There is no better feeling than picking up your game console and immersing yourself in the world of Nintendo Switch role-playing games (RPGs).
If you’re a Nintendo Switch fan, you’re in luck, as Switch is home to some amazing RPGs: be it a Switch exclusive, playing one of the best RGPs of all time — the Witcher 3, or Japanese culture-focused RPGs.
However, how does a game qualify as an RPG? Does it need to be story-focused, combat-specific, or world-building? And that’s where the RPG sub-genres come in.
On Nintendo, you’ll find various sub-genres of RPGs, including Action RPGs, Strategy RPGs, Adventure RPGs, and MMORPGs. To ensure that we cover the best Switch RPGs, our definition of an RPG is an explorable open world, narrative-powered characters, and an excellent character progression that makes you grow with every passing hour.
Before we start with our list of best Switch RPGs, let’s learn about the influence of Japanese RPGs on the Nintendo Switch library.
Impact of Japanese RPGs on Nintendo Console’s Popularity
Japanese RPGs (JRPGs) greatly impacted the Nintendo console’s popularity. And that’s because they focus on narrative and battle systems, which the Western RPGs often fail to do.
If we go back, we’ll find two popular games that established JRGP’s impact on the gaming community. These include Ultima and Wizardry. And when Dragon Quest combined the aspects of these two games, you got an instant hit. It was released in 1986 during Nintendo Famicom. The game also inspired many clones, consumed mainly by Japanese-speaking audiences.
For the Western audience, catching up with the unique perspective JRPGs took a few years. Finally, Dragon Quest got translated into English and released as Dragon Warrior — but failed to gain traction.
However, the current situation looks perfect for JRPGs on Nintendo. If we talk about subgenres of Japanese RPGs, you’ll get plenty of great games on Nintendo that offer top-notch gameplay, graphics, and world explorations. These include Secret of Mana, Kingdom Hearts, and Legend of Zelda.
There’re plenty of other JRPGs on Switch worth mentioning, including Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, Pokemon Legends: Arceus, Octopath Traveler, and Persona 5 Royal.
And Nintendo is also focusing on releasing more JRPGs on its platform — Fire Emblem, Earthbound series, and Pokemon. It’s true that they don’t develop these games, but play an essential role in JRPG’s success on Switch.
So, if you’re a JRPG fan, Switch can be the best console to play them.
Dark Souls Remastered
Dark Souls Remastered takes you on an epic journey through a dark fantasy universe. This epic adventure RPG from FromSoftware is already renowned for its ability to engross the player in a challenging environment where you must play with complete focus and skill!
The Dark Souls Remastered version brings the adventures to Switch. It includes the main game and adds the Artorias of the Abyss DLC, so players don’t miss anything.
It meets all the criteria for an RPG — a big open-world environment and a well-crafted character progression that makes you feel powerful with the discovery of new weapons and armor.
You can also gang up with your friends (up to 6 players) with dedicated servers. But, if you see an enemy in multiplayer, would they team up to kill the powerful enemies in Lordran Kingdom (the place where Dark Souls: Remastered takes place) or just kill you? Hint: It’s probably the latter.
The performance, on the other hand, is decent. You get a constant 30FPS set at 720p, which is good enough to enjoy a soulslike game on a hand-held device. And you get all the same effects as other platforms, including textures, lighting effects, and input lag. Overall, an excellent Switch RPG to play.
- Developer: FromSoftware, Inc.
- Estimated time to complete: 42 – 105 hours!
- Release Date: October 19, 2018
Diablo III Eternal Collection
Diablo III Eternal Collection takes you on an endless journey where you fight the hordes of hell and protect the Sanctuary from all evil which has returned 20 years after being banished.
Diablo III is a top-down role-playing hack-and-slash game. Blizzard North developed it, ensuring a familiar yet improved gameplay, environment, graphics, and looting system from its popular Diablo I and II.
Moreover, you can invite your friends to enjoy the experience. The game supports a local couch co-op experience where you can invite three players to play on a single Switch system. It also offers a local wireless option that lets players with an additional switch to join or join online players (1-4).
The Eternal collection includes all Diablo III expansions, including the Reaper of Souls expansion and the Rise of the Necromancer pack. This means you get the complete package where you play any of the available 7 classes (Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Necromancer, Wizard, Witch Doctor, Crusader, and Monk) across 5 acts. The grinding never stops as you can enjoy regular seasons where you embark on a new journey to grind for new gears! On top of that, you also get special Switch Zelda exclusives, including pets, a transmogrification set, and iconic armor.
The Blizzard North team has taken special care in porting the game to Switch. It plays with constant 30 fps with no lags or dips. Moreover, it works in sync with the Joy-Con and Pro controller.
