Dark Souls: Easily one of the best games I've ever played and I still play it annually. Lordran is my favorite world to explore. I just love the interconnectedness.
Bloodborne: Though much more action oriented than Dark Souls, i still consider it an RPG and every aspect of it is perfection.
Pokemon Soul Silver: An epic remake of the best Pokemon game. I still have yet to play a better Pokemon game. I lost it when you went back to Kanto and saw how it had changed. It felt like a great sequel to Gen 1. Plus, 16 badges!
Final Fantasy VII: The GOAT that got me into JRPGs. I'm almost done with the Remake, and wow, seeing that world brought to life was one of the best gaming experiences ever.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords: Though this game is considered the weaker of the two, I like it more than the original because of the tone and all of the Sith Lords you encounter. I remember beating this 3 times one summer with different endings just to see it all. Its got some great moments and I loved how each Sith Lord felt unique.
Honorable Mention: Persona 4
I remember getting so attached to the group and I really cared how the story ended. That scene at the end when the MC is on the train and you say good bye to your friends almost made me cry.
Shin Megami Tensei III
Shin Megami Tensei IV
Persona 5 Royal
Yakuza: Like a Dragon
Dragon Quest V
Honorable mention goes to Valkyrie Profile aka Depression The Game, and Super Robot Taisen OG Saga Endless Frontier for his cool battle system and sweet spritework during battles. If any of you enjoyed Project X Zone you should check it out.
I also like WRPGs, like Baldur´s Gate II, Planescape: Torment, Dragon Age Origins, Fallout (from 1 to New Vegas), Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect and Kotor, but aside from some exceptions (ME and Fallout 3) I rarelly beat them.
Baldur's Gate 2
Fallout: New Vegas
I also want to give a shout out to Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer as one of the best story driven RPGs out there, unfortunately its expansion pack to otherwise lackluster NWN 2 and for that reason I think a lot of people missed it, which is a unfortunate, its much better then original NWN 2.
Shadows of Amn is easily my favorite. Morrowind, Earthbound, Final Fantasy VII, Demon Souls and Bloodborne would round out my top five. Apologies to greats like FFIV, FVI, Dragon Quest, Planescape, Nocturne and Persona 4.
So many good ones it's hard to narrow it down to five really.
5: Vandal Hearts. A SRPG by Konami released early in the PlayStation 1 lifespan . Not nearly as in depth as FFT but the story was good(rather dark at times) and the battles became fairly challenging late in the game. Plus it has the hilarious blood spray when someone was killed in the battles.
4: Suikoden 2. Another Konami game during the PlayStation years. Easy combat but the story was awesome and recruiting characters was fun.
3: Elder Scrolls Oblivion. I'm tempted to put Morrowind here instead, but honestly I had a bit more fun with Oblivion than Morrowind and Skyrim.
2: Xenoblade Chronicles. Amazing world, and awesome music. A breath of fresh air during the mostly disappointing PS3/360 generation for JRPGs. Still need to play Xeno 2.
1: Fallout New Vegas: The game is fucking brilliant.
Honorable mentions: Morrowind, Skyrim, Disgaea 4, Final Fantasy IX, Arc the Lad 2, Suikoden V, and Lost Odyssey.
Mass Effect 2 -
I love sci-fi and this is pretty much the peak of that genre for me. The gunplay was simple but the powers and power combos felt great. This is the best cast of characters that you could ask for in an RPG. The main plotline took a backseat to the individual characters but I am absolutely fine with that when you're talking about characters like Garrus, Tali, Mordin, Legion, Thane, etc. The payoff at the end was incredible too. Having the ending change depending on how much you prepared and how well you know your crew was just awesome. Choosing the right party members for the right roles because you got to know them over the course of the game... so good. And the music... fuuuuuck, the music!
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion -
I spent an entire summer playing this game and it was amazing. I enjoyed Skyrim as well but I'll always love Oblivion more. The guilds felt like actual guilds. The towns felt like actual towns. The music and the atmosphere are some of the best in gaming. It was so easy to get lost in the world of Oblivion. Yeah, the game has some big flaws. The leveling system is completely unintuitive, the level scaling is way too aggressive, and there are far too many oblivion gates... but I don't care. Oblivion is still incredible and I wish that we could get a remaster of this game instead of Skyrim for the hundredth time.
