Best RPG Games for the Xbox 360
What is an RPG Game?
An RPG game is a Role Playing Game. The concept of RPGs originated in the 60s and 70s with the creation of table top games like Tunnels and Trolls and Dungeon and Dragons. The idea was that you created a character and role-played this character in worlds full of danger, monsters, treasure and adventure.
As these games became more complex it was inevitable that they would begin to filter onto the computer. Early games were simplistic providing the user with a simple 3D maze with encounters along the way – early games on the PC included many AD&D type games and one of the more detailed games Bard’s Tales. The games were rudimentary featuring poor graphics, far too many random events and not much story line.
Eventually though as the games became more sophisticated and the industry began to produce true 3D games like Doom the genre began to take off. When the Elder Scrolls game appeared on the PC, the world of computer RPGs changed forever.
Today you are able to play free RPG games online, play RPG games with hundreds of users at the same time and enjoy the depths and beauty of some superb games. This articles covers some of the best RPGs on the XBOX 360 and looks at some of the games that may appear in the next few years. It is not an exhaustive list of RPGs available, but hopefully gives you an insight into what is available.
With very good graphics, great sound and detailed plot and plenty of humor this is one of the best western RPG games to hit the consoles.
Dragon Age Inquisition
Dragon Age Inquisition by Electronic Arts is perhaps one of the most rounded RPG games of all time. While the graphics might not be as great as the Elder Scrolls series, the game makes up for that by having a very good story, some brilliant voice acting and a very good crafting system that allows you to create some amazing weapons!
That's not to say that the graphics are poor - even on the XBOX 360 the graphics are pretty awesome - each area features its own distinct atmosphere with some amazing touches like realistic waves, super effects for fog etc.
The game play is varied and can keep you busy for over 100 hours if you play every side quest (which I did) - even after I finished the game I still had a lot of mini quests to finish and also had 4 or 5 dragons to tackle.
I've been playing RPG games for 20+ years and I can honestly say that this is the first game that I have completed without getting bored at some point!
Great graphics, super sound, intriguing plots and sub plots and plenty of moral choices make this one of the best RPG games of all time.
Great graphics, intriguing characters and a decent combat system make this one of the better games in the Final Fantasy series - be prepared to play the sequel and ultimately the third game in the series (soon to be released).
Final Fantasy XIII
While some will argue that FF XIII was too linear initially it does provide a lot of scope for exploring eventually. With stellar graphics, and intriguing gaming system that became better in XIII-2 and probably will improve in XIII-3 it was one of the best Final Fantasy games of the series. The game becomes immersive as you find yourself identifying with the characters and their struggles – Square Enix set the standard for this type of game and many have emulated the format.
This is exceptional value for three top quality RPG games - each one deserves a price tag of at least $20.
Mass Effect Trilogy
The Mass Effect trilogy that tells the story of elite soldier Command Shephard is one of the best cross genre games available. With super action elements, a great interactive story and some compelling graphics you have one of the best science fiction RPGs. With team building elements this becomes one of the more strategic RPGs available as you have to choose the best team for each individual mission. Overall this is one of the most compelling and satisfying series of all and with over 75 hours of gameplay will keep you very happy.
A great introduction into the RPG genre with decent graphics and endless possibilities.
The Fable series of RPG games bridged the gap between arcade style games and hard core role-playing games. Each game in the series had its own flaws but overall the games were very playable, contained good graphics, easy and intuitive controls and were not too difficult. They are a great introduction to RPG gaming and allow most gamers to complete the game without too much trouble. This trilogy was one of the first to provide mundane options like crafting, buying houses, changing the look of the character etc. to allow for a vast amount of customization. While the plots are not the most complex, the game gives enough variety and choices to make the games re-playable several times. If you have to pick one game from the series I’d chose Fable II.
Tales of Vesperia
Tales of Vesperia is a stunning and sprawling high definition RPG that has a great story line, some brilliant characters and a pretty addictive battle system. This perhaps is the first of the ‘tales’ series to actually become popular in the US as the prior titles really only gained traction in Japan – and that’s a shame as it’s a very well crafted game in the grand traditions of Final Fantasy and many other anime type games. If you want to move away from the traditional ‘D&D’ type RPG games then this is a good game to try!
I played the original Fallout games on the PC back in the 90s and enjoyed the strategic elements and adventure that they provided. Fallout 3 took the concept to the next level by creating a game that combined first person shooting, role-playing, strategy and adventure to create a sprawling game based in an open post apocalyptic world. The resulting game was fantastic and remains one of my favorites. Fallout 3 is truly a vast game that gives you many choices that will change the game – with excellent graphics and a superb atmosphere it is one of the ‘must-have’ RPG games.
Oblivion is probably the best of the Elder Scrolls games overall. It has superb graphics and excellent plot and all the elements you'd expect in a top RPG game. It is atmospheric and you will find yourself fully immersed in a stunning world.
Skyrim is a brilliant game that perhaps has the best graphics of any RPG game to date. While Oblivion is probably better overall, this still is one of the best RPG Games available.
The Elder Scrolls Series
I first encountered the Elder Scrolls series in the late 90s on the PC. It was probably the first RPG game that had a truly open world that allowed you to travel anywhere in the world whenever you wanted. At the time the graphics were cutting edge providing the PC game with the ultimate RPG experience. There were many flaws in the game and much repetition but it signaled a change in the way RPG games would be created and promised much. As the series progressed the games got better providing more complex quests, decent plots and state of the art graphics – it became the flag-bearer for RPG genre and set the standard for what RPG games should be like. Many modern RPG games contain many of the elements of the Elder Scrolls series but there are not many that can truly challenge them – Skyrim, the most recent Elder Scrolls game was one of the most anticipated games of any genre, and the upcoming Elder Scrolls multi-player game promises to be exceptional.