The character progression and loot system are at the core of the game. With different combinations, you can unlock over 800 unique abilities and master your way through the dark hallways of hell and free heaven from all corruption.
- Developer: Blizzard North
- Estimated time to complete: 21 – 186 hours!
- Release Date: November 2, 2018
Divinity: Original Sin II Definitive Edition
Divinity: Original Sin II Definitive Edition can quench your thirst if you’re looking for a classic role-playing experience.
The game starts with an impressive and feature-rich character customization screen where you can choose from different races and origins. You can become an imperial lizard or a flesh-eating elf — as you can choose from 5 races and 6 unique origin characters.
Also, you explore the world of Rivellon in a party-based system, where you develop relationships to improve synergy. The turn-based combat is also satisfying (more than 200 skills in 12 skill schools) as it requires thinking before you make a move. And, if you don’t like AI bots as your companion, you can invite up to 4 players in a seamless drop-in/drop-out cooperative play. Furthermore, you can also invite your buddies to play local wireless (they’ll need their own Switch console and game license) for up to 2 to 4 players.
|Divinity: Original Sin 2 – Definitive Edition – Nintendo Switch [Digital Code]||171 Reviews||$49.99||Buy on Amazon|
However, at the core of Divinity: Original Sin II is its world and the NPCs that interact with it. You can utilize an excellent dialogue-based system where each NPC has something to offer.
- Developer: Bandai Namco Entertainment (For consoles)
- Estimated time to complete: 41 – 350 hours!
- Release Date: September 4, 2019
Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate
Capcom’s Monster Hunter is a critically acclaimed RPG series. The game is exclusive to Nintendo systems and is available for Switch and 3DS. Moreover, the Nintendo Switch version is the port of the game’s 3DS version. However, it is not just a simple port as it adds more content, including 20 more dragons than its 3DS version — making it a total of 93 monsters to slay!
The Monster Hunter franchise is not new. It quickly gained popularity in Japan with the release of Monster Hunter Portable, which allowed local wireless multiplayer. Another aspect that makes Monster Hunter so popular because its entire progression and gameplay are based on gear and target rather than skill trees or class systems.
Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate reflects its core DNA, where you can choose from 14 weapon types. Mix them with Hunter Arts and Hunter Styles to add more playability to the gameplay! And it doesn’t end here as you can also play as cute but deadly Felyne that lets you play in Prowler Mode.
|Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate – Nintendo Switch||$27.50||Buy on Amazon|
However, the gameplay can be repetitive, where you must repeatedly kill previous monsters. This approach means you must grind over 100 hours to see all monsters. Also, you must play solo to unlock some items before using them in multiplayer.
It also supports local wireless, where you can join up to three other players or online multiplayer.
- Developer: Capcom
- Estimated time to complete: 79 – 148 hours!
- Release Date: August 25, 2017
Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition
Tales of Vesperia is a popular JPRG with a rich story. It is a single-player game, and the Definitive Edition is the 10th-anniversary celebration gift to fans from BANDAI NAMCO Studios.
The Definitive Edition brings full HD graphics and new music to enjoy the reboot best. You also get access to new mini-games and kill new bosses with a collection of costume DLC (which were never released outside of Japan in the earlier versions). In addition, you also get to play two additional playable characters. These include the likes of a young cheerful pirate girl named Patty Fleur and an Imperial Knight, Flynn Scifo.
|Tales of Vesperia – Definitive Edition – Nintendo Switch||$31.40||Buy on Amazon|
The story revolves around two friends who go on an epic adventure. They must deal with the fight between the Empire and the civilization for ancient technology, the Blastia.
- Developer: Namco Tales Studio
- Estimated time to complete: 50 – 60 hours!
- Release Date: January 11, 2019
The Elders Scrolls V: Skyrim
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim needs no introduction. It is a legendary RPG game set in Tamriel (Skyrim is a country) that has won over 200 Game of the Year Awards.
The game lets you explore a fascinating open world where you explore freely as you please! The Switch release also lets you use the motion controls, which can be used with the Legend of Zelda Amiibo. The vanilla version offers a great starting point for new Dragonborns like you. There is also a Skyrim Anniversary edition with all bells and whistles, such as add-ons and improved graphics.
And, you play as a Dragonborn with the ability to fight against the dragons across the Skyrim landscape. The quest line embarks you to explore the world where you can interact with NPCs and learn about the wild world of Skyrim, where the dragons have made their way back through the passages of Elder Scrolls.
You can wield spells, swords, shields, and tunics and fight with the dragons in the way you like — you get hundreds of choices to customize your characters.
- Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
- Estimated time to complete: 34 – 109 hours!