Persona 5: Royal -
I used to hate turn-based games growing up. I don't know why, I guess I thought they were boring. Persona 4 opened my eyes to turn-based games a few months before Persona 5 came out. I really enjoyed Persona 4 but Persona 5 improved upon everything that I loved about 4 while also fixing most of the things that I didn't like. Persona 5 is the most stylish game ever made. The presentation cannot be praised enough. The UI, the music, the animations... but more importantly, I love these characters and I love living in this world. That's all I really need from my RPGs. Royal only improved upon the fantastic original.
The Witcher 3 -
The Witcher 3 is a fantastic game. The story and the characters are excellent. The world is a joy to explore. And contrary to popular opinion, I guess, I enjoyed the combat quite a lot. The animations and the general flow of the combat can take a minute to get used to but once you do, it feels great. I love that you can study the monster that you are hunting and doing so will allow you to prepare the proper equipment, potions, signs, etc. It feels great taking down a beast when you made it easier on yourself by actually trying to understand your prey's weaknesses. The game started out pretty rough but things like movement, inventory management, etc. have all been improved upon immensely over time.
Dragon Age: Inquisition -
Probably not a popular pick but I love Inquisition. I adore Origins and I enjoyed 2 despite the obvious shortcomings but Inquisition is my favorite. I love the cast and I was emotionally invested in the story on so many levels. For my first playthrough, I was playing as a female elven Inquisitor and I romanced Solas. It was such an emotional rollercoaster. Trespasser hit me in a way that few games ever do. It's up there with games like Journey and Life Is Strange, which had me thinking about them for weeks and months after I had already finished them. The combat system may not have had as much depth as Origins but I still enjoyed the hell out of it. Upgrading your hub, crafting new gear, and exploring those beautiful environments was a joy for me. Yeah, some of the environments were way bigger than they needed to be but I loved the game so much that I didn't mind exploring them with those awesome characters at my side.
1. Final Fantasy VII - My first RPG and imo, the best game ever.
2. Chrono Cross - This one was a blind pick, and OMG, I love it.
3. Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII - Zack's story, enough said (that ending, omg...)
4. Final Fantasy Tactics - Amazing strategy/rpg game (That ending too...)
5. Final Fantasy XV (Yeah, the black sheep of the franchise, but I actually tried to understand the problems that this game had in it's dev years and how good the story is, despite of all it's voids).
I heard about the Elder Scrolls series for years but never paid attention to it until I bought a PlayStation 3. Easily one of my favorite RPGs of all time. I like the idea that the NPC's all existed with their own routine day or night and that it would rain and you had an entire system like if you committed a crime you would need to pay a fine lol. I was already playing Western RPGs around this time with stuff like Baldur's Gate or Neverwinter night, but Elder Scrolls is probably the game that really sucked me into the genre.
2. Fallout 3
Because I already liked Oblivion I already knew when Fallout 3 was announced that it was going to be a easy day one as I love the post-apocalyptic setting and already played the first 2 on PC when I was younger. I was actually okay with it being different than those games. I knew it was ugly ass shit but for me none of those things mattered because of how well the world was built lol. Bethesda just does an absolutely amazing job with world-building with their NPCs that most games struggle to even meet base Oblivion stuff. When those games came out I never really thought that they would still be the company that did that the best I just expected everybody else would copy them but it sounds like a lot of this shit is easier said than done. ( which makes me absolutely batshit hype for Starfield if it's simply just Elder Scrolls or Fallout in space that shit is still a day one for me lol)
3. Persona 3
Persona 3 is always going to be up there with one of my favorite RPGs of all time not simply because of its amazing combat but conceptually the design behind the characters you are not simply building a game about high school students by name only they actually do those things as I think many games get away with telling you stupid window-dressing shit that's completely irrelevant to the game but very little games truly have your character doing the very thing they're telling you the character is. do stuff like Snake Eater where big boss is actually really struggling in the jungle and surviving eating snakes in different animals in dealing with broken limbs the idea of them telling you he is surviving in the jungle is supported by the actions of him doing just that through the game no different than even in Dead Space where the character uses his handyman tools to fight off bad guys. The fact that in Persona you behave like a high school student by day and beating the shit out of Demons by night was such a cool concept and I like the idea that you really truly had to balance it as some nights you couldn't go out hunting demons because you wanted to level up in school. This type of design is something I truly believe many games could benefit from because I would like an origin story Spider-Man game where part of the game was you actually truly going to school and having to make those decisions on whether or not to slip out of class to beat the shit out of rhino lol
Inside of gaming I don't really believe developers can really continue to get away with telling you something and then not having you actually experience it as this is the medium wear that should be done in this is not a book and this is not a movie let us physically do what this person does so that way we could deal with that dilemma with in the game.
