When it comes to the greatest video games of all time, RPGs usually rank high. Other games can't compete with the massive worlds, rich lore, memorable characters, deep customization, and often strategic combat that players interact with.
The best Western RPGs of all time span many generations and decades of video games from the 20th century all the way to the latest consoles and PCs. Though the genre has evolved and even invaded other types of games, these are 22 immersive and unforgettable Western RPGs.
1 – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
CD Projekt Red changed the modern RPG landscape with the release of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Many would argue that Bethesda was on the decline and BioWare was nowhere to be found. This developer took up the mantle, creating a massive open-world RPG that spawned many copycats, a successful TV series, and so much more.
2 – The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
For some PC and original Xbox players, this offered their first foray into a traditional high fantasy RPG. It was far ahead of its time, too, integrating a seamless open world that took ages to explore, with the ability to speak with everyone and have your choices matter.
3 – Fallout 3
While a far cry from the previous two games in the series, Bethesda’s reinvention of the post-apocalyptic series turned out to be a brilliant one. A unique mix of FPS and RPG, it features terrific characters, a unique setting, and hilariously witty writing.
4 – Diablo II
For some, Diablo II and the games surrounding it were the peak of Blizzard Entertainment’s history. This is the action-RPG that showed how the genre could have a fast pace, numbers flying across the screen, and dungeon-crawling unlike any other.
5 – Divinity: Original Sin 2
With so many traditional turn-based computer RPGs missing, it was up to Larian Studios to take the reins, and it did so swimmingly. While the first Divinity game is notable on its own, the sequel took the right path in refining the first game’s tactical gameplay while expanding every inch of its world.
6 – Mass Effect
BioWare took much of what made Knights of the Old Republic great and created its own original setting. Somehow, Mass Effect comes decently close to the depth of Star Wars in its sci-fi setting, with the single most fully realized universe in gaming with unmatched choices, romance, and story.
7 – Deus Ex
When RPGs focused on fantasy, mages, and turn-based combat, Deus Ex chose to be different. Set in the near future, it worries more about evil corporations, a dystopian future, and tremendous choice. While you could argue it needs a remake, it remains a cornerstone of the genre.
8 – Ultima VII: The Black Gate
Virtually every RPG on this list has this game to thank for what it did all the way back in 1992. Before its time, there was no fantasy RPG capable of the depth of interaction and freedom that it contained. It paved the way for every successful game on this list to exist.
9 – Neverwinter Nights
BioWare made an incredible entry in the popular Dungeons & Dragons world. It is one of the strongest examples in the early 2000s of taking the popular tabletop RPG formula and converting it into a single-player video game, with a solid story and welcome customization.
10 – Fallout: New Vegas
Obsidian Entertainment’s spin-off in this series might just be the best one in the entire franchise. Taking place in the bright Mojave Desert, Las Vegas has never looked like this before in the post-apocalyptic wasteland. Full of the best characters and writing of the series, it begs for Obsidian to revisit this world.
11 – Mass Effect 2
This darker and more successful BioWare sci-fi sequel took a unique turn with its character-driven approach. The main story itself takes a backseat to members of the Normandy ship, such as Miranda, Jacob, Tali, Thane, Jack, and more.
12 – The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
A welcome graphical upgrade wasn’t all that this fourth game in the Bethesda series brought along with it. Tighter gameplay, full voice acting, and a gorgeous new setting of Cyrodil allowed for one of the best RPGs of the 21st century.
13 – Disco Elysium
Games seldom put combat on the back burner in favor of extraordinary storytelling, choice, and world-building. This moves slower than the other games on this list, giving a unique vibe as you try to solve an endlessly deep murder mystery.
14 – Baldur’s Gate 3
Larian Studios made the right choice in bringing back this beloved series with the early access treatment. This allowed the developer to create the game that fans truly wanted, resulting in one of the most cinematically and technically impressive RPGs ever made, with player freedom unlike any other.
15 – Dragon Age: Origins
The fantasy cousin to Mass Effect is a juggernaut in its own right. The usual BioWare tropes are here, including tons of options, romance partners, and lore. The first game in the series still remains the pinnacle of the series and the point some fans wish to return to.
16 – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
If there’s a game that you’ve probably already played or own on this list, it’s this one. It’s the open-world monumental Bethesda RPG that is available pretty much everywhere you look. And it’s for a good reason, too, as it is hard to beat the seemingly endless content in Skyrim.
17 – Diablo IV
The fourth entry in Blizzard’s franchise chose to shake everything fans knew, instead of recycling the same ideas. A pseudo-MMORPG, players explore a vast online Sanctuary, participate in World Events, and engage with one of the most engrossing content cycles in gaming.
18 – Planescape: Torment
The pioneer of computer RPG player choice, this game showed that the storytellers don’t have to be the developers, but the players themselves. The dark and twisted plot allowed users to craft their own adventure about an immortal man who’s lost his memories.
19 – Deux Ex: Human Revolution
The long-awaited return of this series was met with a surprisingly amazing entry from Eidos Montreal. The modern graphics finally did the near-future story justice, while having hefty FPS gameplay that didn’t take away from the ability to customize augmentations, take on side quests, and break into apartments.
20 – Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
BioWare’s stint in the Star Wars universe ranks not only one of the best RPGs ever made, but arguably one of the most impressive games in history.
The freedom to choose between the Light and Dark Side, forge a unique playstyle, and meet an incredible cast of characters is still unmatched even many years later.
21 – Fable 2
The first fantasy comedy RPG from Peter Molyneux showed the right way to do a game like this. It doesn’t take itself seriously at all, letting the player torment the citizens with belching one minute and sacrificing someone to an evil god the next.
All the while, it has a surprisingly heartfelt story that spans the years of a poor orphan’s life.
22 – Jade Empire
The oft-forgotten BioWare RPG classic, Jade Empire ranks on par with the likes of Dragon Age and Mass Effect. The Asian-inspired world remains gorgeous many years later, with a fascinating martial arts combat system that certainly needs to return.
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Experience: Cody Perez started his career as a journalist and creative writer in the tech and gaming spaces in 2011 while in the middle of high school. Since then, he has produced thousands of high-quality, researched articles for some of the largest entertainment websites in the world, including IGN, Destructoid, Siliconera, Digital Trends, DotEsports, and many more. He also was the lead editor at GameRevolution, growing the site to reach its consistent, historical peak of 8 million MUV the entire time he worked there. Cody also helped launch various successful sites, such as VGR (2 million MUV in a year), POKUniverse, and RPGInformer.
Cody brings together his passion for tech and gaming to his work life, so he can enjoy his hobbies nearly 24/7. He has now taken his expertise and experience with subjects like gaming and Pokémon to Wealth of Geeks, where he is often found creating new lists and reviews, or editing older content to bring it up to the company standard.