A role-playing video game refers to the video game genre where the player controls the actions, personality, and overall customization of the game’s protagonist (or several characters). The game is set in an immersive world already characterized by its unique narrative and story-telling elements.
Most roleplaying games share similarities with pen-and-paper games. They involve deep story-telling, player character development, complexity, immersion, and replay value. The electronic medium has, however, removed the necessity for a gamemaster. Instead, it increases the combat resolution speed making the experience visually rich, unlike the tabletop role-playing games it originated from, like Dungeons & Dragons.
Why are RPGs So Popular?
These days, RPGs have evolved from basic text-based console-window games into immersive 3D experiences. These games continue to use the same terminology, settings, and game mechanics.
Games of this genre allow players to explore the immersive world by engaging in combat and solving puzzles. Players can control either the central game character or a group of characters called a party. When the players complete a series of quests, they conclude the particular storyline. Every quest and every combat decides the subsequent happenings of the narrative.
Most role-playing games are based on the premise of the protagonist saving the world from one or more mythical threats. The setting of the game is often rooted in speculative fiction (either fantasy or science fiction). As the story progresses, there are often twists and turns with the appearances of estranged characters who are in some way connected to the storyline. The interesting plot appeals to the players to suspend their disbelief about the rapid character growth and possible twists allowing the players to escape reality.
Stories form an integral part of these role-playing games where the voiceover narration and the recorded dialogues strengthen the storyline. The player gets to design their character and also see them grow in power and abilities. The attributes increase when the character goes up by a level.
RPG games are gaining popularity in the contemporary world because not only are they fun to play, but also they provide characters with a variety of skill sets and diverse backgrounds. Therefore, it appeals to every stratum of gamers, and there is something for everyone.
Now that you know what RPGs are and why they’re so popular, let’s take a look at some amazing RPGs for the PS4!
There is no incoming joke of distorted graphics and unfinished game for Cyberpunk 2077, but after so many subsequent patches and fixes, this is undisputedly one of the finest games in the genre. It provides plenty of detailed options for customizations to the player. With the addition of stars like Keanu Reeves, the game is star-studded with great performances.
The player assumes the role of V, a customizable mercenary who is struggling with a mysterious cybernetic implant that is threatening to overwrite his body’s functioning and personality with that of a deceased celebrity. The game is set in Night City, an open world set in the Cyberpunk universe. The game is played in a first-person perspective. The player gets to customize the voice, face, hairstyles, body type, clothing, and weapons of V.
Categories like Body, Intelligence, Reflexes, Technical, and Cool are influenced by the character classes. The players can pick classes like Solo (Combat), NetRunner (Hacking), and Techie (Machinery). The character also acquires skills in hacking and machinery with options for melee and ranged combat. Based on the success of this game, Cyberpunk Edgerunners also became a highly-rated anime based on this universe.
Developer: CD Projekt Red
Publisher: CD Projekt
Release Date: December 10, 2020
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, launched in 2015, is the third game in The Witcher video game series, set in an open fantasy world based on Slavic mythology. The games adapt the popular fantasy novel The Witcher written by Andrzej Sapkowski.
Players control Geralt of Rivia, the novel’s protagonist, who is a monster slayer for hire known as a Witcher. The character is in search of his adopted daughter, who is on the run from the legendary Wild Hunt. Players complete quests to acquire experience points and gold, which can be used to purchase equipment like bombs, crossbows, and swords.
|Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Complete Edition – PlayStation 4 Complete Edition||$22.97||Buy on Amazon|
Geralt’s abilities can also be upgraded in many instances. Players battle the game’s many dangers, like other monsters and soldiers, with weapons and magic. The day-night cycle in the game was also appreciated by many game reviewers. Players can also interact with the scripted non-player characters. The complex nature of the script also provides three possible endings that can be determined by the player’s choices in the narrative.
Developer: CD Projekt Red
Publisher: CD Projekt
Release Date: May 19, 2015
Elden Ring is set in an interactive open world where the players can traverse six main areas with their steed Torrent, their primary mode of travel. The game is played from a third-person perspective, where the player is on a quest to repair the Elden Ring and become the new Elden Lord.
The players get to explore linear/hidden dungeons to find weapons and can also use several types of magic spells, including non-direct engagement enabled by stealth mechanics. The players are allowed to improve their attributes using an in-game currency called Runes. They can also constantly upgrade their weapons and skill set. Due to this nuanced gameplay and epic challenging battles, the game developed a reputation similar to games like Dark Souls and Bloodborne.
The game also offers an online multiplayer mode in which the players can engage in either cooperative or player-versus-player combat.
Developer: FromSoftware Inc.
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Release Date: February 25, 2022
Mass Effect: Legendary Edition
Remastered with visual enhancement, technical improvements, and gameplay adjustments, Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is a compilation of the video games in the Mass Effect trilogy.
The game includes almost all single-player downloadable content that was released for each game, like promotional armor and weapons. The player assumes the role of Commander Shepard, an elite human soldier set on a mission to unite the galactic community against Reapers, a highly advanced race of synthetic-organic starships.
The characteristics of Shepard, including gender and first name, are determined by the player. During each game, the player makes choices that impact the subsequent storylines. The game includes various visual updates, visual screen grabs, smoke effects, volumetric lighting, and modified skyboxes. The combat style was also updated to make it feel real, with improved aim assist, a dedicated melee button, rebalanced weapons, smarter enemies, and squad artificial intelligence.
