Anything out there for a RPG fan that needs a fix?
July 16, 2012 6:04 PM   Subscribe

Recommend me my next favorite RPG!

I’ve had the itch to play another RPG recently, and was wondering if the hivemind could recommend me something interesting. In general, I like games that have these features:
1. A highly customizable character / party.
2. An engaging world and characters.
3. A deep and complex battle system. Or at least one that rewards practice.
Some of my favorite RPGs include Pokémon (hits #1 and #3), Baldur’s Gate 1 & 2(hits all three), and The World Ends With You (hits #2 and #3). More recently, I’ve also enjoyed Mass Effect 2 & 3, as well as Valkyria Chronicles.

I also most emphatically DO NOT like the Elder Scrolls series. The worlds are just not engaging enough for me to stay interested for more than a few hours. Everything starts feeling copy and pasted a few hours in.

Something that can be played on PC would be ideal, but also open to console suggestions.
posted by C^3 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (28 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Planescape: Torment if you haven't played it yet. Not as customizable as you'd probably want but 11/10 for engaging.

Have you played Fallout or Fallout 2? The battle system is more strategic than complex (hexes, action points,) the setting and writing is top-notch, and you build a character up from skills and perks entirely.
posted by griphus at 6:09 PM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

Also, if you can stand Star Wars, the first Knights of the Old Republic game is a worthy RPG.
posted by griphus at 6:10 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

I hope you played Dragon Age Origins already. But if you haven't, do so immediately.
posted by Modica at 6:11 PM on July 16, 2012 [3 favorites]

Yeah, n'thg Dragon Age: Origins. One of the most engrossing games I'd played in years, and it'll be uber-cheap. If you like it, then do DA II. Not nearly as engrossing story-wise (nor are characters as customizable), but a decent game.
posted by smirkette at 6:12 PM on July 16, 2012

I originally thought you were asking about table-top RPGs and was about to recommend Shadowrun (perhaps the most customizable character creation systems)...

Anyway, I'll nth Dragon Age: Origins. Super engrossing. Both of the Fallout games are excellent in terms of character customization, so you'll likely enjoy those, as well.
posted by asnider at 6:26 PM on July 16, 2012

Also, I would reccomend playing TED: Morrowind, as the character building system is great and fiddly, and the world isreally original and the lore engrossing. It escapes the flaws of Oblivion and Skyrim by being a bit smaller and more focused one awesome island, and by being older and quirkier. Plus, even a crappy computer can play mods that give it modern console-level graphics, if that matters. But the vanilla game is amazing and gorgeous and it's flaws are not moder FPSRPG flaws, but the flaws of a pretty steep leveling curve. Plus silt-striders.
posted by kittensofthenight at 6:55 PM on July 16, 2012

*TES:* of course. I am lame.
posted by kittensofthenight at 6:56 PM on July 16, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers so far guys!

Yeah, Bioware makes exactly my sort of game so I've played through their entire back library...keep the suggestions coming!
posted by C^3 at 6:57 PM on July 16, 2012

Best answer: Tales of Vesperia. It's for the xbox360 (and.. maybe the ps3. I'm not sure though)

Anyways, the world is rich and colorful. Fairly large, too. You eventually get up to 6 people who can be in your party, all of whom have distinct personalities. As with all the tales games, the battle system is fairly customizable.. allowing you to use different combination of moves. You also set up strategies for the rest of the party, although they are controlled by an AI. You can command them to use certain abilities, items, and create rules for them to follow. Pretty sure you can also take full control of them if you so wish.

I also suggest Tales of Symphonia (old gamecube game, but the highlight in the series, by far) and Tales of the Abyss (PS2 and Nintendo 3DS)

All the games are independent of one another, but use the same systems for resources, items, and to an extent, powers/spells/abilities.

Battles are live action and are on a unique sort of perspective. You are not normally allowed to move freely in all directions, but back and forth as though you were playing an old school style 2d game. When you switch targets, the camera pans around so that you're presented with a side view again. Good example of the gameplay here.
posted by royalsong at 7:14 PM on July 16, 2012

Best answer: Suggestions from my RPGer husband:

Xenoblade Chronicles for Wii since you don't seem to like the open-world games. It's a terrific JRPG.

Final Fantasy XIII - lots of people didn't like it, but my husband liked it because the battle system was really fun. XII-2, which he hasn't played yet, is supposed to be even better. Not deeply customizable, though.
posted by Zosia Blue at 7:23 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Golden Sun games. I haven't played the newer one, but though I usually get bored with console RPGs these days I could go back to the Golden Sun games anytime.
posted by 23 at 7:28 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Witcher 2 is phenomenal. Only one dude, though.

Also, Fallout New Vegas with the Project Nevada mod is pretty amazing.

Wizardry 8 if you want to go retro.

I'd hie you to the current Steam sale, the deals are mental good.
posted by Sebmojo at 8:07 PM on July 16, 2012

Best answer: Have you tried The Witcher or The Witcher 2? GOG carries them. Winning the fights depends on hitting the mouse at correctly timed intervals, which requires more skill than mouse-bashing.

There is Risen (and now Risen 2), with similar gameplay to the Gothic series. Same developer, Deep Silver.