- Release Date: November 17, 2017
The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt Complete Edition
The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt is another renowned RPG game set in a dark fantasy world. The game has won over 250 Game of the Year awards and is set as one of the finest story-driven role-playing games.
It is a single-player story-driven where you play as the Geralt of Rivia. It revolves around the story of Geralt trying to track down the Child of Prophecy – Ciri, a powerful woman who can change the world!
The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt Complete Edition provides access to content, including the legendary DLCs: Hearts of Stone as well as Blood and Wine. These DLCs offer hundreds of hours of additional gameplay time.
The open world of Witcher 3 is gigantic, with plenty of landscape variety. You can visit areas from the cold Skellige islands to the Novigrad, a corrupt yet luxurious place. In your adventure, you complete hundreds of quests that let you act as a trained monster slayer that uses potions, swords, stances, and much more!
|The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt Complete Edition (Nintendo Switch)||$49.88||Buy on Amazon|
You also get to do other leisurely activities in the game. For example, you can fancy yourself to play a game of Gwent before you find Ciri!
Additionally, if you already played on PC (Steam and GOG), you can continue your adventure on Nintendo Switch with cross-play, thanks to cloud saves.
- Developer: CD PROJEKT RED
- Estimated time to complete: 56 – 150 hrs!
- Release Date: October 15, 2019
Xenoblade Chronicles 3
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is a Switch exclusive developed by Monolith Soft and published by Nintendo. It falls under an action role-playing category game where you explore the world as Noah and Mio.
The story revolves around the conflict between two nations. It starts slowly, where you explore the open world, but it changes to violence. You explore massive landscapes, only to find a dark secret of a world that you never knew. The rich world includes the likes of Aionios — the vast grassy planes to Colonies, a base of operations for Keves and Agnus nations.
The combat system is real-time to give you complete control of how you interact with the world around you! In the seamless real-time RPG combat, once you start, you enter the attack automatically but get to choose the next moves, including using powerful abilities. You also get to control a team of 6 members from different nations and use their abilities (Arts) strategically use powerful Chain Attacks to defeat the enemies.
The game runs extremely well on Nintendo Switch, considering it is made especially for the system!
- Developer: Monolith Soft
- Estimated time to complete: 62 – 100 hours!
- Release Date: July 29, 2022
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age returns to the world of Ivalice, where you continue the Final Fantasy experience in its 12th installation. The classic adventure takes you two years after the war ended (the Archadian Empire destroyed the Kingdom of Dalmasca).
The Zodiac Age brings a lot of changes to the game, including improved HD graphics and various minor changes across the game. The game also adds a 5.1 channel sound output which you can use by connecting your switch to a TV with the sound setup!
The world is semi-open and lets you move around freely. The combat is also clean, giving you good control over your team members. Here, you get gambits that let you pre-define the actions of the party members. However, the biggest change is the progression system which changes how you equip your armor and the skills on offer.
|Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age – Nintendo Switch||$28.04||Buy on Amazon|
And you play as a Vaan, a young man, and Princess Ashe, the last Dalmascan royal family member. The story is more down to earth and revolves around politics.
- Developer: Square Enix
- Estimated time to complete: 41 – 104 hours!
- Release Date: April 30, 2019
Pokemon Legends: Arceus
Pokemon and an RPG fan? Then, you’re in luck! Meet the Pokemon Legends: Acerus, an RPG-esque take on the world of Pokemon.
Game Freak, a Japanese game developer with experience in RPGs and Pokemon, developed the game. It means you get to explore the open world of the Hisui region – the Sinnoh of old. The place is a natural world with the Mount Coronet rising from the center! The region contains a combination of water and land.
And, what are you supposed to do there? To build the region’s first Pokedex by catching wild Pokemons using your Poke Ball. You start with your choice of Pokemon, including Rowlet, Cyndaquil, and Oshawott.
Traveling is also pleasant as you can ride across landscapes with a Celestica Flute. Ultimately, you have the task of exploring the Mythical Pokemon, Arceus.
- Developer: Game Freak
- Estimated time to complete: 26 – 78 hours!
- Release Date: January 28, 2022
Immerse Yourself and Forget About Reality
Our daily lives are all about work. We remember our childhood when we sit down for hours to play the most immersive games. While it can be tedious, if you pick the right RPG for yourself can provide you an amazing experience. Role-playing games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Xenoblade Chronicles 3 take you to a different world. And, if it connects with you properly, you’ll want to play them every day!
If you want to try something different and evoke a sense of nostalgia, check out this list of the best retro games!
For the past 20 years, Nitish has been an avid gamer. His primary focus is on PC games, but he also enjoys exploring the worlds of Nintendo, XBOX, and PlayStation. Nitish is always looking for new games to try out and is particularly fascinated… read more