4. Final Fantasy IV
Final Fantasy 4 is one of these really good RPG stories that I love to play over and over again as I love the conflict between Cecil and Kain, I also absolutely love the game play as it's probably one of my favorite turn-based Final Fantasy games... don't get me started on the funny ass random people who commit suicide in the game for reasons unbeknownst to all of us.
5. Pillars Of Eternity
pillars of Eternity was way better than I ever thought it was going to be as I went into it with very little expectations and my only regret in 2020 is not pre-ordering pillars of Eternity 2 in getting cyberpunk 2077 instead. Sad because cyberpunk is the game I'm now putting on the shelf and will return to later next year, I probably really should have bought pillars of Eternity 2 because I really really enjoy the first game.
I might put Persona 5 above 3 when I beat it and I didn't beat Divinity Sin 1 yet or Kingdom come Deliverance....could change.
1. Shadow Hearts Covenant - best cast , most touching story , best soundtrack , best combat , best creatures design
2. Final Fantasy VIII - I enjoyed the setting so much - Balamb Garden , Dollet , Deling City , Fisherman Horizon , Esthar . It felt surreal to me sometimes
3. Final Fantasy X
4. Cyberpunk 2077
5. Persona 5
This is the list with the fact that I don't really include games like Bloodborne , Dark Souls and Nier Automata as RPG .
1. The Witcher series (stand out is Blood and Wine expansion for the Witcher 3)
2. Original Mass Effect Trilogy
3. Kingdom Come Deliverance
4. Dragon Age Origins
5. The Banner Saga Trilogy (1st game is probably best overall)
1. Ultima Underworld 1+2
2. Fallout 3
4. Phantasy Star II
5. Intellivision D&D Treasure of Tarmin
All good games too: Wizardry 6 and 7, Phantasy Star 4, Oblivion, Mass Effects, Dungeon Hack (great beginning to the random gameplay, but gets repetitive and predictable as fuck), dabbling in various old ass M&M and Eye of Beholder games. And even having fun back in the day not knowing what the fuck I was doing in Shadowkeep on Apple II. My older brother did much better but it was hard as hell and even he quit.
Impossible. Fucking impossible. Damn you. Here goes. I'm not going to mention hybrid RPGs like Deus Ex, or roguelikes like Shinren.
1 The Witcher 3 Just legendary, just unbeatable.
2 (tied) TES3: Morrowind / TES4: Oblivion The purest.. setting for fantasy self expression.
3 Persona 4 Golden Shared this experience with my wife, which makes it solid gold. Loved the characters, combat..
4 Pillars of Eternity 2: The Deadfire Expansion Quality of life and graphical/artistic improvements over the original set this more firmly in my mind. All time favourite soundtrack.
5 Dungeon Siege This game happens in one shot, no loading pauses, it really feels like you're traversing a fantastical continent.. pretty challenging, too. Deeply underrated soundtrack (opening track not the best, skip to about 2:40.. it's like "what would happen if Morrowind ost and PoE2 Deadfire ost had a baby?")
1. Dragon Quest V DS remake -- No other game does such a good job of showing the highest highs and lowest lows of life. The original is dated but the DS remake is very playable and is even more charming than the SNES version.
2. Final Fantasy 6 -- A unique and engrossing setting masterfully realized. Post-Sakaguchi Square tried rediscovering what FF was and came up with "distant lands" and "striking imagery" and FF6 is the epitome of that with its baroque steampunk art style and exceptional, unconventional, unforgettable soundtrack.
3. Chrono Trigger -- In many ways it's the perfect minimalist JRPG. It's streamlined in all the right places and not too long and almost every moment is top quality. Like FF6, this game has a unique identity that is hard to describe, but there's nothing else like it. This is a very special game.
4. Fallout 2 -- The most well rounded PCRPG by far. It simulates a world that is ruthlessly unforgiving rather than just a static backdrop.
5. Planescape: Torment -- RPGs are about a lot more than combat, and Planescape offers the most well rounded non-combat content and sets the standard for writing in games.
Honorable mentions: Morrowind, Final Fantasy 7, Baldur's Gate 2