A oldie but fun is Vampire:Masquerade. Also available at GOG. Several different types of character.
posted by annsunny at 8:11 PM on July 16, 2012

Best answer: If you're not against older games, you might get a kick out of Arcanum. Should fit criteria 1 and 3 for you at least.
posted by trunk muffins at 8:34 PM on July 16, 2012

Love Planescape: Torment, but it's not what you're looking for. Definitely recommend trying it, though.

Arcanum has a ton of promise, but rather flawed, especially in balance and some bug issues. There was also a huge performance issue, but - ha! - that's no longer an issue. Perhaps patches over time has helped, too. Huh, I should load it up again.

Honestly, just like the joystick space combat games and adventure games (but they've made a *huge* comeback), custom party dungeon crawls are a medium on the wane. The closest new thing that I sense that Mefites in general support might be Dwarf Fortress.
posted by porpoise at 9:20 PM on July 16, 2012

Best answer: If you are at all serious about CRPGs, you need to at least try Fallout and Fallout 2. You might also like Jagged Alliance 2 as it fits your criteria ( engaging - if somewhat goofy - writing, complex character management, excellent battle system ) but it's really a squad based tactical combat sim rather than RPG.
posted by Dr Dracator at 9:37 PM on July 16, 2012

Big fan of the Resistance games.
posted by Occula at 9:48 PM on July 16, 2012

As a fellow RPG fan and especially a Baldur's Gate fan, I want to first direct you to Baldur's Gate (wiki) - the new remake of the original and the sequel. Apparently available summer of this year?

The old Fallout games are excellent, even Fallout: Tactics, which is reviled by some mostly because it isn't really an RPG, but what it is, is awesome. If you like tactical RPG games, the Final Fantasy Tactics and Fire Emblem games are really good, spread across multiple platforms (some you can emulate pretty easily). I've heard the Disgaea games are great, but I haven't played them.

I definitely recommend the Star Ocean series, but these aren't CRPGs. These are console JRPGS in the best sense of the term. I've loved every one I've played.

As for the people recommending Dragon Age - I played the first one on pc, expecting a 3d Baldur's Gate. I was disappointed (don't get me wrong, it's better than Neverwinter Nights). The character interactions were wonderful, but the level of control and customization you may want is definitely not there. At its core, it is an action RPG. If you enjoy Mass Effect the experience is similar.

The honest best semi-RPG experience I've had in years is Skyward Sword for Wii. Even more in the vein of action RPG than Dragon Age, but dammit the game is fun.
posted by Elminster of Labor at 10:34 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Ditto Fallout 1 & 2 and Knights of the Old Republic.

They are kind of old school in style despite being recent-ish games, but maybe Avernum or Eschalon Book 2?
posted by juv3nal at 10:39 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thank you juv3nal! I just bought both, they look great.
posted by Elminster of Labor at 10:49 PM on July 16, 2012

Avernum and Eschalon that is.
posted by Elminster of Labor at 10:50 PM on July 16, 2012

If you're willing to go back some years, maybe try Wizardry 8, for points 1 and 3? It's quite old now, but it's 3D, and was the last real Wizardry game.
posted by JHarris at 1:13 AM on July 17, 2012

Best answer: My brother just beat Pokemon: Conquest and he highly recommends it. It has totally different mechanics from the main series.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 4:12 AM on July 17, 2012

Best answer: I've wasted more time on Jagged Alliance 2 and sequels and mods than I care to admit. The story is pretty simple (but well done) and there are lots of sidequests. The combat and the party though is deeper than any other game I've ever played. Everthing matters, perk selection makes or breaks your play styles and you will find that you need to reload in the early days because you've made some configuration errors. You can buy it from GoG. Even better, there's still an active mod community for the game more than a dozen years after it's release. Don't be fooled though: the "1.13 patch" release by the fans not only corrects some of the remaining bugs, but changes the combat system profoundly and adds hundreds of extra items to the game.

Gothic and sequels perhaps?

Doesn't have parties for the most part but features a very customizable character, deep story and interesting combat mechanics: you use mouse gestures to attack, needing both character and player skill.
posted by bonehead at 6:54 AM on July 17, 2012

Best answer: The Spirit Engine 2 checks all your boxes rather nicely. And (near unconscionably, given the quality) it's free!
posted by Iridic at 2:54 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I want to recommend my all-time favorite, Chrono Cross for the Playstation One. A sequel of sorts to Chrono Trigger for the SNES, it hits all three of your criteria.

The party system is outrageous, allowing you to switch in and out a cast of around 30 plus characters, all pretty unique. Some have said the large amount of characters meant less development, but I didn't mind.

The art is amazing, as you travel a hand-painted landscape, with a huge overworld that spans several dimensions, or alternate universes.

The combat system is one of favorites, allowing you to build unique and colorful strategies.

It took me around 40 hours, and was well worth it. I'd check out a video trailer or teaser or something. Good luck with whatever you end up playing.
posted by synthedelic at 3:46 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you decide to play Chrono Cross, you probably will need a FAQ at the end of the game to figure out the *right* way to beat the final boss, which is rather obscure but necessary if you want the good ending.
posted by JHarris at 8:12 PM on July 17, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for all of the suggestions everyone!

It looks like Arcanum is the next game that I'll be picking up...Vampire and Avernum also looked especially interesting and I'll be getting those when I have some more free time.
posted by C^3 at 11:00 PM on July 18, 2012

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