Cyberpunk 2077 is finally here, and the reviews are mixed.
While many critics praised the game’s vast open world and rambunctious side quests, the game has a ton of serious drawbacks. It’s littered with bugs and glitches, and Keanu Reeves’s character is as compelling as cardboard, all while the game’s lukewarm story leaves a lot to be desired.
With all the hype that mounted around the game, it was almost inevitable that Projekt Red would at least slightly cave under pressure. Regardless of whether or not you’re still going to get the game after its tepid reception, the fact remains that we could all use an RPG to get lost in this winter.
Here are 10 RPGs that are enthralling in their own right and guaranteed to be a way better time than Cyberpunk 2077.
Dark Souls 3
The Action RPG vertical doesn’t get a lot of genuinely compelling entries that often; mastering the balance between fluid combat with RPG customization and storytelling is a hard balance to strike, but Dark Souls 3 does so beautifully.
The vast choice of weaponry and armor make customizing your character a thrill, and the hair-pulling difficulty of the game’s AI makes for some hard-won battles and truly terrifying boss encounters. Additionally, Dark Souls 3’s gothic intertwined map and secret shortcuts make for compelling open-world exploration that will keep you on your toes as you turn every corner.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake
One of the best games in the FF franchise and one of the best RPGs in history, Final Fantasy 7‘s fresh new reboot last year reaffirmed that its lasting praise was well deserved.
Located in Midgar’s vast open-world setting, the rework offers fluid combat mechanics and gorgeous and intimidating boss fights with both new and old characters (the sewer-lingerer Abzu was a surprisingly epic confrontation), all alongside a unique cast of characters that each possess their own unique skills and attributes. Button-mashing will get you nowhere, and you have to know how to optimize your party, but FF7R remains one of the best reboots in recent memory.
Designed as an RPG devoid of classic role-playing tropes, Planescape: Torment has been lauded as one of the most imaginative games ever created.
Sure, it’s a D&D set-up, but the beauty of Planescape: Torment is not so much thrilling in its combat but in its enthralling dialogue, hilarious characters, and artistic framework, all of which pose deep philosophical questions to the player as he tries to unravel the character’s seedy past. The sharp writing and twisted sense of humor make Planescape: Torment an experience unlike any other.
The Witcher 3
Enough can’t be said about how damn good The Witcher 3 is. With gorgeous visuals, an immersive open-world, epic combat and boss battles, and charismatic characters, it’s impossible to describe the game’s power in one measly paragraph. While all eyes are on Cyberpunk 2077, Projekt RED’s crown jewel will always remain The Witcher 3.
Divinity Original Sin 2
Stressfully free-form in its narration and open world, with complex party and combat mechanics, DOS 2 has been known for years as one of the greatest RPGs ever to exist.
Few other RPGs are as flexible in its storytelling, and few are as haunting and powerful in its execution. Every decision – and I mean every decision (I once murdered someone and broke into their house to complete a quest only to find that they had a wife and child waiting for them at home) – will have consequences, big and small, that impact how the game inevitably turns out. Throw in colorful characters, in-depth customization options, a vast open world, and flawless voice acting, and you have an RPG you will never want to emerge from.
Persona 5: Royal
Since a lot of us can’t be in school right now, why not go to Persona 5‘s supernatural academy instead?
Taking place in modern-day Tokyo, the game follows a high school student known as Joker, who transfers to a new school after being falsely accused of assault. Over the course of the year, the Joker and other students form a group of vigilantes known as the Phantom Thieves of Hearts. Their goal? To explore the Metaverse, a supernatural universe born from human desire.
Ranked as one of the best and most surprising gems of 2017, the game’s Royal expansion includes two new characters, some well-warranted gameplay adjustments, and more than 100 hours of additional gameplay.
Over 20 years after Chrono Trigger launched on the SNES, it still remains one of the most original RPGs ever created and is a true blast to play.
Thanks to a captivating art design by Akira Toriyama, the game’s youthful heroes are hilarious, courageous, and charismatic, and the game’s open world and introduction of time travel were revolutionary for video games. Throw in a timeless soundtrack and multiple game endings, and its longevity reaffirms its place as one of the greatest RPGs of all time.
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The beauty of Link, and the beauty of Breath of the Wild, is that neither can be tamed.
The sprawling open-world is littered with so much to do that its impossible not to get distracted. You wanna help a local farmer retrieve his chickens? Link is up to the task. You want to climb the tallest mountain and paraglide off just for sh*ts and giggles? Link won’t mind. He is as malleable as the world around him, and whether you’re traveling to a tower far-off in the distance or just collecting enough ingredients to make rice balls or a beef stew, all of it is guaranteed to be fun.
From an endless number of puzzles to a plethora of tricky enemies with their own strengths and weaknesses, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a one-of-a-kind game that appeals to anyone with curiosity.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
It can be hard to get immersed in an RPG if it’s not your preferred game type. But the beauty of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic has always been its adaptability.
The game is detailed enough to enthrall even the biggest D&D fanatics while intuitive enough to cater to RPG noobs. Set 4,000 years before the movie’s events, your customized character is tasked with becoming a Jedi, and each choice you make as you progress towards that goal will inevitably determine whether you’re on the dark or light side of history.
Incredible voice acting, a sprawling open universe, a captivating story, and graceful team dynamics make for one of the best Star Wars games ever.
Mass Effect 2
In the lauded sequel, BioWare took the loose premise of Mass Effect 2‘s predecessor and revamped it, turning the combat into fluid duck-and-roll mechanics similar to those in Gears of War, as well as a more complex and more engaging story.
While the premise still follows Commander Shepherd and his rag-tag gang of alien cohorts as they fight back against universal destruction, the in-game romance options will actually hurt your feelings and each character’s layered backstory will make you care for RPG characters in a way you never thought possible.