The game focuses on the relationships and problems of its main characters while never forgetting the basic sci-fi aspects that fans anticipate from a storyline. Mass Effect is a science fiction pleasure, with intergalactic battles, fascinating alien worlds, and amazing weaponry and powers.
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: May 14, 2021
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the fifth main installment in The Elder Scrolls series. The game is set 200 years after the events of ‘Oblivion’. The game is set in Skyrim, the northernmost province of Tamriel, a continent on the planet Nirn. The main story focuses on the Dragonborn, a customizable key player, who is on a quest to defeat Alduin, the World-Eater – a dragon prophesied to destroy the world.
The player has to complete a series of quests, and character development comes with improving skills. The player is allowed to travel anywhere in the game world at any time and can even ignore or postpone the main storyline indefinitely. The fantasy-action role-playing game is playable from either a first or third-person perspective. The players need to keep a check on their character’s three primary attributes – health, Magicka (to cast spells), and stamina (to perform heavy sprints or attacks). These attributes can be regenerated over time and act crucial for the completion of the game.
|The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition – PlayStation 4||$9.95||Buy on Amazon|
The quests in this game are unpredictable, as based on the player’s inputs, they can completely create a whole new storyline for the players. The lore of the game is also massive, which makes players come back to the game from time to time. Moreover, with thousands of mods available online, the game is basically an evergreen piece!
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Release Date: October 28, 2016
Diablo IV is a multiplayer-only action role-playing game where players can create a character from one of the five – Barbarian, Druid, Necromancer, Rogue, or Sorcerer. The game revolves around defeating increasingly difficult enemies at every level.
Enemies are fought using different skills and types of equipment which can be customized. They are split into monster families, which are again defined by theme, combat style, and location. Every family can be differentiated by unique silhouettes, stances, and weapons. Diablo IV, unlike its predecessors, introduces three new attributes: Angelic, Demonic, and Ancestral power.
These attributes determine the character’s effectiveness in combat. Gears and weapons can be customized with runes and runewords. Players can also traverse through five regions within the Diablo series world: Scosglen, Fractured Peaks, Dry Steppes, Hawezar, and Kehjistan.
Developer: Blizzard Team 3
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Release Date: June 5, 2023
Monster Hunter: World
The 2018 action role-playing game is the fifth mainline installment in the Monster Hunter series. The player takes the role of a Hunter, tasked to hunt down monsters who reside in different environments.
The game, played from a third-person perspective, allows the player to take the role of a player-created character who travels to an unpopulated landmass filled with monsters – also known as the ‘New World’. The plot is to hunt or trap the monsters as requested to the player by the Research Commission. The player is rewarded through loot, consisting of elements used to craft weapons, and parts of the monster that can be used to craft armor.
|Monster Hunter World: Iceborne Master Edition – PlayStation 4 Standard Edition||$28.67||Buy on Amazon|
Monster Hunter: World revolves around the ability of the player to craft appropriate gear to hunt down more difficult monsters and consequently build more powerful gear with the materials they acquire when on the hunt. The crafting system is very nuanced, and based on the player’s choices, it can dictate your survival in the game.
Release Date: January 26, 2018
Pillars of Eternity
The role-playing video game, Pillars of Eternity, takes place in the fantasy world of Eora, inside the nation of Drywood, where the infants are plagued by a phenomenon upon which they become “hollowborn” upon birth.
The player experiences an awakening of power at the beginning of the game, as they discover themselves to be a “Watcher”- a person who can see past lives and interact with souls. The objective of the game is to find a solution to the hollowborn problem and find out what disastrous supernatural event caused their awakening.
|Pillars of Eternity: Complete Edition – PlayStation 4||$29.94||Buy on Amazon|
Players can further explore the game world by unlocking locations, progressing upon the main story, and fulfilling the objectives for quests. Alongside the main story quests, players can engage in optional side quests. The player can also create a party of up to six characters – each with their own personal story, unique features, and quest.
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Release Date: August 29, 2017
The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos
The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos is a role-playing videogame adapting the Le Donjon de Naheulbeuk, a French-language online audio series revolving around a party of adventurers in a parody of heroic role-playing games.
The game takes place in the Land of Fangh, the land where the main character of the series evolves in. The visuals are the same as in the comic, with over-the-top archetypes.
The story is linear but lacks dialogue options to deviate from the direction of the plot. However, the player gets to interact with a lot of other characters while traveling through the seven floors present in the game. As the name suggests, the character is trapped in a dungeon until the mission is completed. The endings to each level are way too hilarious and unpredictable.
|The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos (Chicken Edition) – PlayStation 4||$20.98||Buy on Amazon|
There is a skill tree which fun to complete as the options are very wacky and funny, which often takes a jab at the monotonous nature of video games.
Developer: Artefacts Studio
Publisher: Dear Villagers
Release Date: September 17, 2020
Delving into the intricacies of well-built role-playing video games is always rewarding to the players. Finding that one character who inspires your personality for a few days is amusing, and role-playing games perfectly fit that role. While some titles on the list are new, some are old but classics, so there should be something for everyone!
If you want more options in RPGs, try out these fantasy games!
Rijit Banerjee is a gaming/esports journalist who started his career in Sportskeeda in India and moving to work in some of the leading gaming publications in the world such as GG Recon, ESTNN, Dot Esports, and more. He spends his free time reading… read more