What sets the series aside is the attention to detail – swaying grass, cascading waterfalls and views to die for make the whole game an incredible experience. It’s the only game where I’ve climbed a mountain simply to look at the stunning view! The ability of the game to provide atmosphere on several levels combining scenery, weather effects and sound effects is simply stunning and make this a very immersive series. Is it perfect – no – but it’s very very close!
The Witcher 1 & 2
The Witcher series is one of the most original RPG games. For once you’re not a hero, but are effectively shunned by many despite being a true hero. Set in a very atmospheric medieval world, the game reeks atmosphere and draws you in to one of the best plots of any RPG series. The combat systems is unique and can be quite challenging, and for many the second game was too difficult, but overall The WItcher series is one of the most compelling RPG series of all – it may not have the best graphics or sound, but the overall game is excellent.
Please note that both of the Witcher games feature nudity, these games are not suitable for children.
Dragon Age 1 & 2
Dragon Age: Origins is one of my favorite RPG games. With stunning graphics, a combat system that requires strategy to be used and sublime sound it captures everything that is good about RPG games. The sense of adventure is very prevalent and you’ll find yourself playing the game more than you should as you move through the quests and sub-quests. The game was one of the best and compares favorably with my personal favorite Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. Dragon Age 2 wasn’t as good as the first game – it changed the combat system making it more like an arcade game and became far more linear – it is still a decent game but didn’t reach the heights of the first game. Hopefully Dragon Age 3 will rediscover this excellence.
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
Release Date: 2013
Final Fantasy XIII-3 Lighting Returns concludes the Final Fantasy XII series. Expect it to feature great graphics and sound, a fairly open world and the same real-time battles with an enhanced combat system. As Lightning you have 13 days to influence events to ensure the world does not end – it’s likely to feature the time-travelling system that was prevalent in the second game and will undoubtedly be an experience cruncher like most FF games. To be honest I feel the FF series is getting a little jaded and hope that they present something new in this game – if not I guess I’ll have to wait for FF XV (FF XIV is an upcoming online Final Fantasy game that is hopefully better than their prior attempt!).
South Park: The Stick of Truth
Before you buy this game you should be aware that it's not really aimed at hardened RPG gamers. Having said that, it is one of the most well written games I have come across, especially as it stays very faithful to the characters of South Park.
Let's be honest, the graphics are well Southparkish, the plot is relatively simple, the RPG elements are simple and the overall RPG experience isn't the greatest - but what makes this game standout is that it exists totally in the world of South Park and if you're a fan of the show then you are going to love this game.
The game is very funny, a little irreverent at time and combat perhaps gets a little repetitive, but it's definitely worth playing once, if simply to experience the humor!
Other good RPGs for the XBOX 360
Eternal Sonata – a very interesting and unique Japanese RPG that delves into the history of music and tackles many real world issues. Well worth buying.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning – more of an arcade adventure – features a good plot and decent graphics.
Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom – not the best RPG out there but worth looking at simply for the great visuals, the puzzles and the fun boss battles.
Dragon's Dogma – has some superb combat situations and very interesting monsters – this games keeps you on your toes at all times; very atmospheric game but has a few flaws.
Lost Odyssey – if you like the final fantasy games then you’ll love this game. The story is very good and the skills and spell development are excellent. Aside from that it’s a pretty standard Japanese type RPG game.
Star Ocean: The Last Hope - another very good anime based RPG that is fun, has some decent graphics and a good plot. It’s not the best RPG, but definitely worth getting at a discount price.
Upcoming XBOX 360 RPG games in 2013 and beyond
With advancing technologies its likely that the number of new XBOX 360 RPG games will diminish, however there are potentially some brilliant games on the horizon that may have a version playable on the older console.
Mass Effect 4
The Mass Effect train ride seems unstoppable and while the main theme of the first three games i.e. the story of Shepard) is done, there still is a vast universe out there! Initial rumors say that the game will use DICE’s Frostbite tech (same as Dragon Age 3).
Bioware are not really saying much yet but are exploring new story fronts and evening potentially changing gameplay elements – while it seems that Shepard’s story is over there are even whispering that the new series will be a prequel to the original trilogy and could explore the origins of some of the species and even include a young Shepard or even the Illusive Man.
Release Date: 2015
Cyberpunk 2020 is a tabletop RPG game that is one of the more difficult games to learn but once mastered becomes very enjoyable – hopefully the computer version (Cyberpunk 2077) will be far more intuitive and allow the player to enjoy the world and game. CD Projekt are taking on the task of producing the game. The game will be based in a large metropolis (Night City) with several warring well armed factions (corporations and gangs).
This is undoubtedly going to be an adult game with plenty of violence, drugs and other vices being included. Initial reports have the main characters as someone who is fighting corruption and corporations, gangs and drug violence – it promises to be a melee based game with role playing elements. If the game reaches the level that it promises then it could be one of the surprise RPG games of the decade.
Release Date: TBA
There’s no doubt that there will be a new fallout game at some point although details are very sketchy. Since the Fallout 3 New Vegas game and subsequent DLCs there have been rumors that Bethesda is developing something – some rumors I’ve heard indicate that we may see an online multi-player game, but whatever happens I’d expect a top quality atmospheric game that blends FPS with RPG.
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