allowing you to play dark side or light side, this game is just as if Lucas did Baldur's Gate."
Fallout 2
Fallout 2
"Fallout existed (as you may know) before its 3rd installment.  In fact FAllout 3 is largely a fleshed out version of fallout 2, which was raw, violent, open, and even allowed you to befriend Deathclaws!"
Dragon Age: Origins Collector's Edition - PC
Dragon Age: Origins Collector's Edition - PC
"Bioware's most recent iteration of it's well-regarded fantasy RPG lineage is astounding.  The storytelling, characters you care deeply about, multiple tough decisions, and streamlined character builder are all outstanding.  After 75-80 hours of play you will rush to start all over again just to see how differently you can play it.  This is Bioware's best fantasy RPG to date."
Neverwinter Nights Diamond
Neverwinter Nights Diamond
"Neverwinter Nights is another fantastic D&D style RPG.  What really sets this game apart from other D&D games is the depth of character creation, the ability to export characters, and tools to create an entirely new game if you like.  For hard core gamers, this game is mana from heaven."
Chrono Trigger
Chrono Trigger
"Multiple Characters to choose from, epic historical scope, fantastically varied environments, and just darn good rpg play make this a classic.  It's high price on Ebay or Amazon, despite its age, should tell you most of what you need to know."
Arcanum: of Steamworks & Magick Obscura - PC
Arcanum: of Steamworks & Magick Obscura - PC
"After the early Fallout games, a few devs left to create a whole new steampunk world as a classic RPG. Flawed but great, it is still the love of many a veteran player, and one of the best RPGs of all time."
Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy VII
"FF7's narrative, fighting system, character development etc achieve the high water mark in the FF series for this grand adventure.  No other JRPG comes close.  Plus augments rock!"
Chrono Cross - PlayStation
Chrono Cross - PlayStation
"Chrono Cross has so much heart that, in its time, it achieved a sort of perfection of the genre, and at a time when 2D rpgs were fairly common.  This one, however, takes the cake."
The Witcher - PC
The Witcher - PC
"For those of us adults who like to play games designed for adults, The Witcher was a breath of fresh air.  Don't forget a great story and solid RPG gaming - here's to wishing for a sequel."
Earthbound
Earthbound
"Beloved by players, Earthbound is another cult classic that boasts perhaps the highest retail value given it's relative obscurity upon release. Rather than D&D style dungeons and medieval lore, Earthbound did much to stretch the boundaries of RPGs and is probably responsible for the success of series like Persona and other "real-life" RPGs."
Jade Empire - Xbox
Jade Empire - Xbox
"Translating the RPG genre into a totally unique universe (Eastern Martial Arts / Mythology) could perhaps only have been done this well by Bioware.  Great story, fighting mechanics that are amazingly true to life (aside from magic of course), this game totally rocks."
Wizardry 8 - PC
Wizardry 8 - PC
"The last of the famed Wizardry series is also probably the best. Classic RPG elements come together in true form. Still on many RPG top ten lists of all time, if you don't mind a bit of old-school, you can't go wrong here."
Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Game of the Year Edition -Xbox 360
Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Game of the Year Edition -Xbox 360
"Perhaps more than 'Morrowind with trees', Oblivion's combat is far superior to its predecessor and still boasts 300-400 hours gameplay, including the superb Dark Brotherhood questline.  Beautifully rendered and easily accessible, this game is easily high on the list for best RPG. Bethesda just keeps cranking out one masterpiece at a time."
Fallout: New Vegas - PC
Fallout: New Vegas - PC
"A return to the West and the heart of the series, Obsidian does the franchise proud with a crazy narrative complexity, hardcore mode, and a more adult take on the series. Although it feels like Fallout 3.1, and doesn't reward exploration nearly as well, it does right by the fans."
The Dark Eye: Drakensang - PC
The Dark Eye: Drakensang - PC
"Euro-CRPG Drakensang is already a cult classic among "hardcore" RPG enthusiasts, and despite the slow start, it's easy to see why after putting some time into the game. Utilizing a unique character customization and leveling system, it's old-school RPG action updated for contemporary systems. Great game!"
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines
"A gothic and macabre setting make this bloodsucking title a real treat."
Ultima Collection - PC
Ultima Collection - PC
"Ultima.  The game that virtually got us all hooked so many years ago, and all its eventual incarnations, promised and delivered a world unto its own.  But its place in this list is not pure sentimentality because it was darn fun to play too!"
Fable II
Fable II
"Fable 2 comes a step closer to realizing the purported intent of the series - to create a world that reflects the impact of your character - and the results are pretty astonishing.  The high customization of character, dress, alignment, and the ability to do things like impact market prices of goods is amazing.  A very solid contribution to the genre."